Watch Out for Fraudulent Sustainability Builders: Expert Warns Home Owners

December 2009

Jacinta Goerke

AN AUSTRALIAN sustainability expert is warning consumers to watch out for designers, architects and builders claiming to be sustainability specialists.

The warning was issued today following a rise in the number of people appointing unqualified sustainability practitioners to design and build their homes and offices.

LEED-certified homes

LEED-certified homes

Leading Australian eco architect and adjunct professor at Murdoch University Mr Garry Baverstock said he was aware of the sudden increase in the amount of unqualified people claiming to be ‘sustainability’ experts.

“Sustainability is the new buzz word and there is a growing number of drafts people, architects and builders claiming to be ‘experts’ when they are neither qualified nor experienced in this area,” said Mr Baverstock.

“I’m worried it will all come to a head in a few years when people realise their homes and offices don’t comply with sustainability principles and will label ‘sustainable buildings’ a joke.

“This is such an important issue because the built environment in developed nations such as Australia accounts for between 40 and 50 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions so our buildings need to comply with the best possible sustainability and energy efficiency rating systems,” said Mr Baverstock.

Mr Baverstock said it was not easy to design and build top rating energy efficient buildings because specialist expertise and coordination was required.

He said many practitioners were telling people they were sustainability experts just to win jobs.

“I believe this fraudulent behaviour must be stopped and for practitioners to return to university to complete post-graduate studies in environmental science and sustainability,” he said.

“These courses provide students with knowledge and skills over and above what they would have learnt in their undergraduate architectural and engineering degrees,” he said.

Mr Baverstock said tips for people looking to appoint sustainability experts included requesting copies of practitioners’ qualifications in sustainable design/environmental architecture; number and types of awards won for green building designs; addresses of past projects over the last ten years; client testimonials; and the names of energy rating systems used.

Commercial business owners should contact the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) to see if their proposed architects and builders are registered with them.

Name: Northside green homes
Image released to public domain

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