A recent case filed with the New Jersey Superior Court in Burlington County on July 19, 2010, captioned Auburn Road Associates v. Alberto & Associates, shows just how important it is to maintain careful attention to detail when designing or planning for a high performance building.  In this case, the plaintiff alleges in its complaint that the architectural and planning services firm it had retained to assist in the planning and development of a 38,750 square-foot shopping center “failed to include energy calculations in the relevant plans for the Woowich Center project.”  The complaint charges the defendant firm with negligence and breach of contract and seeks damages in the amount of $250,000 for delays and expenditures incurred as a result of the alleged omissions.

The Auburn Road Associates case may or may not have merit, but it demonstrates the potentially severe consequences that professionals may suffer if they fail to do their homework in preparing plans for improvements that are intended to meet the stringent energy efficiency goals or other “green” objectives of the project owner.