By Jörg Breuning Picture: Daily Harrald
Back in February of 2011, the lower end of Aquascape's headquarters collapsed after a heavy snow event that blanketed Chicago with 2 feet of snow in 24 hours. The building once held the title as the "largest sloping green roof in North America," covering over 256,000 square feet.
In a blog post, Green
Roof Technology covered the roof collapse back in 2011, blaming the
failure of the green roof on poor engineering regarding the drainage of
the system. Blog post 09/06/2011
We also wrote a Case study about the dilettantism and ignorance of so-called experts that are designers, engineers and construction companies when it comes to modern green roof technology (download PDF: Fixer Upper or Lawsuit? Sloped Extensive Green Roof Critique).
Since we've collected even more examples that are not mentioned in the press, that are fixed “quietly” or where the client has been convinced that certain problems are “normal” for a green roof. We estimate the potential of law suits on existing green roofs over 80 million Dollars, which is probably more than the entire Grant money spent so far for the implementation of green roofs.
Many of these self-promoted experts are still playing an important role in the American green roof education system (GRP) and within the North American industry. It is interesting to mention that in other countries where green roofs have been established over decades and where there are 10 times as many built annually, that there were never such incidents reported. These countries not even have a “highly developed” green roof professional education system. What they have is called Common Sense; the understanding of how small indicators could cause huge problems and they understand their responsibility to the industry even when they are not directly involved. There is no ignorance, dilettantism or vanity – just pure professionalism based on solid education.
Now two years later, Aquascape has sued 9 different contractors, construction companies, engineers and architects for $13 million in damages. These companies include Artisan Design Build LLC, Senekteks, Tricon Construction, Olsson Roofing, Tecza Environmental Group, Applied Ecological Services, Metallic Building Company, Area Erectors and Dewberry Architects (Read the Daily Herald Article) and we still have the cart in front of the horse.