Shapiro, Lifschitz & Schram

“Every time I work with them, they always give me the right advice – even though it’s not always profitable for the firm.”

Bruce Hoffman – Vice President, Gilbane Building Company and former Executive Director, Maryland Stadium Authority

Maryland's move away from LEED certified construction

The Maryland House and Senate recently unanimously approved House Bill 207 which was approved by the Governor on May 15th.  This new law, which will take effect October 1, 2014, may be a critical step in Maryland’s move away from LEED Certified Construction.

Since 2008, the Maryland Code has required that capital projects undertaken by the state government which included the construction or major renovation of a building that is 7,500 square feet or greater, be constructed or renovated to be a high performance building. 

The code defined a “high performance building” as a building that:  (i) meets or exceeds the current version of the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System Silver rating; or (ii) achieves at least a comparable numeric rating according to a nationally recognized, accepted, and appropriate numeric sustainable development rating system, guideline, or standard approved by the Secretaries of Budget and Management and General Services.

Thus, in Maryland, most new or renovated government buildings, including schools, have been constructed in accordance with LEED standards.  In fact, in February, the U.S. Green Building Council published a list of the leading states in LEED Construction and Maryland ranked #2 in the country for 2013 with 119 projects certified. 

House Bill 207 is poised to change all of that.  This bill will amend the definition of “high performance building” in the Maryland Code to include buildings which comply “with a nationally recognized and accepted Green Building Code, Guideline, or Standard reviewed and recommended by the Maryland Green Building Council and approved by the Secretaries of Budget and Management and General Services.”  This opens the door for construction in compliance with the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) in place of LEED. 

The IgCC is a model code established by the International Code Council (ICC) which, according to the ICC’s website is designed to provide “a mandatory baseline of codes addressing green commercial construction” and “to meet new market needs through model code regulations that promote safe and sustainable construction in an integrated fashion with the ICC Family of Codes.”  And, the IgCC is “the first model code to include sustainability measures for the entire construction project and its site — from design through construction, certificate of occupancy and beyond. The new code is expected to make buildings more efficient, reduce waste, and have a positive impact on health, safety and community welfare.”

In 2011, Maryland became the first state in the country to recognize the IgCC when it enacted a law adopting the IgCC as a non-mandatory document, enabling local jurisdictions to adopt the code.  Now, with the passage of House Bill 207, it is expected that the state will adopt a version of the IgCC for its use in connection with the construction and renovation of government buildings in accordance with the revised Maryland code.  This will likely mean a decrease in LEED certified building with an increased focus on building in accordance with the IgCC.  

Did You Know . . .

Members of the SLS trial group have tried in excess of 50 jury trials and 75 bench trials?

The SLS construction group has worked on sports stadiums across the country including Orioles Park in Baltimore and Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati?

The SLS construction group has worked on power plant projects across the country?

In 2007 SLS was selected for an Honorable Mention as one of the Best Places To Work in Washington DC?

Ron Shapiro, Steve Schram and Judd Lifschitz have all been selected as SuperLawyers by Law and Politics?

The SLS office building is an historic townhouse constructed in the late 1800s?

SLS has been selected by Martindale-Hubbell as a Preeminent Law Firm?

SLS trial lawyers have argued appeals in the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal for the 4th, 5th, 9th, D.C. and Federal Circuit?

SLS trial lawyers have been lead trial counsel in cases in Arizona, California, District of Columbia, Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Virginia, - to name just a few?

Virtually all the cases that SLS trial lawyers mediated have been favorably settled at mediation?

The transactional group at SLS was lead counsel on one of the largest, most complex mixed-use projects in downtown Washington, DC involving 4 lenders and 6 property owners?

In appreciation for the outstanding efforts of each of its employees during 2007, SLS gave everyone (attorneys, paralegals, and staff) a 4 day/3 night expense paid trip to Key West, Florida?

The transactional group at SLS has represented tenants in more than 200 retail leases in the Mid-Atlantic region?

Every attorney in the transactional group at SLS has at least 15 years experience?

The transactional group at SLS has represented developers in the purchase, construction, financing and/or sale of more than 75 multi-family apartment projects?

The transactional group at SLS has represented real estate investors and developers with respect to property in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Tennessee, Michigan and the U.S. Virginia Islands?

Attorneys in the transactional group at SLS have represented eight national banks in commercial real estate loans?

Attorneys in the transactional group at SLS have represented the FDIC, the Resolution Trust Corporation and several banking institutions in loan workout transactions throughout the Mid-Atlantic region?

The transactional group at SLS has represented homebuilders and commercial real estate developers in work-outs of individual loans and also for work-outs of large portfolios involving dozens of properties in several states?

The trial lawyers of SLS have numerous reported decisions to their credit?