The following are our Top 5 Tips for LEED management for general contractors. The LEED management of the General Contractor plays a vital role in the ultimate success of a LEED certified project and a great deal of responsibility lies with the General Contractor to implement and document LEED credit requirements. Thus, it is imperative that the General Contractor understands and keeps the entire construction team including subcontractors focused on the LEED management responsibilities and goals. Here are the top 5 tips a General Contractor should keep in mind to facilitate LEED management.
1. Know the LEED requirements
The GC should fully understand the LEED requirements for the project. This will vary by certification level and the specific credits that the project is pursuing. Start with the preliminary LEED scorecard to get an overview of the specific credit requirements. Review the anticipated credits with your team to determine who is responsible for each. Then review the specifications for more detail on material and construction management requirements.
2. Designate a LEED Project Manager or LEED Consultant
The GC must be prepared to designate someone dedicated to managing the LEED process. They will function as the primary LEED driver, keeping everyone on course, and tracking submittals and deliverables. It’s important that they have LEED project management experience and enough dedicated time for managing the process. It can be very difficult and overwhelming for someone with limited experience or time to dedicate to the process. It may be a wise investment to work with a LEED consultant if your team doesn’t have the in-house capacity or would simply rather subcontract the LEED management and documentation. LEED consultants work on a great number and variety of LEED projects and are able to bring a wealth of experience to the team. Further, team members who work with LEED consultants are typically more knowledgeable and better prepared on subsequent LEED projects.
3. Develop and follow a LEED Action Plan
The single most important aspect of the construction phase of a LEED project involves the preparation and strict adherence to a project specific LEED action plan. Just as an effective safety plan will go beyond a list of safe work practices and cause individual workers to make daily decisions that are consistent with a culture of safety, so too will an effective LEED action plan cause workers to make decisions that are consistent with a culture of sustainability. Both ultimately rely on leadership from the GC and proper implementation by the on-site workers.
4. Provide Leadership to Subs – Educate them early and often
The GC must provide direction and promote the sustainable culture and intent of LEED. The best way for the GC to garner support from subcontractors and facilitate the LEED process is to educate workers early and often. The GC should start with a pre-contract and LEED kickoff meeting to discuss the LEED action plan before any trade work begins. Use this opportunity to review the LEED performance criteria and documentation requirements. Then discuss LEED strategies and deliverables at regular progress meetings. Frequent and thorough coordination with subs and the project team is essential.
5. Document, Document, Document
Proper LEED documentation is a major part of achieving LEED certification and it can be very challenging for new teams. The documentation must be organized correctly and accurate because it will be audited by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) during the LEED certification application.
Collect the LEED documentation as soon as possible and kept current. Don’t wait until the end of the project! Many subcontractors are off the project for some time before the application for LEED certification and it will be very difficult to obtain the necessary information after the fact.
Chad Mapp is a LEED Consultant and Construction Manager with Sustainable Building Services, LLC as well as the chair of the USGBC Colorado Chapter Northern Branch. He has extensive experience sustainability and LEED consulting on numerous projects both in the public and private sector. To learn more about LEED consulting services visit www.SBSConsultingGroup.com.