The contractor is a vital player who is involved from the point of pre-design all the way to the final flush-out before occupancy.
The contractor will also attend a pre-closeout LEED validation meeting to:
- Ensure that building flush-out or indoor air quality testing procedures are met to comply with the construction credit under Indoor Environmental Quality: Indoor air quality management after construction.
- Review the commissioning report and determine whether action items need to be taken to meet the owner’s project requirements (OPR).
- Review LEED documentation including photographs, waste management logs and pending submittals.
- Determine if credit submissions need to be audited.
- Identify missing documentation before LEED closeout documentation is submitted.
- Mark the credits as “complete” on the LEED online platform.
On major projects, which describe most LEED buildings, efficient contractors will prepare a LEED project closeout manual or LEED documentation book which describes the documentation subcontractors are expected to submit by the end of the project. The documentation requirements include those for project compliance, code compliance and LEED compliance. The LEED documentation book will also include supporting documentation such as meeting records, site logs for waste management, commissioning reports and indoor air quality management – building flush-out or air-quality testing results.
The manual is distributed to all subcontractors early in the project to enable them to comply with LEED provisions and final submittals. This proactive approach ensures that even subcontractors who complete work well before the end of the project will meet requirements.
Many federal and Department of Defense projects require contractors to submit a LEED documentation book irrespective of whether they decide to submit the project for formal LEED certification.
Once comfortable that the LEED documentation is true, accurate, and verifiable, the LEED project administrator makes the review payment and submits the project for review. The review team usually takes less than 21 days to provide review comments, ask clarification questions and more documentation before awarding or denying a credit.
Once the project team submits additional information and documentation for review (if needed), it might take up to another 14-21 days before the project is awarded or denied the credit it re-submitted. The project team also has an option to appeal decisions on any credits that were denied for a fee.
After the LEED closeout submission, the contractor will attend a closeout meeting with the validation team to:
- Review and document LEED documentation for future projects.
- Resolve remaining issues concerning credit award and documentation.
- Document lessons learned and celebrate the success.
Running the Good Race
LEED is a voluntary rating system that has transformed the building construction industry. More importantly, it represents the revolutionizing of how we think about the possibilities of sustainable design and construction. As this “Contractor’s Role in Sustainability” series has clearly demonstrated, the project contractor plays a critical role in bringing sustainable projects to reality.
It is fine to publish a voluntary rating system, but implementing it in the real world requires talent, construction expertise, management skills, networking skills, technological skills, LEED training and a desire to meet strict requirements from design to commissioning. As was discussed in previous articles, the contractor can make or break a LEED project because successful commissioning lies in the details, from the initial design to the final documentation submissions.
Crossing the Finish Line
Ultimately, a sustainable building is designed to protect the environment as well as those who occupy it. Sustainability is an issue that will become even more important as the population grows and more pressure is placed on the environment. High-performance sustainable buildings are in a race – a race to become environmentally friendly, energy and water efficient and provide healthier indoor environments for its occupants. The contractor is in the driver’s seat during all phases of a sustainable construction project. The contractor is involved before the race starts and continues driving sustainability through all phases of design and construction to operational training, commissioning and closeout.