3 Keys to being a LEED® – Friendly General Contractor

General contractors know that over the last 18 years, LEED certifications for new buildings have gone from an idea, to a trend, and now to a requirement in some cities. For the past decade cities all over the country have been adding more and more green building regulations. Cities like San Francisco, Boston, and Washington D.C. are flat-out requiring that new construction and certain renovation projects be LEED certified.

LEED projects live and die at the contractor level. As a general contractor, if your company is the reason that LEED credits are lost, you can almost guarantee that you’ll never do business for that builder again. It is more important now than ever to ensure that you are LEED-friendly to make sure that you keep getting considered for the jobs you are bidding on. According to Jonathan Kraatz, Executive Director of the Texas Chapter of the US Green Building Council, “For a contractor working on delivering a LEED project, the fear of the unknown is often the first obstacle to overcome. By relying on your team of professionals – from design through commissioning – a project can be delivered in a smooth and efficient fashion.”
Here are 3 Key things that a LEED-conscious general contractor should focus on to deliver a successful certification:

Start with the End in Mind:

Make sure that you are as involved in the pre-construction phase of planning as possible. This will give you the ability to plan out any costs associated with the LEED certification that is expected. Specifically, pay attention to anything having to do with the purchasing aspect of a project – like the budget reviews. This will give you the ability to target specific materials like energy efficient windows or recycled materials to earn additional LEED points. Provide your input and expertise in your area of the project to find any opportunities that will support LEED goals. Also, make sure to let your team and subcontractors know what the LEED project goals are from the beginning. The general contractor should ensure everyone on the project is paying attention to the fact that LEED points are critical. Another thing to make sure you pay attention to is the materials that have the lowest LEED impact. It makes life easier for your subcontractors when they aren’t wasting time filling out waste tickets for materials that have no impact on the LEED goals.

Get to Know the LEED Project Administrator.

All major projects are going to have a LEED certified professional on staff to ensure that the LEED goals are being met. This person may work for the design firm, your firm, or a third-party company like Quest that is reporting to the owner.  When it comes to any LEED-related questions – this is the person to ask, and when it comes to those questions – nothing is too small. If there is any confusion at all, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask what you need to be doing and collecting data on. These people would much rather have too many questions asked versus losing LEED points because someone didn’t ask the right questions.

Know what Data to Collect from Subcontractors.

The biggest thing that gets general contractors in trouble with project managers is the failure to keep track of MSDS sheets and waste/recycling tickets. Any workers or subcontractors you use need to have it in their heads to track of things like regional materials, renewable materials, certified wood, construction waste management, indoor air quality during construction, and commissioning (multiple credits).
Constructing a greener building shouldn’t be seen as a burden. As a contractor, being known as a LEED-friendly builder will only mean more business for you as bigger projects in more cities are going to require LEED building standards. Utilizing resources like your local USGBC chapter for LEED® education will only help you be more successful in 2019.

this article was originally posted on ForConstructionPros.com

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