Tuesday, August 24, 2010

LEED Best Practices for Subcontractors

As a followup on my blog post How to Bid a LEED Project (and Win), here is some advice on LEED best practices for contractors. Once you win your first LEED project, how do you take the next step? How should you manage the LEED submittal process? The following list was compiled from advice given by general contractors at the San Francisco Bay Area GreenerBuilder conference, including Swinerton Builders. Here is what we learned:
  1. Submit your LEED documentation early. Putting off LEED submittals until after you have completed construction can make them more difficult and time-consuming. Make sure you have all the information you need for your submittals before you start the project. This way you can avoid scrambling to gather data sheets and LEED letters after construction.
  2. Meticulously track and document compliance. With LEED, you can never be too careful. General contractors and subs are responsible for up to 21 LEED points, so it is important that contractors pay attention to the details to maximize those points. The products that go into a LEED project are crucial to earning many of the Materials & Resources points. Therefore, check and recheck the materials you choose. You will want to make sure that the key LEED attributes of each product meet USGBC requirements before construction.
  3. Separate LEED submittals from regular submittals. There are two submittal processes for materials in a LEED project: regular submittals and LEED submittals. The two are parallel, but they each travel through different channels of review. Track all your materials through standard submittals and all LEED materials with your LEED submittals.
  4. Develop in-house resources to manage LEED projects. To avoid duplicating your work on the next project, keep a record of LEED data on the materials you use. Each time you work on a LEED project, submittals will get easier if you keep records from the projects you completed in the past. These records will also help you when bidding your next LEED project. General contractors like to work with subs who have experience working with green materials.
Do you have other ideas for subs? Please contribute to this list with your LEED best practices in the comments section below.

Need help with LEED submittals? Check out BuildSite’s demo on submittals for LEED:

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