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Phases of LEED Certification June 14, 2010



Phases of Certification

For a LEED professional, it is essential to understand and implement necessary steps required to get a building LEED certified. Both LEED GA and LEED AP exams will test your knowledge on understanding of this process. This article is an attempt to acquaint you with the multiple phases involved in LEED certification. 


1. Planning – LEED Charrette.

The LEED certification process begins with attending a LEED Charrette.  A LEED Charrette is a type of workshop where project participants indulge in brainstorming, discussion, and strategy development to create a shared vision.  Participants in these workshops usually include the owner, architect, consultants, contractors, landscape architect, commissioning agents, etc. The outcome of the Charrette includes a first draft of the LEED scorecard, a preliminary rating, and defining the roles of each member of the project team.

2. Registration

After Planning, the next step towards LEED certification is registering your project at by paying requisite registration fees (project registration fees have increased to $900 for members and $1,200 for non-members).  Registration of the project allows the project team to access/receive additional tools such as, LEED Online, that helps to facilitate the certification process.  The project team needs to identify the LEED Project Administrator at the time of project registration. The project administrator has several responsibilities, including

  • Assignment of team members to different tasks
  • Submitting the application for review

The project team is responsible for selecting who will administer the project. The project administrator does not have to be a LEED AP.

3. Certification Fees

The project team has to pay a certification fees in addition to the registration fees. The amount of fees depends upon membership status and square footage of the building. A project that achieves Platinum certification (the highest level) receives a rebate on certification fees. However the registration fees, appeal review fees, and any additional fees are not refunded. Walk yourself through the following link to understand varying certification fees. Clink on this link: LEED Certification Fees.

4. Application
After project registration, the project team and project administrator can collect the information needed for the submittals. Credit templates or submittals are dynamic PDF forms that can be filled out and uploaded  to LEED Online system. To know more about LEED online and its features, walk yourself through this article, LEED Online.

  • LEED Online is a central repository for project information. This tool allows team members to:
    • Submit all documentation online including forms, documents, and pictures.
    • Upload project narrative along with drawings and photographs of the site plan, floor plan, building section, primary elevation, and rendering of the project.
    • Upload credit templates
    • View and submit Credit Interpretation Requests (CIRs)(Find more about CIRS in LEED Online article)
    • Contact customer service
    • View and respond to reviewer comments

5. Project Review

After registration, the review process can begin. Project teams have the option of a combined design & construction review or a split design & construction review. (exception: LEED for Operations & Maintenance rating system).  A split review allows project teams to submit some part of the project documentation during the design phase for GBCI to review. This allows project team to know, what credits can be anticipated for certification.

During the project review process credits/prerequisites are updated with one of the following statuses:

  • Anticipated – the project team can reasonably assume that the credits could be achieved
    (Note that only during the design phase of a split review process, the anticipated credits are marked.)
  • Clarify – more information is needed
  • Achieved – the credit/prerequisite requirements have been met and points are
  • Denied – the credit/prerequisite has not met the requirements

Remember, no credits are earned and no points are awarded during the design phase (only, anticipated or clarify). Points can only be earned after the construction phase. The split design & construction review has several advantages over combined design & construction review. If the LEED review committee denied some of the credits submitted during the design phase, the project team will be having ample time to meet the requirements of the credits or submit alternative credits to make up the difference.  Another advantage of a split review is that it forces project teams to document early and document often.


6. Certification or Denial

GBCI awards the appropriate certification level based on the number of credits achieved after reviewing the completed application. The project team may submit an appeal if a project team feels to appeal a credit or prerequisite that is denied in the final LEED review by paying a fee of $500 per credit or prerequisite appealed. Within 25 business days  of the appeal, GBCI will issue an appeal LEED review. LEED Certification is awarded to the building once the results are accepted. A plaque for the building is issued.

We always welcome comments and suggestions. We will be happy to know, how you like this article.

Greenprep Blog Administrators.


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