The USGBC Revises Policy on Challenges

The USGBC Revises Policy on Challenges

The law moves at glacial speeds. The USGBC does not. 

On June 21, 2010, I wrote a blog post titled "Green Building Challenge Policy Requires Fixes." My post detailed problems with the LEED certification challenge policy, as published in the LEED Certification Policy Manual. You may recall that I wrote on, and on, and on about the challenge policy, resulting in a grand total of nine posts on the subject. I don't want you to have to go back and read all nine posts so I have combined them into one white paper titled "LEED Certification Challenges and the Northland Pines High School Incident" (pdf) that you can download now. 

The biggest problem with the previous LEED challenge policy was that literally anyone could challenge any LEED project at any time based on any LEED point

On September 17, 2010, the Green Building Certification Institute published a revised LEED Certification Policy Manual (pdf), as discovered by my good friend Tim Hughes. The Policy Manual significantly revised the challenge policy, which now reads in part: 

9.3 Basis for an Initiation of a Certification Challenge: GBCI reserves the right to institute investigations and review documentation for any reason or for no reason at all. In addition, GBCI encourages third parties who wish to make a complaint, or bring to light information affecting the grant of LEED certification to do so in the following manner. Parties seeking to submit a complaint or report information affecting the grant of LEED certification must have specific personal knowledge of an event or condition that would prevent a project from satisfying a particular credit, prerequisite, or MPR. Complainants must indicate the credit, prerequisite, or MPR that is affected. Further, such persons must indicate to the fullest extent possible, in the form of a written statement, details of such event or condition including the following: i) the alleged offending conduct or condition; ii) the persons involved; iii) other persons who may have knowledge of the facts and circumstances concerning the allegation, including contact information for such persons; and iv) the identity of the person presenting the complaint including such person’s full name, address, email, and telephone number. Complaints must be submitted to GBCI within two (2) years of the award of LEED certification for a project. GBCI cannot guarantee anonymity to persons submitting complaints. If GBCI determines that the complaint is frivolous or irrelevant to the credits, prerequisites and MPRs required for LEED certification, no further action will be taken.

Under this new policy anyone with specific personal knowledge can challenge any LEED project within two years of LEED certification based on any LEED point

It took the USGBC less than three months to revise the LEED Certification Policy Manual and challenge process. That is incredible and the USGBC should be commended for quickly moving on this issue.

Chris Cheatham, J.D., LEED AP, is managing partner of
Cheatham Consulting LLC. He publishes the blog Green Building Law Update, where this post originally appeared.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user miss_rogue.