5 tips for winning a LEED project
Editor's Note: This piece was written Tommy Linstroth, founder and CEO of Green Badger cloud-based automation and compliance solutions firm and a principal in consulting firm Trident Sustainability Group. He has worked on 100 LEED projects. The opinions represented in this piece are independent of Construction Dive's views.
Winning project work is tough, and having LEED certification requirements in the mix can make it even more challenging. After being in the market for more than 15 years, many general contractors have likely worked on a LEED project at some point, but can you leverage that project experience from a few years back to win more work?
Contrary to some misconceptions out there, LEED is still required on a vast amount of construction — if it is publicly funded for sure, and a host of private sector demand exists as well. To win that next project that has green compliance as part of the RFP, here are five tips to make your LEED case more compelling and set you apart from your competition.
Have a plan
Have or create a company-specific construction waste management plan that you can use across projects. That plan should identify who is responsible, what actions will be taken to reduce waste, how it will be communicated to the team/subcontractors, and what approaches to recycling and diversion are typically implemented. This lets owners know you will be ready to meet the project goals.
Even better, implement waste management practices on every project, not just those seeking certification. Such practices are impactful and demonstrate to owners that you are committed to sustainable construction even when you have not been asked to adhere to such standards.
Standardize and communicate that plan
Similarly, have an indoor air quality management plan standardized. Identify who is responsible for managing the plan, as well as the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association (SMACNA) measures that will be addressed. This is another good opportunity to implement basic green practices on every project. Typical measures include protecting ductwork from dust/contamination by covering the area with plastic, incorporating good housekeeping practices, protecting absorptive materials from moisture, not smoking within the construction project, and keeping materials and processes that generate emissions segregated from the rest of the site.
To really set yourself apart, be able to talk about how this written policy is communicated to the team and enforced — actions speak louder than written plans.
Map out your progress
Have examples of your tracking tools available to show how you’ll successfully manage tracking all the sustainable material submittals over the course of construction. Owners want to make sure points don’t slip through the cracks. Most projects ask for a LEED implementation plan — having your processes together ahead of time both helps you win work and avoid scrambling post-award to pull together a process in 30 days.
Keep an eye on jobsite materials
Detail your plan to manage low-emitting materials. The plan should involve stringent submittal review followed by in-field verification to make sure nothing that could cost LEED points sneaks onto the jobsite. This is yet another no-cost opportunity to increase sustainability on every jobsite, not just those pursuing certification. Being able to detail this process as part of your RFP response will help communicate that you have proper quality controls in place to avoid losing easy points.
Detail your procedures
Explain your erosion and sedimentation control procedures — who is doing the inspections (self-perform vs contract), when they occur and what the reporting mechanisms are. While these inspections are required on almost every commercial project, I’ve seen first-hand how frequently incidents occur, and how often teams neglect to respond to them. Since this is the only prerequisite for a project to be certified, it is extremely important.
These five tips will help you show owners you’ve got LEED well under control so you can spend your time and efforts on getting the project complete on time and on budget, and hopefully will help your construction projects be a bit greener, too.