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Top-10 LEED Snafus....

And Tips to Avoid Them
December 17, 2009

Snafu #10: Being threatened to be hung from the construction crane if the project doesn’t earn LEED Gold.

LEEDuser tip: Create a detailed checklist with tasks delegated to individual team members, allowing each member to focus on assigned tasks. The checklist can function as a status tracking document and, finally, the deliverable for LEED Online.

Snafu #9: Installing bike racks for residents of an assisted living facility.

LEEDuser tip: In determining whether to pursue this credit, project teams should carefully consider climate, terrain, project location, cultural norms, and other factors that may affect bike ridership.

Snafu #8: Working with the mall developer who thinks that maybe hybrid owners “prefer” to park in the back of the lot… next door.

LEEDuser tip: “Preferred parking” refers to parking spaces near the building entrance, or to discounted parking rates (minimum 20% discount), which must be offered to all eligible parking customers.

Snafu #7: A certain project team member (who will remain nameless) won’t stop calling it “LEEDs.”

LEEDuser tip: Sorry, no tips for this!

Snafu #6: When the owner wants to earn the Integrated Pest Management credit for LEED-EBOM despite fumigating the building once a month as standard practice.

LEEDuser tip: When mechanical controls or least-toxic chemicals do not sufficiently address pest infestations, you are permitted to use toxic chemicals as a last resort, as long as you provide universal notification that complies with the credit requirements.

Snafu #5: Walking into the middle of an IAQ flush-out and seeing that the painter is just getting started.

LEEDuser tip: Many teams consider the flush-out option, but ultimately choose the testing option for practical reasons, such as difficulty in scheduling.

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Snafu #4: The contractor is changed three times during the project—and we only end up recycling 1% of construction waste!

LEEDuser tip: Identify a hauler with a strong construction waste recycling program.

Snafu #3: The project decides to take FSC-certified wood out of the specs, but after 100% CD’s decided to go for FSC after all—incurring a huge mark-up.

LEEDuser tip: Revisit the baseline wood budget as the design evolves to make sure your numbers remain accurate and that you remain on track to achieve your goal for the credit.

Snafu #2: Following a change order, high-VOC paint was used in a fire-protective application—but we used a lower-VOC paint to cover it up!

LEEDuser tip: If noncompliant materials are used onsite accidentally, or due to a warranty or other issue, you can use the VOC budget method.

Snafu #1: The LEED kick-off meeting in the construction trailer.

LEEDuser tip: You’ll most likely have to significantly exceed your local energy code. Achieving this energy reduction requires special attention to detail by your entire team from the beginning of the design process.

Happy holidays from all of us on the LEEDuser team! No matter what snafus may happen, we're here to help. Join or start a forum discussion to help get past your LEED problems, and if you haven't already, check out our memberships, starting at $9.95 per month.

What are your top LEED snafus? Share in the comments below.


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