USGBC to Offer Precedent-Setting LEED Interpretations, Along with CIRs
We'd been expecting something like this for a while—it's great to see that it's on the way.
LEED Interpretations will look a lot like the process for Credit Interpretation Rulings (CIRs) that was in place prior to July 2009, according to information given to me by Cara Mae Cirignano, a LEED specialist at USGBC. (As you probably know, LEED project teams use the CIR process to check on whether they can earn a LEED credit in specific circumstances that may not be anticipated by the LEED rating system.)
Previously, CIRs issued for one project could be found in a database and referenced for other projects. That CIR process was discontinued with the launch of LEED 2009, largely because USGBC handed off authority of the LEED certification process, including CIRs, to its sister nonprofit, the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). GBCI in turn handed the CIR process to outside reviewers (a move it is in the process of reversing).
With the authority over CIRs now so far removed from management of the LEED rating system itself, USGBC didn’t trust that a ruling made for one project should automatically be available to others. While they can still get a project-specific CIR for a $220 fee, project teams have lamented the inability to apply those rulings to other projects—even their own.
Under the expected plan for LEED Interpretations, the current non-precedent-setting CIRs will continue. The interpretations will be layered on top, with the following features:
- A LEED Interpretation may be related to a LEED prerequisite, credit, or a Minimum Program Requirement.
- For a fee, a LEED project team will be able to request a precedent-setting LEED Interpretation.
- USGBC staff and technical committees will review the LEED Interpretations.
- The resulting LEED Interpretations will be offered by USGBC in a publicly available database.
Forthcoming announcements on fees and response times along with further details are expected.
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What do you think—does this meet your needs? What feedback would you give to USGBC on the idea?