June 7, 2023

Unlocking the Key Role of Subcontractors in Achieving LEED Project Success

Lauren Richardson Sustainability Associate at Green Badger
Lauren Richardson, Sustainability Manager at Green Badger

LEED projects are no walk in the park. They require organization, teamwork, and an understanding of the information needed for evaluating and certifying the project. Among the key players involved, subcontractors hold a vital role in helping a project achieve its LEED certification.

Without the proper support from subcontractors who can have necessary documentation, LEED projects can quickly veer off track.

Training as an Integral Part of the Process

While tying payment to performance may catch subcontractors’ attention, industry best practices suggest a different approach. It involves directing subcontractors to relevant websites and resources and working closely with them to refine their submittals, ensuring they understand what is expected on future projects.

Bite-sized Training Opportunities

Early on in the project, conducting training sessions is crucial. These sessions should cover the following:

  • significance of LEED documentation
  • what these documents typically look like
  • what key information to track
  • where to find resources and information (the Green Badger website – obviously)
  • how to integrate compliant products into their existing range

Breaking the training into several sessions over a series of weeks and periodically reinforcing the lessons is essential since LEED is a subject that requires repeated exposure and real-world application.

Ongoing Support and Reinforcement

Take a few minutes after safety meetings to review the jobs LEEDS requirements with your subcontractors. Consider sharing Green Badger’s 15-minute training video with them and then allowing time for questions and clarifications. By distributing hard copies of well-executed submittals as reference materials, subcontractors then have a baseline for completing their own. Moreover, organize informal calls between Project Engineers and their respective product groups to create a learning environment where everyone can benefit from shared knowledge and experiences.

Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First

Recognize the importance of giving Project Engineers and Project Managers time to learn the basics of LEED. Incorporate dedicated training time to allow these groups to build their own understanding of LEED. With a greater understanding of the LEED process they can more effectively support subcontractors. Green Badger Academy is a 2.5-hour course, can transform any novice into a LEED Ninja!

Look to Your Champions

Identify individuals within your organization who are passionate about sustainability and appoint them as points of contact or champions. Encourage these champions to hold meetings with groups of people from the same subcontractor, creating a space for collaboration. Recent graduates often join the workforce with a driving desire to make a positive impact on our environment. These newcomers can serve as valuable resources for both construction companies and subcontractors. Also, you may already have existing employees who are open to learning. Support them by providing training and enough time to develop their LEED expertise.

There is a Different Way

Undeniably, subcontractors require guidance in understanding LEED terminology, locating documentation, and properly completing cover sheets. LEED knowledge isn’t something we acquire on street corners; we all need a helping hand. However, once they are familiar with the requirements, subcontractors will understand the importance of providing accurate LEED submittals. Moreover, their experience with materials and relationships with manufacturers make it worthwhile to invest a little time in supporting them.

In summary, subcontractors play an indispensable role in every LEED project, and their contribution significantly impacts the time spent on documenting construction credits.

subcontractor training video
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