There has been much to learn about running successful Green Star projects since the release of the first Green Star rating tool by the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) in 2006.
Here are some key tips to help with your next Green Star project:
- The head contractor is encouraged to establish and maintain a constructive relationship with the appointed Green Star accredited professional, as that person will define the acceptable level of documentation required and manage the submission. Frequent communication will help to clarify scope and expectation, thus helping to reduce risk.
- If you are involved in an As Built submission, do not leave the tracking of materials used until the last few months prior to practical completion. It can be difficult to manage contractors who have completed their part of the project, and if a project is required to meet a certain percentage of compliant materials for the credit and it fails to meet the benchmark during construction, the issue will be too late to rectify.
- For any meeting, be it with the Green Star accredited professional, peer reviewer or other ESD services provider related to your project, ensure that you schedule time for feedback, time to request guidance on compliant documents, and time to discuss the project’s progress update. This includes an update on materials that need to be tracked progressively, such as PVC, VOC, concrete etc.
- As head contractor/builder, never assume that contractors, subcontractors and suppliers will use compliant materials. Request proof of compliance prior to materials being used on-site. During the construction phase, request the tracking of materials used on-site on an ongoing basis.
- If an independent commissioning agent (ICA) is appointed for the project, ensure that they not only “tick the box” for Green Star obligations but that they are actively involved in advising on, monitoring and verifying all building systems throughout design, construction, commissioning and building/tenancy tuning phases of the project. Failure to provide adequate feedback and sufficient involvement for all services can often result in a building that isn’t adequately designed for optimal or compliant system maintenance and commissioning.
- Learn from past projects. If your organisation has been involved in any aspect of a Green Star project, from the design of the building and its services, through to construction, provision of materials, commissioning, building tuning and operations, then share the experience with your team and learn from the outcomes. If something worked well during the project, such as contractor or documentation management, use the same methodologies in the next project, with adjustments where applicable. If some initiatives didn’t deliver, develop alternative methods or documentation tools to eliminate any potential future issues. Always remember to collate and analyse the feedback from each project so that you and your team can continually improve.
- If you are experienced in Green Star projects, try to share your insights on new projects. Although the GBCA does not provide formal training or direction, a certain level of training can be delivered by the appointed Green Star accredited professional or any reputable ESD services provider. Training the head contractor team on the whole Green Star process, from tips and tricks to successfully managing and delivering a project through to training services contractors to better understand their deliverables, will be beneficial for all involved.
Whilst no two Green Star projects are identical and no project will ever run perfectly, these tips together with good management from the outset should help make your next Green Star project a success!