Interior smoking is not allowed in many building types, and for those projects, this prerequisite should be easy and not add costs. It may even be the only legal option. To comply, you may need to establish a nonsmoking policy in and around the building (including entrances and balconies), and install appropriate signage.
Multifamily residences and hotels may feel compelled to allow smoking in some or all units, and some projects, like airports, have designated smoking rooms. In these cases, stringent measures will be needed to stop movement of smoke from smoking to nonsmoking areas. These measures include air barriers between units, negative air pressure in smoking areas, separate exhaust systems, and blower-door testing, all of which may add design and construction costs. The added trouble of these measures is offset by some added benefits. The air barrier in particular can improve energy efficiency as well as acoustical privacy.
Meeting the air leakage rateThe speed at which an appliance loses refrigerant, measured between refrigerant charges or over 12 months, whichever is shorter. The leakage rate is expressed in terms of the percentage of the appliance's full charge that would be lost over a 12-month period if the rate stabilized. (EPA Clean Air Act, Title VI, Rule 608). requirements for projects that must perform blower-door testing (multi-family and hotel projects allowing smoking) can be extremely challenging and a major barrier toward achieving LEED certification. The leakage rates require construction practices for unit sealing that are far beyond standard practice and as a result, many projects have failed the blower door tests and have not been eligible for certification.
It is critical that a blower-door-testing consultant be brought onboard during design development or early duing construction documents to ensure that drawings are detailed enough to properly seal units. Get the whole team, including the commissioning agent, general contractor, and subcontractors on board with the necessary practices, and keep this same expert involved during construction to ensure proper sealing techniques are being followed.
Project teams should perform a mock test of a typical unit to ensure sealing techniques are being followed and to identify any potential locations of air leakage. This ensures that problem areas are identified early on in the construction process so that problems can be corrected for the remainder of units. It can be very costly to correct common problem areas across a project if the testing is only done at the completion of the project.
Yes, if local regulations are not as strict as LEED, you must create a policy that complies with LEED standards (and communicate this policy to building users) to achieve this prerequisite. Exterior signage which communicates the policy is required so that all occupants, visitors, and passersby are made aware of the exterior smoking policy.
The Reference Guide doesn’t explicitly make a distinction between a regular door and an emergency exit, making this a bit of a gray area. The safest bet is to assume they’re treated the same way under this prerequisite, which would require relocation of the smoking area to a compliant distance. If you’d like a definitive answer to this question you can submit a CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide.
The 25 feet should be calculated from the closest point within the smoking area to the building opening, going around any solid objects (balconies, walls, etc.) as needed. For calculating distances between a lower level smoking area and an upper floor building opening, it should be calculated starting from the ceiling of the lower floor to the nearest (lowest) point in the upper floor opening.
No. Visitors and other non-employees might not be familiar with the building policies or local smoking laws.
Establish the smoking policies for interior spaces and exterior spaces, including balconies, by working with the building owner. Many municipal codes do not permit smoking in public buildings, so banning smoking (Option 1) may be the only legal option in some cases.
Additional consultant costs may arise from documentation and testing processes, if projects choose to have interior designated smoking areas.
For residential applications, adopting a no-smoking policy in Homeowners Association policies has been a good strategy for reducing ETS transfer between units. In past versions of LEED, this type of policy has also been sufficient to demonstrate compliance with the prerequisite requirements. However, because of changes to the credit language and LEED Online credit form, it is unclear if this strategy would be accepted as compliant without conducting blower door testing as well. Any multi-family project pursuing this type of strategy should be prepared to submit a CIR to confirm that the approach will be acceptable to the GBCI review team.
Air sealing between units is recommended for several reasons, even if smoking is banned. In multifamily buildings and hotels it is common for occupants to smoke inside their units despite nonsmoking policies. Without air sealing between units, other occupants may be exposed to secondhand smoke and odors. Air sealing between units also improves energy performance, particularly in high rises subject to the stack effect, in which warm, buoyant air rises upward, leading to thermal losses and ventilation problems. Acoustic privacy is also improved by air sealing, and air sealing also reduces pathways for vermin.
High quality construction using air sealing can be marketed as a building feature for multi-unit construction, and has been shown to attract premium rents and sales prices.
Banning smoking on private balconies is necessary if they are within 25 feet of a neighbor’s operable window or another building opening, even if smoking is allowed inside the unit. Multifamily tenants may be unhappy with these rules, so owners should carefully consider their policies, the needs and habits of their tenants, and the design and location of balconies and openings.
If allowing smoking in some units, clustering those rooms on one floor can keep the need for special air sealing and hallway pressurization strategies (which can be used in lieu of weatherstripping) relatively contained.
Incorporate smoking-related requirements into the commissioning documentation, including the Owner’s Project Requirements and the Basis of Design for EAp1: Fundamental Commissioning.
Designate the location of outdoor smoking areas, if any, on design drawings. Ensure that these areas are appropriately removed from building windows, ventilation opens, and entrances, and entrance paths.
The mechanical engineer ensures that the HVAC design meets the exhaust and pressure levels of the LEED requirements. Also ensure that all units will receive adequate fresh air. A certain amount of air infiltration may be assumed, but the careful air-sealing associated with this credit may reduce the infiltration below expected levels. Ensure that mechanical systems, operable windows, or a combination, are able to provide enough ventilation. Make sure that pressure differences between the hallway and unit are enough to prevent cross contamination, but not so much that doors slam doors shut or are difficult to operate.
Operating energy use may be increased by maintaining the negative pressure requirements for interior designated smoking rooms. Designated smoking rooms in commercial properties can also add upfront costs associated with construction and design, added ventilation loads, and air sealing and deck-to-deck partitions. On the other hand, increased air sealing can decrease energy costs and increase rents, as noted earlier.
Eliminating smoking in a building costs virtually nothing and is the simplest way to control environmental tobacco smoke (ETS). Possible associated costs would be the cost of signage indicating that the building is non-smoking and the development of a nonsmoking policy. Benefits include occupant health and productivity, and reduced cleaning and maintenance.
In non-residential construction when smoking will be banned (Case 1, Option 1), incorporate smoking-related signage into plans and construction specifications. Fill out LEED Credit Form and upload all supporting documentation to LEED Online.
If smoking is to be allowed in certain areas (Case 1, Option 2 and Case 2), integrate deck-to-deck partitions and weatherstripping or pressurization into plans and construction document specifications.
Identify potential air leakage points in design and construction plans early. Common examples of areas where leakage occur include electrical boxes, air registers, window frames, and where walls meet the floor.
Ask a blower-door or air-barrier expert to review construction documents and shop drawings prior to the actual testing to ensure that problem areas, including deck to deck partitions, are likely to be sealed according to specifications.
Ensure that the blower door test is included in the contractor’s or any other responsible parties’ scope of work.
If smoking is to be allowed in certain areas (Case 1, Option 2 and Case 2), fill out LEED template and upload all supporting documentation to LEED Online.
A no-smoking policy for construction workers is not required for this prerequisite, but is a good practice, especially after the enclosure is installed, and will help achieve IEQc3.1: Construction IAQ Management
Orient all subcontractors to air-sealing goals and quality-control practices.
The contractor schedules any necessary air pressure or blower door tests in their proper sequence. Testing occurs at various construction phases and ideally with a test unit to identify any leakages and opportunities for improvement in other units.
Involve an experienced blower-door testing agent in visual inspections before drywall is installed in any of the units. This will ensure that problem areas are addressed while they are still easily accessible. Also bring the blower-door expert in for early testing, once the drywall is installed, but before painting, finish materials, and appliances are installed. This will point out penetrations that need to be sealed between units and allow contractors to address those penetrations in the remaining units to ensure that all units meet the standard.
Conduct blower door tests, which in multifamily and hotel applications typically require a sampling of one out of every seven units. See the Home Energy Rating System program (link) for details on sampling rates. For any spaces that do not pass the blower door pressure test, correct any potential problems and retest, or another space has to be tested until 100 percent of the requisite number of spaces have successfully passed.
The cost of a blower door test will vary by region and project, but expect an average of $500–$800 per test.
Uphold and enforce the nonsmoking policy, if applicable. Nonsmoking policies can be enforced with documented building policies, and building signage.
Additional policies to support a nonsmoking building may include providing smokers with alternatives such as outdoor smoking areas, giving employees incentives to quit smoking, and if smoking is permitted in parts of the building, developing a phase-out plan.
Nonsmoking policies can be implemented with homeowners association policies, building signage, and other means of communicating with occupants.
Additional costs from maintaining designated smoking areas within a building may include more frequent and more rigorous cleaning, disposal of ashes and butts, and frequent change-out of ventilation system filters. Light fixtures and finishes may also need to be replaced more frequently in designated smoking areas.
Excerpted from LEED 2009 for New Construction and Major Renovations
To prevent or minimize exposure of building occupants, indoor surfaces and ventilation air distribution systems to environmental tobacco smoke (ETSEnvironmental tobacco smoke (ETS), or secondhand smoke, consists of airborne particles emitted from the burning end of cigarettes, pipes, and cigars, and is exhaled by smokers. These particles contain about 4,000 compounds, up to 50 of which are known to cause cancer.).
Prohibit on-property smoking within 25 feet of entries, outdoor air intakes and operable windows. Provide signage to allow smoking in designated areas, prohibit smoking in designated areas or prohibit smoking on the entire property.
Prohibit smoking in the building except in designated smoking areas.
Provide designated smoking rooms designed to contain, capture and remove ETSEnvironmental tobacco smoke (ETS), or secondhand smoke, consists of airborne particles emitted from the burning end of cigarettes, pipes, and cigars, and is exhaled by smokers. These particles contain about 4,000 compounds, up to 50 of which are known to cause cancer. from the building. At a minimum, the smoking room must be directly exhausted to the outdoors, away from air intakes and building entry paths, with no recirculation of ETS-containing air to nonsmoking areas and enclosed with impermeable deck-to-deck partitions. Operate exhaust sufficient to create a negative pressure differential with the surrounding spaces of at least an average of 5 Pascals (Pa) (0.02 inches of water gauge) and a minimum of 1 Pa (0.004 inches of water gauge) when the doors to the smoking rooms are closed.
Verify performance of the smoking rooms’ differential air pressures by conducting 15 minutes of measurement, with a minimum of 1 measurement every 10 seconds, of the differential pressure in the smoking room with respect to each adjacent area and in each adjacent vertical chase with the doors to the smoking room closed. Conduct the testing with each space configured for worst-case conditions of transport of air from the smoking rooms (with closed doors) to adjacent spaces.
Prohibit smoking in all common areas of the building.
Locate any exterior designated smoking areas, including balconies where smoking is permitted, at least 25 feet from entries, outdoor air intakes and operable windows opening to common areas.
Weather-strip all exterior doors and operable windows in the residential units to minimize leakage from outdoors.
Minimize uncontrolled pathways for ETS transfer between individual residential units by sealing penetrations in walls, ceilings and floors in the residential units and by sealing vertical chases adjacent to the units. Weather-strip all doors in the residential units leading to common hallways to minimize air leakage into the hallway1.
Demonstrate acceptable sealing of residential units by a blower door testA blower door test gives an overall value for airtightness of a space, and can help identify air leaks. The testing unit consists of a calibrated fan that is sealed onto the unit entrance. The fan creates a continuous flow of pressure into the unit (or out of the unit when using theatrical fog to locate leaks). Devices detect the rate of pressure retention and loss due to possible air leaks in the construction. conducted in accordance with ANSI/ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services-E779-03, Standard Test Method for Determining Air Leakage RateThe speed at which an appliance loses refrigerant, measured between refrigerant charges or over 12 months, whichever is shorter. The leakage rate is expressed in terms of the percentage of the appliance's full charge that would be lost over a 12-month period if the rate stabilized. (EPA Clean Air Act, Title VI, Rule 608). By Fan Pressurization. Use the progressive sampling methodology defined in Chapter 4 (Compliance Through Quality Construction) of the Residential Manual for Compliance with California’s 2001 Energy Efficiency Standards. Residential units must demonstrate less than 1.25 square inches leakage area per 100 square feet of enclosure area (i.e., sum of all wall, ceiling and floor areas). Projects outside the U.S. may use a local equivalent to ANSI/ASTM-Control E779-03, Standard Test Method for Determining Air Leakage Rate By Fan Pressurization.
Prohibit smoking in commercial buildings or effectively control the ventilation air in smoking rooms. For residential buildings, prohibit smoking in common areas and design building envelope and systems to minimize ETSEnvironmental tobacco smoke (ETS), or secondhand smoke, consists of airborne particles emitted from the burning end of cigarettes, pipes, and cigars, and is exhaled by smokers. These particles contain about 4,000 compounds, up to 50 of which are known to cause cancer. transfer among dwelling units.
1 If the common hallways are pressurized with respect to the residential units then doors in the residential units leading to the common hallways need not be weather-stripped provided that the positive differential pressure is demonstrated as in Option 2, Case 1 above, considering the residential unit as the smoking room.
This publication from Americans for Nonsmokers' Rights details the legal basis for constructing a smoke-free workplace policy.
This study finds that the percentage of gamblers who smoke is not significantly different from the percentage of the general population who smoke, undermining claims that barring smoking in casinos would have a devastating economic impact.
This EPA document summarizes environmental tobacco smoke research and provides information on national laws targeting the issue.
ANR advocates for non-smokers' interests and provides information for those wishing to prohibit smoking in public places.
This spreadsheet categories dozens of specific space types according to how they should be applied under various IEQ credits. This document is essential if you have questions about how various unique space types should be treated.
Guidelines for proper air sealing techniques.
Provides general background on blower door tests.
Establish and communicate a policy prohibiting smoking within 25 feet of building openings.
Provide a map showing that designated outdoor smoking areas are 25 feet or more from building openings.
Provide drawings, data, and a narrative explaining pressurization and leakage rate testing protocols.
The following links take you to the public, informational versions of the dynamic LEED Online forms for each NC-2009 IEQ credit. You'll need to fill out the live versions of these forms on LEED Online for each credit you hope to earn.
Version 4 forms (newest):
Version 3 forms:
These links are posted by LEEDuser with USGBC's permission. USGBC has certain usage restrictions for these forms; for more information, visit LEED Online and click "Sample Forms Download."
Documentation for this credit can be part of a Design Phase submittal.
We are designing a "High-End" Office Building and Owner does not want the typical white/red no smoking signage at the entrances of the building. Is it acceptable to have specialty signs made up that reflect the design of the building, utilizing the company colors etc.,?
I don't see why not. LEED doesn't specify a certain format / design of the signage.
Agreeing with Omar. I've seen a wide variety of signage for this credit and often not in white/red. The last project that was certified had signs in black letters on a yellow background.
Our project is mixed use commercial office building including hotel. There are about 100 guest rooms on hotel floors, and smoking is permitted in 30% of these rooms. Is it acceptable to apply case 1 option 2 for smoking guest rooms? There is a clearance under door of guest room to insert newspapers under the door, so it is impossible to have the door to be wetherstripping.
I have just added an FAQ to LEEDuser's guidance above, with wording provided at GBCI's suggestion! If you're wondering if you still have to provide signage in cases where local laws prohibit smoking, see the answer above.
Just to confirm I have this straight:
For designated hotel smoking rooms / smoking restaurants / bars / etc. Do I need to provide a dedicated negative pressure exhaust system in addition to (weather stripping of doors & windows, sealing penetrations and air blower tests) Or is it an either/or option?
Is there a section in the Ref Guide or a LEED InterpretationLEED Interpretations are official answers to technical inquiries about implementing LEED on a project. They help people understand how their projects can meet LEED requirements and provide clarity on existing options. LEED Interpretations are to be used by any project certifying under an applicable rating system. All project teams are required to adhere to all LEED Interpretations posted before their registration date. This also applies to other addenda. Adherence to rulings posted after a project registers is optional, but strongly encouraged. LEED Interpretations are published in a searchable database at usgbc.org. that clearly addresses this?
The guideline states under the implementation section that "if interior smoking areas are incorporated within the building, install separate ventilation systems" ... "test their effectiveness to ensure that they are isolated from the non-smoking portions of the building".
Thus, a dedicated exhaust system is needed for all rooms that allows smoking. But there apparently are no specific requirements for negative pressure if you use case 2 (residential and hospitality projects).
For hotels (hospitality projects), weather stripping, sealing and etc. are needed for all doors or operable windows which separates
- the building and the exterior
- the building and potential smoking partitions (rooms, areas, etc)
This is in addition to the dedicated exhaust system as previously stated. However, you should note that if you opt for case 2 (Residential & hospitality projects only), all common areas of the building, such as a restaurant or bar, will have to be designated as non-smoking.
Source: Reference guide + leed online submittals (the format of the submittals seems to indicate this as well)
I beg to differ though. It doesn't make sense to completely prohibit smoking in a restaurant or bar in a hotel that has a designated room for smoking with the required exhaust system and pressure differentional. LEED InterpretationLEED Interpretations are official answers to technical inquiries about implementing LEED on a project. They help people understand how their projects can meet LEED requirements and provide clarity on existing options. LEED Interpretations are to be used by any project certifying under an applicable rating system. All project teams are required to adhere to all LEED Interpretations posted before their registration date. This also applies to other addenda. Adherence to rulings posted after a project registers is optional, but strongly encouraged. LEED Interpretations are published in a searchable database at usgbc.org. ID# 610 states "...the project team and owner may wish to consider creating a fully contained smoking section within the facility that meets the requirements set forth under the prerequisite."
Is there a formal definition for the term "common areas of the building" that you or anyone on this forum knows of?
We are assessing the possibility of pursuing LEED Certification for a Complex of four buildings at the Border Crossing between Chile and Argentina. One of these buildings is residential and will house the Customs officers and employees bedrooms and resting areas. In this particular building, the architect is considering an smoking designated room (which complies with the exhaust and isolation requirements) but we think this building must comply with requirements for Residential Projects which means non-smoking indoor and blower door testA blower door test gives an overall value for airtightness of a space, and can help identify air leaks. The testing unit consists of a calibrated fan that is sealed onto the unit entrance. The fan creates a continuous flow of pressure into the unit (or out of the unit when using theatrical fog to locate leaks). Devices detect the rate of pressure retention and loss due to possible air leaks in the construction.. Are we right? or is enough to comply by providing the designated smoking area?.
Thanks in advance.
Hello, I have a project that does not allow smoking within the building. However, there are small one room kiosks outside the building that allow smoking. These small structures are more than 25 ft from the building. My question is, do I have to designate these rooms as "smoking rooms" and provide pressure differentials, air pressure report, etc, even though these rooms are outside the building? Or do these spaces qualify as "designated smoking area". Thanks for your feedback.
I have an office building of six floors, I need to know If there's a limitation to the percent of smoking zones, in other words, can I make two floors out of the six floors as smoking zones?
in that case, can I recirculate return air of each of these two floors?
knowing that LEED recommendations states that:
"At a minimum, the smoking room must be directly exhausted to the outdoors, away from air intakes and building entry paths, with no recirculation of ETSEnvironmental tobacco smoke (ETS), or secondhand smoke, consists of airborne particles emitted from the burning end of cigarettes, pipes, and cigars, and is exhaled by smokers. These particles contain about 4,000 compounds, up to 50 of which are known to cause cancer.-containing air to nonsmoking areas.."
so I might be able to recirculate ETS-containing air to smoking areas normally.
Omar, I don't see why you couldn't take this approach, if you meet the credit requirements that are given.
Thanks Tristan, I just think that it doesn't make sense to have no limitations on the smoking zones' percentage out of the whole building.
In other words, why not permit smoking inside the whole building, and design a non-smoking zone on each floor for example?
On the principle that non-smokers shouldn't be subject to smoking. Nonsmokers shouldn't have to navigate lobbies, corridors, elevators, stairs, bathrooms, etc, with smoke, in order to reach a nonsmoking refuge. Also, I would say that operations and maintenance staff shouldn't be exposed to ETSEnvironmental tobacco smoke (ETS), or secondhand smoke, consists of airborne particles emitted from the burning end of cigarettes, pipes, and cigars, and is exhaled by smokers. These particles contain about 4,000 compounds, up to 50 of which are known to cause cancer. any more than necessary, so keeping smoking to a designated area helps with that.
That explains it perfectly, thanks
LEEDuser states that a project should ask itself "Will smoking be prohibited on all areas of balconies and decks, even for private residences and hotel rooms, that are within 25 feet of entries, outdoor air intakes and operable windows of common spaces or other units" to determine if it will meet IEQp2. However, the Reference Guide does not say anything about "other units" for Residential/Hospitality. It states "Locate any exterior designated smoking areas, including balconies where smoking is permits, at least 35 feet from entries, outdoor air intakes, and operable windows opening to common areas.” It seems the guide specifically does not include private units.
Additionally the Guide states that weather stripping exterior doors and windows in the residential units is to “minimize leakage from outdoors” which seems to support allowing smoking on neighboring balconies. Any thoughts as to what is actually required?
Heather, in our experience the requirement is "any opening". However the vast majority of our projects elect to completely ban smoking, or choose that path when they cannot meet the blower door requirements.
Hi, just wanted to bump this back up into the conversation in case anyone else has had direct experience with the hotel room balconies question. Thanks-
Heather, based on your reading of the requirements, I see your point, but I'm not sure I really like the answer. I agree with Ante that I have always focused on the "any opening" aspect of the requirements. I think what you're seeing may be a loophole, and not the intended result. However, maybe it is intended. I would suggest contacting GBCI for feedback, and post back here what you learn.
Thank you Tristan. I frequently teach exam prep and was asked this question by a student. Since it is not a real project, I can't submit a CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide. I am definitely not advocating for smoking, or inhaling someone else's 2nd hand smoke. But I do like to know exactly what is required, and then progress to what would be the best approach to meet the fullest intent for a strategy, not just stick with the lowest baseline.
Hypothetical questions can be really hard in LEED. Without an owner or someone driving the project team intent in a certain direction, I find that it is easier to get tied up in knots by wording.
If you really want to know, just contact GBCi via their website. You don't need to submit a CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide.
yeah - I get a lot of those. But it does keep it interesting, plus a way for me to learn something new about LEED every day :)
I didn't realize I could directly ask GBCI without a project to go along with the question. I will do that, then post back here when I hear back. Thanks Tristan!
Our project is a gathering & educational space located within a huge park. We plan to have signages saying no smoking inside and within 25 ft of the building. Howver, other than the project site, smoking is allowed in the entire park. In such a case, do we still need to have a designated smoking area and provide signage for that near our building?
By having signage prohibiting smoking or within 25 feet of the building you are complying with Option 1 for this Prerequisite, and nothing further is required.
Owner would prefer if the sign did not have the "noisy" icon of a "ghostbusters" red circle with line through it and a cigarette. Would prefer if it was just text stating "This is a clean air facility. No smoking on premises." This would also be in braille.
is LEED going to have a problem with this?
Michael, it would be nice if there were specific standards in place for signage like this. However, I'm not aware that USGBC has published any. I think your sign sounds fine but I couldn't say for sure.
If you are submitting this as Design credit, you will have a chance to change it, in case the LEED reviewer objects.
My understanding is that the Owner must place her/his initials in the Signatory box for credits such as this one (No Smoking). Please correct me if I am wrong, but the Mechanical Engineer is not allowed to place her/his initials acting as "agent" for the owner are they?
Thanks! - Kris Phillips
You are correct, the person needs to be the owner and the LO computers are smart enough to know that the engineer signed the form instead of the owner. Sit down with the owner and walk them through the whole process. Bring donuts.
On this topic of Owner signatory, what do you suggest when the Owner does not ever log into LEED Online? We are agents for most if not all of our Owners and many of them never go online at all. Our Owners aren't interested in being walked through this process, donuts or no donuts. They pay us to handle the online process for them.
We are seeing a raft of reviewer comments about the Owner not being assigned to the credit and us signing off for them, despite our executed Agent agreement form. I can only assume this is because we cannot actually assign the Owner contact to the credit when they don't go online. As far as I know, it can't be done.
We have an uploaded executed Agent form that says we are able to sign off on their behalf. If we can't assign them to the credit, how are we supposed to address this to the USGBCs satisfaction?
I literally sit them down and force them to log in and sign them. It is the only thing I find that works with the owner. Invite them to LEED Online, call them when you know they have gotten the invitation, walk them through the sign up process and then make the appointment. I show up, get them logged on (often doing it for them which is why I am on the phone when they sign up), and roll them through the credits they need to sign. It is a 20 minute process and a pain for both of us. You have to find some way to make it a fun process and easy on them. But the intent of these signatures is for the owner to engage in the process and not outsource to consultants. If the person you interact with is a 'construction' person for the owner and they pass it off to a 'facility' person, then that person may be more interested and will sign things for you. You may need to find someone else at the owner to sign the forms.
On the projects that I have worked on to date in LEED 2009, I have walked the owner through placing their initials. As Susan mentions, it's a pain, but it has to be done. If you make it clear to them that without their initials, there is no certification, they will usually comply - if reluctantly. As Susan said, our job is to try to make it as easy and painless as possible (can't say I've managed to make it "fun"...). I realize that the online Forms know WHO is placing their initials - which is why I always have the owner do it - or for other signatories, whichever discipline is the responsible one.
My hope was that the GBCI had updated or created an addenda (hard to keep up with all the addenda) allowing us to sign on behalf of our client. It would seem the answer is "No." If anyone knows otherwise, please let us know.
I appreciate the responses, and the fact that your approach to handling your Owner clients is to make them do it (in the nicest possible way of course). We are LEED consultants, and our approach is to take the burden and brain damage of dealing with the online platform off their shoulders. That's part of the value we offer.
It is actually not accurate to say that a project cannot get certified if the Owner doesn't put their initials in the box. The fact is there is a mechanism for the Owner not to have to spend their very expensive time to perform these online signoffs themselves. It's called an Agent Authorization form and is a fully executed legal document. As I understand it, the entire purpose of this Agent form is to allow a representative to execute the online issues for them.
If the position truly is that an Owner has to go online and initial things themselves or no certification is possible, why have the Agent form and this process in place?
FYI, I have just been advised by my review team that the Owner does not have to go online or be assigned to the credit. The Agent form, however, needs to be fully executed by the USGBC prior to submittal, i.e., we now need to send the signed Agent form ourselves to Legal at USGBC for their signature prior to uploading it.
Glad you got good resolution on this issue.
Be sure, that who ever you assign as the "agent" is listed as Agent. In alot of my cases, I create an architect/agent role for my project managers. They dont mind us being the agent, but you have to designate that person on the project administration tab as "agent", so when you sign the form, it states that you are acting the "agent" or " ______/agent".
I was not aware of the Agent Authorization form. Thank you for making everyone aware of this option. You seem knowledgeable on the issue, so I will ask the question: what kind of liability would the "consultant" assume signing on behalf of the client?
I generally use the signatory process as an opportunity to walk them through the MPRs and various issues that we the design/engineers (or consultants) need to ask of them anyway. Essentially killing three birds with one stone (sorry for the reference bird lovers): eco-charrette, fact finding, signatory execution.
By the way, for the record, I would fall under the category of "Gentleman".
You and Susan are obviously taking the time and using a good approach to explain the Owner's responsibilities to them through the signatory issues. Since we have a lot of repeat owners and developers, we find that it's more about high dollar people fussing with the computer platform and the forms and the navigation to get them to sign off than their understanding of the issues. We take that brain damage off their hands.
It's also easier for me as PM to close things out when the documentation is done rather than waiting for this sign off. I prefer not to spend my fee to chase the Owner for a formality, and they seem to appreciate our focus on getting things done.
Please note there are indications that signatories are going away in v4, though I don't know if that applies to all of them.
The agent form is available on the Registration Details tab of any project if you click from Owner to Project Team Member. You can download it and read it. Basically the liability remains on the Owner, all we are doing as Agent is executing the online functions. The Owner is still responsible for the data and claims made.
Always a pleasure to deal with a gentleman.
We have a residential high-rise condominium where the owner prohibits smoking in residential units and on the entire property. Residents will have to go off the property to smoke. How do we convey this policy to the reviewer? Is this possible in real practice?
It's been approved in the past by providing copies of the legal contract that condo buyers sign with the Homeowners Association that governs the building. Often there are "bylaws" that condo residents have to follow, so that document or something similar will need to describe the no smoking policy.
We have just received preliminary comments.
For credit IEQ p2, it said "Please provide a signed and dated PDF copy of the IEQp2 prerequisite form." We already uploaded owner signed IEQP2-RS1.
Do we sign on the form? Who to sign? Architect or owner?
I don't know what the review comment is referring to. I would suggest asking GBCI for clarification.
Soo young and Tristan,
I've encountered the same issue. Was there any resolution on this issue?
Yes..I have verified w/ USGBC and got approved for this credits.
What they mean is..
"Sign and date on the basic credit form and scan and upload it", not just owner's letter.
I do not understand why we have to do that...but...just did as they ask me to..
We had same comments with some of other credits, too.
We are finishing a LEED CI certification in a building that was LEED NC certified several years ago. (Clearly it passed EQp2 regarding the smoking policy.)
For this project we have provided the template and photos of the signage on the entrances. The signage indicates the building is smoke-free but does not stipulate (explicitly) that smoking is prohibited within 25'. They have asked up to provide further documentation that indicates smoking is prohibited within 25' of all entries, intakes, windows...
The company has a written policy which has been in place since 2006 and our intention is to provide this to support the signage.
My question: Are we REQUIRED to post signage on the doors and other areas of the campus that say the 25' limit? Is the existing signage accompanied by the written policy not enough?
From all I have been reading about this topic with regard to a similar question about my own project, the answer is yes, you need to state the 25' limit.
We are using option 2 - prohibit on-property smoking within 25 feet of entries....The owner has asked if they can locate these signs on the building door. Is this sufficient to have the sign within the non-smoking area instead of at the perimeter of the non-smoking area?
Or is there differnt veribage to use on the sign to allow the sign to be posted at the building door?
The signage needs to communicate that smoking is prohibited within 25ft of the building (entrances, window, outside air intakes), is prohibited on the site, or is limited to designated smoking areas. A sign that states "you are entering a non-smoking area" seems ambiguous and is likely to get flagged during the review process, especially if it's posted at the entrances to the building.
We have a high-rise hotel project with all guest rooms in the tower and hotel facalities (restaurants, meeting rooms, gym, etc.) in the podium. Smoking is prohibited in all guest rooms, but we have a small desginated smoking room at the gound floor of the podium. In this case, is it required to perform the blower door tests for all our guest rooms? We think the blower door test for the guest rooms is not needed as smoking is not allowed in any of the guest rooms while only the pressure differential test is needed for the desginated smoking room at the ground floor. Is this correct? However, when we fill in the LEED-Online form, when we check the project building includes residential units (includes residential and hospitality projects), the form asks us to provide the blower door test results. Should we not check "the project building includes residential units" or for all hotel projects with designated smoking rooms (not on the guest room floors) we need to do the blower door tests even smoking is not allowed in any of the guest rooms?
Thanks for your advice!
For some reason, the LEED form was not built to address this situation of smoking being prohibited in residential/hotel units. I would suggest leaving the box that states "the project building includes residential units" UNCHECKED. This allows you to skip the blower door testA blower door test gives an overall value for airtightness of a space, and can help identify air leaks. The testing unit consists of a calibrated fan that is sealed onto the unit entrance. The fan creates a continuous flow of pressure into the unit (or out of the unit when using theatrical fog to locate leaks). Devices detect the rate of pressure retention and loss due to possible air leaks in the construction. details of the form. Then under the "Additional Details" section of the form, I would check the "alternative compliance approach" box and add a narrative that states smoking is prohibited in all guest rooms. I would also suggest uploading a supporting building policy that clearly shows that smoking is prohibited. This has been an approved approach used on previous projects.
My building is on a campus with a no-smoking policy, but employees can smoke in personal vehicles. Our policy wasn't enough for the LEED Review Team; they still require us to put up signage, and said that smoking in cars had to be forbidden as well. That would require school administration to change HR policy, which they are very reluctant to do. We measured the distance between the parking lot and nearest door and it's 31 feet. Assuming we put up signage about the 25 foot requirement, are we in the clear?
Maura, it doesn't sound like it to me. The review team is saying that smoking in cars has to be forbidden, so putting up a sign but having the administration nod and wink to the employees that smoking in the car is still ok doesn't sound like it will work. Note that the LEED requirement is to prohibit smoking, and no smoking signs are merely an enforcement piece.
How many parking spaces does this affect? Why not just prohibit smoking in those spaces?
All parking spaces are outside of the 25' boundary.
Oh... I misunderstood. Now it's obvious... In that case, yes, I think having the policy in place with the signs should suffice.
If signs state "No smoking within 25' of building," etc. it implies that smoking IS allowed beyond that limit, when in fact smoking is highly restricted everywhere. How can we phrase or place signage to succinctly communicate the full policy? We need a common sense solution.
How about a student sign-writing contest for the wording that communicates this full and somewhat unique policy most succinctly? If the signs just said "No smoking within 25' of building" I doubt that people would start smoking beyond that limit at a boarding school where students and staff are already quite informed about such matters!
I suppose you could say "No smoking within 25' of building; smoking policy in effect for all campus areas." (Students might come up with something more clever... "No smoking, drinking, or PDA within 25' of building”... “No smoking or nuclear warheads within 25’ of building…” I’m sure Thomas Paine would have taken issue with LEED. Sorry to digress.)
We're putting up the "No smoking within 25'" signage on building doors, but do we also have to put up "Designated smoking area" signs when there is no "area" per se? Cars are not "areas." Frankly we don't want people to know that smoking is okay anywhere on campus.
Sounds like in the eyes of the reviewer, you have areas where smoking is allowed, even if only for certain people -the school employees. If an employee is allowed to smoke in their car, then a parking lot is technically a designated smoking area *for school employees only.*
The reviewer will probably want to see a site plan that shows this "area" where someone might smoke is more than 25' from entries, windows, vents, etc. If you can show that, I think you will have addressed their concerns. I know it seems crazy, but sometimes it helps to look at this (and many other permitting procedures) like a game of "Simon Says." I don't think indicating "designated smoking areas" on a site plan only used for LEED Online changes the message students receive about the smoking policy.
I have come CLOSE to seeing what I need, but not exactly.
Our Prelim Review Report did not pass our submittal citing "we showed the 25' boundries",,,,but NOT the area where smoking IS allowed. (Frustrating) I proposed a GAZEBO outside the limits since I couldn't get the college to sign off on a smoke free campus. Is a COVERED area required for the prereq to pass? Or is an outdoor, uncovered, +25' distance awat from the doors, windows and intakes suffice. The college wants to pass on the GAZEBO too.
The smoking area does not need to be covered to meet the requirements of LEED. I have already done plenty of projects that just met the baseline criteria above and the area designated was just an enlarged piece of the sidewalk without a canopy. Or in some cases a concrete pad located far enough away from the building. Some owners have certain requirements for their smoking areas like trash receptacles, benches, and sometimes a covered area. You will have to check with them to see if they want to include a roof structure as part of the smoking area design.
Smoking is allowed only in vehicles in the parking lot, which is further than 25' from the building but within the LEED boundary. That's not exactly "designated area" but we are not going to designate a physical area, nor do we want to erect signage pertaining to smoking in vehicles. Can someone comment on how the review team might react to this or what alternatives we should consider?
For an office project in Europe, using revolving doors, does LEED still require 25 feet distance between smoking area and entrances ?
Loic, yes, it does.
Does anyone have experience with LEED NC requirements for credit EQp2 in a residential building where we'd like the elevator door to open directly into the unit and avoid putting in a door?
My experience with this on two projects was that it should be included in the blower door testing rather than being taped or used for the placement of the blower door. An elevator shaft can be an obvious path for air leakage between units. These doors can be very leaky as well so it's important to make sure one is selected that is tightly weather-stripped and installed properly to prevent leaks.
Thanks Keith! It would be helpful to know if the elevator doors you used on the 2 projects mentioned actually provided an adequate seal and, if so, what type of weather stripping was used.
does anybody have any experience using CIBSE TM23:2000 to test for building air tightness and documenting this under the Alternative Compliance Path for performance equivalency (ANSI/ASTMVoluntary standards development organization which creates source technical standards for materials, products, systems, and services-E779-03)?
Please verify that when calculating the minimum 25 linear foot distance from an opening to an exterior designated smoking area, whether or not the measurement can go around solid obstacles. Our project’s smoking area is separated from the entry doors by a 4 foot wide by 17’-9” deep wall perpendicular to the building. The entire area is covered by a 25’-1” deep canopy that provides coverage at the smoking area and extends to the far end of the building. The perpendicular wall will be sealed continuously at the paved exterior patio floor surface, and to the canopy above. While it is 19’-6” from the edge of the door through the solid wall to the nearest point of the smoking area, it is 26’-6” diagonally from the edge of the door to the end of the perpendicular wall at the smoking area.
Also, when measuring the 25 linear foot distance from a smoking area to an opening located above, is the measurement taken from grade?
Sara, I would assume that the 25-foot measurement would go around solid obstacles, as long as they are continuous and totally impervious.
Regarding measurement from grade vs. an opening above, I don't think that passes the "sniff test." Smoking happens at head level, which is not at grade, and then smoke tends to go up, so openings overhead should get all the clearance they can.
what about the measurement, if the smoking area is at floor 0, and there's an entrance at floor -1 (patio) ?
Do i need to comply with the 25 feet (smoke tends to go up as you said) ?
I have the same question for a rooftop a/c unit on a one story building. How would you measure the 25'? Up and over for a combination of horizontal and vertical distance or would it be a horizontal measurement only to the 'top' of the smoking area? What determines the 'top' of an outdoor smoking area?
If smoking will be allowed in parts of the building, use good air sealing to stop transfer of ETS and to pass the blower door tests.
Projects that have interior designated smoking areas will need to provide additional ventilation to these areas, as with other spaces.
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