Are there exemptions for small incomplete areas in LEED v4?

Green Building Team on April 1, 2019

Rating System/Standard
LEED v4

Under LEED Canada NC 2009, project teams have benefitted from an exemption for small tenanted areas in their projects, where they had difficulty enforcing requirements through mandatory lease agreements. This exemption for 10% of the floor area (20% in mixed-use projects) was outlined in the LEED Canada Reference Guide for Green Building Design and Construction 2009 and further clarified in CIR 976.

LEED Interpretation (LI) 10102 has recently been updated to allow similar guidance to be applied to LEED v4. Generally, any incomplete spaces in LEED BD+C v4 projects (with the exception of Core and Shell) are required to follow the direction in the Getting Started section of the LEED BD+C v4Reference Guide to use tenant guidelines or owner commitment letters. This information was also outlined in November 2017 issue of the LEED Technical Bulletin. The allowance in LI 10102 notes:

For the ease of documentation, project buildings where up to 10% of the building gross square footage or 20,000 gross square footage (whichever is smaller) contains incomplete space, will not be required to provide an Owner’s Letter of Commitment or Tenant Guidelines during the LEED certification submittal. These projects are required to comply with all other provisions outlined in this LEED Interpretation.

However, similar to LEED Canada NC 2009, this exemption does not apply to any prerequisites and credits with established baselines (for example, Indoor Water Use Reduction and Minimize/Optimize Energy Performance). As explained in the LI, the proposed case must be held equivalent to the baseline for the incomplete spaces, except where binding lease agreements can be provided.