Reviewer Tip – Check your floor area and save time later

CAGBC's Green Building team on March 4, 2022

Rating System/Standard
LEED v4.1
Certification essentials

All too often in LEED v4 BD+C reports, credits are pending clarification when inconsistent Gross Floor Area (GFA) is used across submission documentation. All calculations of GFA should use the same definition:
‘Generally, the gross floor area is the sum of the floor areas of the spaces within the building, including basements, mezzanine and intermediate-floored tiers, and penthouses with headroom height of 7.5 ft (2.2 meters) or greater. Measurements must be taken from the exterior faces of exterior walls OR from the centerline of walls separating buildings, OR (for LEED ID+C projects) from the centerline of walls separating spaces. Excludes non-enclosed (or non-enclosable) roofed-over areas, such as exterior covered walkways, porches, terraces or steps, roof overhangs, and similar features. Excludes air shafts, pipe trenches, chimneys and floor area dedicated to the parking and circulation of motor vehicles.’

This means the GFA recorded in the project registration in LEED Online must be the same as seen on the project drawings and within relevant credits. Minor variations are allowed where explained. For example, the energy model will usually include all enclosed areas within the building structure irrespective of the excluded enclosed areas noted within the above definition, or spaces being conditioned or not. In such cases it is expected that GFA reported in LEED Online will be less than that reported in the energy model documentation (e.g., the Minimum Energy Performance Calculator). It is beneficial to explain any variations in your narrative within PI Project Information.

What if the area in LEED Online is wrong? Simply navigate to the Details tab, click the pencil icon, and edit the gross floor area. If your project is between reviews, include a narrative to explain the change.

Projects that submit with significant variation in their GFA during preliminary review are met with many pending credits which must be updated. Where the area provided within LEED Online is less than required by the GFA definition, the project may also be placed on hold and incur additional certification fees.

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