USGBC Has Already Released 2009 Reference Guide Corrections!

Surprise! Chalk up another big FAIL for the USGBC editing department, as mere months after the initial release of the 2009 edition reference guides we have 20 pages of corrections for the BD&C guide, 21 pages of corrections for the ID&C guide, and a mere 11 pages of corrections for the EBO&M reference guide. In a suave marketing move, they've apparently decided to switch from calling these "errata" to the less error-sounding title of "addenda".

I ♥ Internet Memes

What's worse is that the announcement basically ties you into adhering to any addenda based on the date of registration. I suppose this means I'm going to have to find, download, and save these whenever I register a project?


Anonymous said...

Errata, addenda, or otherwise, I prefer this method to a static rating system. LEED is constantly evolving, and the truth is that the Reference Guides can't cover everything, but USGBC is making (some sort of) an attempt.

As for the typographical errors...I don't know. It happens.

Unknown said...

Most of the errata seem to address semantic errors or other ambiguous language, rather than substantive changes to credit requirements. I don't think it's going to significantly change how you approach credits from one project to the next, based on date of registration.

Thomas said...

I am glad to see other people steamed about this as well. Each of the past 3 months, USGBC has published a new "addenda" for each of the 2009 ref guides. I never got an announcement either, it seems you have to stumble across them yourself.

True, we have to expect some minimal spelling and grammar corrections; but too many of the addenda are substantial changes. Oh, sorry we need to replace this whole table. Oh, we said 75% here but we meant 90%. So let me get this straight: Every month, everyone who is keeping current with LEED has to go to the website, find the addenda for each rating system, and then go through each ref guide and make the important changes by hand? After 3 months, my books are already full of taped-in paragraphs and red ink, and there is surely more to come. Piss poor if you ask me.

And for the record, I am not one of these LEED haters, I find myself constantly defending LEED. Stuff like this makes it hard.

joelmckellar said...

While I understand the other comments, I tend to agree with Thomas. It's baffling to me that we have rating systems that are so well conceived (and I know there are many that would argue that point) but a support system for them that is simply dysfunctional.

There are litany of problems with LEED online (checklists in the v2 systems STILL contain errors), systemic delays in the review process, customer service where email addresses are scrubbed so you can't reply directly, a seemingly endless stream of typos and emissions in reference materials, and a poorly conceived credentialing maintenance system that we're forced to deal with every day.

I, like Thomas, feel like the LEED rating systems are the best available for pushing the market in a sustainable direction. If there was a similarly proficient support system surrounding it, I think martket adoption would be far more widespread. I can tell you that many architects/engineers will not recommend LEED to their clients because they feel the hassle is worse then the benefits...

joelmckellar said...

And to address Anon's first comment, of course the rating system needs to evolve, but it needs to evolve along a predictable schedule. Starting with the 2009 editions, the rating systems are to be updated on a two year schedule (i.e. there will be LEED-NC 2011, LEED-NC 2013, etc.), which I think is fast enough to keep up with the market.

Designers and contractors need to know that what they're being held to in schematic design is the same standard they'll be responding to at the end of construction. Shifting targets midstream mean unnecessary paperwork revisions, change orders, and other headaches that make the design and construction team look foolish in the eyes of the owner while eroding trust in our ability to deliver a project that meets their goals.

On that note, all fees need to be locked in based on the date of registration, which is when contract provisions are determined for reimbursables... Though it didn't turn out to be an issue for any projects we're working on, I suspect many design teams are having to go back to the owner to request more money for the heightened design review costs that were just implemented...

Forgive my rant!

Anonymous said...

Review costs and review standards are normally held to the data of registration. Any addenda/errata published after your project's registration would not necessarily apply to your project. I say "necessarily" because I know that's not always how it shakes out in the review process- but at least you have some degree of predictability there.

joelmckellar said...

Anon, I've heard reports from readers that fees are not based on the date of registration, but the date of submission. I made an effort to track down anything from the USGBC or GBCI that said registration date locked in fees and found nothing.

Anonymous said...

Ah, you're right!

" Certification rates are based on the date the application is submitted for review."

Thanks for setting me straight there. And yeah, you're totally right that USGBC has created a monster that it doesn't quite know how to handle. I guess I'm just defensive of those guys :\

Unknown said...

One big problem is with EQ 8.1, Table 1 that is completely wrong. It shows "Bays" instead of "rooms" and gives the false impression that a ten foot high window will daylight a 40 foot deep "Bay." You would be better using ASHRAE 189 daylighing calcs even though they are rather obscured in the definitions until they produce a 189 Handbook or doing the calcs by the computer analysis option until USGBC gets it corrected. The Addenda came out with a definition of "Bays" which would indicate to me that they don't have the technical people available right now to correct it. A lot of designers are going to be upset when they finally get around to correcting it and find that they can't daylight a 40 foot deep room.

Bill Swanson said...

Maybe the problem is that USGBC relies too heavily on volunteers and consultants. Volunteers write the LEED standards, consultants write the guidebook, volunteers make the test questions. With $10 million profit in 2007 alone I think they could afford hiring some quality control and in-house experts in each subject.

Maybe USGBC should look at GM to see what happens when you lose customer satisfaction. Don't wait til after you lose your customers to fix the problem, they won't come back at that point.

Anonymous said...


Observation: LEED template shows a non determinate 'gals' which we can assume is US liquid gallons.

Scenario: assuming template is US liquid gallons, consider Dubai AP w imperial gallons entering base as '100 gals' then, 2 years later new USA AP enters 80 gals only he or she is unaware that project is working in imperial gallons.

In 1st instance the AP incorrectly entered approx. 120 US liquid gals while the replacement AP equally does wrong by entering 80 Imperial gals (close to 100 US liquid gals)

Metrication: USGBC has begun using English (' and ")units followed in parentheses by metric equivalents.

Problem: hard & soft conversions, metric countries work to a 5 for example:
Delete: 3.003 Add: 3.005

One more, AP Exam has potential of orienting building facing south, in southern hemisphere it would be exactly the opposite ~ there's more
late, pete

Laurie Mitchell said...

Hi guys, it has been interesting to read the posts and views here on the LEED v3 addenda. Just to let you know, I have been one of the people managing this project here at the USGBC and the monthly addenda was implemented primarily to get the minor issues out of the way while creating a stable process to deal with the more substantive updates.

So, please keep in mind that the first quarterly publication of the addenda will be published within a few weeks to the USGBC website with much more 'fanfare' than that of the monthly postings. This addenda will include a variety of issues that have been thoroughly reviewed with our project teams and customers in mind.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions or ideas in regards to making the addenda process and publication as streamlined and useful as possible.

Laurie Mitchell,

Anonymous said...

In re-reading all this addenda fiasco... "What's worse is that the announcement basically ties you into adhering to any addenda based on the date of registration. I suppose this means I'm going to have to find, download, and save these whenever I register a project?" by the author,

I now don't know whether this means I must:
adhere to the Reference guide and all its addenda posted ONLY AT TIME OF MY PROJECT REGISTRATION which means I "CANNOT" rely/utilize / benefit from FUTURE (post-Registration date) corrections in any addenda that clarify and could actually correctly benefit my project, while still requiring me to adhere to BROKEN reference material..... or not....

Some reliable clarification please?
Thanks for the Blog.