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Construction: a new environmental certification

The Private building certifierInternational Finance Corporation, the World Bank's body dedicated to private sector development assistance, launched its Edge build cert environmental certification program in Lebanon in early 2016. Two buildings have already been accredited.

Advantageous loans, commercial argument, improvement of the living environment, reduction of energy bills… the benefits of ecological construction are numerous, both for builders and for users. However, few buildings in Lebanon can claim to respect the ecological standards of the main international certifications such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) or BREEAM (British Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method).

Expensive certifications especially suited to economies that already have a certain level of environmental awareness, says the International Finance Corporation. Hence the desire of this World Bank organization to launch in Lebanon its environmental certification program, called Edge, specially designed for emerging countries. The criteria and the procedure are simplified compared to the big international labels - for example there is only one level of certification -, and the first self-assessment phase is free. "For offices with an area of ​​10,000 square meters, the average cost of the Edge certification procedure is thus $ 10,000 compared to $ 50,000 for LEED certification," says the program manager.

Edge certification can be granted to all types of buildings (offices, homes, schools, hospitals, factories) that guarantee a reduction of at least 20% in the consumption of energy, water and energy used by building materials by compared to the average for their country. In order to benefit from this certification, developers, architects and building engineers must visit the interface, which allows the ecological viability of a construction project to be directly assessed. 

If the Private building certifier meets the criteria, the project initiators can then apply for certification which will be granted, or not, following a review of the building plans and then an on-site verification, once the building is constructed.

Edge certification has a double interest for builders: it becomes a selling point with their potential customers, but above all it allows to obtain advantageous loans from banks within the framework of the national program NEEREA (National Action for Efficiency energy and energy renewal), launched by the Central Bank in 2010. For buyers, it significantly reduces energy bills.

 For a 10,000 square meter detached house achieving 25% energy savings, 24% water savings and 21% savings on materials used, the additional cost of construction is $ 4 per meter. square, or $ 40,000 for the overall project. According to estimates by the International Finance Corporation,

Launched in Lebanon in early 2016, Edge certification has so far been granted to two buildings: the Kesrouan medical center and the Tohme Rizk building on the Lebanese American University campus in Byblos. "Many other files are being studied, in particular for green loans to the Central Bank," says Carol Khouzami. "They are now in abeyance, because the BDL circular expressly recognizes only LEED certification or" similar international certifications ", but without naming them", she explains. The International Finance Corporation is therefore campaigning for this circular to be amended and for Edge certification to be officially recognized. A primordial battle for the institution.

The General Contractor ensures to the contracting authority the delivery of a building work or part of a new or rehabilitated building, or of public works, all trades brought together, under the conditions of a single market of work, if necessary using subcontractors. It is able to ensure, within the framework of its contract, in addition to the execution, the technical design engineering according to the level of its involvement in this phase.

This building inspection standard covers the services provided by the General Contractor which has these two functions: execution and technical design.

This standard remains open, however, if it is necessary to complete the current scope in order to introduce the services of general contractors which, in some countries, would have to carry out the architectural design of the work themselves.

This definition of the General Contractor is explained as follows:

It concerns a "company", that is to say an entity linked to the client by a work lease contract involving the delivery of this TCE work with an obligation of result.

General contractors have been involved in quality procedures for many years. The function itself has been the subject of third-party certification since the end of 1994. Similarly, responsible companies who are sensitive to the expectations of their customers have already obtained ISO, or Quality Works certification.General contractors are now committed to a permanent and evolving process of improving the quality of the services provided and of recognizing this quality of service through third-party certification. This certification will give contracting authorities the guarantee of the capacity of general contractors to meet the obligations of a general contractor contract, prior to its signature.


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