How to meet your certification goal date

Published on: 
24 Mar 2021
Mikaela Jewell

Are you planning to achieve TRUE certification for your project by a particular date or a key milestone like Greenbuild or Earth Day this year? Planning ahead and making a timeline to complete all the key steps in the TRUE certification process will be important to achieving certification by your deadline.

First, it is important to understand the timelines associated with each step in the certification process. Here is an overview of the review process and timeline:

  1. GBCI preliminary review of documentation: 3 weeks (15 business days)
  2. Project Team response to preliminary review comments: varies; this depends on how quickly your team responds. GBCI suggests responding within 4 weeks (20 business days).
  3. GBCI final review of documentation: 3 weeks (15 business days)

Given this timeline, on average, after you submit your documentation for review, it may take up to 10 weeks for you to receive your final TRUE certification. Therefore, please plan to submit the TRUE Application Form and documentation for review at least 10 weeks before your targeted certification date. Note the certification fee must be paid and cleared before GBCI begins the review.

Additionally, we recommend registering your project by completing the TRUE online registration form at least 16-18 weeks (4 months) before your target certification date to allow sufficient time for invoice processing and payments to be cleared.   

If for some reason, your organization may take some time to complete payment, it is advised to start the registration process even earlier. It is recommended to pay all fees (registration and certification) together during registration to expedite the overall process. However, if only the registration fee is paid to complete registration, it is advised to notify GBCI at least 3 weeks in advance of your documentation submittal that you would like to proceed with paying the certification fee.

In summary, below is the suggested timeline to ensure success in meeting your targeted certification date:

  1. At least 4 months before your certification goal date (at a minimum): complete the TRUE online registration form. The earlier you register, the better.
  2. 10 weeks before your certification goal date: complete registration, pay all fees, complete all documentation (including the Application form).
  3. Once you receive the preliminary review report (3 weeks after submission), respond with updated documentation as soon as possible, but within 4 weeks maximum is suggested.

To get a real life picture of what this timeline may look like, see some sample timelines below:

*Please note that GBCI is closed each year Nov. 25th-26th for the Thanksgiving holiday and December 25th-January 1st  for winter break. These closure dates are factored into the estimated timeline above.

The timelines above assume that no mid-review clarifications or appeal reviews are necessary. If needed, expedited reviews are available for an additional fee. Expedited reviews can reduce the overall review timeline down in half. The availability of expedited review timelines is based on GBCI capacity. If you are requesting an expedited review, contact GBCI as soon as possible, and at least 10 business days prior to submitting your application.

GBCI is here to help, so regardless of when your certification goal date is, be sure to let us know so we can advise you in planning your journey to TRUE certification. Project teams hoping to achieve review milestones by a certain date should inform GBCI of their specific needs as early as possible. GBCI will make every effort to accommodate reasonable requests, as capacity allows.

Visit the resources page of our website for key forms, guidance documents, resources, and especially the TRUE Certification Planning Tool, which will help you assess your potential TRUE score and complete a gap analysis. You can also view our articles page to learn how to prepare for TRUE certification, whether you are eligible for TRUE certification, and zero waste strategies to get you started on your journey.