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The Certification Process

How the certification process works

A green certified project is a fit-out, building or precinct that has undergone a rigorous technical assessment and met robust benchmarks. GBCSA provides independent, trusted certification of projects using Green Star, Net Zero or EDGE certification rating systems.

The Certification Process


Decide which rating tool to use to certify your project with


Appoint an Accredited Professional (AP) who is qualified in your rating tool. 


Register your project with GBCSA through our online platform


Submit your documentation: Your AP will do this. Depending on the tool, submission stages and information requirements will vary.


Get your project certified: Our independent panel of sustainability experts will assess your submission and/or confirm certification.


Promote your achievement: Once certified you will receive your certificate and building plaque, and be ready to celebrate your achievement!

Who is

Accredited Professional (AP)

for Green Star and Net Zero projects; Edge Expert and Edge Auditor for EDGE projects These individuals collate and submit the documents to GBCSA for review and certification.

GBCSA Case Manager

GBCSA will assign each project a dedicated GBCSA case manager to ensure a smooth process.

External Experts

GBCSA will appoint confidential independent external assessors, reviewers and moderators, specific to the project.

What does it cost?

Building green does not necessarily cost more, as research based on local industry data shows.

Getting your project rated as green typically involves these key cost areas:

Green Building consultant fees

These are the professional fees paid to the appointed green building consultants and Accredited Professionals (APs) or EDGE Experts and Auditors on your project. These individuals are external to GBCSA and provide guidance for the project to achieve certification. Their fees are negotiated between themselves and project owners, and are generally informed by project size, complexity and level of sustainability ambition. Their fees are not set by GBCSA.

GBCSA Registration fees

These are the fees paid to GBCSA to register and certify the project. These cover the costs for overall assessment, administration and plaques as well as the support services of our highly experienced GBCSA Technical Team for your project.

Capital costs associated with green initiatives

This relates to any capex associated with achieving a specific and targeted sustainability initiative. This is informed by the AP and EDGE Expert guidance, considering the cost benefit options available.

Member discounts on certification fees. GBCSA Organisation members benefit from discounted fees. Speak to your Accredited Professional, or reach out to us at GBCSA for more.

Green need not cost more, and can offer so much more value.

Our Cost of Green research with University of Pretoria and ASAQS has demonstrated that a cost premium for a best practise building can be less than 0,5%.

A profitable path forward for businesses and the planet

The annual MSCI Green Property Index demonstrates that certified green offices deliver a better return on investment, confirming that going green is good for business and the planet.

How long does it take?

The duration of the certification period can vary depending on the specific tool being used and other factors. All projects include Round 1 and Round 2 Assessments. Certification often follows the development timeline of the project or fit-out.

In general, the duration of the certification period is informed by:

The time taken to compile the Round 1 Submission Documentation

This is done by the project AP or Edge Expert. This can vary depending on the rating tool being used, the desired targets and the level of team support. 

GBCSA Round 1 Assessment

This is the time taken for GBCSA to process the Round 1 assessment, and provide feedback to the team. This is a fixed time period, as per the table below.

Project response to Round 1 Comment

The project team then needs to respond to the Round 1 feedback. This timeframe can vary, informed by the quality of the submission and feedback.

GBCSA Round 2 Assessment

This is the time taken for GBCSA to process the Round 2 submission, and provide a final certification ruling to the team. This is a fixed time period, as per the table below.

Certification systemRound 1 Assessment durationRound 2 Assessment duration
Green Star7 weeks5 weeks
Net Zero7 weeks5 weeks
EWP4 weeks3 weeks
EDGE4 weeks3 weeks

We’re here to support your green building journey

Our Certification FAQ has a multitude of the most useful answers, and for anything that it doesn’t have, you can find our contact details below.

We are with you every step of the way. 

Individual Membership

Designed for professionals acting in their individual capacity, including single consultant-businesses.

Organisational Membership

Ideal for companies, government departments, and organisations.

  • Total Employees: 1 - 5 Employees - R 4080.00
  • Total Employees: 6 - 20 Employees - R 12570.00
  • Total Employees: 21 - 50 Employees - R 24690.00
  • Total Employees: 51 Plus Employees - R 43840.00

Lisa Reynolds

Chief Executive Officer & Executive Director

Lisa Reynolds is the CEO of the Green Building Council South Africa.

Lisa was the driver for the drafting of Energy Efficiency Standards and Regulations for Buildings and has been involved in Energy Efficiency since 2003. She serves on many committees in the SABS and within the energy management professionals’ space. She was President of the SAEEC from 2016 to 2019 and was the previous President of the ESCo (Energy Services Companies) Association. Lisa was instrumental in the formation of SAFEE (Southern African Females in Energy Efficiency) within SAEEC.

She has assisted the South African Government with its Green Building Framework policies, Energy Efficiency Tax Incentives and Energy Efficiency Strategies

Her passion for the “Green space” started with the birth of the Green Building Council in 2007. Lisa served on the Board and the Technical Committee of the GBCSA, as well as on several Technical Working Groups for Rating Tools and Criteria. Lisa. became CEO in June 2020.

Lisa has a BSc, an MBA and a CEM. Lisa’s awards include the 2007 ETA Award for Women, 2008 Individual Energy (SAEE), 2012 SABS Standards Writer Award; the 2014 Women in Energy (SAWIEN); and the 2016 Ian Lane Hall of Fame award.

Lisa is committed to growing the Green Economy within a Green Recovery.

Organisational categories

As an organisational member, you will fall into one of the below categories, and be charged according to specific size indicators. Please reach out to us for any further clarity on which category is best for your organisation

Property Developers

Annual Turnover

Investors, Owners, Property Managers

Total Asset Value

Major Corporate Tenants & Retail

Annual Gross Rentals

Building Contractors

Annual Turnover

Building Product Manufacturers & Distributors

Annual Turnover

Professional Services: Architects, Designers, Engineers, Quantity Surveyors, PM’s, Consultants, Legal

Number of employees

Research, Higher Education, NGO’S & Regulators

NGO or Research/Higher Education/ Regulators

Related Interests: Utilities, Financial, Insurance, etc.

Annual Turnover


Local/ municipal/ provincial/ state 
Contact GBCSA to confirm your category