In the building industry, compliance means acting in adherence to a set of regulations, standards, or codes. It indicates that a product, project, or process fulfills all official requirements. Designers, manufacturers, and other professionals may need to demonstrate compliance to internal management, regulators, the government, customers, or independent third parties. Criteria for compliance must always be specified prior to evaluation. Compliance can be measured in different ways by different programs, green building rating systems, and regulatory bodies. Depending on the regulations or standards, it can be verified either by a first-party, second-party, or third-party organization. Sometimes it is tiered, to specify products or projects that meet certain target levels.1 For example:
- Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) compliance, for example, must be corroborated by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), an accredited third-party body. Projects can qualify for one of four rating levels: Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum.2
- The Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) is a law that regulates harmful chemicals in the EU. In order to be compliant, companies must test and register any products manufactured or sold in the EU containing chemicals at quantities greater than 1 ton per year. Products containing dangerous quantities of harmful substances, as defined by REACH, are not compliant.3
- Healthier Hospitals (HH) is a program that encourages healthcare facilities to improve their health and environmental impacts. Compliance is self-reported, so hospitals commit to meeting goals and provide regular progress reports on their efforts. Each benchmark is tiered, with corresponding goals at three different levels of compliance.