BRIEF-  30 June – The Green Building Council of Australia today released a new Assessment
Framework for Product Certification Schemes that is expected to result in lower costs for materials and fitouts.

GBCA’s Green Star executive director, Robin Mellon, said the Assessment Framework would result in greater clarity in terms of best practice benchmarks and for expectations of manufacturers and suppliers.

“We envisage the costs of product certification for manufacturers and suppliers will decrease as more certification options become available.  Similarly, the costs and commercial barriers associated with Green Star fitouts will be reduced,” Mr Mellon said.

The framework will involve a new Green Star material calculator and User Guide which will be  released for public comment by 30 November.

Mr Mellon said that products and materials that were certified by GBCA-recognised certification schemes would have greater access to the “deemed to satisfy” compliance status within the Green Star Material Calculators.

Previously, only Good Environmental Choice Australia certified products were “deemed to satisfy” the requirements of the material calculator credits in Green Star rating tools.

The GBCA would continue to recognise GECA certified products during a transition period from 30 June 2009 to 1 July 2010. GECA certified products will continue to be recognised after the transition period provided that GECA and the standards it operates have been assessed against, and have complied with, the full scope of the Framework, Mr Mellon said.

Other applicant schemes could make a submission against the full scope of the Framework from 15 July 2009, but only schemes and standards that are relevant to the fitout product applications referenced in the Green Star material calculators (furniture, flooring, joinery, walls, etc.) would be eligible for assessment.

“The GBCA appreciates the importance of a transition period to give schemes, manufacturers and suppliers time to consider the requirements of the Framework and take appropriate steps towards compliance,” Mr Mellon said.