USGBCThis comment was just received from the posting entitled, “How I Passed the LEED AP V2.2 Exam”. I thought the readers of this blog would appreciate another point of view on what to study for the test. The comments starts below:

“Just returned from the exam,…passed,…170 – no style points awarded thank goodness.

I failed my first test (165) by taking the exam lightly. I have passed all my A.R.E tests to date, I also studied sustainability as my senior project in college, so I thought how hard can this be. We don’t be fooled. One must study extensively to pass the NC v2.2 test. It is intentionally difficult due to higher rates of passes. The USGBC/GBCI have made the test more difficult in v2.2 to bring down passing rates.

I utilized the Colorado LEED Study Guide, the USGBC Reference Guide – NC V2.2, and the Flash Cards. I found the Colorado guide helpful in that is focuses on the process of certification quite a bit. This is substantial part of the test. The most important thing to do is read the reference guide. Read it cover to cover. The first time is crammed and only read intents and submittal requirements. I did not commit to memory all the percentage/threshold requirements, nor most of the other “back-ground reading”. There is a lot of embedded information in the approach/implementation segments, considerations, economic issues, resources, submittal requirements, and definitions that help you sort through the questions during the test. After reading the entire book, I took the practice exams, went over questions I got wrong and re-read sections I did poorly on. I studied the Flashcards periodically. Then the morning of the exam went over the Flashcards one last time. They do a great job in boiling down the intents and percentage thresholds.

Good Luck.”


USGBCA large number of construction students are passionate about the trend in sustainable construction a.k.a. green construction, LEED construction. Many of the students that I meet with at presentations, career fairs, interviews, and student competitions are deeply interested in my firm’s efforts in LEED construction.

The article, “40,000 LEED APs and Counting” provides a snapshot of how the construction and design industries are embracing the sustainable construction movement. I am proud to report that Skanska is represented at #13 on the list of “BD+C’s Top 50 Building Team LEED APs”. Skanska is one of the top ranked builders on the list, which includes several design firms — if everything goes well during the LEED V2.2 Exam next Wednesday (08AUG07), three of my team members will earn the designation of LEED Accredited Professional and Skanska will jump up to #12 on the list.

The current list is as follows:

BD+C’s Top 50 Building Team LEED APs

Ranking / Firm / # of LEED APs / # of Employees / % of LEED APs to All Employees

1. Perkins+Will 753 1,236 60.9
2. Gensler 575 2,480 23.2
3. HOK 456 2,153 21.2
4. Stantec 277 5,977 4.6
5. The Turner Corp. 260 — —
6. SmithGroup 243 817 29.7
7. HDR Architecture 192 1,111 17.3
8. DPR Construction 185 676 27.4
9. CUH2A 161 370 43.5
10. HKS 155 1,148 13.5
11. Mithun 137 197 69.5
12. LPA 126 213 59.2
13. Skanska USA Building 125 — —
14. Leo A Daly 123 1,081 11.4
15. DLR Group 120 556 21.6
16. Gilbane Building Co. 118 1,800 6.6
17. Cannon Design 115 749 15.4
18. JE Dunn Construction Group 110 3,369 3.3
18. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill 110 1,280 8.6
20. NBBJ 109 728 15.0
21. Arup 105 8,500 1.2
22. Swinerton Inc. 103 1,280 8.0
23. DMJM H&N 96 1,297 7.4
24. Bovis Lend Lease 94 2,937 3.2
25. Callison 92 638 14.4
26. Moseley Architects 87 227 38.3
26. Webcor Builders 87 — —
28. Zimmer Gunsul Frasca 85 439 19.4
29. Gould Evans Associates 83 205 40.5
30. Perkins Eastman 80 722 11.1
31. Hammel, Green and Abrahamson 79 508 15.6
32. KlingStubbins 75 540 13.9
32. RTKL Associates 75 1,051 7.1
34. M. A. Mortenson Co. 74 1,234 6.0
35. STV Group 70 1,455 4.8
35. Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback 70 300 23.3
37. Flack + Kurtz 69 383 18.0
37. URS Corp. 69 29,308 0.2
39. Jacobs Engineering Group 68 — —
40. CH2M HILL 66 4,704 1.4
41. Affiliated Engineers 65 508 12.8
42. Hayes, Seay, Mattern & Mattern 63 650 9.7
43. RNL Design 62 185 33.5
44. Clark Group 61 2,945 2.1
44. HMC Architects 61 432 14.1
46. KPFF Consulting Engineers 60 853 7.0
47. Cooper Carry 58 287 20.2
48. Clark Nexsen 56 322 17.4
48. Holder Construction 56 377 14.9
50. Einhorn Yaffee Prescott 54 300 18.0
50. Shepley Bulfinch Richardson & Abbott 54 180 30.0

Source: 2007 Giants 300 survey
Note: This ranking is based on firms that made the Giants 300 list.

USGBCfsbulldogs.jpgFresno State Construction Management Professor, Hal Johnston, supports US Green Building Council’s Central California Chapter in the following article:

“Green” council to hold celebration at FS

calpolymustangs.jpgAccording to the article, “Cal Poly Construction Management Graduate Receives $20,000 Fellowship”, Joe Karten will be traveling the world to research examples of sustainable construction. An excerpt of the article is below:

“Karten’s trip begins May 30 in Mexico, where he will spend three months volunteering at Mexico’s Green Building Council helping create a standard for sustainable building similar to the United States ‘ Green Building Council’s LEED standard.

Following his work in Mexico , he will travel to Europe where he will meet with architects, contractors and planners in Spain , Sweden , Denmark , Germany and Holland . He will also visit and research sustainable building projects in those countries and will study techniques used to achieve sustainability in the building industry.

In late July follow Karten’s travel and see information about on-going research findings at . For more information about Cal Poly’s Construction Management Department, visit . For information about the Regnier Traveling Fellowship, visit”

USGBCIf you follow this blog, you may have come across my “excuse” posting a few weeks ago which mentioned that my posting frequency had fallen off a bit while I was studying for the Leadership Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) V2.2 Exam.

As a follow-up, I am happy to report that I passed the test and I wanted to share the process that helped a “non-design” construction professional study for and pass this challenging (at least to me) Version 2.2 of the LEED AP test.

1. Start by browsing around the USGBC Website. You will find volumes of free information. After clicking around for a while, I recommend that you print out and review the LEED Rating System, which lists very basic information on each LEED Credit.

2. Purchase the LEED Reference Guide which is a monster 400 page manual that provides you with comprehensive information on the LEED rating system. Purchasing this manual is the easy part – finding the time and inclination to read a 400 text took me quite a while; but, I wouldn’t have passed this test without reading the book from cover to cover.

3. Since I have never been on a LEED project, I needed to learn more about how to incorporate LEED ideas into the design and construction of a project and how to track the credits with the online system. You can learn some of this information by reviewing the website; but, I recommend that you purchase the study manual provided by the USGBC Colorado Chapter – the information at the front end of this manual was critical, as was the practice test.

4. The last week before the test, I focused on the practice test from the USGBC Colorado Chapter’s Study Guide and a practice test that I found on eBay. I studied up on the questions that I missed while taking the practice test and I re-read the LEED Rating System document, because many of the practice questions require that you have at least a basic understanding of each LEED credit and synergies among the credits.

That’s the process I followed – if you have other study resources or tips, please share them below.

12MAR08 Update – A posting from one C-School Blog Reader on how he passed the LEED AP V2.2 Exam

Below you will find a draft article that I am writing for Construction Management Association of America’s (CMAA) Northern California Chapter Newsletter. I wanted to share it here and request any feedback that the readers of this blog might want to offer up. The article is a little lengthy when compared to the other posts; but, I hope you can give it a read:

Where Will We Find The Next Generation of Construction Managers?

By Michael J. Nelson

In all areas of construction, the problem is the same – There are not enough construction professionals to support the future demands of the California construction market. With numerous experienced construction professionals reaching retirement age coupled with the fact that not enough new candidates are entering the field, the upcoming staffing challenges can be daunting.

The February 5, 2007 edition of Calfornia Building & Engineer Magazine confirms something that we all already know – “Shortage of skilled and educated employees is an enormous issue for the industry, and one that will continue to grow. According to FMI Research Services Group, labor shortages within the industry exist in most occupational areas, including management. California and Nevada are anticipated to undergo severe labor shortages across all occupational fields. FMI warns that the scarcity of highly educated construction managers and qualified engineers is likely to present an escalating problem for the industry

How about your own firm? Are you experiencing difficulty finding enough entry-level construction professionals to support your growth? If you are, you are not alone.

What can you do to address this problem? The balance of this article will suggest grass-root ideas that you and your firm can implement to support the next generation of construction professionals. Many of the organizations listed in this article need assistance from the construction industry. This assistance can be in the form of donations of time, resources, and funding. Each of the following organizations can benefit from industry support to generate excitement about the field of construction and to mentor the next generation of construction professionals

The ACE stands for:

This mentoring program couples high school student groups with construction industry professionals to learn more about career paths in the fields of architecture, construction, and engineering. Your firm can support this organization by providing mentors to one of the California ACE Mentor Chapters. Currently, you can find several ACE Mentor Chapters in the Bay Area with groups in Oakland, San Francisco, San Jose, and the Peninsula.

Your firm could also partner with the ACE to offer tours of your home office, provide speakers for a “Day in the Life” point of view for the students, or conduct tours of your active jobsites. If you are a golfer, you can lend your support by grabbing your golf clubs and sponsoring a team for the Annual ACE Bay Area Golf Fundraising Tournament the proceeds of which provide scholarship funds for high school students that are pursuing higher education in design or construction industries.

Refer to the ACE Mentor website at: for additional information. Click on the “Chapters” links for more specific information on Bay Area opportunities.

California has several universities with outstanding construction management and engineering programs. Some of these schools in the northern part of the state include:

– California Polytechnic State (Cal Poly) University in San Luis Obispo

– California State University at Fresno

– California State University at Sacramento

– California State University at Chico

Each of these universities produces top entry-level construction management professional. There are also several architectural and civil engineering programs in the state that yield students interested in construction management.

Each of these schools does a great job preparing there students for entry-level positions in the construction industry but each can use more industry support. In order to partner with the construction colleges, contact the department heads and see how your firm can help provide the students with more “real-world” construction exposure. Some of the traditional methods include:

– Have one of your managers or superintendents teach a class or speak at the student construction organizations.

– Conduct a tour for the students and faculty of one of your projects. For example, my firm is working with a professor at Cal Poly, to schedule a jobsite tour for 50 construction management students at one of my firm’s jobsites in Prague in the Czech Republic for this upcoming summer term.

– Sponsor scholarships for students in the construction program or donate money directly for new supplies or equipment.

At the college level, you will also find extracurricular opportunities to support the future generation of construction managers. For example, your firm can help to sponsor the annual student construction competitions conducted by the Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) where students from construction management programs have approximately one day to develop a written proposal and oral presentation in response to a construction problem statement. The student teams compete on regional and national levels in several different problem categories including: commercial, heavy/highway, residential, design-build, mechanical and even more specialized topics such as LEED, BIM, and marine construction.

Refer to the ASC Competition website for the Far West and Rocky Mountain Regions at: for additional information.

If this article piqued your interest in the next generation of construction managers, you can find more information on the author’s weblog entitled, “C-School Blog” ( which reports on current events / trends in construction management education, student construction competitions, and student outreach to encourage pursuit of construction related careers.

Michael J. Nelson is a project manager for Skanska USA Building working out of the Oakland Division Office. Mr. Nelson holds a B.S. in Construction Engineering from Iowa State University and a M.B.A. from the University of Florida.

If you follow this blog, you will notice that my posting frequency has fallen off quite a bit recently. Instead of posting to the blog, I have been spending my free time studying for the LEED V2.2 AP Test. From what I hear, the test was revised over the past few months and the new test is pretty difficult to pass.

To date, my studying has consisted of reading the LEED-NC V2.2 Reference Guide. I am reading the “Materials and Resources” section right now. I also came across a good set of LEED V2.2 flash cards / practice test on EBay along with a practice test that I ordered from the Colorado Chapter of the U. S. Green Building Council.

In my conversations with students over the past year, LEED has been a hot topic. If any of you students would like to offer study tips for the AP Test, I would sure welcome them.

If you are unfamiliar with LEED and the USGBC, you check out the following background information taken directly from the USGBC website:

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is the nation’s foremost coalition of leaders from across the building industry working to advance buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. Driving its mission to transform the built environment is the Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Building Rating Systems™, which is now accessible online, and supported by a robust LEED Workshop program and LEED Professional Accreditation™ program. In addition, the Council supports a rich education and research agenda, including Greenbuild, the world’s largest international conference & expo focused on green building. It also supports an aggressive education and advocacy program delivered at the local level through 70 chapters across the United States.