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Career growth and evolving sustainability standards emerge as key drivers behind renewals of GSAS CGP licenses

Sep 06,2019


The Gulf Organisation for Research & Development (GORD) has concluded this year’s final refresher workshop on its design and build (D&B) certification for the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS). GSAS refresher workshops are regularly held throughout the year, offering an opportunity for Certified Green Professionals (CGPs) to update their knowledge about latest GSAS requirements, and renew their license. Attending this one-day course adds to professionals’ continuing education units (CEUs) to maintain their certification in the field of sustainability within the built environment. 

Joining the event on Thursday, September 5, were representatives of leading public and private organizations. When asked about reasons to become GSAS-D&B CGP in the first place and later maintaining their certification, participants mentioned career growth and better employment opportunities, amidst growing demand for green infrastructure.

Refresher Course is a comprehensive program delivered to update CGPs about the latest version of GSAS. With Qatar’s construction industry on an unprecedented rise, unique project features demand constant updates within the GSAS framework. A refresher course is organized to share these updates, alterations and additional requirements.

Jouzy Backer, an architect and project manager at Gharnata Consultant Engineers, has been a CGP for seven years. Having his license renewed twice, Backer said, “This refresher course is good because we get to know what is changing.” The architect explained that as many construction professionals are not always dealing in sustainable GSAS-certified projects, they need a refresher course time to time to keep pace with evolving sustainability standards and practices within the built environment. 

Staying abreast of latest sustainability standards and GSAS requirements, hence, emerged as the chief reason behind candidates attending the refresher workshop. “This workshop is very important to keep you updated,” said Bhupendra Pal Chhabra, Manager – Designs at Qatar Design Consortium. Seconding Chhabra, Backer added, “I’ve been a CGP for a few years now. I need it for my job as we work on GSAS projects.” 

Backer’s comments highlight a significant aspect of all GSAS-certified projects. To asses a project for GSAS compliance, organizations need at least one CGP on board. Similarly, to become service providers for GSAS assessment and implementation, entities are required to have CGPs with valid license. While the condition exists to ensure the quality of sustainability features in GSAS-linked projects, it has inevitably led to an increased demand for CGPs in the regional job market. 



With GSAS-compliant projects on a rise, organizations are now increasingly looking for individuals with a CGP accreditation. Many have nominated their employees to pursue this qualification on company’s expense. “I got my job as a lead engineer because of the CGP qualification. I cannot provide a better example. Everywhere they are looking for CGPs and sustainability engineers. This is the future. This is what the world is demanding,” said Rohitashya Banerjee, Lead Environmental and Sustainability Engineer at Fujita Corporation.

Substantiating Banerjee’s claim was Ahmed Abouelgheit, Projects Manager – Design at EHAF, Consulting Engineers, a company handling multiple GSAS projects in Lusail City. “A CGP qualification gives us an idea about sustainability application in Qatar and it is supposed to be a part of the national program to make the entire country sustainable,” said Abouelgheit, who predicts that GSAS will become mandatory within the next ten years. Indeed, the system has been recognized to be a part of green building codes within Qatar Construction Specifications – a thorough document providing technical guide for local construction practices. Regionally, GSAS has been adopted by neighboring countries such as Kuwait. On a global level, it has been endorsed by FIFA as the official sustainability assessment system for all stadiums underway for the 2022 World Cup.

Speaking about the scope and importance of GSAS within Qatar, Banerjee said, “I find GSAS very critical and precise to the country’s need to adhere to green building standards.” Highlighting its importance, Abouelgheit added, “There’s a very high necessity to have such a sustainability manual or criteria that matches the environmental and local conditions.” 

Apart from its specificity to the regional climate, Engineer Banerjee also highlighted the system’s adaptability as a key feature behind its success and promising scope. Apart from providing tools and calculators for various building typologies, GSAS also offers customized support for projects with special characteristics. “A system needs to be flexible enough to adapt to new challenges… Calculators have to be bespoke as well,” added Banerjee. Providing an instance of GSAS’ adaptability, Chhabra recollected his experience where the project team struggled in calculating green areas across the seating space owing to the project’s unique nature. Bespoke support, however, was constantly provided by GORD’s GSAS Trust team to resolve these technical issues. Backer also mentioned that implementing GSAS on a wide range of projects comes with a number of challenges, which are consistently being resolved after consultation with experts at GORD. 

While the requirements of CGPs to carry out GSAS certifications remained the top reason for many participants, some also stressed on the importance of technical learning covered in CGP courses as a paramount need of the hour. “A CGP qualification is to make sure that you can do project assessment and submit it to GORD. But the education behind it is very important because all the buildings need to be sustainable,” said Chhabra of Qatar Design Consortium.

GSAS-D&B CGP Refresher Workshop is a part of wider learning spectrum offered by GORD, encompassing more sustainability courses such as GSAS-Construction Management (GSAS-CM) and GSAS-Operations (GSAS-OP) held a couple of times over the year.

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