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GBCSA Academy: A solid strategy for professional development in green building

August 19, 2021

Noma Mbele is a green building consultant at Solid Green, a specialised green building consultancy that fully embraces the capacity building of their project teams through GBCSA Academy training to support certification.

We asked Noma what Solid Green’s strategy is to support professional development, especially through the GBCSA Academy Professional Team Member training, towards a greener, sustainable landscape.

For Green Buildings to become mainstream, education is essential to move the industry forward. By educating professionals on project teams, it makes it easier to meet Green Star requirements for certifications. Over the years, we have seen the benefits of working with professionals who are familiar with Green Star and who have worked on Green Star projects before. So, we actively encourage as many professionals on our teams as possible to further their skills in the industry.

As a green building consultant at Solid Green, my aim is to present various initiatives to project teams to allow them to meet their sustainability goals and achieve their desired rating. This position within the project team does not come without its challenges, which range from getting all members on board with the purpose behind the initiative, to rethink “business as usual” and implementing more sustainable practices. The online courses offered by the GBCSA offer a solution to some of the knowledge challenges that come with this process.

The GBCSA provides capacity building and awareness to project teams, and a number of our clients enrol large numbers of their project team members. These are property developers targeting sustainability certifications across much of their portfolios, so it is imperative that all individuals involved are fully on board with the importance of including sustainability in projects. The GBCSA online courses emphasise the importance of undertaking the relevant sustainability certifications for buildings, while encouraging creativity in design, construction and operational processes. The courses also demonstrate that sustainability does not need to be complex, and basic principles can be implemented and easily shown on building documentation.

The GBCSA has multiple on-demand learning courses available to contractors, design professionals and property developers. As a consultancy, we have noted several benefits when our interested project teams have been enrolled within these programmes. Personally, I have noted several other innovations which have come from a team that has accredited members, which include:

  • The biophilic frameworks developed for The Reid and Ballito Hills Lifestyle Centres, both developed by Balwin Properties.
  • A more informed and multi-faceted approach that allows more than one certification to be targeted per project.

Lastly, project teams who have undergone the GBCSA’s training exhibit increased efficiency and accuracy during the certification process, which makes attaining the client’s end goal that much easier!

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