HQE compared to other certifications
HQE certification, like other certifications developed in other countries, is intended to improve the efficiency, value and sustainability of buildings and land developments.
The themes, requirements and levels of performance required may differ from one certification to another, but from our perspective, the greatest difference is in the certification process itself.
One difference often cited is in the price, but we must always compare like with like.
What characterises HQE certification?
The HQE certification process is clearly defined and offers clients and their design offices both digital and human interaction with designated contacts at Certivea.
The design office often includes an HQE Certification Referent, a professional trained on the relevant certification scheme and recognised by Certivea as qualified on this scheme.
An impartial certification
The HQE certification process is based on third-party audits, performed by independent auditors, on data submitted by the client and its design office.
This process generates constructive dialogue on the ground between the auditor, the client and its design office, providing a better understanding of the context and challenges of each project.
Partnership with Alliance HQE-GBC
The HQE schemes are based on the “Sustainable Building” reference framework of Alliance HQE-GBC, a recognised public utility association comprised of six panels of stakeholders.
The diversity of Alliance members and its proximity to public decision-makers means that the HQE schemes are aligned with public policy, serving the general interest.
Taking local context into account
The HQE schemes consider the local and national context of the projects to be certified.
The levels of requirement in each of the different themes can thus be adapted to a country’s climatic conditions, making the certification more relevant.
A global approach
HQE certifications take a comprehensive approach, incorporating all aspects of sustainable development, while requiring minimal levels of performance for each individual theme.
It is impossible, therefore, to issue HQE certification for a building that excels in some themes but fails to reach the minimal levels required for others.
HQE certifications place more importance on the health and wellbeing of those who use the buildings than other certifications, with these issues accounting for 40% to 50% of the final score.
Innovation, Improvement and accountability
HQE certifications are open to the solutions and recommendations of clients and consultants, but does not themselves prescribe technical measures.
Certification related to the operation of buildings is conducted for periods of three or five years so that changes in performance can be analysed. It holds each of the different stakeholders accountable by separating the actions and outcomes of the owner, operator and users.
Is HQE more expensive ?
We must always compare like with like.
The prices invoiced for HQE and for other certifications do not cover the same services.
For HQE, these prices also include access to Certivea representatives throughout the certification process.
A price difference is often cited regarding the certification of buildings in operation.
- Here again, we must always compare like with like :
- HQE assesses performance over a period of three to five years, whichever the client chooses;
- HQE requires that checks or audits be conducted each year;
- other certifications only cover one year of the building’s operation and are only valid for one year.
If we divide the price of HQE certification by three or five, the amount is close to that of other certifications which are only valid for one year and offer fewer services (no audit, no contact person…).
The price comparison is relevant, however, when a client wants an entire stock of buildings certified, all of which share the same characteristics. Unlike other certifications, HQE works on a sampling basis – which makes its prices more attractive.