GRESB: Four Things to Consider After (and Just Before) You Submit

Meeting OverheadYou've purged your inbox of property manager emails and compiled a mountain of data into one gleaming, "almost-final" 2014 GRESB response. Just one last meeting with the Powers That Be stands between you, the submit button, and a well deserved glass of [insert choice beverage here]. Now that you are nearly complete with your GRESB reporting, there are still some key points to review.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you reviewing your GRESB response with management:

  1. Use GRESB's Response Check: GRESB offers a free, high-level Response Check before final submission. Take advantage of it! You can put your boss (and yourself) at ease knowing you get a free practice swing before the real moment.
  2. Expect a different score: The significant overhaul of GRESB's reporting system and methodology eroded some of the institutional knowledge veteran reporters had accrued because they had to rejig their processes and systems to accommodate new questions and data requirements. At the same time, the new score weightings will almost certainly lead to some shuffling around which quadrant reporters fall into. There will be winners and losers, so make sure to set management's expectations accordingly.
  3. Prepare for an audit: GRESB has drastically tightened its validation and assurance process to expose inaccuracies and improve the quality of its benchmark. Make sure to discuss a plan of attack with management for if and when GRESB comes knocking. If you need resources to bolster your ability to respond to an audit, make sure to ask for them now.
  4. Plan for next year: It's the last thing you want to do, which is why it's the most important thing you can do: plan for next year while everything is still fresh in your mind. What systems can you put in place at the asset level to ensure better results and easier data collection? What organizational policies need a tune-up? While you won't be filing a GRESB response for another nine months, the 2015 reporting period is coming up in only six. Once you toss out the holidays, you really only have five months to put in place the changes on which you'll be reporting next year.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the world of continuous reporting!

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