LEED and Green Building in India: What Are Typical Fees for Indian Green Consultants?

Post date: Feb 11, 2013 7:10:17 AM

Kekhriezhalie asks: How and on what basis is the consultancy fee for green consultants decided in India? What are the fees for the green consultants in India?

Advice provided by: Yusuf Turab, Y T Enterprises

Hi Kekhriezhalie, thanks for your question. It is a good time to raise this question, as I have noticed at my company’s sales pitches that there is usually a large gap between what a client is expecting to pay and what consultants are hoping to get paid for their services.

Green Building Consultants: Scope of Work

The scope of work for a green building consulting firm can be any one or all of the following:

  • Green building design and architecture services
  • Energy modeling and analysis services
  • LEED or any other green building ratings facilitation services
  • Sustainability consulting
  • Design services for rainwater harvesting, wastewater treatment systems, green roofs, etc.
  • Training services

Each category above is a vast area and covers a range of smaller services within them.

Consulting for LEED India

When consulting on a LEED project, each category of work represents the time and effort that someone has to put into compiling and submitting the LEED documentation and managing the compliance process. This requires the establishment of a tracking and reporting system (often performed by a LEED consultant, rather than the design and construction team itself) and the tracking down of information for specifying or sourcing systems and materials.

This additional effort is not common practice for green buildings – it is specific to LEED certification projects.

This is a big project for someone not familiar with the LEED rating system. Hiring a third party consultant who has experience with the LEED process and has created or purchased effective tracking systems is always recommended.

It helps if the contractors and designers working on the project are familiar with LEED, which would mean that they wouldn’t need too much coaching to provide their pieces of documentation. The scope of work also depends on how many credits you’re trying to achieve, and, to some extent, which ones you’re trying to achieve.

A few hundred hours to pull everything together for a big, complicated project is not out of the ordinary; simple and small projects should take less time and effort.

Green Consultant Fees in India

There are many different factors that influence a green building consultant's fees and most of these factors vary from one project to the other.

Hence, I cannot make a single estimate for consulting fees, but I can tell you that a good rule of thumb for green building consulting fees is Rs.1000 per hour of work. Typically, the range of fees charged is between R.s.400,000 - R.s.1,000,000 per project.

(I would like to clarify that these estimates are from my personal experience working the green building consulting field over the last three years and may not reflect the fees charged by all consulting firms in the country.)

In most cases, the fees are quoted in advance based on the amount of time the consultant expects to spend on the project. Based on my past experience, an average of 400 - 500 work hours was required in order to complete all of the LEED documentation necessary for certification.

These hours of work are put in towards design, documentation, modeling, meetings and site visits.

The higher side of that fee range is usually charged when energy modeling simulations are used to influence the design of the project (which requires lot more time and input), and not just done to demonstrate savings for LEED compliance purposes. In most cases, architects take care of the designs and the green building consultants provide design input only if something is horribly wrong with the architect's work.

A very low quote may mean that the consultant has underestimated the time needed to complete the job. A very high quote could mean the consulting firm doesn't have systems and processes in place to execute the job efficiently or that they’ve added a contingency to allow for a lack of green experience on the design team.

I hope this helps.