Request for Ruling

The Request for Ruling (RR) process replaced the online Dialogue process as of July 10, 2023. This post reflects that as of March 1, 2024 project teams will receive specific allotments of Request for Rulings based on the certification being pursued. See below.

The Living Future Institute (ILFI) recognizes that every project presents unique challenges and opportunities. To address these complexities, ILFI offers the Request for Ruling (RR) process, a formal platform for project teams to seek approval for alternative approaches or methodologies that deviate from the established standards. This platform is also used to grant preapproval for pathways or exceptions in which the Handbook requires preapproval. This guide outlines the RR process, empowering project teams to navigate compliance with clarity and confidence.

When is a Request for Ruling Needed?

  • Anytime a project team’s proposed approach deviates from the standard requirements outlined in the Handbooks.
  • Pre-Approval Pathways: When specific exceptions or pathways require preapproval before implementation, as noted in the Handbooks.

If you are unsure of whether the request deviates from the standard or requires preapproval, please reach out to the support inbox for clarification (,, Technical Support staff will help you re-route it as a Request for Ruling if appropriate. If an exception does not explicitly require preapproval through a Request for Audit, please provide the required documentation at the time of audit. 

Note: Projects with an active relationship with ILFI for Volume or Special Project work should utilize the resources and instructions provided by their project manager to ensure that requests are handled in a timely manner.

Rulings related to LBC 3.1 or earlier versions of the standard that are approved for use by all 3.1 or earlier project teams will be published on the Institute's LBC 3.X Previous Dialogue Records site, where it will be filed by date under the relevant Petal and Imperative. 

Applicable published rulings for LBC 3.X may be utilized as part of a project’s documentation submission without submitting an additional request to ILFI. The published Ruling Title in the online platform must be referenced in the 3.X audit documentation. As always, confidentiality will be maintained for all projects indicated as confidential at registration when updates are made to online rulings.

For LBC 4.x (including Core/Petal), ZE 1.x and ZC 1.x projects, approved Rulings related to these standards that are deemed to be broadly applicable (clarifications, new pathways, or equivalencies) will be incorporated into the Standard’s online Handbook under the relevant Petal and Imperative (for Core and LBC), or requirement (For ZE and ZC) through the quarterly Handbook update process.    

Submitting an RR:

For all LBC 3.x, LBC 4.0, Core, ZE and ZC 1.0 projects registered prior to March 1, 2024:

  1. Complete the Online Form: Provide comprehensive details about the project, the proposed approach, and the justifications for deviation from the published requirement. These initial questions on the form will help ILFI categorize the Request. 
  2. Gather Supporting Documentation: Attach relevant documents such as narratives, plans, calculations, and any other materials that support the request.

For all projects registered after March 1, 2024

In the project's submission portal, teams have a specific number of Request for Rulings that are allotted per certification program and a team member will need to submit the request via the platform. ILFI will post the decision to the platform for both the team and the auditor.

RR Categories:

The RR process utilizes four request categories: 

  • Existing Pre-approval Pathway: Utilizing established exception pathways outlined in the Handbooks.
  • Equivalency: Proposing an alternative approach that achieves the same or greater impact as the standard requirement.
  • Innovation: Introducing a novel approach that surpasses the standard's requirements through a more rigorous method.
  • Unique Circumstance: Adapting to specific project limitations while still meeting the overarching intent of the Imperative.

Optimizing the RR Submission:

  • Start Early: Consider standard requirements early in the project design process  to ensure no insurmountable obstacles, and submit the RR during the pre-construction phase to avoid potential delays and ensure timely project progression. Requests submitted after construction completion, with little to no opportunity for pathway discussion and project adjustment are less likely to be considered. 
  • Be Clear and Complete: Provide clear and detailed information to facilitate a swift and accurate review by ILFI.
  • Thoroughly Document: Include all necessary supporting materials to demonstrate the validity and feasibility of the proposed approach.
  • Adhere to Deadlines: RR’s must be submitted well before the commencement of the project audit to avoid complications.
  • Focus the Request: RR’s must be limited to one Imperative requirement at a time. Project teams with multiple pathway requests must submit separate RR’s for each distinct request. 

RR Review and Outcomes:

ILFI will review each submission comprehensively and request additional information if necessary or provide a formal, written response via the project's support inbox (e.g. or the project portal (for projects who registered after March 1, 2024). The standard RR response timeframe is six weeks from the date a complete submission is received.  

Financial Considerations:

  • Registered Projects: For registered projects, Requests for Ruling are included in the project registration fee, as outlined in the registration agreement. Additional RR’s are available for a nominal fee. 
  • Pre-Registration Rulings: There is a fee for project teams seeking rulings before registration. All fees must be paid in full prior to the commencement of review by ILFI. Contact for details.

Important Reminders:

  • All RR Rulings are final, and are based on the conditions specified in the Request. If the project deviates from the conditions or design outlined in the Request, the Ruling is nullified. Teams may submit a new RR to address changes in design or project conditions if applicable. 
  • Project teams who registered before March 1, 2024 must upload the final ILFI issued Ruling to the project portal to ensure the auditor is aware of any deviations or clarifications. ILFI is not responsible for sharing final RR documents with project auditors. 
  • Project teams who registered after March 1, 2024 will submit their RR documentation via the project Portal and ILFI will upload the decision to the Portal.

ILFI's dedicated support team is available to answer any questions and provide assistance throughout the RR process. Contact the relevant support inbox (,, for assistance in navigating the process. By understanding and utilizing the RR process effectively, project teams can navigate the complexities of compliance while ensuring their projects remain true to the intent of the standards. 

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