Audit Process

This article is intended to guide Auditors through the Audit process in Portal. However, in the spirit of transparency, this article has been made publicly available.

In this article:

Audit Process

When a project's application has been submitted for certification - meaning that all required documentation and payment have been submitted - here's what happens behind the scenes:

ILFI assigns an Auditor. The Auditor will then receive an email that looks like this:

Once the Auditor receives this email, they will log-in to Portal.  The Auditor's homepage in Portal looks like this:

(Note that the form names and number of forms will differ depending on which certification the project is pursuing.)

The Auditor will then click on the Project assigned to them, specifically the Submission (e.g. "Zero Energy Test"); only clicking on this link will allow a split-screen review of the project team's submission and Auditor's review templates.

On the left of the split-screen will be the project team's application materials; on the right of the split-screen will the the Auditor's review area.  In general, the Auditor will click on the pull-down menu on the left of the split-screen and select the portion of the project team's application they want to review; their review comments and rulings will be input on the right side.

In the example here, the first Review Form that the Auditor will review for this Zero Energy project is "General Information / Exception Documentation."  The Auditor will review the provided documentation against requirements.  If all requirements have been met, the Auditor will indicate "Yes" under "Criteria Met?" and input Audit Report comments in "General Information: Final Ruling Details."  If all requirements have not been met, the Auditor will indicate "No" under "Criteria Met?" and input what information has been provided, how it does not demonstrate requirements, and what additional information / documentation must be provided by the project team in the "General Information: Clarification Request" area.  

In this Zero Energy audit example, the Auditor will repeat the above process for the four additional Review Forms:

(Note that the form names and number of forms will differ depending on which certification the project is pursuing.)

Be sure to save and submit each individual form before completing the final "Yes, my form is complete and ready for staff review" form.

Finally, the Auditor will navigate to the Auditor Final Decision Form and check "Yes, my form is complete and ready for staff review."  If the Auditor wants to provide any additional details - i.e. does the Auditor require additional information from staff such as historical precedents, etc? - those can go in the "Additional Comments" box.  Then the Auditor hits "Submit."

Once staff has reviewed the Auditor's comments and initial rulings, the Auditor will receive another email, this time listing any staff comments and required action items.  The Auditor must then log back into Portal, click on the Submission as before, and make the changes requested, ultimately finishing on the same form as above, and indicating that the Audit is complete and ready to be submitted to the project team.

(Note that if the Auditor requests no Clarification Requests or only minimal edits are necessary, ILFI staff may perform and push to the project team directly without any back-and-forth between the Auditor and ILFI, to expedite the process and improve efficiency.)

Once this process is complete, the project team should receive their Clarification Requests via email.  When the project team has sufficiently added to or edited their submitted documentation to address the Auditor's Clarification Requests, the above process repeats. During the second and final round of the review, the auditor will evaluate any new information or documentation against program requirements and their Clarification Request and indicate whether "Criteria Met?"  During the second review, all Auditor comments are put in the Final Ruling Details box.

As before, the Auditor submit their review findings and comments to ILFI, and ILFI will review, working with the Auditor to correct content as necessary. Once finalized - typically one week after the documentation is resubmitted by the project team - the Final Audit Report will be sent via email to the project team. The Final Audit Report contains the Auditor's Final Ruling Details. The Final Audit Report also notes the level of certification achieved (if any).

Learn more about the registration and certification process for individual programs:

Auditing Process Tips (from the auditors!)

  1. Sign in at living-future.org
  2. Click Living Building Challenge Projects in the Manage section:
  3. Click Review Submissions:
  4. Click the name of the project you have been assigned to audit
  5. For Living or Petal audits, it helps to download all documentation and view locally. Download all documentation by checking the box to the left of the project name, clicking the orange Download button, then clicking Download Selected Submissions:

  6. Because there are so many completed documents and forms, and the documents aren't always named in a consistent or accurate way, it helps to rename them yourself (e.g. I02 Urban Agriculture Area Calculations.pdf).
  • Use the Petal Handbooks for the version of the Living Building Challenge the project is pursuing to make sure you're assessing all listed requirements. Portal doesn't necessarily catch ALL requirements listed, so be sure to double check against published standard requirements.
  • To get a jump on any potential oddities or project-specific nuances, read any appeals and lessons learned as well as communications with ILFI. Definitely check out which Exceptions the project is using!
  • If you have comments or a tracking process you'd like to relay to ILFI, use an external document and just send it via email to ILFI (or send any additional communication via email). You can use the Documentation Requirements document or the Petal Handbooks or the LBC Standard document as a basis for your comments.

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