As a Passive House designer, you can make the process faster, easier and contain costs for your client by being well-organised and diligent when it comes to the details required for certification. Read more about what we’re doing to turn every designer who certifies with us into a certification superstar.
This guide is designed for new Passive House designers or those who haven’t uploaded to the Passive House certification platform for a while and who may need a refresher.
It provides point by point assistance and I suggest you have it open on a second screen as you upload your documentation, or print it out for easy reference.
The certification platform is by the Passive House Institute. It’s a bit clunky (at least in appearance) but this is what we work with and the sole means by which documents for certification are exchanged. It is essentially a folder tree with standardised folder names and the ability to bulk download all attached files.
Sometimes a section is missing (eg 1.2 below). This is because your certifier has disable section when setting up your project, usually because it’s not relevant to your submission.
Note we have used yellow highlighter to draw your attention to particular features or actions in the screenshots that follow.
To upload documents, click through the file tree to the relevant sub folder, click [choose file] and select the document to upload from your computer.
NB At this point the file is only cached on the PHI server. It has not been uploaded and if you close or refresh the page, it will not be saved.
You can select up to five files to upload at once.
If you want to replace a file, click [Choose File] next to its name (see example below). It will be overwritten with the new file you select.
TIP Use the [Submit] button (top or bottom of screen) often to save your progress.
(This label is confusing, it would be better translated as Save. It doesn’t notify us you’ve uploaded documents.)
If you are uploading large or multiple files, it can take a while to save them to the platform. Be patient.
TIP We also work as Passive House designers (just not on the same projects we certify). When we are working on a project we’ve designed, we organise our documents using the same folder structure as the certification platform. It’s an easy way to check all our documents have been uploaded and to quickly find files in the future.
Once all relevant documents in a section are uploaded, select the checkbox next to “Okay by designer” and click [Submit] again to save. Each section turns from red to orange as you save them in this way. It’s not mandatory but it provides a handy visual indicator of your progress.
By the time your certification is ready for review, one of three things must have happened for each sub-section:
- You have uploaded the latest documents.
- You told us the information is already in another folder.
- You advised that information is not applicable.
The icon turns green once we check [Okay by certifier]. That signals to you that the information in that sub-section is sufficient.
It’s vital to keep the certification document up to date. If a document you’ve already uploaded becomes superseded, mark it as obsolete. This process is easy enough but not intuitive so please look at the screenshots below.
- Click [Show tools]
2. Identify the relevant files and check the box labelled [Obsolete]. This can be applied to a single file or a batch of files.
3. Click [Submit]
Those files disappear from view on the platform.
NB You can undo this action by clicking [Show tools] again—all your old files will be visible. Uncheck the [Obsolete] box and click [Submit] to restore them. Selecting [Hide tools] will take you back to a normal view.
Sending a notification
You have everything uploaded, ready to go? Let us know you’re done through the platform itself. This is our signal to go into the platform and schedule work on your project.
- Select [Dialogue bar]
- Type or paste your message into the dialogue box.
- Click [Submit].
Your message will be emailed to Sustainable Engineering certifiers and copied to you. This is the best way to notify a project is ready for review because it is monitored by all the certifiers. If one person is on leave, it will still be seen and noted.
TIP Upload all your documents before writing a message in the dialogue box. Using [Submit] to save your progress will send whatever text is in the dialogue box.
NB: Selecting “Okay by designer” or “Notify Certifier” does not send us a notification. You need to use the dialogue bar, as explained above, to do this.
Best use of the comment field
Don’t use this function to notify us your documents are ready either—it doesn’t trigger a notification. Use the process outlined above to do that.
The best use of the comments field is (a) when you need to explain that a sub-section is not applicable to your project; or
(b) to note where that information can be found if it’s uploaded in another sub-section or within another document.
You can also use the comments field to write a very brief note about your assumptions or system. However if it is more than one sentence, it’s better to upload a Word or text file with your information.
Name files well
Give us self-explanatory, informative file names. It’s much easier if they have unique and descriptive names (not JUIYTBVJKH.pdf or datasheet.pdf datasheet(1).pdf, datasheet(2).pdf etc). You get the picture.
See our complete example Passive House submission as an example of what works:
Comments for the certifier and project assumptions
A brief overview of the project can go a long way to helping us to get to know your design. This can be a half-page summary, it doesn’t have to be a lengthy essay. This is not mandatory but it is useful, especially on more complex projects.
It is helpful to spell out for us any assumptions you have made in your project—say for example you have used a value from the High Performance Construction Details Handbook for the thermal bridge and multiplied that value by a safety factor. Upload a document outlining these assumptions; it can be included with the overview.
This will be a live document we will keep up-to-date. Let us know what is useful, if there is anything you’d like us to add, or anything that is confusing. We’re here to help you and achieve our shared goal of more people living, working and playing in Passive House buildings.