Last updated: December 16, 2022
Affiliate – a BPAC voting member
Board – the Board of Directors of the BPAC
BPAC – the Building Performance Assurance Council
Management – Senior BPAC staff
TC – the BPAC Energy Efficiency Technical Committee
QA – quality assurance
The TC’s mandate is to provide expert guidance, decisions, oversight and review in relation to BPAC’s practices and processes to align design stage energy modeling results with the in-use energy consumption of buildings. These Terms of Reference are approved by the Board and will be revised periodically on the advice of the TC and/or Management.
The TC is to restrict its activities to those matters necessary to enable buildings to deliver the operating energy efficiency, health, hygiene, comfort, resiliency, durability and air quality meeting or exceeding those attributes to the extent they are incorporated in the international Passive House standard. Its mandate does not include embodied carbon, more comprehensive air quality standards or other health standards. The BPAC intends to address topics such as embodied carbon, air quality, etc. after the QA process for operating efficiency and its collateral benefits described above are established.
Decisions of the TC likely to lead to the termination of an existing partnership with a building standard require the prior approval of the Board. The Chair of the TC is to report on any such issue to Management who shall take the issue to the Board.
Without limiting the generality of the TC mandate outlined above, it includes:
- Defining performance outcomes to be applied internationally as a global baseline performance for all buildings enrolling in the BPAC.
- Determining the technical QA processes to be followed, including the definition of terms, practices and standards to be applied internationally.
- Ensure the QA processes result in a system which operates fairly and consistently, is transparent in its processes and decisions, and provides reliable, timely responses to enquiries.
- Continually work to simplify QA processes as much as possible without reducing performance or materially increasing performance gaps.
- Developing simplified processes for small, simple buildings. The definition of what constitutes such a building may vary by jurisdiction to align with local regulations.
- Considering and defining nation-specific practices and accreditations to align BPAC QA processes with domestic practices as much as possible without compromising in-use building performance or materially increasing the performance gap. Nation-specific definitions, practices and accreditations shall be developed in consultation with, and the agreement of, the Affiliate in that nation where one has been established.
- Ongoing evaluation of available monitoring and verification data to ensure QA processes minimize performance gaps and to continually improve QA processes.
- Developing processes to require or at least encourage project monitoring and verification and identify appropriate monitoring and verification protocols.
- Identifying acceptable margins of error between modelled and in-use performance.
- Developing, maintaining and improving a written description of QA processes, modelling practices, accreditations and other elements necessary to achieve the targeted outcomes. The first energy model for which such a manual shall be developed is the PHPP, with similar manuals to be produced for other energy models or related software as soon as possible.
- Overseeing the establishment of a resource library for practitioners containing information relevant to the QA process. Within this library will be a record of TC decisions as the principles or practices approved in decisions will apply to subsequent projects. The Committee will determine how such a resource will be established, updated and communicated to ensure practitioners have access to current information on all aspects of the QA process.
- Addressing technical questions or issues relevant to the QA process raised by practitioners, policy makers or others.
- Developing technical practice and workforce training standards. Workforce accreditation details may vary somewhat by nation reflecting differences in domestic programs and professional regulation. Where nation specific criteria are being considered, they are to be developed in collaboration with and the agreement of the affiliate for that nation where one has been established.
- Advise on the development of a project database with a goal of developing a searchable database capable of supporting research, monitoring and verification studies and QA of practitioners submissions. Access to project data for research purposes is required for ongoing development of QA processes and to provide an evidentiary basis for policy and other decisions. Access to specific project data by external parties or the public may also become important and an issue the TC will be engaged in.
Responsiveness & Issue Resolution
BPAC recognizes the importance of project teams receiving timely, reliable, fair and consistent responses to enquiries. TC responses shall exhibit those characteristics and will ensure timeliness of decisions even in circumstances with limited data, recognizing decisions in relation to future projects can be amended as better data becomes available.
While the TC has exclusive capacity to determine BPAC technical QA practices, processes and standards, the interpretation and project-specific application will be the subject of ongoing enquiries from practitioners. Issues related to project specific interpretation and application shall be resolved as follows:
- All enquiries will be directed to BPAC staff for response. Administrative or support staff will be able to respond to most. The TC chair or other BPAC technical staff will be available to respond to questions administrative or support staff are not able to address.
- BPAC staff, including the TC chair, interpret and apply approved QA processes. They do not establish new practices or alter existing approved practices.
- Guidance offered to project teams by BPAC staff bind the BPAC in relation to the specific project in question and publication of the decision is not required, although may be desirable in some cases. If the guidance required constitutes a new practice relevant to other projects, BPAC staff will refer the issue to the TC as described in Paragraph 4 below. The TC may review staff guidance and establish a different practice or interpretation applicable to subsequent projects.
- BPAC staff will refer some issues to the TC and refer all matters raising an issue not adequately addressed in existing QA processes. The TC shall have a maximum of 30 days to make decisions in relation to a specific project to enable that project to proceed, with the TC indicating if the decision should be of general application to future projects. Some issues will require more than 30 days to develop the guidance to be applied to future projects. Where that is the case, the TC will flag such issues for further consideration and the decision made within 30 days will only apply to the one project.
- All TC decisions relating to the QA process shall be published and maintained in a searchable format on the BPAC website and will comply with appropriate privacy and confidentiality practices. Decisions of the TC are final and there is no appeal of QA process decisions.
- Project teams may appeal a decision of the BPAC staff on questions of how a decision or QA process applies in a specific project. The appeal process are to be developed, but will involve the filing of a written notice, the payment of a fee, a process for appeal panel selection, conduct of the hearing and publication of rulings. Rulings of the appeal panel will be final in relation to that project. Unless the TC decides otherwise, a decision by an appeal panel shall be applied by BPAC staff and the TC to future projects.
Appointment, Term & Conduct
TC members shall be appointed by an appointment committee consisting of the TC Chair, the BPAC CEO and one Board member. The alignment of an individual’s expertise with the technical needs of the TC is a key priority in identifying potential committee members.
TC members shall be appointed for a maximum of two years as determined by the appointment committee. TC members having served a two year term may be re-appointed for one additional term. Terms will be staggered and set to begin and end at a set time each year, enabling a regular annual turnover of members.
TC members whose term has expired may, at the discretion of the TC Chair and with the agreement of the TC member, support the TC by working on specified unresolved issues the TC member was engaged in as a TC member.
TC members may end their term at any time, subject to providing adequate notice to enable a smooth transition of in progress work.
The TC Chair, in consultation with the BPAC’s CEO, may terminate a TC members’ appointment at any time for failure to fulfil duties, a breach of BPAC policy or procedures.
TC deliberations will sometimes be confidential and may involve committee members having access to personal or otherwise confidential information. Committee members are to maintain confidentiality as required or appropriate and at all times protect personal information, privacy of individuals, and intellectual property of clients. Committee members failing to do so are subject to immediate removal from the Committee.
Decisions by vote
Decisions of the TC shall be made by a simple majority vote. The Board may, in its discretion, prescribe limits on the discretion of the TC and may set aside a decision of the TC after considering implications of the decision that are beyond the mandate of the TC such as, for example, legal, financial or other ramifications. The BPAC’s CEO’s engagement with the TC will assist in flagging such issues.
Workplans & Agendas
The TC shall develop an annual workplan to be approved by the BPAC CEO. The workplan shall identify the priorities and schedule for the year along with an explanation of how planned tasks are to be completed and the resources required.
A TC Chair shall be appointed by the BPAC. The Chair shall be a BPAC staff member, reporting to the CEO.
The TC Chair shall establish a meeting schedule, meeting agendas and, in consultation with the TC, determine how they wish to conduct meetings. Accurate meeting agendas and minutes shall be maintained. Minutes are intended to record decisions, not discussion, unless a committee member wishes to have a statement noted in the minutes. Agendas & minutes will be published with the exception of in camera portions.
Committee speaks with one voice
TC members are expected to disagree on issues; clear answers will often not exist. To enable better decisions, each member has a duty to express their perspective to ensure diverse views are considered. However once a decision is made, each TC member is to support that decision to ensure the TC “speaks with one voice” in communicating its decisions. The fact differing perspectives were offered can be expressed, but a TC member is to explain the reasons for the majority decision, not advocate for a dissenting perspective. There is always debate, internally and externally, however committee members must support committee decisions and the integrity of the process in reaching them.
Conflict of interest
Conflicts of interest will arise and must be managed in accordance with the BPAC Conflict of Interest Policy. If a TC member has reason to believe they might have a perceived or actual conflict of interest with a matter before the committee, the potential conflict must be disclosed to the TC Chair who will determine if the member should recuse themselves. Among other circumstances, a TC member has a conflict of interest if their firm is engaged in a project facing an issue being considered by the TC. Where there is a real or perceived conflict of interest that member will recuse themself from all communication in relation to the issue and ensure that they are not providing project or other information to the TC in relation to the issue.
TC members shall:
- Adhere to BPAC policies and procedures including privacy, harassment, respectful workplace, conflict of interest and record keeping policies.
- Understand the BPAC is an evolving initiative. Change in these terms of reference, contract conditions and organizational structure will be ongoing. Practices and processes will change, including QA processes. Decisions will sometimes be required and made with imperfect evidence and not all systems and processes will be fully developed, particularly in the early years. TC members must understand this dynamic is an integral part of developing an initiative and be comfortable working in that environment.
- Prepare for and attend meetings. Failure to prepare for and attend two consecutive meetings without notice is a basis for removal from the TC.
- Remain informed and engaged with matters the Committee is responsible for and bring emerging or perceived issues to the committee.
- Contribute their expertise and experience during discussion or debate of issues.
- At all times act in good faith to advance the vision, mission and goals of the BPAC and to not act in a manner through conduct or omission which may reduce the credibility or reputation of the BPAC or the Committee.
- Sit on the Committee as a volunteer, with the understanding some work will be compensated as described below.
- To sign and comply with the terms of an agreement incorporating items in these Terms of Reference.
TC membership is a volunteer position, however it is recognized addressing some issues will require a commitment of time TC members cannot be expected to volunteer. An annual TC budget shall be established and will include an amount which may be used to compensate committee members. The identification of which work is to be compensated and the amount of compensation shall be in accordance with the terms of the contract signed by the TC member. The contract will describe the terms of compensation with the TC chair retaining TC members for specific tasks by email in accordance with the contract.