Quality certifications for construction products are frequently developed and approved by standard-awarding organisations in the form of product labels, owing to the complexity of circumstances and to support credibility. These aim to help customers and planners to make a quick and reliable assessment about whether the quality conforms to their requirements.
To help guide planners and customers in this regard and attain more flexibility with regard to the definition of DGNB criteria, the DGNB has developed a process for granting DGNB recognition for product labels. This is intended to help simplify the provision of documentary evidence in the application of the DGNB system and promote the dissemination of standards for products that are used in the construction sector with requirements that correspond to those of the DGNB system in terms of content.
In awarding recognition for a label, the DGNB does not determine the quality of a label in its entirety – rather, this is to be understood as checking the compliance of the label requirements with selected DGNB criteria. The process results in a continually developing list of product labels that fulfil the objectives of individual quality levels in criteria with the aid of externally reviewed evidence on the basis of transparent rules.
The DGNB gives standard-awarding organisations the opportunity to be identified as a "DGNB-recognised standard". This process is open to all label providers that adhere to the content and formal requirements of the DGNB and award declarations and/or certificates for construction products or construction components.
The recognition procedure is characterised by five steps. This procedure ensures the existence of high-quality results that can easily be verified.
The DGNB provides standard-awarding organisations with the opportunity to apply for recognition of their label by the DGNB for defined criteria. The defined criteria and the information that standard-awarding organisations need to submit for the review are published on the DGNB website. In general, the defined criteria take the form of quality levels formulated within the criteria and specified applications (e.g. product groups), where these are applicable. They can also only contain parts of quality levels, as is the case in the example of criterion ENV 1.2, for which the label recognition only applies for specified content in specified lines of the "criteria matrix".
The content requirements can be found in the document "Content and systemic requirements for label recognition" or in the corresponding DGNB criteria. Additionally, evidence must be provided for the fulfilment of what are known as systemic requirements, details of which can also be found in the aforementioned document.
Standard-awarding organisations apply with the DGNB, submitting all evidence that has been designated relevant for the review by the DGNB. The evidence must clearly and verifiably attest to the content-related objectives formulated by the DGNB that are worded in the DGNB criteria by means of direct reference to the documents of the standard-awarding organisation. Additionally, proof of compliance with the systemic requirements of the DGNB that are required for the recognition must be produced by the standard-awarding organisation.
These formal requirements can vary in their scope depending on the criterion and are published in the documents for "Content and systemic requirements for label recognition" on the DGNB website.
All documents that need to be reviewed according to the "Application documents for label recognition" stipulated by the DGNB must be submitted with the application. In its application documents, the standard-awarding organisation indicates the scope of application in the form of a construction product category, and in doing so orientates itself according to the categorisation system of the DGNB Navigator.
An internal committee of the DGNB reviews the application documents for completeness and compliance with the content and systemic requirements that have been formulated by the DGNB. If necessary, they will also be advised by external specialists. In the course of this process, consultations are held with the standard-awarding organisation until all open questions have clarified. As a prerequisite for this, all required evidence must be presented and references to the requirements within the documentation must be clearly identified by the applicant.
The DGNB compiles a brief check report and informs the applicant of the result of the assessment. At the same time, they inquire whether the applicant recognises the result and whether the results may be published. Should the applicant confirm this, the label is listed on the DGNB website and the inspection report is published. Confirmation from the standard-awarding organisation must have been received by the DGNB for this to occur. Furthermore, a contract concluded between the standard-awarding organisation and the DGNB GmbH forms the basis for recognition of the label by the DGNB, and regulates the expiry of the recognition procedure as well as the rights and obligations of the parties.
No later than one year after the date of approval, or in the event that the DGNB has justified interest in doing so, the DGNB will ask the standard-awarding organisation to confirm the validity of the initial inspection by means of a signature from an authorised representative or, in the event of deviations (e.g. changes to the awarding principles), to produce additional or new evidence.
If the confirmation or required documentation is not produced within a period of three months, the label of the organisation can be removed from the list of recognised labels.
Regular remuneration for the assessment does not apply for DGNB members. Non-members can find the information regarding remuneration for assessment in the contract documents.