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  • Who started SEAM™? And when?
    SEAM, Inc. was founded in 2018 by Rainey Shane and Alex Demestihas, who are both commercial real estate professionals and share a passion for human rights. Rainey has more than 15 years of experience in the industry, mainly in adaptive reuse. Prior to becoming SEAM's CEO in 2024, Rainey served as the Social Sustainability Director for North America at JLL, where she guided Fortune 200 companies along their social impact journeys. Alex has more than 15 years of experience in the industry covering multi-family and large corporate headquarters. Currently, he serves as a Managing Director of Project and Development Services for the Southeast Region at JLL.
  • What is JLL's role in SEAM™?
    JLL, the commercial real estate firm, signed on as a Founding Sponsor in 2022 to support the launch of the nonprofit SEAM, Inc. founded by Rainey Shane and Alex Demestihas.
  • What is SEAM™?
    SEAM™ is a comprehensive, holistic social equity standard for commercial real estate. SEAM stands for Social Equity Assessment Method. The SEAM Certification™ is for projects and focuses on a series of key social sustainability objectives that follow internationally approved standards and align to recognize ESG and other social reporting frameworks. SEAM Accreditation™ is for people and is a credential that is attained by demonstrating the knowledge and understanding of embedding social equity in the built environment and the implementation process for applying the SEAM Standard to commercial real estate projects. SEAM is setting the bar for social impact in commercial real estate through project certifications, professional accreditations, and memberships for interested individuals and firms.
  • Why is SEAM Certification™ important?
    Every real estate project has the potential to make a positive social impact. SEAM is on a mission to help companies leverage their real estate to make the world a better place. SEAM aligns a company’s social goals (such as ESG metrics, diversity & inclusion goals, or other Corporate Social Responsibility targets) to their Commercial Real Estate footprints.
  • Why should CRE professionals and organizations participate in SEAM™ Certification?
    SEAM certification™ provides project owners with a chance to set their projects apart from others by demonstrating a commitment to meeting rigorous standards for positive social impact. The SEAM Certification™ standard is in line with globally recognized reporting frameworks. It can be integrated into a company's CSR or ESG strategy, enabling it to better tackle the challenges of measuring social impact on its projects.
  • What kind of buildings can be certified under SEAM™?
    Any type of real estate project, whether it's a building, interior space, park, infrastructure project, or any other, can receive certification. It doesn't matter if it's a new construction or an existing building/space. All real estate projects have a significant social impact because the built environment touches the lives of many people.
  • What are the requirements for a SEAM certification and what documentation would be needed?
    The SEAM Certification has specific requirements that are outlined in the SEAM Standard v1. These requirements aim to promote social equity in the financing, planning, design, construction, and operation of commercial real estate projects. To achieve SEAM Certification, projects must meet these requirements and accumulate a minimum score required for one of the certification levels: Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum. The required documentation for the SEAM Certification process is listed in detail in the SEAM Standard v1 with Implementation Guidance. This documentation should enable reviewers to evaluate the accuracy and completeness of reported data and information.
  • How long does it take to obtain the SEAM Certification™?
    It depends on the project and the rating type. Social impact is not one size fits all so every project will have a different profile depending on project specifics. Generally, for a B+I Certification, it will take as long as the project takes. For an O+M Certification, it will depend on how much is already in place addressing social equity. It can take as little as 4 to 6 months for a company further along in their social equity journey, and as long as a year for those that may just be beginning theirs.
  • How much does the SEAM Certification™ cost?
    The registration fee is $2000 regardless of project size or type. Certification review fees are based on the level of certification pursued (vs. square footage typically seen in green building and health & wellness certifications). Because higher levels of certification pursue a higher number of complex Activities in their scorecard, the review requires more time and effort, reflecting higher review fees. Generally, review fees are in the range of $4500 for Bronze, $5500 for Silver, $6500 for Gold, and $7500 for Platinum. These fees are subject to change as we calibrate the review process over the next four pilot project reviews.
  • Is the SEAM Certification™ recognized globally?
    The certification is launching this year so we aren't famous yet, but it is based on internationally recognized and approved standards and tied to reporting frameworks that are recognized globally.
  • Does a building that has been SEAM Certified™ have to be re-certified after a certain amount of time has gone by?
    For B+I Certification (buildings and interiors), only Gold and Platinum levels require annual reporting and recertification every three years. Other levels do not need recertification. O+M Certifications (operations and maintenance) require recertification every three years, with annual reporting. Buildings or spaces certified under an old version can choose to recertify under a new version if released
  • What’s the impact of a SEAM Certification™ with regards to the building and the community?
    SEAM (Social Equity Assessment Method) creates real estate projects that benefit everyone. It reduces inequalities and promotes economic opportunities, while addressing environmental justice and enhancing social cohesion. SEAM encourages transparency and accountability, ensuring long-term value and sustainability. Prioritizing social equity, inclusivity, and sustainability in real estate projects is key to creating a better future for ourselves and our communities.
  • How will a project become SEAM Certified™?
    To become SEAM Certified, the project owner needs to register their intention and pay the registration fee. After that, they must complete activities in the SEAM Standard™ with the help of a SEAM Accredited Professional or the SEAM Standard v1 with Implementation Guidance. Once the activities are completed, the project Administrator (project owner, representative, or SEAM AP) will submit the SEAM Certification application along with the necessary verification documents. The Epsten Group, an independent third-party entity, will review all the submitted applications and verification materials and determine the certification status based on compliance with the SEAM Standard.
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