CalGreen Checklist is a form that is required to be submitted with your building permit application. The purpose of the checklist is to document which California Green Buildings Standard Code items your project will comply with.
In addition, the CalGreen Checklist is intended to ensure that your project’s design team has actually incorporated these requirements into the building design. The Green Building Standards Code (aka CalGreen) is relatively new in the industry and not well understood. The checklist is a tool for the building department to verify that your design team has included all the required items in your project.
It’s fair to expect your architect or building designer should know all of code requirements. However, the reality is that the California codes have grown so much, and change so often, its nearly impossible to keep up. You will probably be surprised to learn that even your local building officials are not aware of many CalGreen code requirements.
CalGreen Checklist Requirements
The first question you need to answer for your permit application is, “Which checklist do I submit?”.
It’s important to know that almost every building department has a different checklist requirement. There is no standard checklist that is acceptable throughout California. You must use the checklist approved by your building department.
So how do you find out the correct CalGreen checklist to use?
The answer is either call CalGreen Energy Services and ask us. Or call you local building department. Unlike your local building department, we always answer the phone!
Also know that we are happy to help you whether you hire is or not. Just call if you have a question. We’re nice people who like to help.
Should I Fill Out the Checklist Myself?
If you have a background in sustainable design and are familiar with the California Building codes, the answer is “maybe”. Without an in-depth knowledge of the CalGreen Code itself, and how it is interpreted, you may run into problems.
The problems range from committing to more work than is required by the code, to not ensuring your contractor is obligated to record the required documentation during construction. These, and other over-sights, can prove costly to your project.
Our costs to provide a properly filled out checklist, ready for permit, is around $200 (it varies a little by jurisdiction). Our fee not only includes providing the checklist on a full size drawing to match your permit set, but we will also deal directly with your building department should any questions arise. There is no additional charge for this service.
Our checklist permit drawings will also include detailed notes requiring your contractor to document and maintain the CalGreen records that are required to close out your project. This is a critical step in ensuring there are no delays to your occupancy permit.
If you still want to fill out the checklist yourself you can still call us. We are happy to help you. We do not charge people for helping them out. It’s a big part of what we do. (Also, why we’ll never get rich doing this!)
Some Tips on Filling Out the Checklist
While every checklist is different, there are some general tips to consider when filling yours out.
The most important tip is to not check more items than are necessary. Every item you check will cost your project money. When in doubt, mark it “NA” (not applicable). If the building department comes back as says you need it, fine. A good example would be your doing an interior remodel. Your checklist has a number of site requirements. Since your work is inside your project you do not have to comply with any CalGreen site requirements. All checklist items related to site work should be marked “N/A”.
Some checklists, like the Housing and Community Development, contain not only the mandatory measures, but also the Tier 1 & 2 voluntary measures. Unless your jurisdiction has adopted Tier 1 or Tier 2, these requirements should be marked “N/A”.
The AIA CalGreen checklist is also full of items that likely do not apply to your project. Your checklist should be carefully edited to remove the many items that will not apply to you. Another problem in using the AIA checklist is that the checklist is in AutoCad format. This format makes it very time consuming to edit properly. We have seen many projects being submitted with this checklist unedited. This can be a costly mistake for the project if the building department chooses to enforce the checklist you submitted.
At CalGreen Energy Services we are specialists in the CalGreen Checklists throughout California. CalGreen is our only business. If you have a CalGreen question please feel free to give us a call. We are happy to share our knowledge.
Call us today and let us show you how we can help with your checklist.
Gary Welch has over 35 years experience in the field of sustainable building design. He is the CEO of CalGreen Energy Services. Gary is an ICC Certified CalGreen Special Inspector and Plans Examiner.