CalGreen for Contractors
There are many cases where contractors need the services of a CalGreen specialist. This is the case for design-build contractors, fire and water repair companies and individual home owner’s who are managing their own projects. If you’re building a new residential or commercial building, or doing significant additions or alterations, you are going to need CalGreen documentation for your project.
This permit documentation takes the form of a CalGreen Checklist that must be submitted along with your other permit documentation. The checklist is the means by which you affirm that all of the 2019 California Green Building Standards Code (CalGreen) requirements have been incorporated into the design.
The italicized portion of the statement above is important to understand. The checklist is not, in itself, considered part of the design. You simply cannot submit a checklist and have none of the CalGreen Code requirements on the plans. It is the job of the checklist author to verify that all applicable requirements are shown on the permit plans. If any items are missing, the author should communicate to the contractor that the plans will need to be revised to incorporate the missing items.
It is important to understand that just about every jurisdiction in the State of California has a different CalGreen checklist. You must submit the correct checklist for the city or county you are working in. Fun fact – California has 528 separate city and county building departments!
It takes a CalGreen Code specialist to understand the language, the intent and the compliance requirements for your project’s jurisdiction. A knowledgeable CalGreen specialist can help you avoid delays and change orders on your project.
In some cases your architect or designer may have a Calgreen expert on staff who can perform this task. Unfortunately many design firms do not have such an employee. What we see all too often is a designer, with no real knowledge of the code, fill out the CalGreen Checklist just before the project leaves the office. This frequently leads to permit delays and problems during the final inspection.
As the contractor, you will hold the final responsibility for compliance with the CalGreen Code. A CalGreen specialist will help ensure you are not committing to more work than is required by the code. Just because the checklist says it’s a “mandatory measure” does not mean it is mandatory for your project. It takes a detailed knowledge of the California Green Building Standards Code (aka CalGreen) to understand the difference. We can, quite literally, help you keep more “green” in your pocket.
Many jurisdictions require that an ICC certified CalGreen Special Inspector perform a final inspection. These include Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, Napa County, Redwood City, Cupertino, Gilroy, Rocklin, Tracy and others. The inspection involves verifying that the items noted on the project’s CalGreen checklist have been incorporated. It also requires certain documentation be reviewed.
The documents to be reviewed may include records of moisture readings, the records of VOC containing materials, construction waste management records and a few others.
The inspection can be very straightforward if the project architect or designer has made it clear on the contract drawings exactly what is required. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. We see many projects where the only mention of CalGreen requirements is on the checklist itself. In most cases the checklist does not provide an adequate description as to the contractor’s responsibilities.
When we are engaged on a project we not only fill out the checklist but also provide a detailed list of notes describing the contractor’s role during construction. In addition, we review the permit plans and provide clear direction to the architect or designer for any missing CalGreen requirements. By ensuring clear communication with both the architect/designer and the contractor we help eliminate any surprises during the final inspection.
How to Get Started
If your project is in need of a CalGreen inspection, please email us a copy of the complete permit set. Make sure you include the CalGreen checklist that was submitted for permit. We will get right back to you with a written proposal. We can typically get your inspection done within two or three days of the authorization to proceed.
A part of the process will include reviewing certain documents. We will provide you with a list of items that we will need to close out the project.
If you have any questions regarding your inspection, please call us. We are happy to answer any questions you may have.
At CalGreen Energy Services we are specialists in the CalGreen Code and CalGreen inspections. 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 project.
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.