The New AIA CalGreen Checklists
The California American Institute of Architects (AIA) has published the updated 2022 Green Building Standards Code checklists. The checklists are free to use. They are available in both CAD and PDF format.
It should be noted that the checklists must be edited to suit your project. They should never be submitted un-edited as this could incur additional scope to your project that is not required. Regardless of your project, there will be some items that do not apply as these checklists cover a wide range of project types.
The Intent of the CalGreen Checklists
It is important to understand that the intent of the checklist is for the author to verify that each checked item on the checklist is actually shown on the permit plans. Simply marking an item on the checklist as “applicable” does not place a contractual liability on the contractor.
If you intend to fill out the checklist yourself, make sure that each item checked as “applicable” has a corresponding note or detail on your plans.
A diligent permit reviewer will check to make sure the items noted are shown on the plans. Failure to do so will result in backcheck comments and possible delays to the project.
Problems with the AIA Checklist
The problems with the AIA checklists vary by jurisdiction.
Many building department’s in the state will not accept the AIA checklist for the permit submittal on either residential or commercial projects. These jurisdictions typically have published their own CalGreen checklists and require them for all permit submittals.
Some jurisdictions will accept the AIA checklist for nonresidential projects, but require the HCD checklist for residential projects.
Still others will require you submit the checklists from the CalGreen Code itself.
It is critical to check which checklist is required for your project prior to permit submittal. To do this call the permit technician for the applicable building department – or just call us at the number below and we can tell you.
Another concern with the AIA checklists is that they do not explain the intent, or complete language, of the CalGreen Code. For those who do not specialize in the code, it may not be obvious that an item does not apply.
If your project’s jurisdiction has adopted the Tier 1 or Tier 2 requirements, the AIA checklists are essentially useless. Neither the AIA residential nor nonresidential checklists contain any of the Tier requirements. You cannot submit the AIA checklist for Tier projects.
New Issues for EV Charging
The latest CalGreen Code update added costly and complex electric vehicle charging requirements for all nonresidential buildings. While the basic requirements are listed in the new AIA nonresidential checklist, there is not a clear or complete explanation of all of the code requirements. In addition, the code has added some new terms related to EV charging that are non-intuitive. Navigating the new EV requirements really takes a specialist in the code, as well as knowledge of the real world infrastructure issues.
The architect cannot simply specify EV chargers for a project without coordinating the EV charger supplier with the owner. There is a wide range of charger suppliers with varying types of chargers and with vary types of services provided. This selection cannot be done unilaterally as you will be putting the owner in a lifetime-of-the-building contractual arrangement with the EV charger company. To be clear – attempting to specify a generic EV charger system in your permit documents is fraught with problems. There are ways to save on infrastructure design, capital costs, financing, and operational costs by teaming up with a charger supplier early in the design process. To learn more about this issue see our informative article on the subject here.
Help with Your AIA CalGreen Checklists
Filling out the AIA CalGreen checklist requires and in-depth knowledge of the CalGreen Code and the intent behind the language. The language in the checklist is an abbreviated summary of each code requirement. The person filling out the checklist must know the details of the specific code section and how it is interpreted by the code officials. This takes the knowledge and experience of a CalGreen specialist who has been trained in the code and is up to date on the latest version and amendments.
We will make sure that each item checked as “applicable” has a corresponding note or detail on your plans, by providing a copy and paste list of notes and/or clear recommendations.
At CalGreen Energy Services we are specialists in the CalGreen Code. 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.