How to Hire a California CalGreen Consultant
Hiring a CalGreen Consultant can be a challenge. There is very little information available on their actual duties and how they fit into the design and construction process. This leaves owners, architects and contractors unsure of just what they are paying for – and why?
I hope this article will help clarify the scope of services applicable to the typical construction project in California.
The CalGreen Code, formally known as the California Green Building Code, specifies water and energy conservation measures for all new residential and commercial buildings in California. These requirements are in addition to, and complement the requirements, contained within the California Plumbing Code and the California Energy Code.
There are three primary tasks of a CalGreen Consultant (CGC). This article explains the requirements and the duties of the CGC for each of these tasks.
Please note that the article uses the terms “CalGreen Consultant” and “CalGreen Special Inspector” interchangeably. The CalGreen Special Inspector must be certified as such by the State of California. A CalGreen Special Inspector is required by state code on all new commercial and residential projects in California.
Filling Out the CalGreen Checklist
At CalGreen Energy Services we see many projects that are submitted with boxes that are checked due to the lack of experience with the CalGreen Code. Some of these requirements may burden the project with unnecessary costs, including more expensive materials and costly testing.
The CalGreen Checklist Design Verification
The last page of the checklist requires a signature by the owner, the project architect and the CalGreen Special Inspector. All signatures must be signed for the building permit application, no exceptions.
It is the role of the CalGreen Special Inspector to review the checklist prior to the permit submittal. The review includes verification of the appropriate checklist items as well as verifying that all the checked requirements are specifically called out for in the permit documents. The requirements may be either in the plans or in the project specifications.
If any of the checked items are not shown in the permit documents, the CGC then notifies the architect or engineer who must include the requirements before the permit submittal.
Once it has been verified that all requirements have been noted in the plans and specs, the CalGreen Special Inspector signs and dates the verification form and the checklist. The plans, specs and checklist can then be submitted for permit.
Final Verification After Construction is Complete
The last step in the CalGreen Special Inspector responsibility is the field verification of all items noted under the CalGreen Special Inspector column on the checklist. The document that needs to be signed before beneficial occupancy occurs is called the Implementation Verification form.
It is important to note that not all the items on the checklist are verified by the CGC. Some of the items are reviewed by the local building officials and some are by third party testers. The verification requirements vary by jurisdiction but are always noted in the last
column of the checklist.
Once the project is complete, or nearly complete, the general contractor, architect or owner should contact the CalGreen Special Inspector. The inspector will then visit the site, review copies of the various reports that are required by the contractor and do a field inspection to ensure that all checklist items have been installed or documented.
If any items on the checklist are not complete, the inspector will notify the responsible party, in writing, of the deficiency. Once the deficiency has been addressed the inspector will verify and then sign and date the Implementation Verification form.
The CalGreen Checklist, along with the signed Implementation Verification form, are then submitted to the building department. These are required in order to receive the final Certificate of Occupancy which then allows the building owner to occupy the building.
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