A new “Green Building” code will take effect starting 1/1/2011. This new code will be called California’s Green Building Standards Code, aka CalGreen. The California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) contributed to the creation of the new code, and has published a “Guide to the California Green Building Standards Code” to help builders understand and prepare for compliance.
CALGreen is Part 11 (the California Green Building Standards Code) of Title 24 (the California Building Standards Code) and becomes effective next month. As part of Title 24, this will be an enforceable part of the building code. CALGreen is not independent of and must be used in conjunction with the other parts of Title 24, and is a major step in the standardization of green building practices in California.
Section 4.410 of the new Code is entitled “Building Maintenance and Operation”. This Section identifies the required content of operation and maintenance manuals, including the new “Green” requirements. This Section also requires that all manuals provide “Operation” information. One of the background comments in the CALGreen “Guide to the California Green Building Standards Code” provides some insight into what this means. The following is a summary of that comment:
“Even the most efficient home can operate poorly when new, uninformed homeowners become responsible for maintenance and operation. Starting in January 2011, the Homeowners (and Association) Manual will need to become a true, one-stop maintenance and operations manual to be in compliance with the new code, providing technical, operational and educational resources so that the new Homeowner can make well-informed decisions regarding their home. By providing information on transportation options, recycle opportunities and energy incentive programs, the Manual will also help Homeowners make environmentally conscientious decisions.”
Section 4.410 also requires that information on maintenance and operations for the building (painting, waterproofing, drainage, roofing, landscaping) and for manufactured products (HVAC equipment, water heaters, appliances) be specific for the building and construction type, the materials used and the manufactured products installed. Current one-size-fits-all or generic manuals do not satisfy the requirements of the new code since they will not provide information specific to that home.
The new code (Line Items 3, 4 and 9 of Section 4.410) also requires certain information to be local and specific to the area in which the Community is built. Community-specific information is required from local utility companies on usage reduction, from local trash companies on recycle programs and locations, about local carpool and public transportation options and about current State solar energy and incentive programs.
What all this means is that operation and maintenance manuals can start as a generic manual, but in order to be compliant with the new code, must be individualized for each new home and each new Community.