The International Green Construction Code

  April 6, 2011

Today's tip is about the International Green Construction Code, currently in Version 2.0 and expected to be released in final version in March 2012. At that time, many experts have not-so-subtly suggested that the construction and facilities management industries will change forever.

That’s because the code contains stringent energy efficiency and material sourcing and recycling standards. But for facility managers, possibly the most cogent part of the code is that it contains requirements for commissioning, operations and maintenance. No other building code really deals with what happens after a building is built. So the IGCC is unique in that respect. The code requires project teams to do pre- and post-construction commissioning, develop operations and maintenance manuals, and complete various other requirements that fall into the facility management realm.

Another section deals with the alteration, repair, addition, sale and change of occupancy of existing buildings. If any of these situations occur, the code is triggered to apply to that existing building. That's a major departure from standard building codes as well, and is certainly one of the more controversial sections in the IGCC.

Some have asked what will happen to the LEED rating system once IGCC is widely adopted. The answer is simple, according to U.S. Green Building Council sources. Codes provide the minimum of what is required, whereas voluntary standards provide the ceiling, so LEED will continue to evolve to ensure that only projects that exhibit the highest levels of sustainability can be certified.

The IGCC will undergo a public hearing in May, 2011 in Dallas, with a final approval vote slated for November, 2011 in Phoenix.


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