Meeting energy codes can be a strain on a development project’s budget. The rules are very strict, and much of the time the benefits seem insubstantial. Despite the problems that arise with striving to meet California’s energy codes, not meeting code is one of the best ways to harm a development project’s budget, and as a result the investment into energy compliance should be weighed against the risks involved in not passing inspections.
In this article, we will discuss the risks of breaking energy codes, and why a developer should strive to ensure that the systems put in place are completed correctly and on schedule.
Remaking construction documents
There are many cases in which the systems that are mapped out in the construction documents appear to be in excellent condition to meet code, but problems arise during the implementation of the plans. In this case, an onsite change in plans has to be undertaken. These issues are generally a result of unforeseen circumstances that cannot be presumed by those without experience in the installation of energy systems.
Onsite changes in construction documents are a costly and avoidable risk. Prior to the installation of energy systems, the construction documents should be reviewed by a professional in energy compliance to ensure that the plans are feasible. This will negate the risk of failing reviews and forcing a last-minute and costly revision of plans.
Rebuilds concerning energy compliance are generally a result of one of two factors, if not both: either the materials and practices involved in construction were faulty when matched to the code during an inspection, or the inspection was timed wrong with the next stages of construction. An example of the latter is if the inspection for insulation takes place after the drywall has already been installed.
Rebuilds are literally working backwards against the budget, so making sure that the proper investments are put into ensuring that the materials meet code, the installers are properly trained, and the inspections are timed correctly should be a top priority.
The last big risk is when a development project loses points in the energy compliance program. Many developers aim to meet the minimum required points required by energy codes, and as a result a single mistake could mean that the building is out of the program, and is therefore unqualified for certification.
This error could be as simple as missing a mandatory inspection, and as grave as installing windows in a way that is not up to that specific code for the entirety of the project.
Understanding the risks is the best first step that a developer can take in circumventing the problems associated with energy compliance. If you have found this post of use, please join us in our next post concerning the budget-cutting risks involved with sustainable design and how to avoid those problems.