CalGreen Changes Compliance Standards for Maintenance Content, O&Ms

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New mandatory building standards incorporating "environmentally responsible" principles, include significant changes to a homebuilders requirement to provide a "green" maintenance manual to new homeowners.

Hailed as a significant and progressive step in environmentally responsible development, the California Green Building Standards Code (CalGreen), which go into effect in 2011, will not only affect the way homes are built, but also take measures to orient homeowners on how to maintain a "greener" lifestyle.

The CalGreen Codes, which passed into law early this year, are a comprehensive blueprint defining new minimum standards for all residential, government and commercial building in the State of California. One of the new requirements is the presentation of a maintenance manual that includes educational sections on energy efficiency, recycling, and water conservation.

"Apart from the educational component, one of the biggest changes and challenges is builders will be now be responsible for collecting and providing Operation and Maintenance documents for all of the green-related products installed in the home," said Steve Fabry, CEO of Compendia, a leading national developer and distributor of home maintenance and warranty information.

According to Fabry, builders already responsible for providing maintenance and warranty documents in accordance with the 2002 law known as SB800, will need to make significant changes to the information they currently present new homeowners.

Chapter 4, Section 4.410 of the code states builders must add new green-centric content to their existing maintenance and warranty manuals for all new homes permitted after January 11, 2011. This includes the collection of O&Ms for most appliances, HVAC systems, water heating systems, space conditioning systems (including condensers and air filters), water reuse systems, roof and yard drainage and landscape irrigation systems. This material must remain with the home throughout the structure’s lifecycle.

“One of the key benefits of the new law is the support to provide this information online in personalized web-accounts that allow homeowners to access what they need when they need it, Fabry added, “This way documents never get lost or damaged and can remain with the house as it passes from one owner to the next.”

Builders are already making significant changes to adapt to the new building standards.

"The codes are clear and although a greater burden is placed on builders to provide this added information, the ultimate goal is to put professional, vetted content and best practices in the hands of homeowners to ensure a ‘greener future. That’s why many look to outsource this portion of their business to experts,” said Fabry.

A full version of the CalGreen codes can be found at Chapter 4, Section 4.410 which covers Building Maintenance and Operation is covered on Page 20 of that document.

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Scott Davis
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