Integrated Green Construction Code Poised for 2010 Debut

Drafters of the International Code Council's International Green Construction Code (IGCC) say they are nearing completion of the first-ever integrated green code for traditional and high-performance commercial buildings, set for a public release in March.

"This will be the first time code officials, owners, and designers will have an integrated regulatory framework to put into practice that meets the goal of greening the construction and design of new and existing buildings," said Code Council CEO Richard P. Weiland. "Only a code that is useable, enforceable, and adoptable will have the capability of impacting our built environment in dramatic ways."

The IGCC is designed specifically to integrate and coordinate with the other international codes already being enforced by governmental code officials at all levels. All 50 states and more than 20,000 U.S. jurisdictions use the international codes developed by the council for safety and sustainability. The international codes also serve as the basis for construction of federal properties around the world, and as a reference for many nations outside the United States. ICC is a non-profit membership association dedicated to building safety, fire prevention, energy efficiency, and sustainable building construction and performance.

According to ICC, the IGCC's unique drafting approach links the international codes to a public process bringing together diverse areas of expertise to create the first integrated, regulatory framework for green commercial buildings. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and ASTM International are cooperating sponsors. Among the more than a dozen other organizations with representation on the IGCC drafting committee, known as the Sustainable Building Technology Committee (SBTC), is the U.S. Green Building Council Green Globes Initiative.

"We are not an industry or advocacy organization, but rather the same folks who have written the building codes used throughout the United States and around the world for decades," said ICC board member and SBTC Chair Ravi Shah. "From the beginning of our code development earlier this year, we've had 29 SBTC members and countless work group members from across the spectrum of government, industry, non-profit, and academia weaving their views into a consensus code."

ICC's consensus process invites continual public input from all perspectives, culminating in a final approval from code officials to ensure the best possible rate of compliance. According to the council, a critical element of the IGCC is that it is consistent and coordinated with existing international codes that span the spectrum of the industry from building, to energy conservation, fire safety, plumbing, mechanical fuel gas and existing buildings among others.

“Voluntary systems have led market transformation and paved the way for a regulatory framework that includes specialized standards addressing highly technical areas around installation and equipment performance,” Weiland said. “And with our cooperating sponsors at the AIA and ASTM International providing the essential perspective of the design and standards communities, there is finally an option on the table that a local, state, or federal code official can actually use, enforce, and adopt to impact the built environment.”

The last drafting meeting of the SBTC will be this month in Austin, Texas. The first public version of the IGCC will be published in March, and ICC says it expects the code to inform many policy discussions currently underway. At the same time, the IGCC will undergo continual maintenance with the solicitation of additional public comments through hearings being conducted in August. The IGCC will then go through another round of review, comments, and public hearings in 2011 for the publication for the 2012 ICC Family of Codes.

For information about this month's meeting and other IGCC activities, visit www.iccsafe.org/igcc.

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