On May 11, 2011, HB 972 was signed into law. This is enabling legislation that allows the Department of Housing and Community Development to adopt by regulation the International Green Construction Code and authorizes local jurisdictions to adopt and make local amendments to the International Green Construction Code. It becomes effective on March 1, 2012.
Will we soon see local jurisdictions begin to adopt the IGCC in its entirety or make amendments to the Code?
- Probably. Maryland is an environmentally progressive state, and many of its jurisdictions have been quick to incorporate some form of green building requirements or incentives into their local laws, therefore, it's easy to anticipate that provisions of the IGCC may be appealing to local governments as they continue to mandate "green."
So what is the IGCC?
- It is intended to provide model code language that is designed to link together concepts of green building design, building performance, and building safety. It is an overlay code that is intended to advance our existing codes, and uses provisions of the International Energy Conservation Codes as a baseline.
Similar to other green building initiatives, the IGCC focuses on things like energy conservation, water efficiency, building owner responsibilities, site impacts, building waste, and materials and resource considerations. Unlike other green building initiatives (LEED being one example), the IGCC, if adopted by your local jurisidiction (in whole, or in part), will become enforceable and mandatory as part of regular code compliance.
Therefore, the provisions that local jurisidictions choose to adopt and/or to amend will be very important for builders and developers. If and when your local jurisdiction introduces legislation to adopt the IGCC, you will want to become involved in that process as early as possible to voice your concerns. The beauty of HB 972 is that it gives local governments the flexibility to pick and choose those provisions of the IGCC that will work based on that locality. We'll take a look at some of the model language from the IGCC in a follow-up post so you'll be aware of some of the important provisions of the code.