When it comes to CALGreen, Title 24 Energy Code compliance, and other California building standards, the main authority for each respective code varies by governmental office or division. These include the Building Standards Commission (BSC), California Commission on Disability Access (CCDA), California Energy Commission (CEC), etc.
One organization which stands out from the rest of California’s administrative offices is the Division of the State Architect (DSA). What makes this department unique is that they do not develop codes and standards, they adopt and enforce them, similar to local authorities having jurisdiction. Unlike local jurisdictions, which hold certain sway over particular locations, the DSA’s reach extends across the entire state. However, their jurisdiction is applicable to schools and municipal buildings. Specifically, the DSA holds authority over Education Code (K-12 & Community Colleges) and Government Code (Accessibility and Fire Safety).
If you are developing an educational facility (private or otherwise), you will likely need to comply with the building code as adopted by DSA. Their standards are not much different from the rest of California, but their submittal process may be unusual compared to what most developers and architects are accustomed. For example, the DSA generally requires that all projects must be 100% complete and essentially ready for construction before submitting anything for review. In other words, minimal submittals are not intended for DSA projects. If you wish to comply with DSA standards, you must ensure that everything on their project submittal checklist is fully complete before submitting.
Although this can seem daunting, VCA Green is well-equipped to assist with the green building and energy code requirements for projects of this nature. Additionally, your school may qualify for the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS), a voluntary green building program designed specifically for improving the sustainability of educational facilities. For more information on how to comply with either of these sets of measures, contact Moe Fakih below:
Moe Fakih, Principal
Contributing Writer: Burke Boydell, LEED AP Homes