Your construction project has a CalGreen compliance issue. Now what?

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Posted by Greenmetry


In California, we are proud to have the first-in-the-nation mandatory, statewide green building code. While CalGreen has been on the books for over a decade, it’s still relatively new compared to other code sections. This can lead to a lack of awareness about the requirements among design and construction professionals. 

So when you find a compliance issue related to your CalGreen inspection, what should you do? The good news is that you have a few possible strategies to employ. You can remember them as Correction, Mitigation, and Education. 


Wherever possible, correction is the ideal action to take. It brings the relevant measure into compliance in a timely manner and by means that are in line with the code requirements. 

Example: you find that water faucets have been specified that have a higher flow rate than the requirement. You instruct the team to select alternative faucets that meet the requirements. Or: you find that water faucets have already been installed that have a higher flow rate than the requirement. You instruct (or advise) the team to install well-fitting aerators that bring the flow rate into the required range.


If correction is not possible or not feasible, the team may take action to mitigate the negative impact of a compliance violation that has occurred. 

Example: you find that HVAC vents have not been properly covered during construction activities that produce dust and debris, which is a violation of pollutant control during construction. Now, you can’t turn back the clock and cover the vents when they should have been covered. So what is the best course of action? According to Enrique Rodrigues, Associate Construction Analyst at the California Building Standards Commission, hire a duct-cleaning service to clean the ducts prior to occupancy. 


Compliance issues often stem from a lack of awareness of the requirements. Providing information and helpful guidelines to design and construction teams can help prevent compliance issues from occurring, and can be used in conjunction with corrective and mitigating strategies to improve compliance in the future. 

Example: CalGreen requires a minimum diversion rate of construction and demolition waste from landfill of at least 65% (and many jurisdictions have higher minimums), but you know that the city of jurisdiction doesn’t have many hauling vendors that are certified to meet that rate. Alert the project team early on that they should contract a hauling vendor that meets or exceeds the requirement. Additionally, you may want to provide hand-outs or other instructive materials describing best practices on the issue at hand for future reference. 

Occasional mistakes are not always completely avoidable, but you can help your team weather them by setting clear expectations. Early in the project, share guidelines for scheduling to align with CalGreen requirements. In advance of CalGreen compliance site visits, let the team know what to expect during a CalGreen site visit. Follow up the visit with a compliance inspection notice if needed.

Visit us at for more tools to assist with your green construction project. Do you have a story of a tough CalGreen compliance issue that came up, and how it got resolved? Contact us at to share your story.

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