The 2018 International Green Construction Code was released on November 8, 2018 but more than a year later, it has not been adopted anywhere.
The 203 page document available from the ICC for sale to the public, .. click here for a free read only copy of the 2018 IgCC, is an entirely new standard and bears little, if any relationship to earlier IgCC versions.
Which at first blush might appear to not necessarily a bad thing, given that the IgCC, first published in 2009, has only been adopted, in whole, but mostly in part, in maybe 17 jurisdictions, out of the more than 4,400 code adopting jurisdictions across the U.S., so there was room for wider adoption of a 2018 IgCC.
For purposes of this blog post highlighting the significant changes in the 2018 IgCC, that new code will be contrasted with the 2012 IgCC and not the 2015 version, which last version we are only aware a single jurisdiction has adopted.
Which is all surprising to many because the prior versions of the IgCC were ideally suited to be edited and revised for use as a voluntary compliance code promoting sustainability and energy efficiency, for specifications in contract documents, for college and professional school textbooks and curricula, and the like; but, were admittedly not ideal for use in a regulatory setting for the compulsory certification of green buildings and construction related materials, which is all but beyond dispute given that only 17 places have adopted the prior versions IgCC.
Many code officials have concluded the 2018 IgCC is not a good building code, green or otherwise. The drafting process was widely criticized resulting in a document that has never been enacted anywhere, and likely should not ever be adopted as code. It has been widely characterized as an unbuildable code.
The previous versions of the IgCC were developed utilizing ICC’s respected Code Development Process as part of the ICC Family of Codes. But arising from a 2014 confidential agreement signed by the U.S. Green Building Council, International Code Council, ASHRAE and the Illuminating Engineering Society “to collaborate on the development of future versions of Standard 189.1, the IgCC and the LEED green building program,” the ICC was only responsible for Chapter 1, Scope and Administration of the 2018 IgCC (.. be aware the American Institute of Architects dropped out of the secret society was not a party to the final code release?). The remainder of the code is the substantive content that is the 2017 edition of ANSI/ASHRAE/ICC/USGBC Standard 189.1 for the Design of High Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings. Note, the 2017 edition of Standard 189.1 incorporated 75 separate addenda to the 2014 edition (so it is also in large part new). The ASHRAE process for approving standards may well work for standards, but the insular groups of subject matter environmental zealots that created the 2017 189.1 did not create a code that has garnered any market acceptance.
But draw your own conclusions: This 2018 IgCC contains requirements that address site sustainability, water use efficiency, energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, materials and resources, and construction and plans for operation.
The 2018 IgCC applies to “1. New buildings and their systems. 2. New portions of buildings and their systems.” and significantly “3. New systems and equipment in existing buildings.” Sec 101.3.1.
The scope of the code then does not apply to single family dwellings or multifamily dwellings of three stories or fewer. The provisions in Appendix J for residential and multifamily construction apply only when expressly adopted, providing for an option for incorporating residential building using the ICC 700 National Green Building Standard. Continue Reading