Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley recently signed bill MD HB 972 into law, effective March 1, 2012. The law “authorizes the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development to adopt the IGCC, while allowing local jurisdictions to make amendments to the IGCC under certain conditions as long as the local amendment is adopted in accordance with applicable local law.”
The IGCC was designed to reduce the environmental impact of construction projects and specifically addresses energy, water and material usage, as well as indoor environmental quality.
Maryland adopted the International Green Construction Code (IGCC) as an optional requirement for new construction projects including commercial construction and residential construction over three stories high. Local governments will now have the freedom to incorporate the IGCC as a supplement – not a requirement – to the State’s current green building policy. Compliance with the IGCC, where adopted, will be voluntary, and available to a property owner who wishes to avail himself of the code. Maryland has become the first state to pass this legislation statewide.
According to Builder News, other states that have begun to adopt the IGCC include:
- An optional code in Richland, WA;
- An alternative requirement for new public buildings in Rhode Island;
- The nation’s first tribal community enactment in Kayenta Township, AZ, with an optional requirement with mandatory applications still under consideration; and
- Fort Collins, CO, approved significant extractions from the IGCC and the National Green Building Standard, ICC 700, as part of green building code amendments to the city’s building codes.
The implementation of the IGCC highlights Maryland’s leadership in the national trend towards green development. The use of IGCC or similar green construction codes is becoming more commonplace nationwide. Contractors will benefit from becoming familiar with the IGCC as implementation of green friendly codes will certainly result in changes to not only construction practices but also to specifications, construction contracts and bonding and insurance requirements.