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Mecklenburg County Code Enforcement is responsible for enforcing a minimum construction standard, represented by the NC State Building Code family. It is easy to envision sustainable design projects exceeding the minimum standards of the Code, and posing challenges to the Department relative to terminology, atypical construction methods or even sustainable design conflicts with parts of the Code. Consequently, the Department is trying to head off situations where inspectors are faced with atypical “green” construction technology in the field, resulting in:
Based on local historic construction activity patterns, relative to the rest of the State, Mecklenburg County will probably be hit early and hard with service requests regarding sustainable design. To avoid lengthy reviews at the State level, and optimize our work with the new NC Department of Insurance Evaluation Services Section (now focusing on sustainable design) we believe the strongest approach is to propose compliance strategies to the State for their concurrence. This requires active problem solving locally, focusing on the possible solutions gaining compliance with the Code’s intent, while supporting the project's sustainable design strategy.
In these cases members of the design and construction community who are heavily involved and conversant in sustainable design could provide an invaluable tool, serving as an expert resource as the Department considers the most appropriate enforcement strategy for a given project. While this issue primarily regards sustainable design, we anticipate it will also involve other challenging mechanical-electrical-plumbing (MEP) interpretation issues driven by changes either in construction technology or process.