All state-funded buildings must use the state-mandated code.
A rule-making process is used to adopt new codes and to change existing codes. When a proposed code change is forwarded to the Department of Community Affairs, it is first reviewed by a task force consisting of engineers, architects, builders, contractors, and other interested parties. The task force evaluates the proposal and forwards it to the State Codes Advisory Committee if deemed appropriate. The Advisory Committee also evaluates the proposal and submits it for public hearing. If approved, the proposal is adopted by the Board of Community Affairs for inclusion into the code. The Department of Community Affairs is responsible for final rulemaking. The Department of Community Affairs has a goal of revising the Georgia Energy Code on a three-year cycle, but is not required to do so by law. Thus, some revision cycles may be longer.
The Georgia Energy Code (GEC) is one of eight mandatory minimum standard construction codes. It has statewide application and is mandatory regardless of whether it is adopted or enforced by a local jurisdiction. However, local units of government do enforce the code in jurisdictions that have elected to enforce the GEC. The code is not enforced in jurisdictions that have not elected to enforce it, however, the designer and builder must still comply with the requirements. Local inspectors are hired by cities and counties. The Department of Community Affairs provides training for inspectors through Clayton College and State University. Attendance is not mandatory, and no state certification requirements exist for inspectors. Certification of Building Officials through the ICC is voluntary.
A process to demonstrate compliance is not available in jurisdictions that are not enforcing codes. In jurisdictions that are enforcing codes, compliance can be demonstrated during the plan review stage and verified by local inspection. Some jurisdictions may accept the registered design professional's seal on a letter stating that the design conforms with the code. Acceptance of such a letter is up to the local building official. Disputes between owners, builders, or design professionals and the local building official can be taken to the local board of appeals for a hearing. Descriptions of this process are provided in Chapter One of the International Code Council (ICC) codes.
The 2000 IECC with state amendments went into effect on January 1, 2003, with the exception of SHGC 0.40 requirement which went into effect on January 1, 2004.
State amendment to ASHRAE 90.1-2001 became effective January 1, 2003. The amendment provided a minimum commercial building thermal component requirements for roofs, walls, and glazed fenestration. Chapter 8 of IECC 2000 could also be used for the commercial code.
The initial edition of the GEC was promulgated by the State Building Administration Board as authorized by Ga. L., 1978, p. 2212, which went into effect on July 16, 1978. The code was based on both the Model Code for Energy Conservation, developed by the National Conference of States on Building Codes and Standards, and ASHRAE/IES Standard 90-1975. Funding to prepare and update this code was provided under a federal grant received through the Georgia Office of Energy Resources (OER) from the U.S. Department of Energy under Public Law 94-163.
Under Ga. L., 1980, p. 2859, the General Assembly transferred the functions, personnel, and equipment of the State Building Administration Board to the State Department of Community Affairs, effective July 1, 1980. Since that time, the Department of Community Affairs has continued to maintain the GEC. Until March 31, 1996, the GEC was based on the 1992 MEC and ASHRAE/IESNA 90.1-1989 with state amendments.
The GEC, which became effective January 1, 2005, adopted the 2000 IECC with state amendments. The code was mandatory for all buildings, except those owned or leased in whole by the U.S. government.
On January 1, 2008, the 2006 IECC with Georgia State Supplements and Amendments became effective.
The Georgia Residential Green Building Code Task Force is charged with reviewing and making recommendations to the State Codes Advisory Committee regarding the adoption of the National Green Building Standard, ICC 700-2008 and any necessary Georgia State Amendments as a permissive code. The applicability of this code will encompass detached one- and two- family dwellings and multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses) as prescribed in the International Residential Code. Code changes would take effect on January 1, 2011.
The 2010 Georgia Amendments to the State Minimum Standard Codes become effective January 1 2010.