Lesson 1. Follow the code, no matter how complicated or unreasonable it is.
I have attended several conferences and training sessions on the new California Building Codes. The plan is the make the codes stricter and stricter every code cycle until all buildings in California are zero energy. (please note that zero net energy in this instance means does NOT mean no energy bills at any time for the building owner). The building departments have no choice in this matter. Our legislators made it a law. Part of this is tightening down on the quality of construction with respects to infiltration and insulation. Everyone who spends time in buildings benefits from well built buildings. All building owners stand to save surprising amounts of money from having their buildings built well.
I have heard horror stories about what a nightmare enforcing QII can be. QII stands for Quality Insulation Installation. Contractors incur substantial extra expenses trying to get their buildings to pass QII inspections. Inspectors routinely flunk contractor’s work three or four times and add months to project completion and costs of extra trips out for the subcontractors and inspectors.
The solution is actually pretty simple. All architectural drawings should spell out in detail EXACTLY what the contractor needs to do in order to make the building air tight and to install insulation so that it actually insulates the way it is supposed to.
There is a handy booklet that guides architects, engineers, contractors, and subcontractors through this process. It is called “Quality Insulation Installation (QII) Handbook 2019. This book has lots of clear photographs and CAD drawings to illustrate what has to be done. PLEASE NOTE THAT QII IS NOT A BUNCH OF PICKY NEW REQUIREMENTS. QII IS ENFORCEMENT OF WHAT HAS BEEN IN THE CODE FOR MANY YEARS.
WHETHER YOUR PROJECT REQUIRES QII ON THIS CODE CYCLE OR WILL REQUIRE IT ON THE NEXT CODE CYCLE-THESE STEPS ARE ALREADY IN THE CODE AND GREATLY ENHANCE THE COMFORT AND ENERGY BILLS OF YOUR CLIENTS.
Here is the bottom line list I found in CalCERTS QII handbook. I have CAD copies of these requirements in specification form and the details that are available to architects for free by requesting them via email to me. CalCERTS does require that they are referenced as source on all of the details they created in the Handbook.