Builders/HVAC Contractors Information
Builders/HVAC Contractoers Information
To register with CalCERTS, please download one of the forms below, complete it and return it to our office:
Builders use CalCERTS Raters for:
- Cost effective energy efficiency ratings
- 24/7 real-time access to all job status information
- Rebate assistance
- Energy Star
- Federal Tax Credit
- Utility Rebates
- New Solar Home Partnership
- Fast, efficient and reliable results on all their projects
- Ensuring a quality, energy efficient home for their buyers
CalCERTS Raters are:
- Third-party independent Home Energy Rating Inspectors
- Quality professionals trained by knowledgeable building experts
- Qualified for single family, multi family, & non-residential jobs
- Certified for Title 24, Energy Star, Federal Tax Credits & Solar Homes
- Monitored by an independent Quality Assurance Program
- Approved by the California Energy Commission
- An award winning Energy Star Partner
- The industry leader in providing high-speed online project access
- An advocate for the Home Energy Rating Industry
- A statewide organization with 700+ certified raters
The Players and Stakeholders
New Construction – The Players
The general contractor in charge of building the home or homes. They are ultimately responsible for compliance to all of the building codes, including the energy codes. The builder hires the energy consultant to prepare the compliance documentation and make recommendations on what features will be required to meet compliance. They hire the HVAC and insulation subcontractors to install some of the required measures. They hire the rater to perform the third party field verification and diagnostic testing on the home(s) built. The builder hires the rater directly, making sure there are no conflicts of interest so the rater is truly a “third party” rater.
The person who prepares the compliance documentation and makes recommendations on what feature(s) will be required to meet compliance. Working with the builder, the energy consultant ultimately determines and recommends to the builder whether a HERS rater is required.
The building department is responsible for the enforcement of the building codes, including the energy codes. The Building Department has ultimate authority over the compliance method, documentation and verification. They are required to have an accurate and complete CF-1R form at the time of application for the building permit and require a completed CF-6R from the contractors, along with CF-4R forms signed by the rater to finalize a permit.
HVAC Subcontractor (aka installer)
The HVAC Contractor is the one who is responsible for installing and self-testing the features related to HVAC that may trigger HERS field verification and diagnostic testing. They are therefore responsible for meeting the mandatory measures (i.e. minimum efficiency standards) and prescriptive requirements (i.e. sealing ducts) and for completing and submitting the proper forms.
Similar to the HVAC subcontractor, the party responsible for installing and self-testing the features related to insulation that may trigger HERS field verification and diagnostic testing (i.e. high quality insulation credit), they are therefore responsible for meeting the mandatory measure (i.e. using certified material) and prescriptive/performance requirements (i.e. required R-values) and for filling out the appropriate parts of the CF-6R Installation Certificate.
The rater is the certified third party inspector who performs the third party field verification and diagnostic testing and fills out the CF-4R Certificate of Field Verification and Diagnostic Testing. The Rater collects the CF-6R forms and when a group is established randomly selects a home for actual testing or inspection. If it passes, the rest are passed as part of a sample and all get CF-4R forms that indicate such. The rater is hired by the builder. The rater processes the CF-4R information through the CalCERTS, Inc Registry located on the CalCERTS website.
CalCERTS is the provider that administers a State-approved rating system. Known as a HERS provider, CalCERTS compiles, organizes, archives and reports on all ratings done by its certified raters. They are primarily responsible for the training and certification of the raters. Providers also perform periodic Quality Assurance tests on its certified raters in conformance with CEC requirements
Some utility companies extend support and financial subsidies and rebate programs (i.e., Energy Star and others). Check with the utility company to find out if special cost effective programs exist.
The Process – New Construction
During the initial design phase the architectural features are developed (i.e., glass area, opaque surface area, construction materials, etc.) that ultimately determine what energy features will be required for compliance. The energy consultant makes recommendations on what final features are required during this phase. The plans and compliance documentation are finalized and submitted to the building department.
The plans and documentation are scrutinized and checked. Changes may be required to the plans and documentation, which are then resubmitted. Upon approval a construction permit is issued.
There are two distinct phases of construction for production homes. Models – in production homes there are usually several ‘models’, these are basic plan types that are built over and over Production – these are the homes that are built after the models are built
Field Inspection (occurs during construction)
The building department sends a field inspector out to inspect a variety of building code related items, including some energy features. They check to make sure that the CF-6R form is being properly filled out and signed by the appropriate parties. The building inspector is responsible for inspecting the mandatory measures and all of the energy features other than those that require HERS field verification and diagnostic testing.
Field Verification and Diagnostic Testing (occurs during construction)
This is the process of actually being physically tested or approved as part of a sample and not actually tested by a third party HERS Rater. If a house has more than one HVAC system in it, ALL systems must pass individually for the house to pass: (This is different from how it is done in Alterations/Changeouts)
Certificate of Occupancy
Upon final completion and passing of all approved as part of a sample and not actually tested and other inspections, all paperwork must be completed, signed and sent to the appropriate parties. A final certificated of occupancy is issued to allow the homeowners to move into their house.
Alterations to Existing Homes – The Players
This is the person who owns the property and who has authorized the alterations that may require HERS Field Verification and Diagnostic Testing. The homeowner hires the HVAC Contractor and may hire the HERS rater, otherwise the HVAC contractor will recommend a HERS rater to the homeowner.
HVAC Contractor (aka installer)
As the HVAC Contractor is the one who makes the alterations that trigger HERS field verification and diagnostic testing, they are responsible for meeting the mandatory measures (i.e. minimum efficiency standards) and prescriptive requirements (i.e. sealing ducts). They also must test their own installation and give the results to an independent rater. Note: the rater may do this work for the HVAC contractor under a special contract agreement known as a “Third Party Contract” and for completing and submitting the proper forms.
Ultimately the Building Department has final authority over the compliance method, documentation and verifications. For just a changeout of HVAC equipment, normally there is no CF-1R filled out for permitting. But for large building alterations that include other things such as windows, etc., the CF-1R form must be filled out accurately and completely and is required at the time of submitting the application for the building permit. Consequently, the building department representative will require the CF-6R form to finalize the permit. Additionally, they may require a CF-4R to finalize the permit.
The rater is the certified third party inspector who performs the third party field verification and diagnostic testing and fills out the CF-4R Certificate of Field Verification and Diagnostic Testing. The Rater collects the CF-6R forms and when a group of 7 is established, randomly selects a home for actual testing or inspection. If it passes, the rest of the group of 7 are passed as part of a sample and all get CF-4R forms that indicate such. The rater can be hired by the installer or the homeowner can choose and hire their own rater if they choose to be actually tested. The rater processes the CF-4R information through the CalCERTS, Inc Registry located on the CalCERTS website
The Process – Alterations to Existing Homes
Initial communication between the contractor and the homeowner related to the Title 24 requirements is a critical first step in the process. The contractor is obligated to communicate to the homeowner their options and responsibilities. It is CalCERTS intent to assist in the endeavor by coaching the certified rater to be in communication with the contractor and the homeowner early on in the project.
Determining the Scope of the Work
The scope of the alterations and what climate zone the job is done in will determine whether duct sealing, TXV and subsequent HERS field verification and diagnostic testing are required. Thought should be given to the cost of the alterations vs. the cost of the field verification and diagnostic testingvs. the potential energy cost savings. This is when the CF-1R form is filled out. Note that if there are more than one HVAC systems being done in the same house, each one is evaluated separately, and one may pass while the other does not. A certificate would be issued for the passing system, and a failure would be entered for the failing system until it is fixed.
The building department should have a clear plan of action related to the processing of the required forms.
The initial baseline test potentially used for the 60% leakage reduction option. This optional test must be performed prior to any HVAC work being done It is only needed if sealing is required.
This is the actual alterations to the system including the sealing of ductwork and installation of a TXV, if required.
This is the installer’s final process of testing the system(s) to determine if it passes using one of the four options for demonstrating compliance. This may take several attempts. It is recommended that the installer make frequent use of a smoke machine to help find and seal leaks. This is when the CF-6R form is filled out and signed by the installer.
Field Verification and Diagnostic Testing
This is the process of the physical testing by a third party HERS Rater or being approved as part of a sample and not actually tested. This is when the CF-4R form is filled out.
Field Inspections (Enforcement Agency)
The building inspector will visit the home to make sure all other (non-HERS) features have been installed properly in addition to confirming that the HERS regulations have been followed and the appropriate documentation is available.
The finalizing of the permit is often required as a condition of payment to the contractor by the homeowner for work completed.