California Association of Building Energy Consultants

Construction Phases

PHASE 1: Design, Permit Application, Plan Review Process & HERS Requirements

Design Phase

Parties associated with this phase must ensure that the building complies with the Building Energy Efficiency Standards and that the significant features required for compliance are documented on the plans and/or specifications.

When the design is complete, the construction documents are prepared, and when other approvals (planning department, water, etc.) are secured, the owner or contractor makes an application for a building permit.

Permit Application

When the design is complete, the construction documents are prepared, and when other approvals (planning department, water, etc.) are secured, the owner or contractor makes an application for a building permit.

Because the Standards require registration of the energy compliance documentation for the project, all CF-1R documents that require HERS verification must be registered CF-1R copies from a HERS provider data registry. Note that the construction documents must be registered prior to submittal to enforcement agency.

Plan Review Process

All applicable Certificates of Compliance must be signed and submitted with construction documents. If more than one person has responsibility for building design, each person must sign the Certificate of Compliance document(s) applicable to that portion of the design for which the person is responsible. Alternatively, the person with chief responsibility for design may prepare and sign the Certificate of Compliance document(s) for the entire design. The signatures must be electronic signatures on electronic documents.

For more detail about this project phase, visit the California Energy Standards Online Learning Center or see the Ace Resources Fact Sheet on permitting.

Plan Check

Local enforcement agencies check plans to ensure that the building design conforms to Building Standards. This includes health and safety requirements, such as fire and structural, and also the building energy efficiency requirements.

Building Permit

After the plans examiner has approved the plans and specifications for the project, a building permit may be issued by the enforcement agency at the request of the builder.

HERS Requirements & Coordination with a third party inspector (such as a HERS Rater/ ATT)

The project details indicate that coordination with a HERS Rater will be necessary during the construction and inspection process. Early coordination with a HERS Rater will ensure that inspections are properly scheduled and may help avoid delays in the inspection process.

To learn more and connect with a HERS Rater, visit the CEC HERS Provider Registry.

PHASE 2: Installation & Inspection, HERS Requirements

Installation & Inspection

Construction Inspection and Installation Certificate Verification: All properly completed CF-2R forms are required to be submitted or posted at the building site prior to proceeding with HERS testing and post-construction verification. Download forms and instructions on the California Energy Commission's CF2R — 2013 Residential Compliance Forms and Instructions web page.

HERS Requirements

Construction Phase Documentation: Because the Standards require registration of the energy compliance documentation for the project, all CF-2R documents must be signed, registered CF-2R copies from a HERS provider data registry.

PHASE 3: Construction, Inspection & Field Verification and/or Diagnostic Testing

Construction Phase

Upon receiving a building permit from the local enforcement agency, the contractor begins construction.

Enforcement Agency Field Inspection

Local building departments, or their representatives, inspect all new buildings to ensure compliance with Building Standards

Field Verification and/or Diagnostic Testing

Some building features require field verification and/or diagnostic testing by a third party inspector (such as a HERS Rater or Acceptance Testing Technician) as a condition for compliance with the Standards.

PHASE 4: Acceptance & Verification and HERS Requirements

Acceptance & Verification

HERS testing and Verification: A copy of the Certificate(s) of Acceptance must be posted or made available with the building permit(s) issued for the construction/installation, and must be made available to the enforcement agency for all applicable inspections.

HERS Requirements

Because the Standards require registration of the energy compliance documentation for the project, all CF-3R documents must be signed, registered CF-3R copies from a HERS provider data registry.

PHASE 5: Issuance of Final Permit & Post Construction

Issuance of Final Permit

The permit is finalized and closed out by the enforcement agency. This approval is provided by the local enforcement agency.

Post Construction

Upon project completion, the enforcement agency shall require the builder to leave inside the building all completed, signed and dated compliance documentation which includes at a minimum the CF-1R and all applicable CF-2R forms for residential projects and the applicable NRCC, NRCI and NRCA forms for nonresidential projects.


As always, I am available to discuss the process of meeting the California Energy Code for any building project. Contact me …