The proposed regulation on indoor air quality in relocatable classrooms (COMAR 23.03.06) was withdrawn from the Board of Public Works agenda for November 6, the Director of Public School Construction, Dr. David Lever recently announced. The regulations seek to implement a requirement of the Education Article made by the 2007 General Assembly, specifying six requirements for relocatable classrooms at public schools:
- air barriers to limit infiltration
- protection against water damage
- continuous forced ventilation when the unit is occupied
- a programmable thermostat
- energy efficient lighting and heating and air-conditioning systems
- volatile organic compounds (VOC)
The new regulation, Indoor Environmental Quality Standard, would establish that relocatable classrooms at public schools conform to:
- The International Green Construction Code, Chapter 8, Sections 801 – 806 AND
- EITHER the Model Performance Code for pre-manufactured units OR local building codes for locally constructed relocatable classrooms.
The law which creates the regulatory authority for indoor air quality, Chapter 223, Laws of 2007 states in part that the Act
shall be construed to apply only prospectively and may not be applied or interpreted to have any effect on or application to any relocatable classrooms purchased or leased before the effective date of this Act.
The critical issue is the retroactive vs. prospective application of the requirements, Dr. Lever described, though there was little disagreement that Chapter 8 of the International Green Construction Code is an appropriate vehicle for establishing International Air Quality standards.
The Public School Construction Program plans to meet with the legislative sponsors to discuss the intent of the legislation and perhaps seek an amendment that will clarify the applicability of the requirements.