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Subchapter E. Texas Windstorm Insurance Association

Division 1. Plan of Operation

28 TAC §§5.4008 - 5.4009

Division 7. Inspections for Windstorm and Hail Insurance

28 TAC §5.4603

The Commissioner of Insurance adopts new §5.4009 and amendments to §5.4008, concerning building code specifications in the plan of operation of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (Association or TWIA) and further adopts amendments to §5.4603, concerning forms to be used for windstorm inspections. The sections are adopted with changes to the proposed text of §§5.4008 and 5.4009 as published in the December 6, 2002, issue of the Texas Register (27 TexReg 11474). There are no changes to the text of §5.4603 other than to the items adopted by reference, and that section will not be republished.

Insurance Code Article 21.49, §6A as amended by the 77th Legislature in Senate Bill (SB) 365, provides in pertinent part, that "After January 1, 2002, in geographic areas specified by the commissioner, the commissioner by rule may supplement the building specifications in the plan of operation with the structural provisions of the International Residential Code." SB 365 also amended the Local Government Code to adopt the International Residential Code (IRC) as a municipal residential building code in this state and the National Electrical Code as the municipal residential electrical construction code in this state. The proposal to adopt the IRC was recommended by the Advisory Committee on Building Code Specifications and Maintenance pursuant to Insurance Code Article 21.49, §6C based on a determination by the Advisory Committee that the structural provisions of the IRC do not weaken the integrity or diminish the effectiveness of an existing building specification. The Advisory Committee also recommended adoption of the International Building Code (IBC) regarding structures that fall beyond the scope of the IRC. The department sought input regarding components such as internal pressure and windborne debris requirements, roof and exterior wall coverings, exterior openings, fastener requirements, and anchorage of mechanical for all new construction, alterations, repairs, and/or additions for possible incorporation/retention into the building specifications in the plan of operation. As a result of that input and based on comments supporting incorporation of some of these components into the building specifications, the commissioner has adopted, along with adoption of the IRC and the IBC, those components concerning protection of openings and attachment of asphalt shingles and updated manual edition references which are identified in new §5.4009 as the Texas Revisions to the International Residential Code and the Texas Revisions to the International Building Code. Accordingly, §5.4009 has bee n changed to reflect the adoption by reference of the Texas Revisions that apply to the protection of openings and attachment of asphalt shingle provisions of the IRC and IBC and that update the edition references in the IRC and IBC to the National Design Specification for Wood Construction and the Wood Frame Construction Manual for One- and Two-Family Dwellings. The revisions to the rule based on the comments do not introduce new subject matter or affect new persons and do not weaken the integrity or diminish the effectiveness of an existing building specification; therefore, the department has determined that the revisions are necessary to adopt a rule that will maintain adequate building standards for wind resistant construction. In accord with the changes to §5.4009, conforming changes to the inspection forms adopted by reference in §5.4603 as well as clerical and editorial changes have been made. Further, the department has made a change to the text of §5.4008 to correct an updated statutory reference regarding the Advisory Committee´s meeting at least two times a year.

New §5.4009 adopts by reference the 2000 International Residential Code and the 2000 International Building Code and the Texas Revisions to the International Residential Code and the Texas Revisions to the International Building Code for structures located in the designated catastrophe areas specified in §5.4008. These adopted codes and revisions are applicable to structures constructed, repaired, or to which additions are made on and after February 1, 2003. The international codes are published by and available from the International Code Council, 5203 Leesburg Pike, Suite 600, Falls Church, Virginia, 22041, and the Texas Revisions to the International Residential Code and the Texas Revisions to the International Building Code are available from the Windstorm Inspections Section of the Inspections Division, Texas Department of Insurance, 333 Guadalupe, P.O. Box 149104, Austin, Texas, 78714-9104. The specific jurisdictional information regarding wind speeds, as called for in the design criteria table of the 2000 International Residential Code, is delineated for the purposes of identification of the areas to which they apply and as permitted by the 2000 International Building Code, the exemption for historical structures is noted, and the reference to the Texas Revisions has been added. The adopted amendments to §5.4008 contain corrective statutory changes and conform the time periods of applicability for structures constructed or repaired, or to which additions are made on and after September 1, 1998, and before February 1, 2003, and specify May 31, 2003, as the date through which applications for inspection under this section will be accepted. The adopted amendments to §5.4603 delete the current Form WPI-2, Building Construction Compliance and adopt a new Form WPI-2, Building Inspection, to implement the international codes; adopt a new Form WPI-2A, Building Construction Compliance, to refer to the application process under §§5.4007 and 5.4008; and conform Form WPI-2D, Building Design, to implement the international codes. The forms have additional conforming changes as a result of comments and changes based on the Texas Revisions to the International Residential Code and the Texas Revisions to the International Building Code regarding the protection of openings and attachment of asphalt shingles. There have also been editorial and clerical changes made to the forms.

COMMENTS

Comment: Many commenters supported incorporation of all or some of the components into the building specifications on which the department had sought input and which have been referred to as the Texas Revisions. Specifically, the protection of openings and the structural integrity of roofs were most often cited as necessary requirements for structures to be considered insurable property through the TWIA. The commenters stated that the IRC and IBC do not adequately address impact resistance for openings (doors and windows) or roof construction standards, materials and installation procedures, and that past experience has shown that the integrity of windows, doors, and roofs is a major determining factor with respect to interior damage and damage to contents. Indeed, several of these commenters conditioned their recommendations regarding adoption of the IRC and IBC upon the adoption of these components. Other commenters noted support of adoption of statewide model building codes but stated their belief that adoption of the 2000 IRC would reduce the current level of property protection in areas seaward of the intra-coastal canal in Texas. Some commenters provided studies that support the need for openings protection from windborne debris and show that shingle failure from wind is not solely based on shingle fastening patterns and methods but is also a function of shingle tab uplift resistance. The commenters stated their support for revisions to the protection of openings and attachment of asphalt shingle provisions of the IRC and IBC.

Agency Response: The department agrees that the suggested revisions combine the benefit of having consistent building standards while maintaining specifications that require sound wind resistant buildings in high wind areas. The department has changed the rule to note revisions to the protection of openings and attachment of asphalt shingle provisions of the IRC and IBC.

Comment:Some commenters supported the adoption of the IRC without the Texas Revisions stating that the IRC is a state-of-the-art code in terms of building products and technology and that any revisions should be done through the normal code process which is now an eighteen month cycle. The commenters compared the differences between the IRC and the current TWIA code and stated their belief that adopting the IRC without the Texas Revisions will ensure a high standard of construction along the Texas coast. Another commenter spoke to windborne debris in terms of the type of hazard involved and the issue of glazed opening protection. The commenter stated that glazed opening protection would add approximately $7,000 to the cost of a home whereas a plywood requirement adds approximately $600 to $1,200 to the cost of a home and is therefore more affordable. Another commenter pointed out that the glazed opening requirements are part of the current TWIA building specifications and queried whether adoption of the IRC without the Texas Revisions would reduce the cost of a home by a corresponding amount. This commenter also noted that jurisdictional revisions to the IRC are contemplated and that most cities supplement and modify the IRC with their own local code provisions. Another commenter supported the adoption of the IRC and IBC and stated that this will complement what is already being done in municipalities. This commenter stated that the cost of construction will not increase because these codes are already being used and that any increase in cost because of wind speed requirements just shows that there is need for improvement and that wind speed is an evolving science.

Agency Response: The department agrees in part that adopting the IRC and IBC provides many benefits, among which include consistent building standards and updated building products and technology. The department is also mindful of the necessary requirements for structures to be considered insurable property through the TWIA and of the past experience regarding the damage to contents and personal property when windows, doors, and roofs are breached. The department believes that the revisions to the rule based on comments provide an acceptable compromise that allows the adoption of international codes in the building specifications in the TWIA plan of operation while maintaining those components that, in accord with statutory requisites, do not weaken the integrity or diminish the effectiveness of a building specification. The department appreciates the commitment of the commenters in working together to achieve these goals and mandates.

Comment: One commenter recounted his experience with whether or not plywood is actually attached to a structure in the event of an imminent hurricane and suggested that if plywood is allowed for opening protection, that it be allowed only for the first floor of a structure that has more than one story.

Agency Response: The department appreciates the commenter´s concerns but notes that there is general agreement as to the importance of protection of openings; therefore, the department declines to change this building specification in this regard.

Comment: One commenter noted that the 2000 editions of the IRC and IBC do not reference the most current editions of two documents, the National Design Specification (NDS) for Wood Construction and the Wood Frame Construction Manual for One- and Two-Family Dwellings (WFCM), but that upcoming editions of the IRC and IBC which have yet to be published will include references to the new 2001 editions of the NDS and WFCM. The commenter summarized the differences between the older and newer editions of the NDS and WFCM and stated that reference to the updated editions will insure that the work of designers and builders reflect current design provisions for wood framed buildings and specifically noted that the WFCM is based on the current ASCE 7-98 performance standard. The commenter stated that if the TWIA plan of operation recognizes the 2000 editions of the IRC and IBC, that amendments be made to those editions to include references to the 2001 editions of both the NDS and the WFCM.

Agency Response:The department agrees and notes that the adoption of the Texas Revisions to the IRC and the Texas Revisions to the IBC will include references to the new 2001 editions of the NDS and WFCM.

For: Texas Association of Builders; Applied Residential Engineering Services; Southern Building Code Congress International and International Code Council; Texas Society of Professional Engineers.

For with changes: Institute for Business & Home Safety; Texas Windstorm Insurance Association; Door & Access Systems Manufacturers Association International; American Forest & Paper Association; Racelectric Engineering; National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies; Liberty Mutual.

Against with changes: State Farm Lloyds; Texas Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company and Texas Farm Bureau Underwriters.

The new and amended sections are adopted under the Insurance Code Article 21.49 and §36.001. Article 21.49, §6A specifies building code requirements and approval or inspection procedures for windstorm and hail insurance through the Association. Article 21.49, §6C requires the commissioner to appoint a Building Code Advisory Committee to advise and make recommendations to the commissioner on building specifications in the Association's plan of operation for structures to be eligible for windstorm and hail insurance through the Association. Article 21.49, §5(c) provides that the Commissioner of Insurance by rule shall adopt the Association's plan of operation with the advice of the Association's board of directors. Section 36.001 provides that the Commissioner of Insurance may adopt rules to execute the duties and functions of the Texas Department of Insurance as authorized by statute.

§5.4008. Applicable Building Code Standards in Designated Catastrophe Areas for Structures Constructed, Repaired or to Which Additions Are Made On and After September 1, 1998, and before February 1, 2003.

(a) Areas Seaward of the Intracoastal Canal. To be eligible for catastrophe property insurance, structures located in designated catastrophe areas which are seaward of the Intracoastal Canal and constructed, repaired, or to which additions are made on and after September 1, 1998, and before February 1, 2003, shall comply with the Building Code for Windstorm Resistant Construction. The Texas Department of Insurance adopts by reference the Building Code for Windstorm Resistant Construction, effective September 1, 1998. Amendments to the Building Code for Windstorm Resistant Construction are adopted by reference to be effective June 1, 2002. Any Application for Windstorm Building Inspection, Form WPI-1, submitted pursuant to this subsection will be accepted through May 31, 2003.

(b) Areas Inland of the Intracoastal Canal and Within Approximately 25 Miles of the Texas Coastline and east of the Specified Boundary Line and Certain Areas in Harris County.

(1) To be eligible for catastrophe property insurance, structures located in designated catastrophe areas specified in paragraphs (2)(A) and (2)(B) of this subsection and constructed, repaired, or to which additions are made on and after September 1, 1998, and before February 1, 2003, shall comply with the Building Code for Windstorm Resistant Construction which is adopted by reference in subsection (a) of this section and any applicable amendments adopted by reference to be effective June 1, 2002. Any Application for Windstorm Building Inspection, Form WPI-1, submitted pursuant to this subsection will be accepted through May 31, 2003.

(2) Structures, as specified in paragraph (1) of this subsection, in the following areas are subject to the Building Code for Windstorm Resistant Construction.

(A) Areas located east of the following boundary line, except for areas inside the city limits of a city or town divided by the boundary line:

(i) Cameron, Willacy, Kenedy, and Kleberg Counties. Moving south to north in Cameron County beginning at the intersection of the international border of Mexico and the United States following the western city limits of the City of Brownsville, Texas, north to the intersection of the western city limits of the City of Brownsville, Texas, with U.S. Highway 77; continuing along U.S. Highway 77 through the counties of Cameron, Willacy, Kenedy, and Kleberg;

(ii) Nueces County. Beginning at the Kleberg/Nueces County line intersection with U.S. Highway 77 and continuing northeasterly along U.S. Highway 77 to the intersection of U.S. Highway 77 and the southwestern city limits of the City of Corpus Christi, Texas, following the western city limits of the City of Corpus Christi, Texas, north to the Nueces/San Patricio County line;

(iii) San Patricio and Refugio Counties. Beginning at the Nueces/San Patricio County line intersection with U.S. Highway 77 and continuing northeast along U.S. Highway 77 to the intersection of U.S. Highway 77 and U.S. Highway B77 north through Sinton, Texas, to the intersection of U.S. Highway B77 and U.S. Highway 77 north of Sinton, Texas, and continuing north along U.S. Highway 77 through the counties of San Patricio and Refugio;

(iv) Aransas County. (All of Aransas County is east of the boundary line);

(v) Calhoun County. Beginning at the Refugio/Victoria County line intersection with U.S. Highway 77 and continuing east along the Refugio County line to the intersection with the Calhoun County line and following north and east along the Calhoun County line to the intersection of the Calhoun/Matagorda County line;

(vi) Matagorda and Brazoria Counties. Beginning at the Jackson/Matagorda County line intersection with F.M. Road 616 and continuing northeasterly to the intersection of F.M. Road 616 with State Highway 35; continuing northeasterly along State Highway 35 through Matagorda and Brazoria County to the intersection of State Highway 35 with F.M. Road 521; continuing north along F.M. Road 521 to the intersection of F.M. Road 521 with F.M. Road 523; continuing northeasterly along F.M. Road 523 to the intersection with the northwest city limits of the City of Angleton, Texas, and following the western city limits of the City of Angleton to the intersection of the city limits of the City of Angleton with F.M. Road 523; continuing along F.M. 523 to the intersection of F.M. Road 523 with State Highway 35; continuing along State Highway 35 to the intersection of State Highway 35 with State Highway 6, continuing east on State Highway 6 to the Brazoria/Galveston County line;

(vii) Galveston County. Beginning at the Brazoria/Galveston County line intersection with State Highway 6 and continuing northward along the Galveston County line to the southern city limits of the City of Friendswood, Texas; continuing to follow the eastern city limits of the City of Friendswood, Texas, north to the Galveston/Harris County line; continuing to follow the Galveston County line east to the intersection of the Galveston/Chambers/Harris County lines;

(viii) Chambers County. Continuing from the intersection of the Galveston/Chambers/Harris County lines north along the Harris/Chambers County line to the intersection of the Harris/Chambers/Liberty County line; continuing east along the Chambers/Liberty County line to the intersection of the Jefferson County line and continuing east and south along the Chambers/Jefferson County line to the intersection of Interstate Highway 10;

(ix) Jefferson County. Beginning at the Chambers/Jefferson County line intersection with Interstate Highway 10 and continuing northeasterly along Interstate Highway 10 to the intersection of Interstate Highway 10 with F.M. Road 365; continuing east along F.M. Road 365 to the intersection of F.M. Road 365 with Hillebrandt Road; continuing north along Hillebrandt Road to the intersection of Hillebrandt Road with West Port Arthur Road; continuing south along West Port Arthur Road to the city limits of the City of Beaumont, Texas; continuing to follow the southeastern city limits of the City of Beaumont, Texas, as it crosses through F.M. Road 3514, U.S. Highways 69, 96, and 287 and State Highway 347 and continuing to the intersection with the Jefferson/Orange County line. The areas located east of the specified boundary line include, but are not limited to, the areas inside the city limits of the cities of Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Portland, Rockport, Aransas Pass, Port Lavaca, Matagorda, Brazoria, Lake Jackson, Angleton, Galveston, Anahuac, Nederland, and Port Arthur.

(B) Areas located east of State Highway 146 and inside the city limits of the cities of Seabrook, La Porte, Shoreacres, Pasadena, and Morgan's Point (all in Harris County).

(c) Areas Inland and West of the Specified Boundary Line. To be eligible for catastrophe property insurance, structures located in designated catastrophe areas which are west of the boundary line specified in subsection (b)(2)(A) of this section and constructed, repaired, or to which additions are made on and after September 1, 1998, and before February 1, 2003; and structures located inside the city limits of cities and towns divided by the boundary line specified in subsection (b)(2)(A) of this section, and constructed, repaired, or to which additions are made on and after September 1, 1998, and before February 1, 2003, shall comply with the Standard Building Code, as amended May 8, 1973, and with the Windstorm Resistant Construction Guide, which is adopted by reference in §5.4007(b) of this title (relating to Applicable Building Code Standards in Designated Catastrophe Areas for Structures Constructed, Repaired, or to which Additions are Made Prior to September 1, 1998). These areas include, but are not limited to, the areas inside the city limits of the cities of Harlingen, Raymondville, Kingsville, Robstown, Sinton, Refugio, Bay City, Friendswood, Alvin, and Beaumont. Any Application for Windstorm Building Inspection, Form WPI-1, submitted pursuant to this subsection will be accepted through May 31, 2003.

(d) Periodic Review of Building Code Standards. The Building Code Advisory Committee, in accordance with Article 21.49 of the Insurance Code, shall review periodically, and at least on a bi-annual basis, the building code standards specified in this plan of operation and shall recommend to the Commissioner any changes to these standards that the committee deems appropriate.

§5.4009. Applicable Building Code Standards in Designated Catastrophe Areas for Structures Constructed, Repaired or to Which Additions Are Made On and After February 1, 2003.

(a) To be eligible for catastrophe property insurance, structures located in the designated catastrophe areas specified in §5.4008 of this chapter (relating to Applicable Building Code Standards in Designated Catastrophe Areas for Structures Constructed, Repaired or to Which Additions Are Made On and After September 1, 1998, and before February 1, 2003) and which are constructed, repaired, or to which additions are made on and after February 1, 2003, shall comply with the 2000 International Residential Code or the 2000 International Building Code, as revised by the Texas Revisions to the International Residential Code and the Texas Revisions to the International Building Code, and all of which are adopted by reference to be effective February 1, 2003. The codes are published by and available from the International Code Council, 5203 Leesburg Pike, Suite 600, Falls Church, Virginia, 22041, and the Texas Revisions to the International Residential Code and the Texas Revisions to the International Building Code are available from the Windstorm Inspections Section of the Inspections Division, Texas Department of Insurance, 333 Guadalupe, P.O. Box 149104, Austin, Texas, 78714-9104. The following wind speed requirements shall apply:

(1) Areas Seaward of the Intracoastal Canal. To be eligible for catastrophe property insurance, structures located in designated catastrophe areas which are seaward of the Intracoastal Canal and constructed, repaired, or to which additions are made on or after February 1, 2003, shall be designed and constructed to resist a 3-second gust of 130 miles per hour.

(2) Areas Inland of the Intracoastal Canal and Within Approximately 25 Miles of the Texas Coastline and east of the Specified Boundary Line and Certain Areas in Harris County. To be eligible for catastrophe property insurance, structures located in designated catastrophe areas specified in subsections (b)(2)(A) and (b)(2)(B) of §5.4008 of this chapter and constructed, repaired, or to which additions are made on or after February 1, 2003, shall be designed and constructed to resist a 3-second gust of 120 miles per hour.

(3) Areas Inland and West of the Specified Boundary Line. To be eligible for catastrophe property insurance, structures located in designated catastrophe areas specified in subsection (c) of §5.4008 of this chapter and constructed, repaired, or to which additions are made on or after February 1, 2003, shall be designed and constructed to resist a 3-second gust of 110 miles per hour.

(b) Repairs, alterations and additions necessary for the preservation, restoration, rehabilitation or continued use of a historic structure may be made without conformance to the requirements of subsection (a) of this section. In order for a historic structure to be exempted, at least one of the following conditions shall apply to the structure:

(1) The structure is listed or is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic places.

(2) The structure is a Recorded Texas Historic Landmark (RTHL).

(3) The structure has been specifically designated by official action of a legally constituted municipal or county authority as having special historical or architectural significance, is at least 50 years old and is subject to the municipal or county requirements relative to construction, alteration, or repair of the structure, in order to maintain its historical designation.

§5.4603. Forms for Windstorm Inspections.

(a) The Texas Department of Insurance adopts by reference the following forms for use in windstorm inspection:

(1) Application for Windstorm Building Inspection, Form WPI-1, as amended October 1, 1998;

(2) Building Inspection, Form WPI-2, effective February 1, 2003;

(3) Building Design, Form WPI-2D, as amended February 1, 2003;

(4) Field Form, Form WPI-7, as amended October 1, 1998;

(5) Certificate of Compliance, Form WPI-8, as amended October 1, 1998;

(6) Texas Department of Insurance Application Acknowledgment--No Fee Required, Form WPI-9, as amended October 1, 1998;

(7) Texas Department of Insurance Application Acknowledgment for Engineered Structure--No Fee Required, Form WPI-9E, effective October 1, 1998;

(8) Texas Department of Insurance Application Acknowledgment--Fee Required, Form WPI-9F, effective October 1, 1998.

(9) Building Construction Compliance, Form WPI-2A, effective February 1, 2003.

(b) These forms are published by and available from the Texas Department of Insurance. Copies of these forms may be obtained from the Windstorm Inspections Section of the Inspections Division, Texas Department of Insurance, 333 Guadalupe, P.O. Box 149104, Austin, Texas 78714-9104.



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