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You are here: Home . rules . 2006 . 1219a-059

SUBCHAPTER E. TEXAS WINDSTORM INSURANCE ASSOCIATION

Division 1. Plan of Operation 28 TAC §§5.4010 and 5.4011

Division 7. Inspections for Windstorm and Hail Insurance 28 TAC §5.4603

1. INTRODUCTION. The Texas Department of Insurance proposes amendments to §5.4010 and new §5.4011 concerning building code specifications in the plan of operation of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (Association) for structures to be eligible for windstorm and hail insurance coverage through the Association, and proposes amendments to §5.4603 which adopts by reference the forms to be used for windstorm inspections to determine compliance with applicable building code requirements in the plan of operation of the Association. The proposed amendments to §5.4010(a), (a)(2), and (a)(3) are necessary to specify the end date of August 31, 2007, for compliance with the 2003 editions of the International Residential Code (IRC) and the International Building Code (IBC), with Texas Revisions, which are adopted by reference in the current §5.4010. The IRC specifies building code standards for residential structures, and the IBC specifies building code standards for other structures, including commercial buildings and government buildings. The adoption by reference of the 2006 editions of the IRC and the IBC, as revised by 2006 Texas Revisions, is proposed in new §5.4011 to be effective September 1, 2007. Article 21.49 §§3(f) and 6A(a) of the Insurance Code require that all structures that are constructed or repaired or to which additions are made on or after January 1, 1988, to be considered insurable property for windstorm and hail insurance from the Association, must be inspected or approved by the Commissioner for compliance with the building specifications in the plan of operation. Insurance Code Article 21.49 §5(c) authorizes the amendment of the Association's plan of operation, and §6A(a) provides that after January 1, 2004, for geographic areas specified by the Commissioner, the Commissioner by rule shall adopt the 2003 International Residential Code for one- and two-family dwellings published by the International Code Council and may adopt a subsequent edition of that code and any supplements published by the International Code Council and amendments to the code.

An amendment is also proposed to §5.4010(a)(2) to correct a cross reference.

New §5.4011(a) proposes the adoption by reference of the 2006 editions of the IRC and the IBC, as revised by the 2006 Texas Revisions, to be effective September 1, 2007. The adoption of the latest editions of the IRC and IBC is necessary to promulgate the most current wind load technology and construction standards for structures in the designated catastrophe areas to be eligible for windstorm insurance through the Association. This proposal was recommended on July 12, 2006, by the Windstorm Building Code Advisory Committee on Specifications and Maintenance (BCAC) pursuant to the Insurance Code Article 21.49 §6C, with the exception of a change in the designated catastrophe areas to which proposed §R325 in the 2006 edition of the IRC and proposed §1716 of the 2006 edition of the IBC apply.

Both §R325 of the IRC and §1716 of the IBC set standards for corrosion resistant fasteners and metal connectors. The BCAC recommended these two standards for structures, including all open structural spaces and vented or enclosed areas and heated and cooled living spaces, in those designated catastrophe areas seaward of the Intracoastal Canal and catastrophe areas inland of the Intracoastal Canal and within 25 miles of the Texas coastline, but not for structures located in catastrophe areas inland and west of the specified boundary line in the designated catastrophe areas. In addition to the BCAC recommendation, this proposal also applies §R325 and §1716 to all open spaces of structures located inland and west of the specified boundary line in the designated catastrophe areas. Structural open areas include porches, decks, carports, exterior wall coverings, roof coverings, metal ties for stone and masonry veneer, underside of elevated structures, anchors for securing mechanical equipment, garage door attachments, roof vent attachments, skylight attachments, and impact protective systems (shutters). Therefore, the proposed new section will provide standards for corrosion resistant fasteners and metal connectors used in open areas of structures located in designated catastrophe areas inland and west of the specified boundary line in the designated catastrophe areas, but will not require corrosion resistant fasteners in vented or enclosed areas, or in heated and cooled living areas in these structures, unless otherwise specified in the IRC or IBC.

Subsection (a)(1) - (3) of §5.4010 provides the wind resistance standards for structures built seaward of the Intracoastal Canal, 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, and areas inland and west of the specified boundary line, respectively. These wind resistance standards conform to the 2003 IRC and IBC. The proposed amendments to the subsection specify the end date for the wind resistance standards for the 2003 IRC and IBC to be September 1, 2007.

Proposed subsection (a)(1) - (3) of §5.4011 provides the wind resistance standards for structures built seaward of the Intracoastal Canal, 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, and areas inland and west of the specified boundary line, respectively. The wind resistance requirements conform to the 2006 IRC and IBC.

Proposed subsection (b) of §5.4011 provides an exemption from §5.4011(a) for repairs, alterations, and additions necessary for the preservation, restoration, rehabilitation or continued use of a historic structure. Subsection (b)(1) - (3) defines the attributes that make a structure a historic structure.

The proposed amendments to §5.4603(a) are necessary to modify Forms WPI-2-BC-1, WPI-2-BC-2, WPI-2-BC-3 and WPI-2-BC-4, which are inspection verification forms pertaining to projects commencing construction at various times in the past, to include a space to list other as a description of a building modification not otherwise specified in the printed checklist of the forms; to modify Forms WPI-2-BC-2, WPI-2-BC-3 and WPI-2-BC-4 to include verification of exposure category used to define the design conditions for a building or structure; to provide an end date on Inspection Verification Form WPI-2-BC-4 for projects that commenced construction between January 1, 2005 and August 31, 2007; to adopt by reference new Form WPI-2-BC-5, a windstorm inspection verification form that will be used to document an inspection of a project that commenced construction on or after September 1 2007; to update the Design Certification Form WPI-2D to apply to projects that will commence construction on or after September 1, 2007; and to renumber the references in §5.4603(a) because of the addition of the new form.

2. FISCAL NOTE. Alexis Dick, Deputy Commissioner, Inspections Division, has determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed amendments and new section will be in effect, there will be no fiscal impact to state and local governments as a result of the enforcement or administration of the proposal, and there will be no measurable effect on local employment or the local economy as a result of the proposal.

3. PUBLIC BENEFIT/COST NOTE. Ms. Dick also has determined that for each year of the first five years the proposed amendments and new section are in effect, there are various public benefits anticipated as a result of the proposed amendments and the new section. The proposed amendments to §5.4010 provide a specific end date for compliance with the 2003 International Residential Code (IRC) and International Building Code (IBC) as revised by the 2003 Texas Revisions. This will give architects, engineers, manufacturers and the building construction industry sufficient notice and ample time to prepare for the transition to the 2006 IRC and IBC, as revised by the 2006 Texas Revisions.

The anticipated public benefit from the adoption in new §5.4011(a) of the 2006 edition of the IRC and IBC, as revised by the 2006 Texas Revisions, will be the design and construction of structures in the designated catastrophe area that are constructed, repaired, or to which additions are made on and after September 1, 2007, that meet the most current construction standards and use the most current wind load technology in order to be eligible for windstorm insurance through the Association. This, in turn, will result in the mitigation of property damage and resulting human suffering in the designated catastrophe area in the event of a major hurricane. The 2006 edition references the most recent American Society of Civil Engineers standard, known as the ASCE 7-05, which is used by architects, engineers, and structural designers throughout the construction industry nationwide. The 2006 edition of the IRC and the IBC will provide guidance and clarification for construction in the designated catastrophe areas, and when properly employed, will result in consistency and uniformity in the design, construction, and inspection of residences and businesses participating in the windstorm inspection process. Section 5.4011(b)(1) - (3), governing the exemption of historic structures, is also in the 2003 IRC and IBC; therefore, there is no additional cost for compliance as a result of this proposal. No individual or entity is required to comply with the proposed new section because only those structures that are insured through the Association are required to comply with the new standards. However, in many areas of the designated catastrophe areas of the Texas sea coast, voluntary wind insurance is difficult to obtain, leaving many property owners with no option other than to insure through the Association.

The Department anticipates that the costs resulting from the proposed change from the current 2003 editions of the IRC and the IBC, as revised by the 2003 Texas Revisions, to the 2006 editions of the IRC and the IBC, as revised by the 2006 Texas Revisions, will be minimal. The 2006 editions of the IRC and the IBC do not have any major changes in building code policy or standards from those in the 2003 editions of the IRC and the IBC. Generally, as one standardized building code replaces another, costs are absorbed as part of the natural progression nationwide by the construction industry to adapt to the most recent standardized code, which is the 2006 edition of the IRC and IBC. Any residual costs may be offset by greater efficiencies created by technological changes in the manufacture and assemblage of building components, improved construction methods, and other standardization and modernization measures within the building industry. Additionally, any costs to builders to comply with the international standardized building code in windstorm-affected areas in Texas, not otherwise absorbed result from the enactment of SB 14 by the 78th Legislature, Regular Session, chap. 206, effective June 11, 2003 which provides in relevant part that the Commissioner of Insurance by rule shall adopt the 2003 International Residential Code for one- and two-family dwelling in geographic areas specified by the Commissioner and may adopt by rule any subsequent edition of that code and supplements and amendments.

The anticipated public benefit from the proposed amendments to §5.4603(a) will be the availability of appropriate forms for use in windstorm inspections to document compliance with the new building standards. This will help eliminate unnecessary confusion for appointed Texas licensed engineers and builders who use the new building standards. Because the forms are available from the website of the Inspections Division and are typically downloaded by engineers and others who use them on an as-needed basis, there will be no additional costs to print the new forms. The Department does not anticipate any increased cost in the use of the proposed forms as compared to the current forms.

The Department anticipates that the proposed amendment and new section will not have an adverse impact on small and micro businesses. The Department has considered the purpose of the applicable statute and the proposed amendments and new section and has determined that it is not necessary, reasonable, legal nor feasible to waive or modify the proposed requirements for small or micro businesses who opt to comply with the new building standards and inspection process in order to obtain windstorm coverage through the Association.

4. REQUEST FOR PUBLIC COMMENT. To be considered, written comments on the proposal must be submitted no later than 5:00 p.m. on February 5, 2007, to Gene Jarmon, General Counsel and Chief Clerk, Mail Code 113-2A, Texas Department of Insurance, P.O. Box 149104, Austin, Texas 78714-9104. An additional copy of the comment must be simultaneously submitted to Alexis Dick, Deputy Commissioner, Inspections Division, MC 103-1A, Texas Department of Insurance, P.O. Box 149104, Austin, Texas 78714-9104.

The Commissioner will consider the adoption of amendments to §§5.4010 and 5.4603 and proposed new §5.4011 in a public hearing under Docket Number 2663, scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on February 13, 2007 in Room 100 of the William P. Hobby, Jr. State Office Building, 333 Guadalupe Street, Austin, Texas. Written and oral comments presented at the hearing will be considered.

5. STATUTORY AUTHORITY. The amendments and new section are proposed under the Insurance Code Article 21.49 and §36.001. Article 21.49 §5(c) provides that the Commissioner of Insurance by rule shall adopt the Association's plan of operation and any changes to the plan of operation. Article 21.49 §§3(f) and 6A(a) require that all structures that are constructed or repaired or to which additions are made on or after January 1, 1988, to be considered insurable property for windstorm and hail insurance from the Association, must be inspected or approved by the Commissioner for compliance with the building specifications in the plan of operation. Article 21.49 §6A(a) also requires, for geographic areas specified by the Commissioner, the Commissioner to adopt by rule the 2003 International Residential Code for one- and two-family dwellings published by the International Code Council. Section 6A(a) further provides that for those geographic areas specified by the Commissioner, the Commissioner by rule may adopt a subsequent edition of that code and may adopt any supplements published by the International Code Council and amendments to the code. Article 21.49 §6C(b) establishes a Windstorm Building Code Advisory Committee on Specifications and Maintenance to advise and make recommendations to the Commissioner on building requirements and maintenance in the Association's plan of operation. Section 36.001 provides that the Commissioner of Insurance may adopt any rules necessary and appropriate to implement the powers and duties of the Texas Department of Insurance under the Insurance Code and other laws of this state.

6. CROSS REFERENCE TO STATUTE. The following article is affected by this proposal:

Insurance Code Article 21.49

7. TEXT.

DIVISION 1. PLAN OF OPERATION

§5.4010. Applicable Building Code Standards in Designated Catastrophe Areas for Structures Constructed, Repaired or to Which Additions Are Made On and After January 1, 2005 , and before September 1, 2007.

(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 January 1, 2005, and before September 1, 2007, shall comply with the 2003 Editions of the International Residential Code and the International Building Code, as each is revised by the 2003 Texas Revisions, and all of which are adopted by reference to be effective January 1, 2005. The codes are published by and available from the International Code Council, Publications, 4051 West Flossmoor Road, Country Club Hills, Illinois, 60478-5795, (Telephone: 888-422-7233), and the 2003 Texas Revisions to the 2003 Edition of the International Residential Code and the 2003 Texas Revisions to the 2003 Edition of 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, MC 103-3A, Austin, Texas, 78714-9104 and the Texas Department of Insurance website at www.tdi.state.tx.us. 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 January 1, 2005, and before September 1, 2007 , 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 subsection [subsections] (b)(2)(A) and (B) [(b)(2)(B)] of §5.4008 of this chapter and constructed, repaired, or to which additions are made on or after January 1, 2005, and before September 1, 2007, 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 January 1, 2005, and before September 1, 2007, shall be designed and constructed to resist a 3-second gust of 110 miles per hour.

(b) (No change.)

§5.4011. Applicable Building Code Standards in Designated Catastrophe Areas for Structures Constructed, Repaired or to Which Additions Are Made On and After September 1, 2007.

(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 September 1, 2007, shall comply with the 2006 Editions of the International Residential Code and the International Building Code, as each is revised by the 2006 Texas Revisions, and all of which are adopted by reference to be effective September 1, 2007. The codes are published by and available from the International Code Council, Publications, 4051 West Flossmoor Road, Country Club Hills, Illinois, 60478-5795, (Telephone: 888-422-7233), and the 2006 Texas Revisions to the 2006 Edition of the International Residential Code and the 2006 Texas Revisions to the 2006 Edition of 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, MC 103-3A, Austin, Texas, 78714-9104 and on the Texas Department of Insurance website at www.tdi.state.tx.us. 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 September 1, 2007 , 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 subsection (b)(2)(A) and (B) of §5.4008 of this chapter and constructed, repaired, or to which additions are made on or after September 1, 2007, 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 September 1, 2007, 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.

DIVISION 7. INSPECTIONS FOR WINDSTORM AND HAIL INSURANCE

§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 Certificate of Compliance, Form WPI-1, effective January 1, 2005;

(2) Inspection Verification, Form WPI-2-BC-1, effective September 1, 2007 [January 1, 2005];

(3) Inspection Verification, Form WPI-2-BC-2, effective September 1, 2007 [January 1, 2005];

(4) Inspection Verification, Form WPI-2-BC-3, effective September 1, 2007 [January 1, 2005];

(5) Inspection Verification, Form WPI-2-BC-4, effective September 1, 2007 [January 1, 2005];

(6) Inspection Verification, Form WPI-2-BC-5, effective September 1, 2007 ;

(7) [(6)] Design Certification, Form WPI-2D, effective September 1, 2007 [January 1, 2005];

(8) [(7)] Field Form, Form WPI-7, effective January 1, 2005;

(9) [(8)] Certificate of Compliance, Form WPI-8, as amended October 1, 1998.

(b) (No change.)

FOR COPIES OF FORMS ADOPTED BY REFERENCE CONTACT ( ChiefClerk@tdi.state.tx.us )

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