- Is the construction being done to meet the Windstorm Building Code?
It is very important to make sure that all construction be compliant with the TDI Building Code in order to receive a WPI-8 Certificate of Compliance, which acknowledges eligibility for windstorm and hail coverage through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA).
- Are the products that are going to be used on my house approved by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI)?
This information can be obtained by contacting your local field office (refer to Appendix A) or a listing of Product Evaluations is available on the TDI website: www.tdi.texas.gov/wind/index.html.
- Am I going to get a windstorm inspection on this project?
Inspections must be performed in order to determine compliance with Windstorm requirements.
- If so, will the inspection be made by a TDI inspector or by an engineer appointed by the Commissioner of the Texas Department of Insurance?
Either party may make the inspections. However, it is to your advantage to know who you will be able to discuss your inspections with.
- Who will coordinate the inspections and when will they be performed?
Normally, it is the contractor who should coordinate the inspection dates and times. It is essential for the inspections to occur during the construction phase.
- Will I be kept informed as to the status of the inspections?
Each inspector should leave documentation outlining the findings of each phase of the project. Being kept informed of inspection times will also allow you to personally meet with the inspector and discuss any issues which may be present.
- What are my options if my project is disapproved?
You should discuss with your inspector AND builder/roofer what corrective measures are necessary for the project to be compliant.
- If my project is approved, when do I receive my WPI-8?
Once the inspector submits the appropriate documentation to the Austin Windstorm office, it is checked and processed. If everything is in order, a WPI-8 will be posted on our website (please allow three (3) working days). A hard copy of the WPI-8 is also mailed to the submitter (please allow one (1) week to receive).
- What should I do with my WPI-8?
The WPI-8 should be stored in a safe place along with your other valuable papers. Always inform your insurance agent when you have construction projects and make them aware that the WPI-8 is available on the TDI website.
- Is the house built to the windstorm building code and eligible for wind and hail insurance?
In the first tier counties along the Texas coast, it is in the best interest of a homeowner to require the builder to furnish a Certificate of Compliance upon completion of the home. The Certificate of Compliance is "proof of eligibility" for wind and hail insurance coverage through the State' catastrophe pool, the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA). Homeowners may contact TDI at 800-248-6032 or search www.tdi.texas.gov for more information about the Windstorm Inspection Program or search for the Certificate online.
- Wind-resistant roofing material conforming to ASTM D 3161 (or better) requirements.
Choose products that have been tested to ASTM D 3161 and have a 110 mph wind resistance or higher.
- Class 4 impact-resistant roofing material.
Roofing products are tested for impact resistance using the UL 2218 impact resistance test. Approved products are classified 1 through 4, Class 4 being the most resistant. In an area where windborne debris is likely, Class 4 would be the better choice.
- A secondary water barrier under the roofing material.
A secondary water barrier provides protection if the roof covering is damaged. This is achieved by installing self-adhering flashing tape or modified polymer bitumen strips on top of the joints in the roof deck. The underlayment should be a 30# roofing felt, which is thicker and heavier than 15# felt.
- Are gable ends adequately braced to withstand severe windstorms?
Collapse of a gable end wall is a common failure during hurricanes. To accommodate the strong pressures of hurricane force winds, gable ends need additional bracing. Information on this procedure is available from the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (www.flash.org).
- Truss-to-wall connectors and wall-to-foundation connectors.
The only way to create a wind-resistant home is to secure all connections - roof-to-wall, floor-to-floor, and wall-to-foundation. This is accomplished by installing hurricane clips at those intersections.
- Impact-resistant windows or hurricane shutters.
Impact-resistant windows are designed to resist a combination of impact and continuous wind pressure. Always use products that have been tested to one of these standards - ASTM E 1886 or ASTM E 1996 - and have been designated as such through a recognized product approval system.
- Garage door/doors that impact resistant.
Garage doors are particularly vulnerable to high winds, because of the long span of the opening they cover and the relatively lightweight material they are made of. Two options are available for strengthening garage doors: replace the door and track with a system that is designed to withstand high winds and wind-borne debris; or use a tested and approved impact resistant covering. In Texas, garage doors must be tested in accordance with ASTM E 330. Glass panels should be rated with ASTM E 1996 standards.
- Skylights that are impact-resistant.
Skylights are extremely vulnerable to wind borne debris and hail. Skylights should be tested in accordance with ASTM E 1886 and ASTM E 1996 or other approved standards.
- The required upgrades to qualify for all insurance credits or discounts offered.
Investigate possible construction credits and discounts available through your insurance company and then review with your builder.
- A safe room.
A safe room, or storm shelter, provides the highest degree of protection for you and your family from the dangerous forces of extreme winds and debris impacts. Safe rooms can be site-built or manufactured and can be installed in new or existing homes.
- Continuous load path construction.
When a house is being constructed, it is an opportune time to build in a continuous load path, creating a structure highly resistant to extreme wind force. Balloon framing and the use of hurricane straps or clips connecting all intersections including the foundation can easily be designed into the structure at this time.
- 5/8" thick plywood decking attached with 10d common nails spaced 4" O.C. at the edges and gable ends and 6" O.C. in the field of panels.
Use this method to make your roof more impact-resistant.
- Impact-resistant exterior wall surfacing.
Some siding manufacturers market their products as impact-resistant, but at this time a safer choice might be a hard surface such as brick, stone, or stucco.
- Porch exterior walls properly connected to the foundation.
Porch walls should be treated as any other exterior wall and anchored to the foundation. If blown loose it can be a threat to the main house in high wind situations.