Bay Area Engineering, LLC
Windstorm Engineering
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Windstorm Engineering & Design Compliance

Of great concern to property owners in Texas’ 14 Tier 1 coastal counties is the threat of a hurricane.  This was dramatically shown by the damage resulting from the catastrophic damage caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 as well as the 3 hurricanes which struck Florida and other areas of the Gulf Coast in the summer of 2004. 

Note that some repairs or other procedures do not require an inspection.  Contact us or visit the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) website, if you have questions about applicability.

BE AWARE THAT, FOLLOWING THE 2004 & 2005 HURRICANE SEASONS, MANY INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE NO LONGER WRITING COVERAGE FOR HAIL AND WINDSTORM.  THE ONLY OPTION MANY PROPERTY OWNERS HAVE IS TO INSURE THROUGH THE TWIA.  Check with your insurance provider to determine if this is the case.

Remember though, even if coverage is not required through the TWIA today, you or a future owner might need that coverage later.  Participating in the Windstorm Program from the beginning could avoid significant problems later.

By complying with the design and construction requirements of the TDI windstorm program, you are assured not only that your home will be insurable, these construction standards will also dramatically reduce the chance of significant damage should a hurricane strike.

Analysis and Design

We will review all construction drawings and specifications and perform the analysis necessary to define all wind loads and identify any changes required for TDI windstorm compliance certification.  We will then develop a windstorm package that typically includes the following:

     Foundation Details - We will incorporate any necessary details or provisions to meet wind loads.

     Holddowns and Wall Anchorage – We will provide a drawing showing the location and required capacity of all holddowns.  The size and spacing of an­chor bolts will be specified.

     Framing – We will ensure all framing members meet windstorm requirements with regard to grade, size, location, spans, etc.  This will include design de­tails such as gable wall bracing, roof bracing, and framing around wall or roof openings.  If necessary, we will provide drawings of these details.

     Framing Anchors and Connectors – We will provide a schedule of the anchor­age load requirements together with the appropriate connector for connections such as rafter-to-rafter at ridge, rafter-to-top plates, studs-to-plates, etc.  This information will be provided in tabular form.

o       Note:  We do not require the use of Simpson connectors.  Connectors of equivalent capacity from other manufacturer’s (e.g., USP, Tamlyn) may be used.

     Diaphragms – We will analyze floor, ceiling, and roof diaphragms for ade­quacy in transferring lateral loads from windward walls to shearwalls and will identify any necessary changes.

     Shearwalls – We will analyze the loads and identify location, sheathing, and nailing requirements for all shearwalls.  These will be annotated on the draw­ing showing holddown locations.  We will recommend any architectural design changes necessary to meet shearwall requirements.

     Windows and Doors – We will calculate wind pressure requirements for exte­rior components and cladding and ensure all selected materials have the re­quired capacity and are listed and approved by TDI.  We will specify the re­quired methods of installation necessary to resist wind loads.

     Roof Covering – We will ensure all selected materials are listed and approved by TDI.

This package will be carefully reviewed with you prior to construction to clarify any issues or questions.  This package will ensure all parties understand clearly what is required for compliance and is the basis for the inspections we will perform during construction.  We will also review the scope and timing of all required inspections.

It is crucial these steps be completed prior to commencing construction.  Failure to do so could jeopardize enrollment in the program.

We will also process all necessary forms with TDI to enter your project into the windstorm program. 

Construction and Inspections

The following represents a typical sequence of inspections to ensure compliance.  We will work with you to develop a detailed schedule that is consistent with your approach to construction and your schedule.

1.    Foundation - Ensure those foundation design elements that resist wind loads are present and properly installed.  Typically, that would include reinforcement in the exterior grade beams and holddowns.

o       Note:  This is not an inspection to determine the adequacy of the foundation for other than windstorm loads unless we also designed the foundation – see our Foundation Engineering, Design and Inspection program.

2.    Framing, Holddowns, Connections, and Shearwalls – The framing inspection will take place prior to installation of cornice, exterior trim, roof decking, etc..  All 2-inch framing is checked to ensure compliance with plans with particular emphasis on those elements resisting primary wind loads.  The installation of shearwall holddowns, framing anchors and other connectors is checked to ensure a continuous line of anchorage is provided. The installation of floor and wall sheathing is assessed to ensure the size, orientation, and fastening of sheathing will provide the required capacity of diaphragms and shearwalls.

3.    Roof Decking and Exterior Components & Cladding – The installation of roof sheathing is assessed to ensure the size, orientation, and fastening of sheathing will provide the required capacity of the roof-ceiling diaphragm. At this time, we verify installed windows and exterior doors are properly selected and installed.

4.    Roof Covering and Exterior Components & Cladding – The roof covering in­spection will take place while the roof is being installed.  That allows inspec­tion of the underlayment, flashing, drip edge, roof jacks, shingles, etc..  Any remaining windows and exterior doors are inspected for proper selection and installation.  Wall tie installation is checked along with the balance of the exte­rior components and cladding (e.g., siding) during this inspection.

5.    Final – The primary purpose of the final inspection is to ensure exterior me­chanical equipment is properly installed.  This is also the chance to catch any items (e.g., garage overhead door) that may not have been in place during a prior inspection.  For Inland Zone II, we also verify the adequacy of protection for glazed openings.

Again, this is a typical list of inspections and their content.  The objective is to make sure all the elements which contribute to the structure’s ability to resist wind loads are inspected at the appropriate time.  We will work with you to tailor our inspection schedule if necessary to meet this objective.

Following successful completion of all inspections, Bay Area Engineering will submit the required documents to TDI certifying compliance with all requirements.

Following receipt of our Inspection Verification, TDI will issue a Certificate of Compliance making the structure eligible for insurance through the TWIA.

For more information on windstorm, visit the TDI website at http://www.tdi.state.tx.us/wind/index.html, or see our Windstorm Fundamentals page.

Don’t take chances with severe weather.  Choose a design professional that will ensure your new home is fully compliant with these provisions.

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