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If you live in one of Texas' 14 coastal counties - Aransas, Brazoria, Calhoun, Cameron, Chambers, Galveston, Jefferson, Kenedy, Kleberg, Matagorda, Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, and Willacy; or in the Harris County communities of La Porte, Morgans Point, Seabrook, Shoreacres, and portions of Pasadena - you can not get insurance through the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA) for your property unless it is compliant with the building specifications adopted by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) and has passed a compliance inspection by a licensed Texas Professional Engineer appointed by the TDI.

As a result of the recent hurricanes, many insurance companies are now requiring this certification as well.  Many policy-holders in Texas are finding they can no longer get insurance through their old carrier because their home was never certified.

This certification applies to all new construction, repairs, or additions which commended on or after January 1, 1988.  There are exceptions for certain repairs and the certification requirements are not as stringent for buildings constructed between June 1st 1972, and January 1st 1988.  Contact us for details on these exceptions.


On January 1, 2002, all municipalities in Texas were required to adopt, with revisions, the 2000 International Residential Code (IRC) and 2000 International Building Code (IBC).  The IRC addresses the design and construction of one- and two-family dwellings and multiple single family dwellings (townhouses).  The IBC addresses the design and construction of all buildings and structures but defers to the IRC for residential applications.  On February 1, 2003, the TDI adopted, with the Texas revisions, the structural provisions of the 2000  IRC .  On January 1, 2005, TDI adopted, again with Texas revisions, the 2003 IRC and IBC.  On January 1, 2008, these codes were again updated when TDI adopted, with Texas-specific revisions, the 2005 IRC and IBC.  These building specifications now apply to all construction that began on or after January 1, 2008.


These 14 counties are further divided into three zones that require buildings to be designed to survive a three-second wind gust ranging of from 110 to 130 mph.  The IRC (and the IBC) provide that construction in areas with basic wind speeds of 110 mph or greater shall be designed in accordance with one of the following:

  • The American Forest and Paper Association Wood Frame Construction Manual for One- and Two-Family Dwellings (WFCM); or
  • Southern Building Code Congress International, Standard for Hurricane Resistant Residential Construction (SSTD-10), or
  • American Society of Civil Engineers Minimum Design Loads for Buildings and Other Structures (ASCE-7)
  • Cold-Formed steel provisions of the IRC

So, what does that mean to you?  Two things actually -

1.    Windstorm is a very serious issue on the Gulf Coast.  Evidence from the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005 clearly supports the use of more stringent design standards. 

2.    Even today, many designers and builders are not stepping up fully to these requirements.  They simply don't believe it's really necessary.  The residents of the East Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida Gulf Coasts would tell a much different story.  While there might be a temptation to shrug off the threat with "that's why I have insurance", those interviewed in the aftermath of these hurricanes were unanimous in wishing they had paid closer attention to the construction of their properties.

With Bay Area Engineering, you can be assured our designs are fully compliant with these requirements.  As you can see in our Values, we take a conservative approach to design for windstorm.  A few dollars saved today won't look like much of a bargain after a hurricane.

To review the process for ensuring compliance, see our Windstorm Engineering & Compliance page.

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