The Texas Department of Insurance’s (TDI) adoption of the 2018 International Building Code (IBC) and International Residential Code (IRC) for coastal counties under the jurisdiction of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association has been postponed from April 1 to September 1 due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jerry Hagins, media relations for the TDI, says the new code adoption was delayed due to COVID-19 disrupting supply chains and manufacturing operations worldwide.

“That could make it more difficult for builders to get products that comply with the new building codes,” he says.

TDI adopted the newer building codes because they specifically help structures better withstand high winds. In addition, they’re more consistent with local building standards. This makes it easier for builders to use the latest materials and newer technologies, such as solar panels, and still comply with windstorm building codes.

After September 1, products should be tested to the editions of the standards that are referenced in the 2018 IBC and the 2018 IRC. Fenestration products that fall within the scope of the North American Fenestration Standard (NAFS) should be tested to ASTM E 1886 and ASTM E 1996.

“If products have already been tested and are currently certified through an inspection agency to earlier editions of the standards, TDI must review them before they can be listed with the agency,” explains Hagins.

The Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance (FGIA) updated members about the situation in an email.

“This update is long overdue, as these counties currently operate under the 2006 versions of the code. That said, this sudden leap forward will not be without some difficulties for fenestration manufacturers,” said Jason Seals, FGIA certification services manager, fenestration, in the email.

He explained that the biggest change resulting from the code update is the use of ASCE/SEI 7-16 for the calculation of wind zones and design pressures (DP), per the 2018 I-codes.

“This version of ASCE/SEI 7 includes new, updated wind speed maps and uses different methodologies to determine DP. It also extended the requirements for impact protection to multiple areas. This means that, as of September 1, the majority of the Inland II Zone of the windborne debris region, currently not required to have impact protection, will now require protection from windborne debris on glazed openings depending on its location in the region,” said Seals. “Manufacturers selling into this region are encouraged to research how this change will affect their products. The TDI is still updating its wind zone maps, so it may be necessary to consult with an architect or professional engineer in the interim for required DPs and impact protective zones.”