Wednesday, February 3, 2016

I want to be clear - the problem at the city permitting office is not the result of corruption - I believe it is the result of no one ever learning the law.  I will do my best to work with the permits office to change how things are done.

"b) Structures located in Brownsville shall be subject to the Inland I requirements regardless of whether the city is separated by the dividing line between inland I and inland II." Click for Link

I have been working on changing out two 36 year old sliding glass doors for two French doors.  I originally wanted the French doors with the blinds within the glass, but have since learned that is not an option if you buy impact resistant doors as required by Texas law.  The issue is one very thick pane of glass, not two thinner panes of glass with blinds in the middle.
After Lowes jacked the price on me claiming the permit for each door is $300, is when I learned from the city it is actually $50 for both doors and that Lowes was paying an engineer of their choice to issue the Certificate of  Compliance for the Texas Windstorm Insurance.  The state I learned actually does the inspection for free.
Lowes does not have any impact resistant doors.  So how their engineers are certifying the doors and windows I do not know.
"Product performance requirements for TDI acceptance are: AAMA/WDMA/CSA 101/I.S.2/A440-05 for windows, sliding glass doors, hinged doors, and skylights.ASTM E330 is permitted as an option for hinged doors. Products must bear a label showing compliance with these performance criteria, plus identification of the manufacturer, the performance characteristics, and the name of the inspection agency - "
So now I am working with Home Depot and their vendor who sells the doors.  But we did learn if anyone tells you an impact resistant door can have blinds in the middle, they are mistaken.  Look above for the labels which must be on the door in order to pass inspection.
This morning I will check with a manufacturer Home Depot can order from to see if the door I want contains the labels.  I also learned it must be one clear pane of glass.  You cannot have the wood box frame which makes it look like many smaller panes of glass..
The city of Brownsville must include in their permits that the windows or doors must comply with Windstorm Insurance regulations.  To protect the consumer from dishonest builders and remodelers they must also put on the permit that the windows must contain the labels I referenced above or the city will not approve the installation.  I am not blaming anyone at the city for anything.  The city never realized the change in the law and it simply needs to bring itself into compliance so as to protect the consumers. Once this happens, you watch how fast Lowes and Home Depot change their inventory to comply with Texas law.
What Lowes and Home Deport are not telling you is, your can be penalized $250 a year on your Windstorm Insurance if you do not do the inspection and pass.  If your windows and doors do not meet Windstorm impact requirements, then there is an entire other set of rules concerning mandatory shutters on the windows and doors.  Again you are not being told this.
The city needs to put all of this in the permit as a condition of the builder or remodeler installing the new windows or doors.  Unfortunately a lot of do it yourself people will just install the windows and doors themselves without a permit, and with doors and windows which do not meet Texas standards. If they later change insurance they will quickly learn their Windstorm insurance will go up by $250 as a penalty. New insurance companies tend to send their own inspectors and then will report violations to the Texas Windstorm people.
To fix this problem to protect the people of Brownsville from Lowes and Home Depot and others, will probably take some action by the city commission - I will not hold my breath on that one - and then the permit department initiating the new policy. 

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