Codes and Ordinances Can Be a Pain!
Why Do We Have Them?
In Short – We Care About Your Safety and Health
International Building, Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing, Fire, etc. Codes
Many years ago, the Texas Legislature passed laws that cities in Texas must adopt and enforce these codes. The intent of these codes describe scientific and safety standards for structures and discuss specifications for construction practices, electrical systems, plumbing fixtures, fire safety, and many other topics.
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation requires electrical, mechanical, and plumbing work to be completed by licensed tradesmen. Property owners who occupy the home and are homesteaded are allowed to be their own contractor and perform the work themselves, as long as proper permits have been issued. Building permits and construction inspections are utilized to ensure compliance to local, state, and federal regulations.
Beaumont is situated on the Texas Gulf Coast and with that comes great benefits but also some risks, including hurricanes. The state mandated regulations are intended to provide minimum requirements to improve structural integrity and improve building envelop performance within the limitations in building geometry, materials, and wind climate specifications, improving building resiliency.
Per the Federal Government, City of Beaumont is considered to be an Inland Coastal II Region. This means we are within a wind-borne debris and high winds region and therefore repairs, new construction, renovations, and the likes must meet the 2014 ICC 600 Standard for Residential Construction in High Winds Regions Code along with applicable windstorm building codes under 28 Texas Administrative Code §5.4007 – 5.4011. Commercial construction is to conform to the 2015 International Building Code. It is imperative that work complies with such so clients/homeowners can receive proper windstorm insurance.
Flood Prevention Ordinance
Beaumont is bordered with bodies of water, which offer great amenities and pose some possibilities of flooding. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has mapped portions of Beaumont to be in a flood hazard or “A” type zone, such are subject to flooding by the base or 1% annual chance flood and are considered to be high-risk areas. Flood management programs are voluntary, but flood insurance is only available to the citizens of a community that has accepted and is implementing a flood management program that meets Title 44 of the Code of Federal Regulations (minimum required standards).
State law requires that properties located in these “A” zones and purchased through a lender must carry flood insurance. Without a community’s participation in an accepted flood program, citizens of the community would not be able to purchase property with improvements through a lender. City compliance regarding new construction, additions and renovations of the likes must comply with FEMA provisions of 44 CFR, is required to remain in a flood management program. If the city complies with higher standards than the regulations set forth in 44 CFR and applies for participation in the Community Rating System (CRS), then the city’s residents may be rewarded with a discount applied to their flood insurance cost. The City of Beaumont currently affords residents a 5% discount on flood insurance by complying with higher standards.
TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality) is charged with enforcement of the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). As such, TCEQ requires grading permits through their Storm Water Pollution Prevention program as way to oversee a city’s compliance with EPA standards. The Watershed Protection Ordinance was adopted in December of 2001, this enabled the City to comply with Federal and State laws, prevent discharge of pollutants and contaminated storm water runoff from construction sites, promote public awareness of improper discharge of contaminated storm water runoff and encourage recycling and safe disposal of used, harmful or hazardous products.
The grading permit is required for any clearing of a surface greater than 450 square feet. As part of the grading permit, a grading plan is needed to be written and/or visually described how the grading of the site is to be performed, the direction in which the surface water will flow, and once the project is complete how the site closure will be accomplished. The grading permit is the City can ensure that they are in compliance with regulations, which are mandated at the State and Federal level.
ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) is a federal law that grants civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided to individuals on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, age, and religion. In turn, cities are required to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.
New construction must oblige by the State operated Texas Accessibility Standards (TAS). The TAS ensure that each building and facility is accessible to and functional for persons with disabilities without causing the loss of function, space, or facilities. Therefore, all establishments must comply with federal and state law and the City of Beaumont is charged to enforce such accommodations/remodels to be made for all establishments open to the general public. The City of Beaumont ensures compliance through building permits, plan reviews and certificate occupancies.
Since the 1890s, asbestos use has been expanded to hundreds of common industrial applications. However, increased environmental distribution of these products has also enlarged the size of the population exposed to asbestos. The health effects associated with occupational and non-occupational asbestos exposure can create severe human diseases.
Ongoing federal and state programs oversee efforts to prevent environmental release and abate existing asbestos sources. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and NESHAP (National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants) requires a survey to be performed to all commercial establishments to determine the presence of asbestos in a building before doing a renovation or demolition. NESHAP requires the survey and abatement to be performed by asbestos licensed persons. The City of Beaumont must obtain and document the federal and state required asbestos surveys. If the survey reveals asbestos is present within a structure, then they must have a licensed company to abate the asbestos and provide an asbestos abatement report prior to issuance of a building permit. Documentation of such will prove compliance with federal and state laws regarding asbestos before you begin your project.
Reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for clarification any these and any other project needs.