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See Minimum Property Standards for New Constructions - City of

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See Minimum Property Standards for New Constructions - City of

    CITY OF HOUSTON

    HOUSING AND COMMUNITYDEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT

    MINIMUM PROPERTY STANDARDS

    NEW CONSTRUCTION

The standards contained in this document establish the Minimum Property Standards (MPS) for single

    family residential home inspections for housing programs that receive federal assistance through the

    Housing and Community Development Department (HCDD).

    - The MPS require compliance with the International Residential Code (IRC) 2000 adopted by the

    City of Houston or the latest edition of the IRC and any applicable code required by the pertaining

    Municipality.

    - The International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) 2006 adopted by the City of Houston or the

    latest edition of the IECC and any applicable code required by the pertaining Municipality.

    - The requirements from other governing entities such as Homeowners Associations and Local and

    Federal regulations pertaining to zoning, traffic, drainage, flood plains and fire.

1.0 Site

1.1 Minimum Site Standards

    A. The lot or defined site must be free of debris; garbage or other accumulations of site

    stored items that create possibilities of infestations. The site should be generally level,

    well drained, and accessible.

1.2 Hazardous and Substandard Conditions

    A. Hazardous conditions must include any condition that threatens the life, health and or

    safety of the occupants. Substandard conditions include any condition that threatens,

    defeats or will lead to the lack of functional viability of a single feature of a home. These

    conditions must include but not be limited to:

    1. Rodents, insects, or other infestations and accumulated debris, waste, or

    garbage either in enclosed areas such as storage buildings or in yard areas,

    except for where garbage is stored;

    2. Deteriorated and/or irreparable outbuildings, sheds, wells, privies, or other

    structures that are no longer in use or are made unusable by their condition;

    3. Holes, ditches, exposed meter boxes, exposed pipes, railings or other conditions

    that create a tripping hazard, excluding drainage ditches, retention and/or

    detention ponds that are part of a designed drainage system;

    4. Standing water or depressions that hold water during wet weather, leaking water

    supply, percolating or leaking sewage;

    5. Damaged, missing or deteriorated walkways, steps and decks that create

    tripping hazards or are otherwise unsafe;

    6. Stairways or steps with two steps or more and without a functional handrail.

HCDD New Construction

    Revised 1/30/09

    Page 1

    CITY OF HOUSTON

    HOUSING AND COMMUNITYDEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT

    MINIMUM PROPERTY STANDARDS

    NEW CONSTRUCTION

    2.0 Space and Use

2.1 Minimum Space Standards for Ceilings

    A. Habitable rooms, hallways, corridors, toilet rooms, laundry rooms and basements shall

    have a ceiling height of not less than seven (7) feet. The required height shall be

    measured from the finished floor to the lowest projection from the ceiling.

    Exception:

    Not more than fifty (50) percent of the required floor area of a room or space is permitted

    to have a sloped ceiling less than seven (7) feet in height with no portion of the required

    floor area less than five (5) feet in height.

2.2.1 Minimum Space Standards for Rooms

    A. All rooms, except kitchens and/or kitchenettes and baths, hallways, storage rooms and

    porches must have a minimum width of seven (7) feet.

2.3 Minimum Space Standards for Kitchens (excluding Single Room Occupancy)

    A. All kitchens must have adequate food storage facilities including at least three linear feet

    of counter area for food preparation and adequate cabinet space in good repair.

    B. All kitchens must have a working refrigerator, cook-top and oven (unless required to be

    furnished by homeowner).

2.4 Hazardous and Substandard Conditions

    A. Hazardous conditions must include any condition that threatens the life. health and or

    safety of the occupants. Substandard conditions include any condition that threatens,

    defeats or will lead to the lack of functional viability of a single feature of a home. These

    conditions must include but not be limited to:

    1. Lack of adequate food storage, food preparation area, refrigeration or cooking

    facilities.

    2. Spaces that are so small as to be unusable or inadequate for their intended purpose.

    B. Any other condition not mentioned that meets the definition of a hazardous or

    substandard condition should be repaired and/or rehabilitated to meet industry standards.

3.0 Foundations

HCDD New Construction

    Revised 1/30/09

    Page 2

    CITY OF HOUSTON

    HOUSING AND COMMUNITYDEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT

    MINIMUM PROPERTY STANDARDS

    NEW CONSTRUCTION

    3.1 Minimum Foundation Standards

A. Pier placements will have allowable spans between piers or posts for a 4"x4" sill 6' on

    center or for a 4"x6" sill 8' on center.

B. Joists shall match existing size and shall not be spliced.

C. Stabilization of foundation must be done in a manner to establish long term stability,

    eliminate movement and sponginess of flooring.

D. All piers should be designed in accordance with the local code.

E. Leveling must be done in such a manner to establish long term stability and must be

    completed before other work begins.

F. New posts must be concrete or concrete-block piers or-treated wood posts, of a species

    that has a natural resistance to decay.

G. Cedar posts and shims must be treated to prevent rot and deterioration and shall be no

    more than two (2) inches thick.

H. When leveling, grades must be established from existing concrete porches, fireplaces

    and chimneys.

I. When leveling is complete, doors, windows, and openings must be reasonably plumbed,

    level, and fully operational.

J Correct over spans by installing stringers and/or floor joists. Stringers are to be placed on

    concrete pads arid piers.

K. All sills must have twelve (12) inches minimum clearance above the ground when

    leveling is to be done unless otherwise specified.

L. All newly installed concrete slab foundations should be designed in accordance with local

    code.

M. All concrete slabs except for foundations (see above) must be poured monolithically and

    is a minimum of four (4) inches thick. Reinforcing must be, at a minimum, 6"x6" Number 6

    welded wire fabric unless otherwise specified. The top of a foundation slab poured on

    existing grade must be a minimum of eight (8) inches above surrounding soil level.

N. Skirting must extend 4" below and at least 18" above grade and be lapped and fastened

    under siding on the same horizontal line of the entire wall or "side" of building.

O. Skirting must have ventilation openings a minimum of 4' from each corner, and no less

    than every eight (8) feet. Vent openings should be covered by louvered screened vents,

    and should be a minimum of fifty (50) square inches.

P. Creep-hole door must be hinged and constructed of such insect and decay resistant

    material to conform to foundation skirt, and must be of adequate size for entrance into

    crawl space (minimum of 18" x 24").

    HCDD New Construction

    Revised 1/30/09

    Page 3

    CITY OF HOUSTON

    HOUSING AND COMMUNITYDEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT

    MINIMUM PROPERTY STANDARDS

    NEW CONSTRUCTION

    3.2 Hazards and Substandard Conditions

A. Hazardous conditions must include any condition that threatens the life, health and or

    safety of the occupants. Substandard conditions include any condition that threatens,

    defeats or will lead to the lack of functional viability of a single feature of a home. These

    conditions must include but not be limited to:

    1. Termite or other wood destroying insect damage to structural members;

    2. Water damage or dry rot to structural members;

    3. Broken, fire damaged or otherwise coMPSomised beams, joist or sills;

    4. Unsupported beams, sills or joists in same that have no support; inadequate support;

    5. Water draining and/or pooling under foundation area;

    6. Lack of underpinning, skirting, or other insulating feature to exposed plumbing.

    7. Existing skirting or underpinning that is cracked, damaged or not properly vented.

    8. Ground contact of untreated wooden structure;

    9. Severe slab cracks that create or threaten structural or other systems such as

     plumbing;

B. Any other condition not mentioned that meets the definition of a hazardous or

    substandard condition should be repaired and/or rehabilitated to meet industry standards.

    4.0 Floors

    4.1 Minimum Floor System Standards

A. All sub-floors should be a minimum of three-fourth (3/4) inches thick, solid and

    continuous, without liberal movement or bounce, free from rot and deterioration.

B. All floor covering must be a minimum of 3/32" thick, free from tripping hazards with a

    minimum of seams spaced at logical locations such as doorways and matched to the

    existing floor.

C. All flooring must be sealed and/or tight at the edges.

D. Install new 3/8" exterior grade plywood underlayment (AC or BC smooth on one side)

    over entire floor area or match existing.

    4.2 Hazardous and Substandard Conditions

A. Hazardous conditions must include any condition that threatens the life, health and or

    safety of the occupants. Substandard conditions include any condition that threatens,

    defeats or will lead to the lack of functional viability of a single feature of a home. These

    conditions must include but not limited to:

    HCDD New Construction

    Revised 1/30/09

    Page 4

    CITY OF HOUSTON

    HOUSING AND COMMUNITYDEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT

    MINIMUM PROPERTY STANDARDS

    NEW CONSTRUCTION

     1. Damaged, rotted or deteriorated sub-floor surfaces;

     2. Torn, missing, worn, burned or otherwise damaged floor coverings that create a

    tripping hazard or unsanitary condition;

     3. Missing base board, shoe mold or sealant that creates an unsanitary condition;

     B. Any other condition not mentioned which meets the definition of a hazardous or

    substandard condition should be repaired and/or rehabilitated to meet industry standards.

5.0 Walls

5.1 Minimum Wall System Standards

    A. Exterior siding should be smooth and free from gaps, cracks, rot, termite damage, holes

    and other areas of damage. All gaps seams and laps should be sealed. All rotted wood,

    fire damaged or termite-damaged wood should be removed and replaced.

    B. Interior walls should be smooth wood, plywood or sheetrock/drywall.

    1. All sheetrock/drywall, repaired or replaced, must be taped, floated, sanded,

    textured and painted.

    2. All interior walls, ceilings and trim must be painted.

    C. Any other condition not mentioned which meets the definition of a hazardous or

    substandard condition should be repaired and/or rehabilitated to meet industry standards.

5.2 Hazardous and Substandard Conditions

    A. Hazardous conditions must include any condition that threatens the life, health and or

    safety of the occupants. Substandard conditions include any. condition that threatens,

    defeats or will lead to the lack of functional viability of a single feature of a home. These

    conditions must include but not be limited to:

    1. Termite or other wood destroying insect damage to siding, trim and/or structural

     members;

    2. Water damage or dry rot of siding, trim and/or structural members;

    3. Broken, fire damaged or otherwise coMPSomised siding, trim and/or structural

    members;

    4. Exposed nails popped seams or other defects not representative of normal wear

    and tear;

    5. Cracked, peeling, or chipped paint. Exposed unpainted or untreated wood,

    drywall or other wall surface;

    B. Any other condition not mentioned which meets the definition of a hazardous or

    substandard condition should be repaired and/or rehabilitated to meet industry standards.

6.0 Roofs

    HCDD New Construction

    Revised 1/30/09

    Page 5

    CITY OF HOUSTON

    HOUSING AND COMMUNITYDEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT

    MINIMUM PROPERTY STANDARDS

    NEW CONSTRUCTION

    6.1 Minimum Roof System Standards

A. Roof surfaces should be smooth and free from defects. No indication of excessive wear

    or potential failure will be acceptable.

B. All roof decking shall be ? inch OSB or CDX plywood and must be installed using H clips.

C. Roofing materials should be applied in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions

    as well as local codes.

D. New applications on roofs between 4:12 and 20:12 pitch must include at a minimum, the

    application of 15 lb. felt, 20 yr. asphalt composition shingles or fiber glass, with one and

    one-fourth (1 ? ) inches galvanized roofing nails and trimmed with 1"x2" shingle mould

    and galvanized drip edge. Other roofing types such as built up, modified, metal roofing

    and any other type must be installed according to the manufacturer's instruction and local

    code.

E. All rotted or damaged wood decking must be removed and replaced. Where it is exposed

    it should be primed and painted.

F. If rainwater is drained by existing seamless metal gutters and downspouts, they must be

    accompanied by splash blocks from the roof so as not to cause dampness/damage to

    walls, ceilings, or floors of any room within the unit. All draining devices shall be kept in a

    state of maintenance and repair.

    6.2 Hazardous and Substandard Conditions

A. Hazardous conditions must include any condition that threatens the life, health and or

    safety of the occupants. Substandard conditions include any condition that threatens,

    defeats or will lead to the lack of functional viability of a single feature of a home. These

    conditions must include but not be limited to:

    1. Water damage caused by water leaking through the roofing materials;

    2. Missing, worn or upturned shingles or other visible wear on the exterior of the

    roof envelope;

    3. Damaged or rusting roof jacks, leads, flashings drip edges, or other component;

    4. Structural damage evidenced by buckling, sagging, or broken members;

    5. De-lamination of materials, uplifted edges, or other failure of materials or

    application;

    6. Any condition, including normal wear which, in the best judgment of the inspector,

    and would lead to the failure of the roof envelope within five years;

B. Any other condition not mentioned which meets the definition of a hazardous or

    substandard condition should be repaired and/or rehabilitated to meet industry standards.

    HCDD New Construction

    Revised 1/30/09

    Page 6

    CITY OF HOUSTON

    HOUSING AND COMMUNITYDEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT

    MINIMUM PROPERTY STANDARDS

    NEW CONSTRUCTION

    7.0 Windows and Doors

    7.1 Minimum Window and Door Standards

A. All exterior doors to the outside or to a common public hall must be solid core one and

    three-fourth (1 ? ) inches thick attached to frame/jam with three (3) butt hinges and be

    equipped with adequate security locks including at least one single deadbolt/lock, with

    one inch (1") throw bolt. Each door must be not less than 2'4" in width and not less than

    6' -6" in height, except where larger doors and doorways are required to accommodate

    accessibility. In existing structures, if replacement to meet these requirements would be

    impossible or cost-prohibitive said requirements may be waived, in writing, by the building

    inspection department.

B. All windows accessible from ground level without the aid of mechanical devices must

    have a security device/lock.

C. Every window sash must be in good condition, fit tightly within its frame and:

    1. Fully equipped with glass windowpanes which are without cracks or holes, and

    all panes must be secured.

    2. Other than a fixed window, must be capable of being easily opened, shut and

    locked and must be held in position by window hardware, not broom handles,

    sticks, or other such items;

D. Every exterior and interior door, when closed, must fit well within its frame and:

    1. Door hinge, door latch and/or lock must be maintained in good working condition;

E. Every window, door and frame must be constructed and maintained in such relation to

    the adjacent wall construction, so as to exclude rain as completely as possible and to

    subsequently exclude wind from entering the dwelling or structure, i.e., it -must have

    adequate weather-stripping.

F. Every window, exterior door, basement or cellar hatchway must be constructed and

    maintained as to prevent the entrance of rodents, snakes, rain and surface drainage

    water into the dwelling or structure.

H. Window wells at escape or rescue windows shall comply with the following:

    1. The clear horizontal dimensions shall allow the window to be fully opened and

    provide minimum accessible net clear opening of nine (9) square feet, with a

    minimum dimension of thirty-six (36) inches.

    2. Window wells with a vertical depth of more than forty-four (44) inches shall be

    equipped with an approved permanently affixed ladder or stairs that are

    accessible with the window in the fully open position. The ladder or stairs shall

    not encroach into the required dimensions of the window well by more than 6

    inches.

    HCDD New Construction

    Revised 1/30/09

    Page 7

    CITY OF HOUSTON

    HOUSING AND COMMUNITYDEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT

    MINIMUM PROPERTY STANDARDS

    NEW CONSTRUCTION

I. The total window area that can be opened in every habitable room must be equal to at

    least 50% of the minimum window area size. The window should be a viable means of

    egress and therefore accessible and adequately sized to provide this function.

    Every habitable room must have at least one window or skylight which can easily be

    opened, or other such device as will adequately ventilate the room.

K. Every bathroom, toilet room, kitchen, and other similar room must have a window area of

    not less than 4 square feet. No window must be required in adequately ventilated

    bathrooms, toilet rooms or kitchens equipped with a ventilation system which will

    completely change the air every 7 minutes and which is kept in continuous operation

    when occupied.

L. Every window or other opening to outdoor space which is used or intended to be used for

    ventilation must likewise be supplied with screens covering all of the window areas

    required for ventilation. The material used for all such screens (doors & windows) must

    be not less than 16 mesh per inch and must be properly installed, maintained and

    repaired to prevent the entrance of flies, mosquitoes or other insects. Half screens on

    windows may be allowed, provided, they are properly installed and are bug and insect

    tight.

    7.2 Hazardous and Substandard Conditions

A. Hazardous conditions must include any condition that threatens the life, health and or

    safety of the occupants. Substandard conditions include any condition that threatens,

    defeats or will lead to the lack of functional viability of a single feature of a home. These

    conditions must include but not be limited to:

    1. Broken, missing or cracked panes;

    2. Sealed or blocked windows including windows which have been painted shut,

    windows which are not operational or windows which will not function as a viable

    fire exit such as windows with burglar bars which cannot be opened readily from

    the inside;

    3. Windows that do not lock or locks that do not function with ease;

    4. Any door that is broken, deteriorated, or otherwise damaged so that it does not

    provide a sealed entry. Any door which does not shut neatly in order to provide a

    seal with the passage set or lock set fitting neatly within the strike plates;

    5. Any exterior door which is not solid core, sealed or painted, and which does not

    have a functioning lockable dead-bolt;

    6. Rotted, deteriorated, or broken thresholds, jambs, frames, trim or other

    functioning or passive pieces to the door system warrant replacement;

    7. For new construction including reconstruction, windows and/or doors that fail to

    meet the requirements of state and/or local energy code, as applicable.

B. Any other condition not mentioned which meets the definition of a hazardous or

    substandard condition should be repaired and/or rehabilitated to meet industry standards.

    HCDD New Construction

    Revised 1/30/09

    Page 8

    CITY OF HOUSTON

    HOUSING AND COMMUNITYDEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT

    MINIMUM PROPERTY STANDARDS

    NEW CONSTRUCTION

    8.0 Weatherization

    8.1 Minimum Weatherization Standards

A All holes, open seams, or other incursions that result in air leaks will be properly sealed.

B. All windows should be properly sealed with elastic putty or gasket material provided to

    create a tight seal.

C. All exterior doors should fit one-eighth ( ?) inch tight without the application of weather

    stripping. Weather stripping should then be applied to create a tight seal when the door is

    closed.

D. All outlets, switches and fixtures that are installed on exterior walls will be insulated.

E. All exposed plumbing must be freeze protected or insulated to a minimum R-value of 3.5.

F. All attic spaces must be insulated to a minimum of R-30, when applicable.

G. Whenever possible, and in new construction, wall insulation must be R-I3.

H. For new construction including reconstruction, homes must meet sate and/or local energy

    code. Builder should provide MECheck 3.0 documentation/form.

    8.2 Hazardous and Substandard Conditions

A. Hazardous conditions must include any condition that threatens the life, health and or

    safety of the occupants. Substandard conditions include any condition that threatens,

    defeats or will lead to the lack of functional viability of a single feature of a home. These

    conditions must include but not be limited to:

    1. Air incursion from open holes or seam in exterior walls, windows or doors;

    2. Open seams in window casements, doors casements or other installations that

    create air leaks resulting in heat lose or gain;

    3. Missing caulk around windows;

    4. Missing weather stripping or other seal at exterior doors;

    5. Air leaks from un-insulated outlets, switches or fixtures exposed to exterior walls;

    6. Exposed plumbing systems that present freeze hazards or heat loss to hot water

    pipes;

    7. Grossly inefficient heating, cooling or ventilation systems;

    8. Inadequate insulation in ceiling;

    HCDD New Construction

    Revised 1/30/09

    Page 9

    CITY OF HOUSTON

    HOUSING AND COMMUNITYDEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT

    MINIMUM PROPERTY STANDARDS

    NEW CONSTRUCTION

    9. For new construction including reconstruction, homes that fail to meet state

    and/or local energy code. Builder should provide MECheck 3.0

    documentation/form.

B. Any other condition not mentioned which meets the definition of a hazardous or

    substandard condition should be repaired and/or rehabilitated to meet industry standards.

    9.0 Electrical

    9.1 Minimum Electrical Standards

    A. The minimum electrical service for each dwelling and/or dwelling unit must be 100 amps,

    or as adjusted and approved, in writing, by the electrical inspector of the City.

B Service should be of a three-wire type, with service entry on an approved weatherhead at

    least ten (10) feet from grade and not to extend beyond two (2) feet unsupported.

C. All exposed wiring, service lines and feeders must be protected and properly shielded in

    approved conduit.

D. Every habitable room within such dwelling must contain at a minimum, two- (2) separate

    and remote wall type electric convenience outlets. Habitable rooms over 120 square feet,

    must contain at a minimum, three- (3) separate and remote wall electric convenience

    outlets. All newly installed outlets must be of the grounded type. Temporary wiring,

    extension or zip cords must not be used as permanent wiring.

E. Every habitable room must have at least one ceiling or wall type electric light fixture,

    controlled by a wall switch, or a wall type grounded electric convenience outlet controlled

    by a remote switch.

    F. Every toilet room, bathroom, laundry, furnace room, and hallway (hallway where

    applicable) must contain at least 1 supplied ceiling or wall type electric light fixture,

    controlled by a wall switch.

G. Wherever a service outlet is installed within six feet of standing or running water source

    measurable to the shortest possible distance, (i.e. the top of tubs or lavatories) a

    functioning GFCI type outlet will be installed. One ( 1) GFCI outlet must be installed in

    wall on both sides of kitchen sink.

H. Every kitchen must be wired to meet the requirements of state and/or local code based

    on the size and layout of each individual kitchen.

I. All heavy-duty appliances (i.e., window air conditioners, freezers, stoves, washers, dryers,

    microwaves, etc.) must be supplied with its own proper outlets on separate circuits, as

    applicable.

J. Receptacle convenience outlets installed in or on open porches, breezeways, garages,

    utility rooms, etc. must be of the GFI type.

K. All wall and/or ceiling type lighting fixtures must be controlled by a waIl switch.

    HCDD New Construction

    Revised 1/30/09

    Page 10

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