Proposed Amendments to Administrative Rules

Chapter 75. Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Program

Proposal Filed: June 2, 2017 – Published in the Texas Register: June 16, 2017
Deadline for Public Comment: July 17, 2017
Underlined text is new language.
[ Strike-thru text ] is deleted language.

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (Department) proposes amendments to an existing rule at 16 Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Chapter 75 §75.110, regarding the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration program.

The Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractor License Law, Tex. Occ. Code §1302.101(a), requires the Texas Commission of Licensing and Regulation to adopt rules for the practice of air conditioning and refrigeration contracting that are at least as strict as the standards provided by the Uniform Mechanical Code and the International Mechanical Code. These codes define the standard of practice for ACR contracting, and are used by the Department’s compliance staff to evaluate the mechanical integrity and proper installation and service of air conditioning and refrigeration systems. The proposed amendments are necessary to align the program’s applicable codes with currently recognized national standards and to provide clarity and consistency for the Department’s licensees.

The proposed amendments to §75.110 update the date and code editions from 2012 to 2015 for the Uniform Mechanical Code, the International Mechanical Code, International Residential Code, and other applicable codes, including the International Energy Conservation Code and International Fuel Gas Code.

Brian E. Francis, Executive Director, has determined that for the first five-year period the proposed amendments are in effect, there will be no foreseeable implications relating to costs or revenues of the state or local government as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed rule.

Mr. Francis also has determined that for each year of the first five-year period the proposed rule is in effect, the public benefits will be improvements in efficiency and energy savings for consumers, as well as consistency in the health and safety, installation, and maintenance requirements for air conditioning and refrigeration work performed in the state of Texas.

Mr. Francis has determined that for each year of the first five-year period the proposed rule is in effect, there will be some economic costs to persons, including small or micro-businesses, required to comply with the proposed rule. However, any additional costs incurred should be insignificant in nature and will typically be recouped in the normal course of business, in which consumers will ultimately benefit from increased energy efficiency and reduced energy costs resulting from improvements effected in the revised codes. The Department is unable to provide a specific estimate of costs or cost savings attributable to the updated codes, as those costs or cost savings will be determined by the market for ACR services.

The Department has identified the following provisions as most likely to result in costs, or a reduction in costs, to licensees:

Uniform Mechanical Code

Chapter 3 – General requirements for condensate wastes and control, installation of appliances on sloped roofs, and clearances to combustible constructions;

Chapter 4 – Classification of recirculated and transferred air, parking garage exhaust, and natural ventilation;

Chapter 5 – Exhaust provisions for clothes dryers, Type I hoods and grease ducts, dishwashing machines, and downdraft appliances;

Chapter 6 – Duct systems requirements for factory-made air ducts, plastic ducts, and ducts used in underground installations;

Chapter 9 – Appliance provisions, such as electric duct heaters, electric ranges, refrigeration appliances, and ductless mini-split systems;

Chapter 11 – Refrigeration system requirements, such as the refrigeration concentration limit, ventilation for refrigeration machinery rooms, pressure vessels, and pressure relief valve discharge;

Chapter 12 – Hydronic systems provisions.

International Mechanical Code

Section 106.1.1 – Annual permits for mechanical repairs;

Section 403.3.2 – Ventilation requirements for R-2 occupancies three stories or less in height.

International Energy Conservation Code

Table C403.2.3(9) – Increased stringency of computer room HVAC minimum efficiency levels;

Section C403.2.4.7 – Required inclusion of a fault detection and diagnostics reporting system on 4.5-ton or larger air-cooled HVAC systems.

International Fuel Gas Code

Section 307.6 – Condensation pumps located in attics, crawl spaces, and other uninhabited spaces must have controls that shut down the appliance upon failure of the pumping system;

Section 404.7 – Provisions added to protect concealed piping from penetration by nails, screws and other fasteners.

Since the agency has determined that the proposed amendments will have no adverse economic effect on small or micro-businesses, preparation of an Economic Impact Statement and a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, pursuant to Texas Government Code §2006.002, is not required.

Comments on the proposal may be submitted by mail to Pauline Easley, Legal Assistant, General Counsel’s Office, Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, P.O. Box 12157, Austin, Texas 78711; or by facsimile to (512) 475-3032, or electronically to erule.comments@tdlr.texas.gov. The deadline for comments is 30 days after publication in the Texas Register.

The amendments are proposed under Texas Occupations Code, Chapters 51 and 1302, which authorize the Commission, the Department’s governing body, to adopt rules as necessary to implement these chapters and any other law establishing a program regulated by the Department.

The statutory provisions affected by the proposal are those set forth in Texas Occupations Code, Chapters 51 and 1302. No other statutes, articles, or codes are affected by the proposal.

§75.110. Applicable Codes.

(a) The commission adopts the following as the applicable codes as referenced in the Act and this chapter:

(1) 2012 edition of the Uniform Mechanical Code; and

(2) 2012 editions of the International Mechanical Code, the International Residential Code, and other applicable codes.

(b) The 2012 codes shall remain in effect through December 31, 2017. All air conditioning and refrigeration work permitted or started before January 1, 2018, may be completed in accordance with the 2012 code editions [ are effective January 1, 2015 ].

(c) The commission adopts the following as the applicable codes as referenced in the Act and this chapter:

(1) 2015 edition of the Uniform Mechanical Code; and

(2) 2015 editions of the International Mechanical Code, the International Residential Code, and other applicable codes.

(d) The 2015 codes shall be effective January 1, 2018.

This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on June 2, 2017.

Brian E. Francis
Executive Director
Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation