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RULE §297.1General Provisions

(a) Purpose. Health and Safety Code, Chapter 385, Indoor Air Quality in Government Buildings, requires the Board of Health (board) to establish voluntary guidelines for indoor air quality (IAQ) in government buildings, including guidelines for ventilation and indoor air pollution control systems. The department developed these guidelines to promote practices that prevent or reduce the contamination of indoor air, thereby contributing to a safe, healthy, productive and comfortable environment for building occupants. Benefits of good IAQ may include improved health of occupants, decrease in the spread of infectious disease, protection of susceptible populations, increased productivity of occupants, improved relationships/fewer complaints, reduction in potential building closures and relocation of occupants, less deterioration of buildings and equipment, reduced maintenance costs, and decreased liability and risk.

(b) Scope. These are voluntary guidelines for government buildings. Only buildings that are enclosed on all sides from floor to ceiling by walls or windows (exclusive of door ways) that extend from the floor to the ceiling are covered by these guidelines. Examples of governmental buildings include, but are not limited to, office buildings, public schools, public colleges, public universities, laboratories, dormitories, correctional facilities, courts, libraries, hospitals, warehouses, convention centers, sports facilities or any other building that is defined in this guideline as a government building. Open air parking garages and other facilities that are not enclosed are not covered by these guidelines. These guidelines are not intended to cover industrial-type activities in governmental buildings that are covered by occupational health and safety guidelines and standards unless these activities affect office, classroom, or other non-industrial occupied areas. Industrial-type activities would commonly be found in laboratories, maintenance shops, print shops, woodworking shops, or automotive maintenance and repair shops.

  (1) The department does not have any enforcement authority requiring implementation of these guidelines. They do not create liability for a governmental entity for an injury caused by the failure to comply with the voluntary guidelines established by the board under Health and Safety Code, §385.002.

  (2) Additional information on IAQ and a list of other resources for more information can be provided by the Indoor Air Quality Branch of the department. There are several resources available free of charge which offer guidance on the development of an IAQ Management Plan and which provide forms that can be used or modified to fit the needs of governmental buildings. These include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) publications, "Building Air Quality Action Plan and Building Air Quality: A Guide for Building Owners and Facility Managers, Indoor Air Quality Building Education Assessment Model (I-BEAM) Software" and "IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit". These resources are available on the Internet at www.epa.gov/iaq.

  (3) The needs, costs and available funding for improving the IAQ vary greatly in different governmental entities. Governmental administrators should evaluate, and adopt or promote those guidelines that in their judgment are relevant, applicable and feasible to implement. It is important to realize that these guidelines are presented as a basic standard of practice that the department is encouraging governmental administrators to strive for.

  (4) If portions of these guidelines conflict with any applicable building codes or other laws, then such laws take precedence over these guidelines. It is the responsibility of each governmental building administrator and other users of these guidelines to comply with applicable laws including but not limited to, those related to building, plumbing, electrical and mechanical systems, fire protection, safety, energy use and environmental protection.

(c) Severability. Should any section or subsection of this chapter be found to be void for any reason, such finding shall not affect all other sections.

Source Note: The provisions of this §297.1 adopted to be effective December 22, 2002, 27 TexReg 11759

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