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RULE §19.340 Mechanical Requirements

Published: 2015

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The design of the mechanical systems must be done by or under the direction of a registered professional (mechanical) engineer approved by the Texas State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers to operate in Texas, and the parts of the plans and specifications covering mechanical design must bear the legible seal of the engineer. Building services pertaining to utilities; heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems; vertical conveyors; and chutes must be in accordance with the Life Safety Code. Required plumbing fixtures must be in accordance with the Life Safety Code and §19.334 of this title (relating to Architectural Space Planning and Utilization) in specific use areas.   (1) Plumbing.     (A) All plumbing systems must be designed and installed in accordance with the requirements of the plumbing code of the municipality. In the absence of a municipal code, a nationally recognized plumbing code must be used. Any discrepancy between an applicable code and these requirements must be called to the attention of the Texas Department of Human Services (DHS) for resolution.     (B) Supply systems must assure an adequacy of hot and cold water. An average rule-of-thumb design for hot water for resident usage (at 110 degrees Fahrenheit) is to provide 6-1/2 gallons per hour per resident in addition to kitchen and laundry use.     (C) Water supply must be from a system approved by the Water Utility Division, Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission, or from a system regulated by an entity responsible for water quality in that jurisdiction as approved by the Water Utility Division, Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission.     (D) The sewage system must connect to a system permitted by the Watershed Management Division, Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission, or to a system regulated by an entity responsible for water quality in that jurisdiction as approved by the Water Utility Division, Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission.     (E) The minimum ratio of fixtures to residents shall be as required in §19.334(c) of this title (relating to Architectural Space Planning and Utilization).     (F) For design calculation purposes, resident-use hot water must not exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit at the fixture. For purposes of conforming to licensure requirements, an operating system providing water from 100 degrees Fahrenheit to 115 degrees Fahrenheit is acceptable. Hot water for laundry and kitchen use must be normally 140 degrees Fahrenheit except that dish sanitizing, if done by hot water, must be 180 degrees Fahrenheit.     (G) Water closets raised to provide a seat height 17 inches to 19 inches from the floor is required for persons with disabilities.     (H) Showers for wheelchair residents must not have curbs. Tub and shower bottoms must have a slip-resistant surface. Shower and tub enclosures, other than curtains, must be of tempered glass, plastic, and other safe materials.     (I) Drinking fountains must not extend into exit corridors.     (J) Fixture controls easily operable by residents must be provided (such as lever type).     (K) Plumbing fixtures for residents must be vitreous china or porcelain finished cast iron or steel unless otherwise approved by DHS. Bathing units constructed of class B fire rated fiberglass are acceptable for use.     (L) Hand-washing sinks for staff use are required in many areas throughout the facility in accordance with §19.334 of this title (relating to Architectural Space Planning and Utilization). Lavatories are required to be provided adjacent to water closets in each area.     (M) The soiled utility room must be provided with a flushing device such as a water closet with bedpan lugs, a spray hose with a siphon breaker or similar device, such as a high neck faucet with lever controls and a deep sink that is large enough to submerse a bedpan. A sterilizer for sanitizing may be used in place of a deep sink.     (N) Siphon breakers or back-flow preventers must be installed with any water supply fixture where the outlet or attachments may be submerged.     (O) Clean-outs for waste piping lines must be provided and located so that there is the least physical and sanitary hazard to residents. Where possible, clean-outs must open to the exterior or areas which would not spread contamination during clean-out procedures.     (P) All boilers not exempted by the Texas Health and Safety Code §755.022 must be inspected and certified for operation by The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.   (2) Heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems.     (A) Heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems must be designed and installed in accordance with the Heating, Ventilating, and Air-Conditioning Guide of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), except as may be modified by this section.     (B) Heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems must meet the requirements of the Life Safety Code and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 90A. The plans must have a statement verifying that the systems are designed to conform to NFPA 90A. Requirements for conditions related to smoke compartmentation must be in accordance with §19.336 of this title (relating to Smoke Compartmentation (Subdivision of Building Spaces)).     (C) Systems using liquefied petroleum gas fuel must meet the requirements of the Railroad Commission of Texas and NFPA 58 Liquefied Petroleum Gases.     (D) The heating system must be designed, installed, and functioning to be able to maintain a temperature of at least 75 degrees Fahrenheit for all areas occupied by residents. For all other occupied areas, the indoor design temperature must be at least 72 degrees Fahrenheit. The cooling system must be designed, installed, and functioning to be able to maintain a temperature of not more than 78 degrees Fahrenheit. A facility constructed or licensed after January 1, 2004, must have a central air conditioning system, or a substantially similar air conditioning system, that is capable of maintaining a temperature suitable for resident comfort within areas used by residents. Occupied areas generating high heat, such as kitchens, must be provided with a sufficient cool air supply to maintain a temperature not exceeding 85 degrees Fahrenheit at the five-foot level. Supply air volume must be approximately equal to the air volume exhausted to the exterior for these areas.     (E) Air systems must provide for mixing at least 10% outside air for the supply distribution. Blowers for central heating and cooling systems must be designed so that they may run continuously.     (F) Floor furnaces, unvented space heaters, and portable heating units must not be used. Heating devices or appliances must not be a burn hazard (to touch) to residents.     (G) A combustion fresh air inlet must be provided to all gas or fossil fuel operated equipment in steel ducts or passages from outside the building in accordance with NFPA 54. Rooms must also be vented to the exterior to exhaust heated ambient air in the room. Combustion air will require one vent within 12 inches of the floor and one vent within 12 inches of the ceiling.     (H) The location and design of air diffusers, registers, and return air grilles, must ensure that residents are not in harmful or excessive drafts in their normal usage of the room.     (I) In areas requiring control of sanitation, the air flow must be from the clean area to the dirty area. Air supply to food preparation areas must not be from air which has circulated places such as resident bedrooms and baths.     (J) Air from unsanitary areas such as janitors closets, soiled linen areas, utility areas, and soiled area of laundry rooms, must not be returned and recirculated to other areas.     (K) Intakes for fresh outside air must be located sufficiently distant from exhaust outlets or other areas or conditions which may contaminate or otherwise pollute the incoming fresh air. Fresh air inlets must be appropriately screened to prevent entry of debris, rodents, and animals. Provision must be made for access to such screens for periodic inspection and cleaning to eliminate clogging or air stoppage (see paragraph (3)(C)(i) of this subsection).     (L) Systems must be designed as much as possible to avoid having ducts passing through fire walls or smoke barrier walls. All openings or duct penetrations in these walls must be provided with approved automatic dampers. Smoke dampers at smoke partitions must close automatically upon activation of the fire alarm system to prevent the flow of air or smoke in either direction.     (M) Ducts with smoke dampers must have maintenance panels for inspections. The maintenance panels must be removable without tools. Means of access must also be provided in the ceiling or side wall to facilitate smoke damper inspection readily and without obstruction. Location of dampers must be identified on the wall or ceiling of the occupied area below.     (N) Fusible links are not approved for smoke dampers.     (O) Central air supply systems and/or systems serving means of egress must automatically and immediately shut down upon activation of the fire alarm system. (An exception must be approved, engineered smoke-removal systems.)     (P) Ducts must be of metal or other approved noncombustible material. Cooling ducts must be insulated against condensation drip.   (3) Ventilating and exhaust.     (A) General ventilating systems must be in accordance with paragraph (2) of this subsection.     (B) Provisions for natural ventilation using windows or louvers must be incorporated into the building design where possible and practical. These windows or louvers must have insect screens.     (C) All air-supply and air-exhaust systems must be mechanically-operated. The ventilation rates shown in the table in clause (xi) of this subparagraph must be considered as minimum acceptable rates and must not be construed as precluding the use of higher ventilation rates.       (i) Outdoor air intakes must be located as far as practical (but normally not less than 10 feet) from exhaust outlets or ventilating systems, combustion equipment stacks, medical vacuum systems, plumbing vent stacks, or from areas which may collect vehicular exhaust and other noxious fumes.       (ii) The ventilation systems must be designed and balanced to provide the pressure relationship as shown in the table in clause (xi) of this subparagraph. A final engineered system air balance report will be required for the completed system to be furnished and certified by the installer.       (iii) The bottoms of ventilation openings must be not less than three inches above the floor of any room.       (iv) Doors protecting corridors or ways of egress must not have air transfer grilles or louvers. Corridors must not be used to supply air to or exhaust air from any room except that air from corridors may be used as make-up air to ventilate small toilet rooms, janitor's closets, and small electrical or telephone closets opening directly on corridors, provided that the ventilation can be accomplished by door undercuts not exceeding 3/4 inches.       (v) All exhausts must be continuously ducted to the exterior. Exhausting air into attics or other spaces is not permitted. Duct material must be metal.       (vi) All central ventilation or air-conditioning systems must be equipped with filters of sufficient efficiency to minimize dust and lint accumulations throughout the system and building including supply and return plenums and ductwork. Filters with efficiency rating of 80% or greater (based on ASHRAE) are recommended. Filters for individual room units must be as recommended by the equipment manufacturer. Filters must be easily accessible for routine changing or cleaning.       (vii) Static pressures of systems must be within limits recommended by ASHRAE and the equipment manufacturer (upstream and downstream).       (viii) In geographic locations or interior room areas where extreme humidity levels are likely to occur for extended periods of time, apparatus for controlling humidity levels (preferably between 40-60%) are recommended to be installed as a part of central systems and with automatic humidistat controls.       (ix) Exhaust hoods, ducts, and automatic extinguishers for kitchen cooking equipment must be in accordance with NFPA 96.       (x) Forced air exhaust must be provided in laundries, kitchens, and dishwashing areas to remove excess heat and moisture and to maintain air flow in the direction of clean to soiled areas.       (xi) Ventilation requirements for nursing areas must be according to the following table: Attached Graphic       (xii) With relationship to adjacent areas, a positive air pressure must be provided for clean utility rooms, clean linen rooms, and medication rooms. Conditioned supply air must be introduced into these rooms.   (4) Sprinkler systems. The following requirements are applicable to sprinkler systems:     (A) Sprinkler systems must be in accordance with NFPA 13 and this subchapter.     (B) The design and installation of sprinkler systems must meet any applicable state laws pertaining to these systems and one of the following criteria:       (i) The sprinkler system must be designed by a qualified registered professional engineer approved by the Texas State Board of Registration for Professional Engineers to operate in Texas. The engineer must supervise the installation and provide written approval of the completed installation.       (ii) The sprinkler system must be planned and installed in accordance with NFPA 13 by firms with certificates of registration issued by the office of the state fire marshal that have at least one full-time licensed responsible managing employee (RME). The RME's license number and signature must be included on the prepared sprinkler drawings.     (C) The approved sprinkler plans must be submitted to DHS, Architectural Section, Austin, Texas.     (D) Particular attention should be paid to adequate, safe, and reasonable freeze protection for all piping. The design of freeze protection should minimize the need for dependence on staff action or intervention to provide protection.

Source Note: The provisions of this §19.340 adopted to be effective July 1, 1996, 21 TexReg 4408; amended to be effective August 1, 2000, 25 TexReg 6779; amended to be effective May 1, 2004, 29 TexReg 3235