The Austin Code Department is committed to working with the public to help us gain a better understanding of the community’s perspective on code issues and processes that affect Austin.
We are constantly seeking feedback from our stakeholders and the general community on issues that affect them. We seek feedback through online surveys, through focus groups, social media outlets, and more.
Insect Screens Recommendation
In early 2018, the City of Austin Code Department sought public input about a proposed City ordinance that could require some property owners to install insect screens on some windows or exterior doors. Ordinances in the City of Austin are based on the language in the International Property Maintenance Code (IPMC), but Austin can adopt its own local amendment of the international model code.
The IPMC standards apply only for homes that do not have mechanical ventilation (such as air conditioning). In other words, the “required for ventilation” language refers to openings that serve as the building’s primary source of ventilation. A home with an air conditioning system would not be required to install insect screens under the IPMC language.
Austin Health Department enforces screens for food service areas and Austin has had insect screen requirements in the past, but presently there are no codes in place to enforce insect screens in homes and apartment buildings. The Austin Code Department sought public input to help shape the possible local amendment of this ordinance to propose to Council.
In addition to soliciting public input, Austin Code Department reviewed industry practices and comparable ordinances from other cities, consulted with local public health experts and medical officials to determine Austin’s current level of public health risk for mosquito-borne disease outbreak, and projected the potential affordability impact to property owners.
On September 21, 2018, the department provided its final recommendation to the Mayor and Austin City Council:
Recommendation: Austin Code Department recommends deferring the proposed amendment until such time that the level of public health risk necessitates an escalated and costly city-wide response.
At this time, the department does not recommend moving forward with adopting a provision in the International Property Maintenance Code that would require insect screens.
This memo details the comprehensive work completed by staff and the basis for the staff recommendation. The document also highlights ongoing strategies to control the area mosquito population and minimize the risk of mosquito-borne disease transmission in Austin and Travis County.
Thank you to those who took the time to share your thoughts with the Austin Code Department and provide input regarding proposed insect screen requirements for the City of Austin.