Wednesday, December 9, 2015

MHBA Continues Its Work for a Better Modular Housing Industry

The Modular Home Builders Association has been working hard to address problems facing both their factory and builder members.

Tom Hardiman, the Executive Director of the MHBA told the factory people that attended last week's Factory Round Table in Lewisburg, PA that even though headway is being made on several important issues that effect all of us, there is still a lot to do and what is needed now is for every modular factory and every modular home builder in the US to join the MHBA and create a more powerful voice when he speaks to local and state legislators and code officials across the country.

Here are just two of the MHBA's lastest accomplishments:

PROGRESSING IN MARYLAND - Last week, several industry representatives met with the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development officials as well as officials from the State Fire Marshal's Office to discuss the requirements and processes for installing sprinkler systems in modular homes. In that meeting, we had two manufacturers (Apex and Beracah Homes), two builders (Harris Woodward and Bill Swartz) and two sprinkler contractors discussing how to better streamline the approval process for modular home sprinkler system installations.  Ed Landon stated that if his processes were putting modular homes at a disadvantage to stick built homes, he was willing to review those specific processes. In all, the meeting was very positive and we believe it will yield some improvements for our industry. We plan to follow up with our formal request in writing this week.

We also discussed the upcoming legislative session in Maryland and the need to monitor any effort that allows site built contractors to continue building homes in the state without this requirement while modular continues to do so - everyone should be all in, or all out for this requirement. MHBA has already been monitoring all state legislatures for pre-filed bills for the 2016 session and fully expects a flurry of activity in Maryland.


TIDES TURNING IN THE BAY STATE?  About a year ago, a group of modular manufacturers and contractors, both residential and commercial, spent the better part of a day with the director of the Manufactured Housing Program listening to proposed updates and expressing our concerns over some of the regulations. The industry was tasked with helping to review, revise and re-write the regulations that would ultimately become the 9th edition of the building code.

The industry responded by submitting over thirty separate comments including relatively minor clarification comments as well as more substantive comments. At the time we were informed that the time-line for the proposed new edition would be short (i.e. the next few months). After six months, it seemed as if the state had just been giving lip service to wanting our input and no real changes were in the works. That was until last week when the Massachusetts Board of Building Regulation and Standards (BBRS) approved the draft version of the 9th Edition, the first step in the adoption process. Upon reviewing the draft, we were pleased to see that at least twenty-five of the industry comments were included, many verbatim. Among the proposed changes was the deletion of fifteen requirements currently listed in the quality control manual. Many of these requirements were redundant, unnecessary, and had little to do with quality control. Another change was clarification on how to treat existing relocatable buildings differently than newly constructed units.  

Read more here.


William aka "Little Bill" said...

To Tom (MHBA) & others who attend the meeting in Maryland:
Thank you for talking to the state and making them understand the disadvantage that modulars have as compared to site built houses. At least they listened and understand there is an issue (like they could not tell by the declining number of modular units shipped into their state).

Good effort Tom and keep plugging away at these troublesome states.

Stephen said...

Thank you Tom for taking the time to get out and meet with Maryland. Its been long over due. At least Maryland sat and listened to you, the 2 factories and the 2 builders. Hopefully they have a better understanding about modular versus stick-built not being on the same level playing field.

Honestly, does Maryland modular officials not understand that the declining number of modular units into their state only means they there will be no need for a modular program. Therefore, they need to visit the unemployment office to seek benefits. Than again, maybe they are RIP, retired in place, and are only waiting for social security.

josh margulies said...

I think the attitude Maryland code enforcement officials expressed towards residential modular construction reflects a few past but rather unfortunate experiences. One must never go against the will of the sovereign government. there are always serious repercussions. With environmental and life safety regulations impacting the cost curves of our products it is well we ask ourselves what of the future of modular construction in Maryland?

while storm water management regulations and sewage disposal regulations have impacted rural development, I think we may yet see a A significant use of modular construction in urban infill projects. This I think is most appropriate use of residential modular construction technology.

and that is what you must sell to Marilyn home building officials