The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) says the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) report in support of a “conditional sprinkler system” for HUD Code homes destroys the opportunity to debunk the myth that manufactured housing poses a fire risk worse than traditional one and two-family homes. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) had originally stated in a July 27, 2011, report that the fire death rate in HUD Code homes is higher than in other homes, a charge MHARR said was unsubstantiated, and which the NFPA retracted October 14, 2011, conceding that HUD Code homes are as safe or safer than other homes. Even though the MHI (Manufactured Housing Institute)-HUD sprinkler system is conditional, MHARR notes, it implies that manufactured homes need additional fire protection. It may also open the door for potential lawsuits against manufacturers and communities in case of a fire loss. In addition, the conditional sprinkler system does nothing to preempt sprinklers from being mandated by local jurisdictions, and in fact may lead to more calls for sprinkler systems. Community owners may be forced to install costly water systems or face increased liability if they do not. Community expert George Allen notes he may have to say to community residents: “Would you please sign this waiver, acknowledging the inferiority of my property’s infrastructure design and capability, and accept the increased liability potential to your home, in the event it catches fire while sited here?” MHARR adds that HUD refuses to confirm that the conditional standard will not be expanded into an across-the-board mandate. Meanwhile, in FireEngineering, the NFPA says MHI has issued a misleading press release regarding fire death rates in manufactured housing. It says the fire death rate in all manufactured homes is 3.4 per 100,000 occupied housing units, well above the 2.3-2.6 rate in other homes. The rate in “post-standard manufactured homes” homes is 2.4 deaths, comparable to the rate in other homes. NFPA supports including sprinklers in the construction of manufactured homes.
(Graphic credit: MHARR)
(Image credit: Wikipedia)