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Modular home construction changing

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Changes in the state building code now take affect changing the way modular homes are built, changes that were sparked by a FOX Undercover investigation.

This afternoon the Mass. Board of Building Regulations and Standards, which sets the state building code, met at the State House and unanimously passed an emergency amendment to the state building code requiring these factory-built homes to also have screws or nails holding up their ceilings, not just the flammable glue that’s been commonly used.

The changes come in the wake of a FOX Undercover investigation last year in which we documented concerns about fire safety in modular homes. Those concerns were highlighted when a fire quickly consumed a modular home in Acushnet three years ago. Acushnet Fire Chief Kevin Gallagher, wondering why the fire spread so quickly, came to believe that the ceilings collapsed inside the home because they were only held up with a flammable glue. Collapsing ceilings not only pose a risk to firefighters and residents but also help a fire spread throughout a home.

Since then, Gallagher has worried about ceilings in other modular homes falling, but not anymore.

The state first announced the building code change in April but it gave the modular industry nine months to do testing it claimed would prove ceilings held up with glue are as safe as ceilings held up with screws or nails.

The testing still isn't done, though, and in a letter to the state building code board the Modular Building Systems Association says it will comply with the new code as of this week but is still hoping to come back to the board with test results.

 

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