Fire safety solutions for modular homes
Modular homes can save contractors time but can be more prone to fire hazards under certain conditions. One of the reasons is that traditional “stick-built” houses — or those built on-site — follow specific building guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. They enforce construction standards through third-party inspection agencies.
Another reason modular homes are more at risk is that they often have smaller-sized rooms. Also, these homes are typically built in rural areas, where the emergency response can be slower. In fact, modular construction makes up 15 percent of construction in rural areas, compared to three percent in urban areas. Here are some safety solutions to reduce the risk of fire hazards.
Add an internal sprinkler system
Internal sprinkler systems can help to slow down the spread of fires. It can then give residents time to exit their homes safely. The system can also help to prevent property damage. Another benefit for residents is the water is less forceful than using a hose. There are multiple types of systems, including wet and dry. Yet, the device may not be as effective in rural areas, where people rely on individual wells and water lines.
Improve window and door glazing
Double-pane glass holds up better than single-pane when faced with heat. Also, contractors should use tempered glass, often found on sliding doors. The material is stronger and breaks into smaller pieces. So, if a homeowner had to break a window to escape the fire, the glass would be less harmful. Another thing to keep in mind is smaller windows can survive damage better than larger ones. Contractors should also advise homeowners to invest in non-flammable shutters.
Protect the roof
It’s essential to install durable roofing materials to protect the property against heat. Standing seam, slate and tile are good choices. Suppose contractors are looking for green building materials? Recycled rubber can provide fire resistance at a lower price. It will cost around $12,500 to install.
Besides the awning materials, the layout of the structure is critical. Having a steeper pitched roof can reduce the risk of fire. It pushes the embers off the top before they can burn through. Builders should also remind residents to keep their gutters clear of debris. A clogged drain can cause a fire to spread quicker.
Cover any entry points
All critical entryways must be sealed with a mesh wire to prevent flames from entering a home. Some common areas include vents, window or door cracks, and chimneys. Wire mesh is an ideal material because it is affordable and durable. It is also versatile, with a wide range of opening styles. Wire mesh is also easy to install, allowing contractors to focus on other projects.
Strengthen the siding
To prevent internal damage, the contractor should use durable building materials. Finding non-flammable supplies, such as fiber-cement siding, is critical. Other options include stone, brick or stucco. However, wood is not a suitable choice. If a builder is using vinyl, the gaps must be sealed first.
Detach the garage
Garages can create fire risks for residential homes. Oil and gas can drip from the car’s engine. Also, homeowners keep flammable materials in garages, such as paint or motor oil. Keeping the space detached can slow the spread of a fire and prevent damage to the main dwelling. Another way to protect against fires is for builders to ensure garage doors open quickly. An unresponsive entryway is an issue if a homeowner must suddenly evacuate. Contractors should have a battery backup for garage door openers in case of a power outage. In fact, California passed a law requiring them. If a homeowner’s garage door has a slow response time, it may also indicate they need a battery backup.
Be smart about deck design
Many people like the classic appearance of wooden decks. However, the material can create a fire hazard. Engineers should consider using alternative materials, such as aerated concrete or composite boards. If homeowners insist on having wood, pressure-treated or fire-retardant supplies are best.
Modular construction can have its benefits, but it has a few downsides that require knowledge and preparation. To protect homes from fires, engineers should consider the type of supplies they use and how they go about designing the structure.