Modular Building Institute

Discussion Forum

Offsite Construction Standards: The Big Payoff for the Modular Industry

Original Comment:
In February of 2019 the International Code Council (ICC) and the Modular Building Institute (MBI) initiated a joint project to write standards for the planning, design, fabrication, assembly, inspection, and regulatory compliance of off-site and modular construction. A standard development committee was created by the ICC Board of Directors in July 2019, and the first meeting of that committee was in October of 2019.

For the past two years, MBI’s Executive Director has served as the vice chair for the International Code Council’s working group developing these two new ANSI standards for the offsite construction industry. The efforts of this group are about to come to fruition, as ANSI 1200 and ANSI 1205 are anticipated to be published next month.

ANSI 1200 - Standard for Off-Site Construction: Planning, Design, Fabrication and Assembly

ANSI 1205 - Standard for Off-Site Construction: Inspection and Regulatory Compliance

The purpose of these standards is to provide minimum requirements to safeguard public health, safety, general welfare and to address societal and industry challenges for the inspection and regulatory compliance of off-site construction. These standards are intended for adoption by government agencies and organizations for use in conjunction with model codes to achieve uniformity in the inspection and regulatory compliance of off-site construction.

But once published, the work only begins as a standard is meaningless until adopted by a jurisdiction. And this is a key reason every industry needs a trade association. MBI has already successfully lobbied Salt Lake City, Utah officials to adopt the language contained in the standard, even before the standard was finalized!

MBI now shifts its attention to the ICC’s 2024 code development process and specifically to the public hearings to be held in Pittsburgh, PA next month. Our public comment, if passed, would incorporate these new standards into the 2024 International Building Code. Our provision would give the flexibility to the thirty-five states with an existing state program the option of using the standards or their own programs. But it would provide much needed guidance to the fifteen states with no such program.

As each state navigates its own code development process and the calendar pages flip, eventually adoption of this standard will be taken up across the country.

So why is MBI spending time and resources on this effort? One of the often-cited barriers to greater growth of modular construction is the lack of industry standards. No two manufacturers seem to build the same way and no two states seem to review, inspect, and approve modular components in the same manner – save for the four states in the Interstate Industrialized Building Program.

This standard provides the blueprint for all jurisdictions to review, inspect, and approve modular and offsite components in a fair and consistent manner, while allowing manufacturers the confidence of knowing they won’t have to create multiple processes for multiple states.

Our proposal will be heard by the ICC Committee on September 24th – stay tuned!
Started on August 11, 2021 by Tom Hardiman
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Additional Comments:
This week, MBI Government Affairs Director Jon Hannah-Spacagna heads up to Pittsburgh for the ICC code action hearings. We are expecting our proposal to adopt these standards in the 2024 IBC to be heard on Friday. We have a few procedural hurdles to clear, but I am cautiously optimistic about our chances.

Meanwhile, we are also working all channels to get these standards referenced and adopted by as many jurisdictions as possible. Just this week, I spoke with a local code official who was about to work on his first modular project in his jurisdiction. He had a lot of questions and felt like everything was falling on his shoulders to make sure this project was successful. We should provide our code officials with the guidance they need to do their jobs!

Stay tuned!
Updated on September 21, 2021 by Tom Hardiman

Great to see this standard coming to forwishen. Nicely coinciding with the new Z250 CSA standard for Modular Construction coming out in September. I love the idea of some sort of "Best Practices" guide for installation of modular. A true research paper that can explore all of the different possibilities in modular installation. Good Luck to everyone. Steven Haylestrom
Updated on August 11, 2021 by Steven James

(All comments will be reviewed by MBI before being displayed)
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