Understanding Modular Building Code Requirements
Are concerns about the durability and construction quality of modular buildings giving you second thoughts about utilizing modular construction methods? Put your fears to rest. Modular buildings are designed and constructed to meet the IBC (International Building Code) requirements for commercial buildings, as well as applicable federal and state building codes. These are the same standards that are used to inspect and approve commercial buildings constructed using traditional building methods.
Let’s take you through a few more questions about modular building codes and explain how modular buildings are constructed to meet or exceed all building code requirements.
Are Modular Buildings Compliant with Building Codes?
Modular designs and final buildings are inspected and approved based on IBC standards for:
- Structural design
- Roof assembly
- Means of egress
- Fire and smoke protection
- Life safety systems
- Electrical, mechanical, and plumbing
- Energy conservation
Inspections are completed at the time of manufacture and buildings are evaluated following the codes applicable to the location where the building will be installed. If your modular building will be installed in Ohio but is built in Pennsylvania, it will be inspected to meet all building code requirements for Ohio. In the many instances where a temporary modular building will be used in several locations, it will be evaluated and inspected to meet the building regulations for several states at once.
What is the Process for Meeting Building Code Requirements?
There are three steps in the modular construction process where buildings are evaluated and approved based on building code requirements. Buildings are inspected during the design phase, just before delivery, and after final assembly.
When modular construction designs are complete, the drawings and specifications are sent to third-party engineers for review. They will inspect the designs to ensure that all federal and state codes have been met. Any necessary revisions will be made prior to the start of manufacturing.
Throughout the manufacturing phase, specialized inspections are also completed as the individual building modules move down the assembly line. These quality control efforts allow for non-compliant issues to be caught and corrected without affecting the other areas of the project.
When construction is complete, the modules undergo inspection to ensure they are compliant to all applicable building codes. This inspection, like in the design phase, is carried out by a third-party partner. When all approvals have been passed, proof of compliance (which in most cases is a tag or a seal) is applied to each module. Only then can they be shipped to the final build site for assembly.
Once the building is assembled on-site, a final inspection must take place before the owner can take occupancy. Inspectors will look at:
- Site connections that hold the modules together
- Building foundation
- Site utility work
- ADA compliance
- Fire protection and suppression
- Life safety
- Issues with the surrounding land, including water runoff
The bottom line is that modular buildings undergo extensive review and compliance, resulting in an end product that’s as durable, safe, and well-constructed as traditionally-built buildings.