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Lois Starkey, Pam Danner, Manufactured Housing Institute, Fire Sprinklers, MHARR Reacts

September 6th, 2017 Comments off
LoisStarkeyManufacturedHousingInstituteHUDCodeManufacturedHomesPamDannerRichardADickJennisonMHProNews

Lois Starkey, left, Richard A Dick Jennison, center, HUD’s Pam Danner, right. Fire sprinkler image credit is as shown, collage credit, MHProNews.com.

Sources in the Washington, D.C. metro area tell MHProNews that one of former Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) Vice President Lois Starkey’s “pet interests” related to fire sprinklers and their use in manufactured homes.

As the Daily Business News previously reported, Starkey left MHI with no official announcement.

Just a few weeks the head of the manufactured housing program at HUD, Pam Danner, JD, announced that Starkey was joining Danner’s team.

Since her arrival at HUD, the subject of fire sprinklers in manufactured homes has suddenly heated up. Coincidence?

Industry Concerns

Manufactured Home Community (MHC) operators, retailers, and producers are among those who have long opposed the use of such sprinklers in HUD Code homes.  They cite the fact that manufactured homes are already safer than conventional housing, as this linked report and fire safety study detailed.  They also note that sprinklers can be added as an option, instead of forced upon consumers who may not want them.

Communities and retailers point out that due to the added costs, the National Association of Home Builder research documented could “price out” potentially hundreds of thousands of home buyers.

Community operators and retailers also note that sprinklers aren’t practical in many locations nationally. There may not be enough water pressure for sprinklers to do their job properly. In other words, they could be a waste of money.

MHARR Reacts

MarkWeissManufacturedHousingAssociationForRegulatoryReformMHARRPresidentCEOMHProNewsThe Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) has informed MHProNews in a release about a related issue on federal preemption, fire sprinklers and HUD regulated manufactured housing.

A letter from MHARR President and CEO, Mark Weiss to the Director of Maryland Codes Administration, Norman Wang, expressed their view of that state’s lack of understanding for federal preemption under the “Manufactured Housing Improvement Act (MHIA) of 2000.”

Wang claims that MHIA of 2000 “does not preclude a local government from setting its requirement of fire sprinkler[s] in manufactured homes.”

But the communique from MHARR pointed out that the federal HUD Code is not meant to be looked at as “minimum standards.”

Regulatory overreach issues like these are not often contested by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). What MHARR and other industry professionals say could be avoided because of federal preemption, is in fact being tacitly if not actively allowed by HUD, they say.

That’s an issue that JD Harper and the Arkansas Manufactured Housing Association have addressed, and which several other state association executives reportedly share too.

LoisStarkeyFormerlyVPManufacturedHousingInstituteRichardADickJennisonPresidentCEOMHIDailyBusinessNewsManufacturedHomeIndustryReportsResearchDataMHProNews

See the report by clicking the image above.

The current management analyst for HUD’s Office of Manufactured Housing, and prior Vice President (VP) of Regulatory Affairs for the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) has reportedly pushed for this sprinkler requirement in the past.  That may also explain in part why HUD felt comfortable neglecting to protect federal preemption on this issue.

OverRegulationCreditBradyHomesDailyBusinessNews

Featured image credit, Brady Homes.

HUD is pushing for various new regulations. MHARR and others say oversteps the agency’s mandate, as well as the new policies of the Trump Administration.


For more from the Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform and their complete release and letter cited above on the issue of fire sprinklers, click here. ## (News, analysis.)

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

JuliaGranowiczManufacturedHomeLivingNewsMHProNews-comSubmitted by Julia Granowicz to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

 

 

Sparks fly on NFPA Report on Fires and Manufactured Homes: We provide, You decide

October 27th, 2011 Comments off

 

MHProNews.com We Provide You Decide2MHProNews has received press releases and statements/reports from and about the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) on the topic of fire safety in HUD Code manufactured housing. The differing press releases from MHI and MHARR are closely tied with the subject of fire sprinklers, preemption and the very nature of the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC). The NFPA has issued a correction on their report from last summer, including a statement that their report concludes that the rate of fire injury and the incidents of fires for manufactured home occupants is lower than for occupants of other single family homes.

“This report concludes what the industry and our customers have known all along.  Manufactured homes are built with consumer safety considerations first and foremost, and manufactured homes are built to high quality, stringent standards to keep customers safe,” said Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) President Thayer Long.  MHI’s position also stated, “MHCC members also heard from industry representatives, including a third party inspection agency and several state regulators, that the current fire safety standards for manufactured homes are more stringent than for site built homes constructed to the International Residential Code (IRC). Flame spread, egress, and smoke detector requirements are three examples.” Click here to read  the entire MHI press release.

The Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform (MHARR) resent a previous release, that took the NFPA to task for misstating the facts in their summer reports, and essentially called upon the NFPA to correct the errors in their report, which the the NFPA has now addressed.

MHI’s statement began with this sentence, “Last week, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) testified before a federal advisory committee that occupants of manufactured homes are no more likely to die from a fire in their home than occupants of other single family homes. ” This phrasing “federal advisory committee” (emphasis added in the above) has caused concerns in the past, as some MHCC members read the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA of 2000) not to have created a typical “federal advisory committee” at all. An informed source stated, “The 2000 law does say that the MHCC is an “advisory committee,” but then goes on to provide specific powers, authority and procedures for the MHCC that go far beyond those of run-of-the-mill federal advisory committees; powers that are extraordinary. HUD has sought to downgrade and ignore the unique role and powers of the MHCC by claiming that the MHCC is a run-of-the-mill advisory committee and by trying to shoehorn it into strict compliance with the Federal Advisory Committees Act, which generally governs the existence and procedures of federal advisory committees, but states that its provisions are super-ceded by more specific federal law – in this case the specific authority of the MHCC under the 2000 law.  So, what we don’t want to conceded (is) that the MHCC is a typical or run-of- the-mill federal advisory committee. It is an advisory committee with a unique role and extensive, specific authority delegated directly by Congress.”  Those powers are designed to make the MHCC a check on HUD’s regulatory authority, to keep the agency from imposing unrealistic, unduly burdensome or overly costly regulations on HUD Code manufactured home builders.

Downloads from the various parties are available at the links below. An Industry Voices Guest Blog post by long time MHCC member Doug Gorman on a related topic can be found at this link.

Manufactured Home Fires
MHARR letter to NFPA on its firestudy 8-3-2011
National Fire Protection Association July 2011

 

(Graphic credit: MHProNews)

County Supervisors Douse Sprinklers in MH

April 13th, 2011 Comments off

ChicoER reports the Board of Supervisors of Butte County, California, unanimously voted to not require manufactured housing to have fire sprinkler systems installed. Butte County Fire Chief George Morris said the systems are required under new state law to be installed in all new residences under the “state responsibility area.”  The state building code specifically exempts sprinklers from manufactured housing, but he would like for the board to enact regulations that would require them in those residences as well. Chico Supervisor Larry Wahl said it costs $10,000 to $13,000 per manufactured home. Oroville Supervisor Bill Connelly said the decision to install sprinklers in manufactured housing should be left to the owners. For background on the subject of preemption of fire sprinklers in manufactured housing, read this Industry In Focus Report from MHMSM.com.