Modular Building Institute



August 8, 2007
Contact: Tom Hardiman
Modular Building Institute
888-811-3288 x208 toll-free

Florida DCA Assures Fire Safety of Portables

Charlottesville, VA - The Florida Department of Community Affairs (DCA) has announced the results of its independent report that "provides great reassurance regarding the fire safety of the portables . . .". This independent evaluation was undertaken by DCA as an affirmation of the classrooms' proven safety record following recent confusion among agencies over non-combustibility testing requirements. The Modular Building Institute (MBI), a non-profit trade association representing modular providers, had sought clarification from the DCA to assure school districts in Florida--many who rely on relocatable classrooms to meet class size reduction mandates and fluctuating enrollments--that their classrooms are safe.

On July 16th the Florida Building Commission (FBC) issued a declaratory statement announcing that all cement-bonded particle board (CBPB) flooring elements used in Type II-B relocatable classrooms had to pass an unmodified ASTM E136 test to comply with state building non-combustibility code requirements. That ruling conflicted with manufacturers
' current design plans that had already received approval from Clemons Rutherford & Associates (CRA). CRA is the state contracted third party agency charged with determining code compliance on relocatable classrooms.

DCA instituted its own review in late July which led to the independent report and August 6 memorandum. The memorandum provides DCA
's current ruling on the matter. "The provisions of the Florida Building Code, which are stricter in this area than the codes of all other states, are satisfied for most portables now being used as stand-alone classrooms." DCA goes on to state that local conditions have to be the determining factor in a complete safety evaluation and called upon the schools to review the additional use of smoke detectors and sprinkler systems, which are reviewed for compliance at the local level.

"We are not surprised by the outcome of the independent evaluation. MBI knows its members provide safe learning environments for Florida children. DCA's announcement confirms that," said Tom Hardiman, executive director of MBI. "Parents and teachers alike can take comfort in knowing that the Florida non-combustibility codes for these classrooms are among the most stringent in the country, and that MBI members have been providing safe classrooms for years."

About MBI
Founded in 1983, the Modular Building Institute is the only, international, non-profit trade association serving non-residential modular construction. Our regular membership includes wholesale manufacturers, direct manufacturers, and dealers of commercial modular buildings, while our associate members are companies supplying building components, services, and financing to the industry. It is MBI's mission to grow the industry and its capabilities by encouraging innovation, quality, and professionalism through communication, education, and recognition. MBI also administers an educational foundation. For more information, visit


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