Modular Building Institute

Discussion Forum

Modular Industry: Disaster Relief Experts

Original Comment:
While our friends in Texas are still reeling from Hurricane Harvey’s impact, we are keeping an eye on Irma as it approaches Florida and possibly Georgia. MBI has many members in these affected regions and our concern is first and foremost for their safety. Your well-being is much more important than your possessions, so heed the calls for evacuations if so given.

I have been fielding many calls and emails from member companies wanting to help. MBI is reaching out to its contacts to let them know we have an entire industry ready to deploy! When it comes to quick flexible space in times of great need, we are the experts!

I’ve been around long enough to help navigate our industry’s response to Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti, the tornado in Joplin Missouri, and more recently Superstorm Sandy. In all cases, we found it very difficult to work direct with FEMA or any other federal agency, especially once the disasters hit and the agencies were in full swing.

It can be extremely frustrating to be sitting on fleet / inventory that could be utilized in other areas due to red tape and bureaucracy or just the inability to make the right connection. We have had a little more success by working directly with the non-governmental agencies (NGOs) on the ground in many of these cases.

As we look ahead to this weekend, we are hopeful for the best, but preparing for the worst. We are currently talking with modular program officials across the southeastern US about the possibility of “interim reciprocity agreements” between the state industrialized buildings programs. This would do two things: 1) allow modular units built in accordance with another state program and bearing another state label to be brought into the affected regions on a temporary basis for relief, and 2) Provide some level of assurance to code officials in those regions that the unit was built in accordance to some program standard.

This may not be needed, given the number of modular companies in those areas. But judging by the devastation in Texas, and the potential impact of Irma, we think it’s a prudent step. If you are in one of those regions and need help, please reach out to MBI and we will do our best to see you get the support needed.
Started on September 6, 2017 by Tom Hardiman
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Additional Comments:
Thanks Tom, there is now doubt that there will be an immediate short term need and an even greater long term need to support the recovery and reconstruction effort. Modular units should and will play an important role in this effort. That being said, normal third party and State approval schedules will not move quickly enough to meet the demand and need. Disasters create extraordinary situations which will require a creative and accommodating environment by those providing oversight and approval.
Updated on September 6, 2017 by Ralph Goldbeck

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