Coffee Break Training: Part III: Recognizing Modular Construction   [open pdf - 216KB]

"If you didn't see a structure built, and if you don't have the plans available, how can you tell whether it was built using a modular method? It's not easy. Modular building manufacturers go to great lengths to assure that most people cannot tell the difference between their product and traditional site-built buildings. Identifying them is best done during prefire planning and/or inspections, rather than during an emergency response. Since each module typically has four walls, a ceiling, and a floor, the joints where two modules fit together provide the best visual indication that you are looking at a modular building--they will be wider or thicker than similar building elements built using traditional methods. Looking at doorways or the edges of short walls, you may notice that the wall is wider or thicker than the other walls in the building. Instead of a typical 4-1/2-inch (114 mm) wide wall (3-1/2-inch [90 mm] studs with 1/2-inch [13 mm] drywall on each face), you may notice a wall that is 8 or 8-1/2- (203 to 216 mm) inches thick. This is a very good clue that this wall is the joint between two modules."

Report Number:
Coffee Break Training - Fire Protection Series No. 2008-41
Public Domain
Retrieved From:
United States Fire Administration: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/
Media Type:
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