B.C. Park Model Builder in Dispute Over Codes
A province-wide recall in Brisith Columbia has been issued for any owners or occupants of mobile homes built by Riske Creek Manufacturing, and its principle Andy Tower.
The British Columbia Safety Authority issued the recall after finding some homes built by the Salmon Arm company don’t comply with gas or electrical certification standards and may be hazardous to its occupants.
That issue is not disputed by Tower, who acknowledges that his company has been locked in an ongoing dispute with the BCSA for the past three years.
“There are issues with our units that they have pointed out, (and) I understand that,” he explains. “The same issues that exist on our units that they’ve pointed out to us exist on probably hundreds of units in the area and when I bring it to the inspector’s attention, they choose to ignore it and tell me its not for my concern. That’s the basis for the argument.”
Tower tells Castanet that his company constructs a product that has recently become increasingly popular in a niche market, where consumers are looking to downsize their lives following retirement. Many of these units are referred to as park models and are no larger than 12 feet by 38 feet, but have all the same amenities and creature comforts as an actual house. They can even be trailered in and dropped off as permanent residences at RV parks.
The catch is that these homes don’t necessarily fit into any particular building code and instead Tower says they exist in a gray area somewhere between an RV and a house.
“There’s a gray area between park models, which we build, and the BC Building Code. And we find ourselves in that gray area and in our view BC Safety is struggling to comprehend what should apply where,” explains Tower. “I build well in excess of the park model building codes, which are different than the BC building codes, but depending on the application, BC Safety is struggling to govern that. They don’t have the adequate regulations in place to govern it, so they’re struggling and I’m caught in the mix.”
This is where Tower says the problem lies, as he thinks the BCSA needs to update their resources and regulations to include a separate category for these new buildings. He says these units do not require building permits when they are installed at RV parks and run under a different classification and different construction practices than what the BC building code would dictate.
“Not all the information that they have available to them covers all applications of these units. And because the popularity of these units and park models in resorts, its quickly becoming the new norm and everyone wants to go this way for their retirement property.”
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