Kern County Fire in 2016 – What’s the Next Step?
If you, a neighbor, a family member, or a friend has been a victim of the Fires in Kern County of 2016, then we would like to offer some tips on rebuilding a new home. Losing a home is a tragic event and rebuilding a fire resistant home as fast as possible will help to get your life back in order.
We’d like to help you understand the following critical things that can have a huge impact on your future and your new home:
- What is your best option for getting moved into your rebuilt home with as little delay as possible so you can avoid being displaced longer than necessary? There are newer construction techniques now available in Kern County that will shave months off of your rebuild and we want you to know what they are. Imagine being in a new home in as little as 120 days…this is now not only possible but common with this newer design technique…and with zero sacrifice in quality.
- What new advances in construction techniques can help protect your home from future fire damage? Some simple changes can be the difference between you losing your home or the home surviving a wildfire.
Before rebuilding a home in California, you should seriously consider the following information to avoid mistakes that can cause you unnecessary grief in the future:
- Prefab or Modular Construction – Consider rebuilding your home with the modern construction technique known as Prefab – Modular Construction. This concept also known as Off-Site or Systems Built Construction uses factory technology and fast track State of California Building Plan Approval Process to build homes to the local building code in significantly less time than traditional site built homes as site work and homes are built simultaneously. A home built with Prefab or Modular Construction was recently featured on The Ellen DeGeneres Television Show. This beautiful 2 story 2,000 sq. ft 4 Bedroom home was Designed, Engineered, Permitted, Existing home demolished and new home built and ready for occupancy in under 3 months. Many local building departments will work with experienced General Contractors to fast track the permit process to help victims of the Kern County Fires of 2016 get back in their homes as soon as possible. Modular or Prefab Construction in addition to the local building department will significantly minimize the disruption of lives caused by the California Fires of 2016.
- Defensible Fire Area Surrounding New Home – When designing your new home – follow local fire department guidelines to design a defensible space between your new home and neighbor’s homes and create space between home and vegetation that is highly flammable.
- Fire Resistant Exteriors – Use stucco, masonry, and/ or cement-fiber board on exterior as these are fire resistant.
- Windows – For exterior windows, window walls, glazed doors, and glazed openings within exterior doors use insulating-glass (dual-glazed) units with a minimum of one tempered pane, or glass block units, or have a fire-resistance rating of not less than 20 minutes. For vinyl window frames make sure that you use frames with welded corners to prevent glass from falling out and metal reinforcing in the interlock area to prevent the windows from falling unexpectedly. Skylights must be made of tempered glass.
- Insulation: Don’t Use Paper faced in attics or ventilated spaces due to the potential of embers igniting the paper. Instead use Foil-backed or unfaced fiberglass batts and blanket which are better suited to conditions of potential fire hazards. Use foil-backed insulation in areas where a vapor barrier is required.
- Roofs/ Eaves/ Rain Gutters: Roofs shall have a minimum Class ‘A’ roof covering. Gutters should have barrier to prevent accumulation of debris. Eaves should be enclosed so embers cannot enter building.
- Exterior Doors: Exterior doors must be of approved non-combustible construction, or solid-core wood not less than 1 3/8” thick, or have a fire protection rating of not less than “20 minutes.”
- Vents: Attic vents shall not be installed in eaves, eave overhangs, soffits, cornices or between rafters at eaves. Vents are permitted in the eave assembly only under the following conditions:
Eave or cornice vents are constructed to resist the intrusion of flames and burning embers into the attic area of the structure; or
When allowed by the building official and the Fire Authority Having Jurisdiction, enclosed eaves may have strip vents on the underside of the eave closest to the fascia provided the closest edge of the vent opening is at least 12 inches from the exterior wall and the building is protected by a fuel modification zone at least 100 feet wide
All vents (roof, foundation, combustion-air, etc.) shall resist the intrusion of flames and embers or shall be protected by louvers and 1/8” non-combustible, corrosion-resistant mesh.
Turbine attic vents shall be equipped to allow rotation in only one direction
9.Decks and Balconies: Decks, balconies, and other floor projections and attachments must be of one – or a combination – of the following:
Non-combustible construction (e.g., concrete, metal) protected by one-hour fire-resistive material (e.g., stucco, fiber-cement board, ceramic tile, deck surface listed by approved evaluation service as one-hour-rated or Class A roof covering)
Approved fire-retardant treated materials (factory-applied fire retardant, pressure-treated lumber, listed for exterior use, installed per listing)
Heavy timber construction (minimum 4×8 joists, 4×10 or 6×8 beams, 3x ledgers, and 6×6 columns/posts)
10.Fire Sprinklers – Many home owners are looking at also installing a roof mount sprinkler system along with landscape sprinklers to further minimize the chances of embers igniting their home.
Contact USModular, Inc. We can help you rebuild!
Photo credit to Los Angeles Times