Several representatives from the recreational vehicle industry met with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Joint Housing Solutions Group in Washington, D.C., Thursday (Oct. 30) to discuss the viability of new formaldehyde standards for trailers used as emergency housing.
According to a press release, attendees included representatives from several RV manufacturing companies, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA), Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA) and the Manufactured Housing Institute.
The meeting centered around current market conditions and the capability of RV manufacturers to build and deliver travel trailers that meet FEMA’s formaldehyde standard of less than .016 parts per million (ppm) for use as Temporary Housing Units (THUs).
FEMA said it would be the manufacturer’s responsibility to submit every emergency unit to a seven-day formaldehyde test to determine if the unit was below the standard.
At the meeting, FEMA officials indicated they would only grant contracts to purchase travel trailers as THUs in extreme situations and noted that luan, medium density fiberboard, vinyl gypsum, or sealants and glues with urea formaldehyde could not be used in the manufacturing of the trailers.
If travel trailers were needed in an emergency, FEMA said it would most likely purchase the trailers directly from RV dealers. In addition, trailers would only be purchased from dealerships by the state’s request and would be required to not exceed the maximum formaldehyde level established by that state, if any.
FEMA also reviewed its proposal submission evaluation and award process as well as best practices in responding to government solicitations to help manufacturers develop a thorough and competitive proposal in responding to future requests for recreational park trailers and travel trailers.
“It was an informative meeting and began the process of FEMA and RV manufacturers making the determination if it is feasible for travel trailers to be used as emergency housing,” said RVIA Vice President of Standards and Education Bruce Hopkins, who attended the session along with Dianne Farrell, vice president of government affairs and Kent Perkins, director of standards.