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Trailer City

Checklist Requirements for Temporary Structures

Construction projects typically requires temporary work space.  Larger projects may need an entire “trailer city” of  work space or sales area to meet the needs of the Construction Management and sales team.  Work trailers and site storage seem to be found on projects for single family homes up to billion dollar projects.

On larger projects, the area for these units seems to expand due to the need of the various contractors.   The trailers typically come in and out based on the phase of construction.  For instance the trailer utilized by the structural steal contractor may leave after the building is erected and the space may be reoccupied by the fire suppression contractor.

Identifying the requirements and community concerns with the General Contractor early can help establish communication that will last through the project.  Many communities require areas for inspectors to write reports or store prints on large projects.

Municipal requirements on these units vary but many of us follow are adopted codes as if it were a permanent structure.  Other requirements may be found in the planning and zoning ordinances,  although the interior of the structures are regulated just like any other structure in the appropriate fire and building codes.

Items to be Addressed:

  • Site Access which meets fire department requirements for apparatus.
  • Appropriate Separation from existing buildings and other temporary structures
  • Building identification or temporary Address
  • Proper tie downs per manufacture specifications
  • Appropriate parking
  • Utility Connections
  • Distance to Fire Hydrants

During the plan review and permit process, the community should identify the above items and  if inspections are required.  Items such as electrical connections, utility hook ups, and other utilities must be considered.  Many communities perform final building inspections once the other trades are completed.

Some times I am asked if the building or fire code applies to these structures and the answer is found in the scoping provisions of the various codes:

The 2006 edition of the International Building Code States:

101.2 Scope. The provisions of this code shall apply to the construction, alteration, movement, enlargement, replacement, repair, equipment, use and occupancy, location, maintenance, removal and demolition of every building or structure or any appurtenances connected or attached to such buildings or structures.

NFPA 1, 2009 edition, the Scope provision indicates the code covers (partial list of scope provisions):

The Inspection of permanent and temporary buildings, processes, equipment, systems, and other fire and related life safety situations

Review of construction plans, drawings, and specifications for life safety systems, fire protection systems, access, water supplies, processes, hazardous materials, and other fire and life safety issues

Fire and life safety education of fire brigades, employees, responsible parties, and the general public

Existing occupancies and conditions, the design and construction of new buildings, remodeling of existing buildings, and additions to existing buildings

Temporary facilities must be operated in a safe and efficient manner.  Staff working in these facilities deserve the same safety precautions that the built environment can provide.

Many municipalities require permits for temporary and construction trailers. Here are some examples of the permit applications.

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Tim Washburn January 27, 2009, 7:32 am

    This is a great idea and for some jurisdictions that are having revenue problems a fee could be applied for the inspection as well. I dont have a total on how many job trailer fires thier are but IM sure this could help eliminate some of them.

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