Technical Standards 101
Regardless of how or where a building is constructed, the authority having jurisdiction (e.g. the municipality) where the building will be located has a mandate to confirm that the building is built to code requirements. A certification label, indicating compliance with Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standards, is the building inspector’s assurance that the factory-constructed parts of the building (which may result in concealed areas) meet local requirements.
In addition to provincial/territorial/municipal building code requirements, there are three CSA standards that apply primarily to factory-constructed buildings in Canada:
- CAN/CSA A277, Procedure for Factory Certification of Buildings
- CAN/CSA Z240 MH Series, Manufactured Homes
- CAN/CSA Z240.10.1, Site Preparation, Foundation and Anchorage of Manufactured Homes
CAN/CSA Z240.10.1 is referenced in the model National Building Code of Canada; and in all provincial/territorial/municipal codes that address housing. CAN/CSA A277 is referenced for compliance in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Yukon. The CAN/CSA Z240 MH Series of Standards is referenced for compliance in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Yukon with limitations on its use in Manitoba and Ontario.
CAN/CSA A277, Procedure for Factory Certification of Buildings
The CAN/CSA A277 Standard is a factory certification procedure. It defines the quality-control procedures and staff that a plant must have in place to ensure that the buildings it produces are built properly and in accordance with the relevant standards and codes. The A277 Standard involves both the manufacturing plant and the buildings. It is not unlike the ISO-9000 standard in that it deals with the concept of “total quality” throughout the manufacturing process, not just the final product. The A277 Standard covers the procedure for certification of “manufactured”, “modular” and “panelized” buildings, providing for the certification of the plant quality program and the product built, auditing of the plant quality program, and in-plant inspection of the product built.
The Standard does not cover those portions of structures or services that are not factory-installed, nor the subsequent transport and installation of the home on site.
CAN/CSA Z240 MH, Manufactured Homes
The CAN/CSA Z240 MH Series Standard sets out requirements for the construction of manufactured homes specifically, related to structure, plumbing, electrical and heating service, as well as vehicular requirements for running gear.
CAN/CSA Z240.10.1, Site Preparation, Foundation and Anchorage of Manufactured Homes
CAN/CSA Z240.10.1, Site Preparation, Foundation and Anchorage of Manufactured Homes, details the construction of a surface-mount foundation and the installation of the home. The standard is applicable to any home that incorporates an integrated frame providing sufficient rigidity to protect the home from damage due to minor movements in the foundation.
As part of the CAN/CSA A277 Standard, all new factory-certified buildings must be labelled before they leave the factory, in a clearly visible manner.
The label plays a key role in the municipal building inspection. It clearly signifies to the inspector that the building is built in accordance with the appropriate code and standards, and that only the work done on-site requires inspection.
A certification label is affixed permanently to the building, often on the electrical panel. Homes built to the CAN/CSA Z240 Standard carry a Z240 label; all other factory-produced buildings use an A277 label. Manufacturers buy the labels directly from an accredited certification agency. A special label has been developed for members of the Canadian Manufactured Housing Institute which incorporates the CMHI name.
A Specification Name Plate, also sometimes referred to as a data sheet, accompanies the label and is often attached to the inside of a cupboard door. The name plate or data sheet lists the manufacturer and the model and serial number of the home along with the label number. It includes information on the factory-installed appliances and on aspects of construction such as insulation specifications, and snow load and wind pressure capacity.
The construction specifications detailed on the name plate are particularly helpful in the event that a building is moved from one jurisdiction to another. While the model National Building Code of Canada includes clarification that it is not intended that local jurisdictions apply the provisions of the current model NBC when an existing building built to a previous code is relocated; a comparison of the specifications can help local officials determine if upgrading is required to meet geographic requirements.