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Safety Standards for RV Construction???


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In an electrical discussion on another RV forum the statement was made by one of the resident experts that the RIVA standards for electrical, plumbing, and other construction rules have been adopted by most states as requirements for the RV to be sold in the state, just as most do with electric and plumging codes. In my research it seems to me that there is little if any such regulation actually enforced to those building RVs. I have not been able to find a copy of the RIVA standards although I know that they do exist. I have also done a fair amount of searching to see if it is true that state legislatures have adopted the RIVA standards, and I can find nothing at all to indicate much of a standard for RVs in any of the states that I have looked in. 

Do you know of any state that has officially adopted the RIVA construction standards? If you do can you direct me to something that addresses the standards? If not RIVA do you know of any state codes for the RV industry similar to the NEC and NSPC for the housing industry?

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Neighbor Ray, most (but NOT all) jurisdictions have adopted the NFPA, HOWEVER unless its changed, some cities like Chicago HAVE THEIR OWN RULES.  Everywhere I practiced it was pursuant to NFPA.

 Despite any RVIA or NEC standards where applicable, in over 50 years of RVing, unfortunately I experienced a ton of poor quality RV construction techniques ESPECIALY in electricals grrrrrrrrrrrr

 John T

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1 minute ago, oldjohnt said:

 Despite any RVIA or NEC standards where applicable, in over 50 years of RVing, unfortunately I experienced a ton of poor quality RV construction techniques ESPECIALY in electricals grrrrrrrrrrrr

And while it does seem to have improved a little, I do not buy that the RIVA standard adheres to the NEC or to the NSPC standards. But my question is, have any states taken legislative or adinistrative action to make the RIVA standards a state code? 

Aren't there still a few RV manufacturers that are not members of RIVA? I know that there was at one time but have not found any in recent searches. 

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11 hours ago, Kirk W said:

And while it does seem to have improved a little, I do not buy that the RIVA standard adheres to the NEC or to the NSPC standards. But my question is, have any states taken legislative or adinistrative action to make the RIVA standards a state code? 

Aren't there still a few RV manufacturers that are not members of RIVA? I know that there was at one time but have not found any in recent searches. 

The RVIA (not "RIVA") standard adheres to NFPA 1192 "Standard on Recreational Vehicles" as shown on the certification labels affixed to member manufacturers products. NFPA 1192 incorporates by reference NFPA 70 "NEC", NFPA 58 "LP Gas Code", and various other RV related ANSI, ASME, CSA, ANSI/RVIA, SAE, TC, UL, and ULC publications. According to the RVIA, they make ~2,000 unannounced member inspections each year, although experience tells us that's no where near enough. And yes, I believe a few RV manufacturers, mostly custom builders, are not RVIA members. A number of RV parks have an RVIA label requirement in their rules, but I've never known anyone to actually check if one is in place.

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1 hour ago, Dutch_12078 said:

A number of RV parks have an RVIA label requirement in their rules, but I've never known anyone to actually check if one is in place.

My question was about states or other jurisdictions having adopted the RVIA standards? 

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2 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

My question was about states or other jurisdictions having adopted the RVIA standards? 

Can't help you on if any states have (I actually doubt it except for maybe being able to sell a new unit in their state) because I see no way to enforce it. The RVIA label doesn't indicate what version of the standards the unit is in compliance to. How would an inspector know which version (or year) to follow as codes change regularly and how many states have inspectors to verify that the dealer is selling units that comply. Even RVIA doesn't have enough to inspect the units and just does random checks to see if members are complying. They are trying to cover too many different standards to be able to be knowledgeable in all of them. Most states or cities have a different inspector for each of the following electrical, plumbing and fire. 

Yes, there are manufacturers that are not part of RVIA.  

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32 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

My question was about states or other jurisdictions having adopted the RVIA standards? 

That could only apply in those states where there's RV manufactures, although I don't know why a state would get involved. It might make more sense for the federal DOT to get more involved beyond the chassis level though.

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I think the rvia is manufacturer controlled. It is pointless. I took off the sticker day 1. The places that say you must have it use it as a reason to block home built. in my case, the unit did not meet rvia as there were fewer belted seating than bed spaces. Of course, belts in the house could be string since they do not have to meet fed standards. From what I remember reading, the rvia sells the stickers to the makers of the makers agree to meet the standards. I don’t remember seeing any actual inspection stats. 

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3 minutes ago, Payroll Person said:

I think the rvia is manufacturer controlled. It is pointless. I took off the sticker day 1. The places that say you must have it use it as a reason to block home built. in my case, the unit did not meet rvia as there were fewer belted seating than bed spaces. Of course, belts in the house could be string since they do not have to meet fed standards. From what I remember reading, the rvia sells the stickers to the makers of the makers agree to meet the standards. I don’t remember seeing any actual inspection stats. 

The RVIA website claims:

The team conducts more than 2,000 unannounced inspections of member company RV manufacturing plants annually and provides educational resources and hands-on training to manufacturer members to support their commitment to comply with these adopted codes and standards. RV Industry Association inspectors walk every station along the production line, spot checking representative RV units for compliance with over 500 safety-related standards requirements, talking to line employees and conducting hands-on discussions about these standards.

https://www.rvia.org/standards-regulations

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1 hour ago, Star Dreamer said:

Yes, there are manufacturers that are not part of RVIA.  

Including well respected manufacturer Northwood Industries, at least in past years. My 1999 Arctic Fox trailer came without an RVIA sticker.  I met company founder Ron Nash at a California RV show a few years later and asked him about it, he said he couldn't see paying a royalty to RVIA when his company was already making products that exceeded their standards.  As far as I know not having that sticker didn't hurt their sales.

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I follow the industry fairly close and regardless of any standards the more and more bells n whistles the more n more problems (to be expected). Soooooooooo many auto levelers,,,,,,, or slide outs,,,,,,,,,, or power awnings,,,,,,,,,,or the aqua heating and water heating systems,,,,,,,,,,,have problems grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr  Fortunately I don't have most of those and have to struggle with doing it manually but I get by lol and some never have problems with any of that yayyyyyyyyyyyyy for them

 Im a HUGE believer in preventive maintenance which can help

John T

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10 hours ago, Payroll Person said:

I think the rvia is manufacturer controlled.

You are correct. It is the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association and is managed by a board that is elected by and from the membership. In my observation, one of the main efforts is to prevent government regulation and safety standards by having their own standards and tightening them just enough to avoid real regulation by folks like the federal highway safety agency. They exist to protect the manufacturers from government regulation and from the customers and to help sell their products. They are no different than any other sales organization. They don't protect the customer but they protect the manufacturers from the dealers and the customers.

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33 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

You are correct. It is the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association and is managed by a board that is elected by and from the membership. In my observation, one of the main efforts is to prevent government regulation and safety standards by having their own standards and tightening them just enough to avoid real regulation by folks like the federal highway safety agency. They exist to protect the manufacturers from government regulation and from the customers and to help sell their products. They are no different than any other sales organization. They don't protect the customer but they protect the manufacturers from the dealers and the customers.

Are you saying the RVIA is lying when they say the adhere to the standards set forth in NFPA 1192 but are instead using lesser standards of their own?

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3 hours ago, Dutch_12078 said:

Are you saying the RVIA is lying when they say the adhere to the standards set forth in NFPA 1192 but are instead using lesser standards of their own?

Read what you just quoted. It is what I am saying I don't see what you asked in there anywhere.

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12 hours ago, Lou Schneider said:

Including well respected manufacturer Northwood Industries, at least in past years.

I just checked and the Newell Coach is also not so certified or at least doesn't mention it like the RVIA members do. That same thing is true for the Living Vehicle or the Bowlus.

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25 minutes ago, Kirk W said:

Read what you just quoted. It is what I am saying I don't see what you asked in there anywhere.

"In my observation, one of the main efforts is to prevent government regulation and safety standards by having their own standards and tightening them just enough to avoid real regulation by folks like the federal highway safety agency." (emphasis added)

The RVIA does not make up their own standards, they use industry accepted standards as they've made quite clear.

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16 hours ago, Kirk W said:

Defend them if you wish. 

The RVIA is either using the NFPA 1192 standard as they say they are or they're not. Do you have evidence that they're not and are using their own lesser standards instead? Whether the members are following 1192 as closely as they ought to is a different issue. Obviously the RVIA inspectors cannot verify every unit rolling out the factory doors.

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3 hours ago, Dutch_12078 said:

The RVIA is either using the NFPA 1192 standard as they say they are or they're not. Do you have evidence that they're not and are using their own lesser standards instead? Whether the members are following 1192 as closely as they ought to is a different issue. Obviously the RVIA inspectors cannot verify every unit rolling out the factory doors.

In following this thread and doing a little research of my own the RVIA currently uses three documents: NFPA 1192-2021, ANSI A119.5, and NEC 552-2020. These cover RVs and park model RVs. If you have $485 laying around you can purchase both handbooks that provide all the guidance for your own viewing. There are actually two states (NE and WA) that have code requirements for RVs. I think that the RVIA members do try to comply as the inspections are supposedly random and as a self-governing organization they don't want to get shut down by the NHTSA which does have authority.

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8 hours ago, Chalkie said:

In following this thread and doing a little research of my own the RVIA currently uses three documents: NFPA 1192-2021, ANSI A119.5, and NEC 552-2020. These cover RVs and park model RVs. If you have $485 laying around you can purchase both handbooks that provide all the guidance for your own viewing. There are actually two states (NE and WA) that have code requirements for RVs. I think that the RVIA members do try to comply as the inspections are supposedly random and as a self-governing organization they don't want to get shut down by the NHTSA which does have authority.

As I noted before, NFPA 1192 includes a number of other standards by reference, including the NEC and various other ANSI, UL, etc. standards. As said, many NFPA standards are available for free reading on their website.

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While I have not been in the new RV market for several years and have not bought a new one in 10 years, based upon the posts here about the standards of RVIA, the new RVs today must be nearly perfect as they arrive from the factory as long as they have one of those RVIA decals! 

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