Delivery and Installation – What You Need to Know

If you are like most new manufactured home purchasers, you are likely not familiar with the details and procedures in the delivery and installation of your new home.  Why is this important? Understanding the processes involved can help eliminate delays and extra expenses that sometimes occur in the “set-up” of your new home.

Delivery from Factory to Site:

Most manufactured home dealers include “normal” delivery and installation in the total sales price. However, some retailers sell manufactured homes without including delivery and installation in the purchase price, leaving these important functions for the customer to arrange. This is referred to as fob (Freight on Board) pricing and is not recommended as it does not account for transport cost.

“Normal” delivery and installation includes transportation from the factory to the site within a fixed radius of miles, in most cases approximately 100. The home purchaser becomes responsible for the expense of additional miles beyond the radius as well as any extraordinary expenses, such as additional equipment or manpower required to access the property. (Please read other postings on this web site regarding the proper preparation and access to home site.)

Contracting and coordination with delivery and installation companies is best accomplished by the manufacturer or retailer. A few retailers use their own methods of delivery, but in most instances, the manufacturer will contract with the transport company on behalf of the retailer.

Manufactured home transporters are regulated and licensed by the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S.D.O.T.) and must comply with all laws and requirements within the states they operate.

Transport companies do route planning to your designated manufactured home site. During delivery and installation, the route taken may not be the same route that you would take when driving your car. The dimensions of the manufactured home sections determine which roads or highways are most optimal for transportation, taking into account lane width, overpass clearance, road construction, and traffic congestion. There are also restrictions as to what time of day a home can be transported. Routing will also determine the location and number of “pilot cars” required in route. Pilot cars are vehicles that lead or follow the truck and home with flashing lights and “wide load” signs.

It is strongly recommended that the purchaser or representative place corner stakes so that the delivery and installation company will know where to “spot” home upon arrival at site. If the home placement is not indicated, the purchaser runs the risk of having to hire a local trucker to locate the home on site at their own expense.

The customer and/or dealer should be present when each section arrives to inspect the home for any damage incurred in transit and conduct an inventory of “shipped loose” parts needed for installation. Missing parts should be reported to the factory as soon as possible and noted on the transporters delivery receipt, or Bill of Lading, that the driver will ask you or the retailer to sign.

The various sections of a “multi-section” manufactured home are transported by individual trucks and may not arrive at the site concurrently. However, the driver of the first delivery will know the approximate times for arrival of any additional section(s). The same inspection procedures will be necessary for each arriving unit.

Once the sections of the home have been delivered, the delivery and installation company should park them close together to prevent theft or vandalism.  This prevents perpetrators from entering the home through the plastic covering on the side of the units where they are to be mated together.

The Installation Process:

The installers of manufactured homes on site are called “set-up” companies. They are either employees of, or contracted by the retailer. A set-up company may also be a site preparation contractor, which is preferred as one company performing both functions can result in a seamless coordinated effort, rather than two separate entities completing the project.

A properly prepared site is essential to the installation quality and appearance of the home. For example, a leveled lot will allow the use of smaller piers or blocks to support the home resulting in a lower profile appearance, requiring fewer steps at the entry and less skirting height around the bottom perimeter of the home. The lower setup also provides for a sturdier foundation. The installer will not necessarily set the home as low as the grade will allow, so it is important that you have an agreement with the retailer that your home is to be installed as low to the ground as is legally possible.

Set-up instructions for manufactured housing are provided to the installer by the manufacturer and are approved by federal statutes. The guidelines must also adhere to published requirements of state and local jurisdictions. All materials used to install the manufactured home must conform to their listing by the manufacturer and approved by state housing agencies.

Installation Procedure:

The installation procedure is a continuation of the manufacturing process. The following is a generalized version of the process without addressing the many regulatory and technical aspects of the installation.

1. Upon arrival, the home is separated from the transport vehicle to allow room to remove plastic sheathing that was to protect the open sides during transport.

2. The setting of tie down anchors may be placed before the setting of the home.

3. Black polyethylene membrane sheeting is installed over the ground as a vapor barrier.

4. The assembled home is then positioned into its final location on site using jacks or rollers.

5. The home is temporarily raised and blocked followed by the removal of the tires, axles and hitch which are subsequently recycled.

6. The Home is set using triangular steel piers or concrete blocks that are approved for the load bearing requirements of the home. Stanchions (upright bars/posts providing support) are designed with screw jacks and clamps that attach to the steel I-beams and cross members of the home’s frame. The weight of the home is equally disbursed by the stanchions located under all floor and weight load areas of the home.

7. Lags and bolts are used to mate the floor and ceiling sections, as prescribed by the installation manual.

8. The floor is leveled using a water level, adjusted by screwing jacks attached to the piers or blocks.

9. Utility lines and heat ducts are connected from section to section of the home using crossover connectors provided by the manufacturer.

10.   Roof sections are attached, sealed, and capped with matching roofing shingles that were shipped with the home.

11. Center end sections are sealed and bolted together with matching exterior siding material.

12. Tie down straps are fastened to ground anchors and attached to the main I-beams that run lengthwise to the floors.

13. Utility lines are connected to the supplier sources at the site. Power cannot be activated until home has been inspected, tested and certified for occupancy.

14. If the home is so equipped, drywall is taped, textured, and finished by a separate contractor. The contracted drywaller will also repair any cracks in the drywall that were incurred during transport.

15. Carpeting and padding is installed in designated areas. (The carpet and padding are shipped inside the home in roll form.

16. All systems, such as water, sewer, gas and electricity are checked and tested for efficiency and continuity.

17. All trash and debris is removed from the home, followed by a thorough cleaning.

18. The home is ready for inspection by the agency representing the building authority. If the inspection is passed, a Certificate of Occupancy will be issued, which is required in order for the utility company to activate power. If the inspection fails, the inspector will issue a Correction Notice detailing the items that will be required to be rectified before calling for a re-inspection.

Once the home is certified for occupancy, the retail representative will conduct a walk through inspection with you, the new homeowner, and present keys to your new manufactured home! Welcome home, and enjoy your new life!

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