Manufactured Homes: Home Buyers Benefit From Federal Regulations

(Part 3 of a 3 part series)


In parts 1 and 2 of this series, I have summarized the enforcement and inspections of the manufactured home construction process.  This enforcement and scrutiny of the manufactured home construction process is, by far, the most thorough regulation of any other form of building construction.

As reported in part one of this series, the “mobile home” (as it was called prior to being changed by legislation to  “manufactured home” in 1980) was not even similar to the manufactured home of today.  Shoddy inconsistent construction techniques that existed 40 years ago were a result of the lack of state and federal oversight of the construction and in particular the health and safety aspects of a booming mobile home market.  In fairness to the states, they didn’t know how to regulate the mobile home phenomenon.  Most of these states classified the mobile home as being an adjunct to the automobile business with motor vehicle regulations being applied to mobile homes. After all, the word “mobile” was used to describe this product.

In 1976 Congress passed historic legislation that changed the manufactured housing industry forever — in a good way. This legislation is the Federal Home Construction and Safety Standards which was effective on June 15, 1976. This federal code is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Community Development (commonly known as the HUD CODE).

The HUD regulates every aspect of the building and installation process through state agencies contracted to HUD. The in-plant inspection  process is thorough  and relentless as the home proceeds to built one step at a time. The inspection process actually begins before the home construction commences. Every floor plan and design is required to be engineered in compliance with HUD regulations and approved for production by a 3rd party design agency approved by HUD.

So you might ask, “How do these government regulations and enforcements affect me and my choice of housing?”  Excellent question! All the things a homeowner would find important in a home are a result of these construction standards and the technological advancements and expertise of the manufacturers of today’s manufactured homes.

The HUD code sets standards in the following areas:

Manufactured housing design and construction –  All homes must be pre-approved and certified to meet federal construction guidelines before construction commences.

Strength and durability- Each home must be manufactured with quality building materials and applications to assure that home will stand the test of time.

Transportability – Yes, this is strictly enforced, even though the only time a manufactured home is usually transported is the original transport from the factory to the home site. A manufactured home is built on a steel frame that assures the structural integrity of the home on site as well as during transport.

Fire Resistance – A manufactured home is built to a standard exceeding the flame spread retardation recommended for site built homes.

Energy efficiency- The air-tight construction aspect of the manufacturing process along with insulation completely wrapping the perimeter of the home results in lower utility costs than other types of single family housing. Combined with HUD Code requirements that manufactured homes be equipped with energy efficient heating and air conditioning increases the savings appreciably. An additional savings of 20 to 30% can be achieved by upgrading to ENERGY STAR appliances and products that are available through most manufactured home builders/retailers.

Storm Safety- The HUD Code was amended in 1994 with requirements that manufactured homes meet building and installation standards to provide wind safety safeguards in pre-designated storm regions of the country. Manufactured homes produced since 1994 have been proven to be equal and, in many respects, safer than site-built homes during tornadoes and hurricanes.

It is safe to say that you cannot purchase a poorly constructed manufactured home. Yes, there are differences in prices. However, the difference is in things that you can see,such as, amenities, equipment, decor, appliances, tape and textured drywall, vaulted ceilings, etc.

Today’s manufactured home has been chosen by many homeowners as their dream home. For others who are contemplating home ownership, they may be thinking of the stereotypical “mobile home” of long ago and not realizing that the affordable, quality, American dream of homeownership today is built in a factory.



(Photo via: Today’s Manufactured Homes)

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