Why Are Manufactured Homes the Most Regulated and Inspected Housing in the United States?

Unfortunately, many Americans dreaming of homeownership are either not aware that a manufactured home could well be the path to quality affordable housing, or have discounted manufactured homeownership as an option due to myths, uninformed misrepresentations, and mischaracterizations of today’s only quality affordable housing available in this country.

Often those that have not explored today’s modern manufactured housing will assume that a “mobile home” is one-in-the-same, espousing myths that have been handed down through generations, such as – “They are not well-built,” – “They are not safe,”- “They don’t appreciate.” – “They are not energy efficient,”- “They don’t last,” etc.etc.

NOTE: Suggest clicking our previous posting –  Debunking Manufactured Home: “Myths” vs “Realities” With Facts,

Those stigmas persist despite overwhelming evidence that today’s manufactured housing is at least equal in every respect, and often superior, to traditional site-built housing, with a sales price up to 50% less (not including land costs).


A Manufactured Homes Is The Only Form Of Housing In The U.S. Subject To A National Building Code

Manufactured homes are the only form of single-family housing in the country subject to a federal construction code. Every aspect of the manufacturing and installation process is controlled and inspected to be in compliance with this U.S. Congressional mandate. You might ask, why are manufactured homes singled out from other types of housing?

In the 1950s, 60s, and into the 1970s, the “mobile homes” aka “trailers” burst upon the housing scene as a form of housing that anyone could afford. The incredible demand resulted in dozens of manufacturing plants building thousands of these low price homes throughout the country, in states where regulations governing construction and health and safety were virtually non-existent.

Mobile home builders produced homes quickly and as cheaply as possible to sell these homes to be competitive with other builders with little regard to the integrity of the product or the welfare of the purchaser. Most buyers of mobile homes were placed in rural areas where land was inexpensive and not subject to zoning regulations, or were sited in mobile home parks, aka “trailer parks.”

In the meantime, several manufacturers on the west coast were producing quality mobile homes for homebuyers to be placed on more expensive land or in modern mobile home land-lease communities. The state of California, for example, regulated factory-built homes to a standard that would eventually be a template for federal regulations that were to follow.


Zero “Mobile Homes” Built-In The U.S In Over 4 Decades!

With the support of the responsible members of the “mobile home” industry, the U.S. Congress passed legislation in 1976 to establish a federal building code for mobile homes. This legislation is the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards Act which went into effect June 15, 1976, creating legally the “manufactured home.” 

The federal code is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Community Development (commonly known as the HUD Code). The federal standards regulate manufactured housing design and construction, strength and durability, transportability, fire resistance, energy efficiency, and quality. The HUD Code also sets standards for the heating, plumbing, air conditioning, thermal and electrical systems.

It can be generally acknowledged that a building code is only as good as the enforcement system that accompanies it. The manufactured home enforcement program required by the HUD Code is a thorough and efficient system designed specifically for the factory production environment. Because the factory pace differs from that of a construction site, the manufactured home enforcement system is necessarily different also.

The goal in both cases, however, is the same to ensure the highest degree of safety in the design and construction of the home. Ideally, a building code should be backed up by uniform and consistent enforcement. The HUD enforcement system relies on a cooperative federal/state program to ensure compliance with the HUD Code through its agent, the National Conference of States on Building Codes and Standards (NCSBCS).

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