Advantages of Manufacture Homes over Site Built Homes
Site-built homes offer more design options and flexibility when it comes to where to build your home. Site-built homes can be affected by inclement weather, so it is important to plan ahead. This is in contrast to a factory-built home. MHU stands for manufactured home. It is constructed with a line of workers who have been trained to do certain jobs. The home is assembled in perfect temperature conditions. There are many issues with MHUs. One is zoning that allows for these manufactured houses. These homes are being resisted by municipalities more and more.
What is a “Manufactured Home”?
The federal government defines a manufactured home as a term in HUD regulations. A factory-built, portable structure that can be used as a dwelling and is built on a permanent frame. A mobile home is a structure that’s more than 8 feet in width and 40 feet in length, or more than 3 hundred twenty square feet. These were called a mobile home prior to June 15, 1976, when there was no federal HUD code. There were no standards for the construction of mobile home before this date. A mortgage is possible for mobile homes built before this date. It is important to confirm. Although a manufactured home does not need to be built on a permanent foundation it is necessary for a modular home to be constructed on one. Local city codes govern modular home construction, and not federal regulations. Also, panel (structural insulation panels) homes are factory-built and manufactured according to local codes. These are some historical dates that you should be aware of:
- Pre 1054 – Mobile homes had 8 feet width
- 1954-1959 – The width of mobile homes was increased to 10 feet in the years 1954-1959
- 1959 – 12 foot wide mobile homes were constructed
- 1960 – Construction of the first mobile home with double width in 1960
- 1976 – A federally regulated design for a manufactured home was put into effect. It is governed by the HUD (also ANSI A-119.1 standard) to increase construction quality.
- 1980 Each state was given an “approved products list” of manufactured homes.
- 1994 – The wind load requirements that required the use of tie-downs were implemented
- 1999/2001 – Additional requirements were placed on the installation of manufactured houses
- 2004 – To install a manufactured house, licensing is required
- 2009 – The HUD was expanded to regulate the construction and installation of manufactured homes.
Important Information for Homeowners
A red HUD label, or tag, should be placed at the tail end of every section of a manufactured house. This is a federal tag. If these tags are missing, it can lead to a mortgage problem. A state tag may be installed to serve as proof of manufactured home inspection in florida. These tags are usually silver, cream, and green. Data plates are another source of important information that can be found in any location. If the data plate is missing , it must be reported. These can be used to track back to the data plate and HUD label if they are lost. The HUD label is more important than the data plate. Although it can be hard to locate, the serial number is found on every transportable section of each chassis. The crawlspace contains the chassis. The marriage-wall is where sections of the home connect at the mating line. They can often be found in the crawlspace or attic.
Manufactured houses are designed for specific states. They can’t be installed in any state that is not listed on the dataplate with the wind load rating for the specific MHU. The data plate is usually located on the main electrical panel, but it can also be found almost anywhere. Some other common locations include inside the kitchen or bathroom cabinets, on cabinet doors, and even at the back of closet door.
Modular Homes Defined: These homes are built on a permanent foundation. Usually, there is a crawlspace or attic beam that serves as a center beam. These homes often have a visible marriage wall and hinged rooftrusses. These have a data plate. This label can be accessed through a third party certification, but it might not be easily accessible. This article is about manufactured homes, not modular homes.
This section is for professionals only…
These are some of the things inspectors should be looking for. However, it is important to note that they may not have been enforced in every municipality or at the time the MHU was constructed. This information can be used to inform the homeowner or buyer about potential problems with construction or installation.
- You should look for electrical bonding in the crawlspace frame or chassis. A bonding wire should be attached to both ends of a unit that is double-wide if it is larger than 2×2.
- The gap between the mating line and the marriage wall, which is usually located in the crawlspace or attic should not exceed 1/2 inch. The mating line should not be separated by bolts.
- After installation, the tow hitch must be removed and the wheels must be removed from the MHU. This is often overlooked or left in the crawlspace.
- Verify the wind zone, heating zone and snow load for the roof by looking for a data plate. Sometimes, the toilet tank can contain a date for the MHU.
- You should inspect for water damage if you find planters against an exterior wall.
- You should be looking for improperly installed Pier Blocks. Wood pads that are too thin than 1 1/2 inches, too many wood pads or leaning wood pads, etc.
If no data plates or dates are available, here is some information that will help you determine the age of your MHU.
1960’s. MHUs had a roof beam at the center, and aluminum siding. They also often had a side porch, called a “cabana”, that should be independent of the structure. Even though there isn’t a kitchen, a cabana can be built and used as livable space.
1970’s – These units usually have 4 tie-downs at every corner (check to see if these have been installed). These units were built with polybutylene pipe. This should be checked and reported if it is. This is a common problem with MHUs. In my experience, it is either completely replaced or partially. This can often render the home uninsurable. This time, MHUs are usually equipped with an 85amp electric service. There are many pressboard, acoustic tiles ceiling and wood wall panels that were used in construction. In the 70s, a Ramada was sometimes used as a second roof.
1980’s – You will generally see tie downs every 8′-10’ during this period. Particle board will be used. Canvass roofs are also common. Exposed fasteners and loose seams are two things to watch out for in these roofs.
1990’s – MHUs begin to look more like single-family homes. These and other units are important to inspect. If strapping has not been installed, document it. A vapor barrier should be installed in the crawlspace. If this is damaged or missing, please document it. It is not necessary for the crawlspace to be level. There must be a ridge or slope with swales in the middle.
Additional requirements after 1990 are 6 soil samples to determine the soil’s load bearing capacity. Tie downs must be installed at 45 degrees from the crawlspace I beam. These straps should have a buckle that is visible, but the footer pads shouldn’t be exposed. They should be embedded in ground.
The general requirements for pier installation: We are not able to be too rigid in reporting this information as the manufacturer instructions might differ.
- Piers should not exceed 36 inches. High piers should not be more than 36 in.
- An additional wood pad must be placed at the top of each pier block. Use wedges must be doubled and not one wedge. One 1 1/2 inch. Only one 1 1/2 in. lumber member can be used Multiple 1 1/2-inch lumber members can be used. Although it is quite common, boards are not usually allowed.
- The MHU’s end must be within 2 feet of the piers. They must be placed every 8 feet.
You Need to Know Your HUD Codes
The current HUD codes can be accessed and read in full here. The HUD regulations override all local regulations concerning components that are either installed at the factory or installed after factory assembly. All components installed within a MHU need to be listed for MHU Use. This includes HVAC and appliances. If the MHU has been remodeled or updated, this should be checked. T The home inspector will be able to tell the buyer what has been changed or upgraded. This will allow the buyer to do research and confirm that the component is approved by a standard agency for MHU installation. This is beyond what a home inspector can do. It is technically illegal if it isn’t listed. This could be dangerous, especially for appliances that burn fuel.
Local code applies to outbuildings, landings and stairs, as well as decks. Anything that is not part of the MHU is also subject to it. 24 CFR 3282 is HUD code. It is very similar to the IRC but is often much more complex. 24 CFR3282 has rules to handle consumer complaints. 24 CFR 3285 provides minimum installation standards. Every MHU should have a book of manufacturer instructions that contains the installation instructions. This book contains the installation instructions. Alternate construction is permitted if it is approved by the DAPIA. Interpretative bulletins can also be used to modify the code’s application.
24 CFR 3280Codes Home Inspectors Should Look Out For When Inspecting Manufactured Houses
3280.103 Whole-house ventilation is required, which is ahead IRC. This must be included in the HVAC system. A whole-house ventilation label is required. Exhaust from the kitchen and bath must be vented to the outside. No RECIRCULATING FANS ALLOWED
3280.105 exterior door are allowed to be smaller than residential construction, at a minimum 28 x 72. This is smaller than IRC. 3280.106 Window egress requirements state that the window sill must not be higher than 36 inches above the floor. There is no minimum size window for egress.
3280.204 Cabinetry must be at least 6 inches away from the range. 3280.205 No carpeting is allowed in the furnace or water heater room. 3280.209 Smoke alarms should be located within 20 feet from a cooking device. The IRC is closely related to plumbing code.
3280.707 Heat-producing appliances must be listed in order to be used in an MHU. This information is on the appliance’s data plate. 327.08 There are no requirements for dryer ducting with smooth walls. However, the regulations state that dryer vents cannot be terminated under the MHU. 327.79 – No combustion air is allowed inside the MHU. Cooking appliances and clothes dryers are exempt. Direct venting of gas appliances to the outside is required. This applies to solid fuel appliances as well. These units must have external combustion air. A spark arrester must also be installed. Water heaters need a drip pan installed underneath.
3280.801-805 AFCI protection not required . To connect a manufacturer home, a four-wire plug cord can be used to serve as a feeder. No aluminum branch wiring is allowed. Multi-strand aluminum is not allowed to use in a manufactured house. MHUs require a single electrical disconnect. 3280.809 The main service panel neutrals and ground can be connected, but they are not to be bonded to the PANEL BOX. Although neutrals and ground wires may be connected in subpanels, they should not be bonded to the boxes. Appliances that have bonding jumpers must be taken out of the cooking units and dryers. Although inspectors cannot verify this, it can be noted so that the home owner can have an evaluation. The MHU’s frame or chassis must be bonded using a #8 copper cable. All metal pipes, ducts and wall covers must be bonded.
24 CFR 3285 HUD Code Requirements
Concrete block, treated wood or metal jack stands can all be used as piers. A skirt is optional and is not necessary. This installation is not eligible for FHA or VA mortgage loans. The doors and windows should be levelled to allow them to function properly (duh). Flood mitigation requirements are required in flood zones. Please notify the buyer if you have any questions. MHU installation must comply with wind speed requirements.