How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manfuactured and modular homes
How can I know if my mobile home meets HUD code?
Monday, October 1, 2018
Manufactured after June 15th, 1976, is important
The “National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974” became federal law on June 15, 1976, and provided the framework of what we now know as the HUD Code, a national building code for manufactured homes. It was the first, and remains the only, national building code.
If your mobile home was built after that date it meets the original HUD Code standards and should have a required manufacturer’s data plate (actually a paper sticker, located near the electric panel, inside a kitchen cabinet door, or on the wall of the master bedroom closet) which lists the specific HUD criteria, including wind and roof loads it was built to meet.
The HUD Code has been upgraded regularly over the years, including a major revision to improve storm-resistance in 1994; so a 1976 manufactured home will not meet today’s code, but it definitely met the HUD Code at the time it left the factory.
What happens after the initial delivery and setup at the homesite is a different story. Local building code standards apply to any site-built additions, but we regularly see additions or remodeling that destroy the HUD compliance of the original home. Here’s a few examples:
1) HUD requires two egress (exit) doors.
They must be at least 12-feet apart in single-wide units and 20-feet apart in double-wides. If an addition eliminates one of those doors, it creates a fire safety hazard and is not HUD-compliant.
2) All bedrooms should have a direct exit route to both exit doors without any lockable doors in between.
If a homeowner remodeling or addition eliminates this direct escape route for any bedroom, it’s also a fire hazard and HUD Code violation.
3) Manufactured homes are engineered to support only their own structural components.
A site-built addition can connect to the mobile home, but not bear upon it. This includes even porch roofs and decks. The only exception would be if a “host beam” was installed in the wall of the home at the factory. See our blog post What is a "host beam" at a mobile/manufactured home? for more on this.
4) Kitchens and bathrooms must have mechanical ventilation systems (exhaust fans).
Removal is a no-no. Most installations have manufactured stair units placed in the front of the entry doors to the home, usually referred to as “Code Stairs,” that are not especially attractive, but meet safety standards for handrails, picket spacing, and a sufficient size landing in front of the doors. Later homeowner replacements sometimes don’t comply with safety standards for stairs.
5) Skirting and belly wrap (the plastic sheeting that seals the bottom of a mobile home) are required by HUD.
They are both critical for moisture control and protecting the underside of the home from animal damage. We often see areas of skirting and belly wrap that have been opened for a repair under the home and not resealed afterwards.
Download HUD Code Here
There are, of course, other examples of modifications that stray from HUD compliance, but the general principle in keeping a manufactured home within the HUD Code is to leave it alone as much as possible. If you do decide to proceed with remodeling and additions, consult an inspector familiar with HUD guidelines, or download your copy for reference.
Since part of the HUD Code is performance-based standards rather than hard specifications, which allows manufacturers to demonstrate and receive approval that their construction methods meet the standards, not everything is spelled out specifically.
Go to our HUD-CODE FOR MOBILE HOMES page for a listing of our other HUD-code articles. Also, see our blog posts How do I find out how old a mobile home is and who manufactured it? and Does it make sense to buy an older mobile home and remodel it?
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