How do HUD-code mobile/manufactured home standards compare to the IRC building code for site-built homes?

Monday, July 9, 2018

The HUD-code standards are similar, but not equal, to the International Residential Code (IRC) that is used for most site-built homes. In some ways it could be argued that it is like comparing proverbial apples to oranges. Here are four key differences between the purposes of the two building code standards:

  1. A HUD-code mobile home is built on a welded steel chassis with wheels, and engineered to survive the stress of being  transported over the road as a completely built and ready-to-occupy housing unit. Site-built homes are made from construction materials assembled at the homesite.
  2. The IRC code is primarily a “prescriptive” building code, meaning that it provides specific instructions for the type, size, spacing, and connections of the building components. HUD is more of a “performance” code. It allows a manufacturer to have some leeway to choose their own materials and methods as long as they can prove to HUD that it meets the standards for each of the three climate regions for thermal efficiency, wind load, roof load, durability, livability and safety.
  3. Mobile homes are manufactured in a factory and specifically designed to take advantage of the efficiencies of an assembly line, factory machinery, and a controlled environment. 
  4. While there are many different price ranges, from economy to luxury, a mobile home is primarily meant to be an affordable alternative to a site-built home.

    When the first HUD-code became effective on June 15th, 1976, through federal legislation, it was a big step forward for the mobile home industry. But the original HUD-code was lacking compared to local buildings code, specifically in in storm resistance and insulation. Hurricane Andrew, that hit South Florida in 1992, was a wake-up call for HUD and it responded by upgrading the structural and tie-down requirements in 1994, and again in 2000. The integrity of the building envelope, insulation, and livability standards were also raised over the years.

    In our opinion, the HUD code tends to lag a little behind the site-built building codes, but it is continually catching up; and it is still the only truly nationwide building code we have.

     Also, go to our HUD-CODE FOR MOBILE HOMES page for a listing of our other HUD-code articles.

 • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Here’s links to a collection of our blog posts about MOBILE/MANUFACTURED HOMES:

Where can I file a complaint if I have problems with my new or used manufactured/mobile home in Florida?

 What are the most common defects in mobile/manufactured home foundation piers?

How do I determine the age of a very old mobile home?

What is a "HUD label verification letter" for a mobile/manufactured home?  

When did a ground cover vapor barrier (plastic sheet) become required under a mobile/manufactured home? 

Is it safe to go under a mobile home? 

Are older mobile homes unsafe? 

What do I need to know about buying a foreclosed mobile home? 

Does it make sense to buy an older mobile home and remodel it? 

Where do I find the vehicle identification number (VIN) on a mobile home? 

How do I find out how old a mobile home is and who manufactured it?

What is the right price for a used mobile home?

How energy efficient is a mobile home?

When were the first double-wide mobile homes manufactured?

How do I upgrade my old (pre-1976) mobile home to meet HUD standards?

What size air conditioner is right for my mobile home? 

Can you move an older mobile home in Florida? 

What does the HUD tag look like and where do I find it on a mobile home? 

Can you put a zone 1 mobile home in Florida?

How can I remove water under my mobile home?

What's the differences between a trailer, a mobile home, a manufactured home, and a modular home? 

What is a D-sticker mobile home? 

What are the tie-down requirements for a mobile home?

How fireproof is a mobile home?  

Can I install a mobile home myself?

What is a Park Model mobile home?  

Does an addition to a mobile home have to comply with the HUD Code? 

What walls can I remove in a mobile home?

What can I do to prevent dampness and mold in my mobile home? 

How can I tell if a mobile home is well constructed?

• How can I tell the difference between a manufactured home and a modular home?

       Visit our MOBILE/MANUFACTURED HOMES  page for other related blog posts on this subject, or go to the INDEX for a complete listing of all our articles. 

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