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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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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