How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
site-built, mobile/manufactured and modular homes
Can I remodel an old mobile home without a building permit?
Friday, September 28, 2018
It depends on two things: 1) how extensive the remodeling is, and 2) what building department jurisdiction you are in. Although the original construction of a manufactured/mobile home is solely under the rules and supervision of HUD (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development), except for local building and zoning regulations about placement on the site, once the home is installed any modifications or additions must comply with the building codes where it is located.
Most jurisdictions do not require that work such as painting, siding or skirting repair, or interior flooring installation have a building permit. Beyond that, each building department has a slightly different threshold past which a permit is necessary, but anything that alters the structure, such a re-roofing, window replacement, electrical, plumbing, heating/air conditioning, and the addition of a deck or site-built attached room requires a permit and inspection.
While you may have neighbors that “mind their own business” and are not inclined to call the local code enforcement officer about any construction work you do without a building permit, the short-term savings of the cost and aggravation of a permit and inspection is offset nowadays by the problem you may encounter on selling the home to a buyer that expects to see building permits (with a final inspection sign-off) on all of the home’s improvements.
The problem we see most often with mobile homes that are remodeled by a homeowner without a building permit relates to a very specific HUD requirement that is also enforced by local jurisdictions: no additions can bear on the mobile home structure unless a special “host beam” was installed at the factory when the home was originally manufactured. A standard mobile home is designed to support itself and nothing more. Any additions, including porches and porch roofs can connect to the mobile home, but must be supported separately and not put any additional load on the mobile home structure.
Also, see our blog post Does it make sense to buy an older mobile home and remodel it?
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