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  • Keith Miller

Factory-Built Home Facts You Should Know And Why They Are Important

What is a factory-built home?

"Mobile Home" is the term used to describe homes built in a factory before June 15, 1976, when the HUD code went into effect. The industry used the HUD code as a catalyst to rebrand the homes as “Manufactured” instead of just 'mobile'. These newly regulated homes were far safer and had much higher standards of quality compared to mobile homes. They weren't so mobile anymore. Before 1953, the term 'trailer' was used to describe the homes. As the homes progressed, it was necessary to use new terminology to describe the difference in travel trailers and the new permanent, factory-built homes that were being produced.

Are factory-built homes mobile?

Yes, factory-built homes are technically movable, but it will take specialized trucks and equipment, so it isn't easy (or cheap). In reality, it's almost never done. Factory-built homes can either be placed on a lot with a permanent foundation and leased or owned land. You can move a stick-built home, too, so the mobility of a home has little bearing on the quality of construction. Putting a factory-built home on a chassis is simply a more convenient way to build a home in a factory.

Are factory-built Homes permanent?

Factory-built Homes can be sited on a parcel of land just as a home can be built there. In this case, they can be designed to be indistinguishable from conventional site-built homes. Factory-built homes can also be placed in a land-lease community where the home is owned and placed on leased land.

What is the difference between modular and Manufactured Homes?

Modular homes are built to the state, local, or regional code where the home will be located. Modules are transported to the site and installed. A Manufactured Home is a house constructed entirely in a controlled factory environment and built to the federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards (HUD code). The most recent amendment to the HUD Code is the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA 2000).

Is it ok to use the word trailer?

Trailer is an outdated, derogatory slang term for a factory-built home and should not be used. Likewise, the word 'trailer park' should not be used. The correct term is 'factory-built home' or 'manufactured home' community or land lease community. The term mobile home is fine but 'trailer' should be used for campers that you tow behind your vehicle or vintage mobile homes made before 1954 (when the Trailer Coach Association of America renamed themselves The Mobile Home Association).

Are Manufactured Homes safe?

Yes. Manufactured Homes are built to the HUD Code, which is a performance-based construction and safety standard. Homes are built to regional conditions. Research has shown Manufactured Homes can withstand weather events like hurricanes as well as or better than site-built homes. Insurance studies reflect the fact that Manufactured Homes today are designed to prevent fires and have features designed to inhibit and limit the damage caused should a fire occur. Therefore, 99% of the things you think you know about a Manufactured Home are most likely false – they are safer than stick-built homes and have 50% fewer deaths by fire.

Are factory-built homes energy-efficient?

Yes. All Manufactured Homes have specific energy efficiency standards set by the federal government in the HUD Code. For example, Manufactured Homes built after October 1994 are required to be insulated to the geographic zone they are designed for, must have double-pane windows, and must have ventilation fans in kitchens and bathrooms. While the HUD minimum standards are helping to reduce energy costs for Manufactured Home buyers, several manufacturers are building homes that exceed the minimum HUD insulation standards and have advanced energy-efficient ventilation systems to maintain healthy indoor air quality even with tight construction. Such homes use 30-50 percent less energy for space heating than homes built to the minimum HUD standards.


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