Manufactured Housing Installation Inspection Findings from NTA

NTA, Inc. is a national engineering firm that has been involved in the manufactured housing industry from the beginning. NTA may be best known for performing in-plant inspections, along with reviewing and approving construction designs for manufactured housing producers. However, NTA has also have been very active in conducting installation inspections in those states where HUD has assumed the oversight of manufactured housing installation.

NTA recently compiled the results from their installation inspections, and posted the top 5 failures on their blog. I think it is worth a look so we can re-examine our own practices in an effort to improve our installations. You can go to their blog by CLICKING HERE.

Thanks to NTA for granting permission to share this with you.

 

HUD Newsletter-JUNE 2017

HUD has just issued their latest edition of  “The Facts-HUD’s ManuFACTured Housing Newsletter”, and I am attaching a copy (mh newsletter – 6-15-17) for your convenience.

Installers may want to skip ahead to page 4 of the newsletter where there is  valuable information regarding the HUD’s oversight of the Manufactured Housing Installation Program and Dispute Resolution Program.

I hope you find this helpful.

 

 

Piers- Part 4-It’s All About Location!

So far, we have talked about pier construction from top to bottom, but as you know, it’s all about location! And not quite as simple as you might think!

Typical Pier Print, missing piers at windows.

 One big problem when it comes to pier location is when installers only follow a “pier print” as opposed to actually digging into the Manufacturer’s Installation Instructions. While pier prints may be helpful, they are often in error and rarely show all of the piers required. Make sure to read all the notes on the pier print, they all refer you to the installation instructions. Remember, simple pier prints generally have not been reviewed and stamped as approved. So, if a pier is missed at either side of the picture windows, or under marriage line columns, or any other location, is the sole responsibility of the professional installer. 

Since the manufacturer’s installation instructions require the installer to prepare a sketch to determine pier locations, the pier print may be helpful when starting your sketch. But we need to crack open the instructions to find all of the piers required that might be missing from the pier print. 

If you have been installing manufactured homes for a long time, you know that piers are needed at openings in the side wall or marriage wall that are 4’ or larger. But some locations that are often missed.

6′ side wall opening, needs support piers

 Multiple windows that are installed in openings in the side wall over 4’, even if the individual windows are under 4′, often need support. When you see two or more windows together, determine if the header above the window is spanning the entire opening, or are there support studs dividing the opening.  If there is siding between multiple windows, the opening is divided. If the windows are joined with a mullion or “H” bar, consider it one big opening and not divided.  Some manufacturers require piers in all cases where windows are ganged together. As always, check the installation instructions! 

6 piers needed along this side wall.

When it comes to doors, there is little variation between manufacturers. Most manufacturers require support at both sides of doors located along the side wall. No supports are needed if the door is located at the end wall of the home.  

One style of pier saver under a patio door.

We are seeing many manufacturers reinforcing the floor to eliminate piers under patio doors. I hope to see this trend continue and expanded to eliminate piers at all doors and windows.  Truth be told, when pier savers were first introduced several years ago, I was a skeptic. But I was proven wrong and now I highly recommend them! If your manufacturer does not offer pier savers, you need to ask for them!

Adjustable outriggers support patio door opening.

 It is also worth mentioning that several manufacturers have approved the use of “adjustable outriggers” as an alternative to piers at certain door and window openings. There are differing design limits depending on the home manufacturer. Some limit the use of an adjustable outrigger to side wall openings not greater than 4′. Still others allow adjustable outriggers to support each side of a 6’ patio door in the south roof load zones. Some manufacturers approve the use of adjustable outriggers in the middle roof load zone as well.  Check the approved manufacturer instructions before you proceed. I suggest giving a call to the plant Quality Control Manager and ask him to send you their approved design on adjustable outriggers.

 Did you know that most manufacturers require “intermediate supports” to support marriage wall openings greater than 10’? Piers spaced 10’ on center maximum are required. See the third bullet on the chart below. 

 Also, supports are required where heat duct crossovers go through the rim joist (unless the home has a perimeter frame system). See bullet #4.

There is the troubling requirement (see the last bullet) that installers are to provide a support “Under heavy (400 Lbs. or more) items such as heavy furniture, waterbeds, fireplaces or fish tanks”.  Troubling for two reasons:

1.       The installer will never know where the homeowner is going to place heavy furniture, a fish tank or waterbed!

2.       The direction is too vague. Where is the support to be located? Under the frame (chassis)? Under the perimeter joist or marriage line? And if the manufacturer installs the fireplace, why don’t they beef up the floor in that area?

I think we have covered this topic pretty thoroughly,  but here are a few final points:

Perimeter Pier Location

The manufacturers are required to identify the point load support areas of the home with tags, paint, or in some other way so that the identification is visible after the pier is installed. I have seen too many tags or markings misplaced. So, make sure you know where supports are needed. If in doubt, call the QC manager.

Over spaced first pier!

 There is some variation when it comes to the first and last support piers at the ends of the home. Some manufacturers indicate that the pier must be located within 12” of the end of the I-beam. Others want the first support pier to be 24” from the end of the floor to the center of the pier, and yet another within 24″ of the end of I-beam! So, double check that you doing this correctly.

 Also, watch for shear wall straps (sometimes called G-2 strap) that may require piers, and other manufacturer specific requirements. We will explore the topic of shear walls at a later date.

 Ok, that is a lot to consider. Make sure you aren’t overlooking some odd window configurations that may need support and work with your manufacturer to have them add floor reinforcement at every possible location.  Watch out for marriage line spans that may require intermediate supports. If you haven’t been preparing sketches of the pier layout, make sure you start, and keep a copy in your home file! 

 

HUD Dispute Resolution Webinar

You are all invited and encouraged to participate in a HUD-Office of Manufactured Housing Programs webinar on Tuesday, June 27, 2017, from 2 PM to 3 PM eastern time. HUD officials as well as staff from the Savan Group will be on hand to discuss the Dispute Resolution Program, address some misconceptions about the program and to answer questions you may have.

Registration is required for participation. So prior to the webinar, make sure you register by CLICKING HERE or for more information click HERE . 

I know that most of you will be out at a job site and may not have availability to log into a webinar, but if you are available, please take the time to learn more about this program, particularly consumer disclosure requirements for retailers and manufacturers and record keeping requirements for installers.

Be sure to add this to your calendar!

Piers-Part 3-Pier Components

The previous two blog postings have concentrated on pier footings and caps. Now we should look at the pier itself to make sure we understand the backbone of the support pier.

Two Core Block

Most piers are constructed with dry stacked concrete blocks. As we mentioned in the previous posts, a single stack concrete block pier can typically carry a pier load up to 8,000 lbs. (with an exception made for at least one major manufacturer). I have had installers ask me about the difference between 2 core and 3 core blocks. For our purposes, there is no difference. There is a defined top and bottom to the block, but that is for the laying of block and the application of mortar (the webs of the block are slightly wider at the top to give a bigger surface for the mortar). This doesn’t impact their ability to carry loads should you stack them up-side down.

Look over the typical “Load on Frame Supports for Homes Not Requiring Perimeter Blocking” chart below. There are very few configurations that exceed the 8,000 lbs. where you would need double block piers.

NOTE: this chart is for a typical manufactured home. If you are installing a manufactured home that has features like a steep pitched or hinged roof, high side walls, tray ceilings, terra cotta roof tiles, stone veneer finishes, etc., the pier loads can be significantly higher. Always consult the installation instructions for the home you are installing!

The bigger issue that should concern professional installers is the pier height. In general, if you are using single stack block piers, there are two height limits to keep in mind:

  1. The piers at the corners can be no more than 3 blocks high (approximately 24″ plus the cap block)
  2. Typical piers along the main beam are limited to 36″ high.

Should you exceed either of these limits, you need to use double stack (16″ x 16″) block piers. Unless your pier is 67″ or higher, dry stacking of the blocks is acceptable (mortar is not required between or filling the blocks). If you need to construct a pier higher than 67″ most installation manuals require you consult a professional engineer. I did notice that Clayton Homes provides a design in their installation manual for double stack block reinforced piers up to 108″ high, however the footing and pier require reinforcement and there are some big concerns with anchoring a home that high above grade.

Given that rarely are piers overloaded with our conventional installation methods, I am still surprised at the number of installers that continue install manufactured homes with double block piers. Bigger is not always better, and often it is more difficult to construct.

bad-footing-2

Double block pier not properly positioned on the footing. Note the  crack in the block.

A double block pier that is not properly capped, or not properly centered on the footing, is more prone to failure than a single block pier that is well-constructed.

There are some other pier options available that I think we should take a quick look:

  1. The Steel Support Pier. I haven’t seen a lot of installations that use steel support piers, but maybe it is time to reconsider this option. First of all, these steel piers must be listed and labeled to show they are properly designed, manufactured and can carry the loads. If you are buying from one of the major suppliers, you will likely be fine.

In general, these steel support piers are limited to 6,000 lbs. This is sufficient for pier spacing of 8′ apart supporting a typical 14′ or 28′ wide manufactured home. Also be aware that the adjustable riser (screw) should not extend more than 2″ when finally positioned.

Steel support piers must be painted or otherwise protected from corrosion, and must be stamped with their capacity.

I understand that the material cost compared to concrete block may be slightly more, but I think you will easily save that much in labor.

  1. Pre-cast Concrete. As above, pre-cast concrete piers must be labeled and listed, and here is where I find the problems. Very few of the pre-cast concrete piers I have seen were fabricated in a facility where a quality control program is overseen by an independent inspection agency, with testing or calculations to determine the capacity. To be blunt, if some guy is making pre-cast concrete piers in his barn or garage, it is a good bet that these piers are not labeled or listed. Stay clear!

If you are using any pre-cast concrete piers, ask your supplier to provide evidence that their products are labeled and listed.

  1. Helical Pile Foundations. This could become a more common foundation in the future, especially in areas of deep frost penetration.

    Installation of a helical pile foundation

    This foundation installs quickly, with no concrete, no excavation, and it is removable! BUT, you need to get approval from your manufacturer before you proceed.

Ok, I think we should talk just a little more about supporting manufactured homes with piers, so in a few weeks we will look at pier locations to properly support the manufactured home.

As always, refer to the installation manual before you proceed. If you have any thoughts or images, feel free to send them my way!

Piers-Part 2-Cap Blocks & Spacers & Shims!

Last week we talked about pier footings, today we need to look at the top of the footings, the cap blocks, spacers and shims.

The job of the pier cap is to take the all the weight from the I-Beam and spread it out over the entire surface of the Concrete Masonry Unit (that is fancy talk for concrete block). So, we are taking between 5,500 and 6,900 lbs. concentrated in the 3″ flange of the chassis beam, and spreading it out over the top of an 8″ x 16″ block.

Double block piers need double cap blocks!

Keep in mind, while a concrete block is very strong, it is also very fragile. But I think you would agree that it is very rare to see a concrete block fail if it was properly loaded and supported. While the footing provides the support, the cap blocks handle the loading! If the pier is made of single stack blocks, the cap must be 8″ x 16″, if double stack blocks, the cap must be 16″ x 16″.

Also, if capping double block piers, with two 8″ x 16″ caps, the joint in the cap blocks must be at a right angle to the joint of the blocks being capped. AND, the joint in the cap blocks must be at a right angle to the chassis beam.

Generally, the cap block must be 4″ solid, pre-cast concrete or 2″ x 8″ x 16″ pressure treated lumber. Most installation instructions also allow ½” steel to be used as a cap, but I have never seen this in the field (if you use steel, could you send me a picture?).

These are NOT hardwood shims!

1″ concrete broken-Where is the shim??

Shims are needed between the I-beam and the cap block. While a few manufacturers might suggest that shims are optional, I think they are very important and I highly recommend that you always install shims in your installations. Shims need to be used in pairs and should only take up 1″ of space between the cap block and I-beam. Most shims are hardwood (usually made from locust or oak) 4″ x  6″, however ABS shims are also available. One thing about the ABS shims is that them have grooves that lock them together so they can’t slip apart.

Spacers are needed if you have more than 1″ of space between the cap block and I-beam. Manufacturers differ somewhat on what you can use as a spacer. Some say a maximum 2″ thick hardwood lumber, or a 2″ or 4″ solid block (I assume that this manufacturer allows 1″ hardwood as a spacer as they don’t indicate a minimum). Yet a another manufacturer allows the use of two layers of 2″ lumber. Most manufacturers simply say 2″ lumber or 2″ to 4″ solid concrete.

1″ concrete spacer not permitted.

For me, the take away is that the use of 1″ concrete is not permitted, and most installation instruction do not permit 1″ lumber. Sorry!

Just remember, you want to spread out the load to as large of an area as possible. So be sure your cap blocks are the same size as the pier. Be cautious when selecting spacers and shims.

As always, verify your installation practices to the manufacturers installation instructions that come with the home!

Ok, next week we will take a closer look at the pier itself!

Breaking Down Pier Construction-Part 1-Footings

So far this month, I have had the chance to work with over 50 professional installers over several different training opportunities. One thing that became evident is that we all need to improve our understanding of the most basic part of a manufactured home foundation, the piers and footings.

When examining our support piers, I think it best to drill down to the bottom and work our way up. And at the bottom of every pier is the footing. Basically, the job of the footing is to spread the pier load in a way that keeps the pier from sinking into the earth (I like to compare a footing to a snow shoe. It keeps you from sinking into the snow by spreading out your body weight over a larger area).

There are three things you need to consider when you are determining what size and type of footing to use:

1.       How much weight will the footing have to support?

2.       How much weight can the ground under the footing support?

3.       Will the footing shift or heave due to frost penetrating under the footing?

To be straight with you, there is a lot of information in our industry that is peppered with wiggle words and qualifiers that can mislead or misguide professional installers. I will do my best to just give you the facts based in the building science that I have examined.

Typical Pier Load Chart

In general, a pier supporting the manufactured home along the frame (you may call it the chassis), spaced every 8’ will need to support approximately 5,500 lbs. in the South roof load zone. If you are installing the home in the north roof load zone, you are looking at up to 6,900 lbs. These loads include the actual weight of the home, the assumed weight of people, furniture, the other contents inside the home (live load), and the anticipated weight of snow on the roof. The pier load charts in the manufacturers installation instructions are where you will find the actual load per pier. Since most of the country is in the South roof load zone, we will assume that each of our piers will need to carry 5,500 lbs. 

Unfortunately, too many professional installers don’t put much thought into how much weight the soil can carry (AKA Soil Bearing Capacity). So either they use the default approach, or just do it the way they have for years. The default approach is found in the International Residential Code and referenced in the manufacturers installation instructions. This basically allows you to assume 1,500 lbs. per square foot soil bearing capacity for a decent, typical, well drained site.

So, if my pier load is 5,500 lbs., and my soil can carry 1,500 lbs. per square foot, I need to spread the load out over 3.6 square feet of earth (5,500 ÷ 1,500 =3.6). But you should go to the charts in the installation instructions where the math is done for you. This chart shows a 24” x 24” footing is needed, slightly larger than the 3.6 we calculated.

Footing must be smooth and flat! This is certain to fail!

 

If your footings are poured in place concrete, they must be at least 6” thick and depending on the load and soil bearing capacity, possibly thicker. The chart above requires our footing to be 8″ thick.

mushroom-footing

Poorly constructed footing

When you order the concrete, make sure the “footing mix” you request is 28-day compressive strength of 3,000 psi. In checking with a few concrete suppliers, there was some variation. Be certain that you finish the concrete to provide a flat, smooth, and level surface for the pier to rest.

If you use pre-cast concrete, they must be at least 4″ thick, meeting with the ASTM standard C90-02a. Patio slabs from the garden center generally do not meet this standard.

Listed and labeled ABS plastic footing pads can be used where protection from frost has been provided, or if the pad is placed below the maximum frost penetration line.  

Ok, so we now know that our load on the pier is 5,500 lbs., and our footing will need to be 2 feet square as determined from the chart. But what about the construction of the actual pier? Almost every installation manual states that a single 8” x 16” concrete block can carry 8,000 lbs. (just stay under 36″ high). So, your pier can be constructed with single blocks that can easily carry the 5,500 lbs. load (If you are installing a Clayton product, they limit a dry stack, single block pier to 5,760 lbs.).  Make certain you look at the specific installation instructions for the home you are installing.  

In the Middle and North roof load zones, the piers loads are a little greater, and remember that not every home is the same! Next week we will talk about frost protection, the cap blocks, shims, and spacers that are needed to complete pier construction.

Personalized Small Group Installer Training Available!

Last week I traveled to New England to present a HUD Manufactured Home Installer Training course specifically for a community owner and his crew so they could get their HUD Manufactured Home Installer License.

Friday morning I received an email from that community owner that I wanted to share:

  • “The course was great and we all learned a lot, but more important the understanding behind the license makes sense. The explanation & knowledge you have from HUD & industry is important to this process… 
    The real installer needs the license attained in this fashion.”

I had to agree! Working with this small group allowed us to focus the training on areas of greatest need, and we were also able to highlight the manufacturers installation manuals specific to the homes they sold/installed.

So retailers, community owners, manufacturers, installers, etc., if you would like to coordinate a HUD approved Manufactured Housing Installer Training for your smaller group, contact me and let’s see what we can work out!

Mark

markconte3@yahoo.com

Safety Pays!

 

My grandfather Giovanni Battista Conte

My family has been in the construction business ever since my grandfather immigrated from Italy in the early 1920’s. Having five sons, my grandfather always had an in-house work crew and back-log of work. Not only was he a skilled carpenter, but he was extremely frugal  and always looked for ways to save time and money. Unfortunately, his focus on saving  time and money  failed to include working safely. Eventually this ended up costing him dearly. You see, when my grandfather was in his mid-twenties, he lost his little finger on his left hand using a circular saw with a broken guard. To compound this injury, about 10 years later, he lost his right arm to the elbow as a result of severe laceration, again the result of overlooking his own personal safety.

These accidents ended up costing him much more than he ever expected and made a big impact on me. Every time I visit a manufactured housing installation site, I see professional installers placing their health at risk, just like my grandfather.  I  hope that this post might prompt you to examine job site safety to reduce the risk of injury for everyone involved in manufactured housing installation. Stay with me as I touch on a few things for you to consider.

First Aid Kit-This is a must at every job site. Make certain that all trucks in your fleet have one, and that they are fully stocked at all times. You can’t predict when an accident might happen!  

Eye protection-Over 500,000 job related eye injuries requiring medical attention occur every year. Don’t allow anyone on the job site without proper eye protection. In fact, you should have a few extra pairs of safety glasses or googles in your truck (with your first aid kit) at all times. In general, prescription eyeglasses add some level of protection, add some side shields and you are in great shape! Watch out for workers wearing cheap sunglasses as a projectile can shatter the plastic lens and lead to more injury.

Also, sunglasses are never to be used to protect your eyes during welding, acetylene burning, or cutting work. Sunglass lens are NOT the same as welding or cutting lenses!

Back injuries-Over 1 Million on the job back injuries occur annually. Make sure you and your crew practice proper lifting techniques. Bundles of shingles, boxes of siding, concrete blocks, sheets of plywood or OSB are heavy. Take a few extra minutes to plan ahead to reduce the probability of back injury. Work smart – Not hard!

Fall Protection-OSHA requires personal fall protection for anyone working 6’ or more above the next lower level. ThatABC-of-fall-protection means a properly fitted harness every time you are working on a roof. Visit OSHA.GOV for more information on this.

Suspended Loads-NEVER allow anyone under a suspended load. Cables and straps can break, loads can shift, spreader bars can fail, and rim joists can split. Make sure if the home were to drop, it would be supported by cribbing, and not be on top of you or your crew!

Footwear-There are 1.2 million job related foot injuries per year! In our industry, footwear should have slip/puncture resistant soles and a steel toe. No sneakers on the job site! Actually, once a worker starts wearing work boots, they won’t go back to sneakers! Especially those with time working on a ladder!

Tools-Never use a nail gun without a properly working safety mechanism. Never use a nail gun like a hammer to finish driving in a nail or staple, or as any type of striking tool. Make sure all saws have the proper guards in place, and the work piece is secured and supported to prevent injury.  Double check the placement of all jacks and winches (come-alongs). Position yourself so that in the event of a slip, you are in the clear. When using an impact wrench, make sure to use impact sockets, not hand ratchet sockets. Don’t use a screwdriver as a chisel or pry-bar. Only use a tool as intended,  I think you get the picture!

Electrical Service-Make certain every tool and cord is powered by a GFCI protected circuit or extension cord!

gfci-power-extensions-tower-manufacturing

Ground fault circuit interrupter cord. 

Immediately replace damaged or frayed cords.  

Ladders-I can’t tell you of all of the risks I see being taken with ladders. Make sure you buy high quality (I prefer fiberglass) ladders that are the right size and capacity for the job . Inspect your ladders every day before use, replace worn out ropes on extension ladder pulleys, and steer clear of power lines!!! A ladder standoff is a very valuable tool.

b8e3a590-33a7-49a6-ac04-bfb74cfa8251_1000

Ladder standoff

Read the warnings on each ladder and believe them!

 

Clothing-I am a big fan of work uniforms for several reasons. But the biggest reason is safety. When properly fitted, they provide added protection from many hazards. Plus, you and your crew will look professional and your customers and potential customers will be impressed. Gloves must fit your hands snugly, and shirt tails should be tucked! I know a lot of you think that in the summer, a work uniform would be too hot to wear, but back in the day, my crew wore them and found they were more comfortable wearing work uniforms. And the cleaning service was well worth the price.

Housekeeping-There have been countless injuries because of messy job sites, such as stepping on hidden nails in piles of debris, and tripping and slipping. Not to mention time lost looking for tools, materials, etc. Keep things tidy as you go. You will realize saving in time, money and safety!

Distractions-Everyone knows that distracted driving is a problem, but do we realize that distracted working is just as dangerous? Have you considered having your work crew leave their cell phones in the trucks? I see too many guys on jobs sites paying more attention to their smart phone than their jobs. For their own safety, make them put their phones away.

 

OK, these are a few things to start the discussion. I would love to hear what you have to say.

We need to practice safety and not learn it by accident.

Electrical Crossovers

While inspecting some multi-section manufactured home installations recently, I noticed some areas needing improvement regarding electrical crossover connections.  So I thought we should talk about this issue as we head into the summer season.

Should not be exposed!

One of first things to keep in mind is that you should never have any Non-Metallic Sheathed Cable (also called NM Cable, often referred as Romex®) used for branch circuit wiring visible under a manufactured home. Crossover wiring is always to be tucked inside the floor cavity or walls, and protected with an access panel or hatch.

Molex brand connector. Look closely for release tab.

Secondly, to make this connection most manufacturers generally use either electrical connectors or junction boxes. Connectors are pretty straight forward, just snap them together. Most manufacturers in the northeast use Molex® brand connectors, and the great thing about these connectors is that they have release tabs so you can separate the connectors without any damage and reuse them as needed. This is important for relocating a home, or if the home were on display before being moved to it’s installation site.

This brand has no release mechanism.

Some older manufactured homes used a connector made by Amp® that was a single use connector. If you looked closely, you would see: “One Time Use Only, Do Not Re-terminate. The issue was there was no release tab on these connectors, so if you pulled them apart the plastic housing would bend and distort the device. When reconnected, the housing wouldn’t be able to connect securely and safety became a concern. The good news is that I haven’t seen these used for at least eight to ten years. But be alert if you are installing older homes as you may see a connector that is not intended to be reused. If so, cut it off and either install a new connector or use a junction box inside an access panel in the floor cavity or marriage wall.

Look closely to see grounding screw.

Greeny grounding type wire nut.

Speaking of junction boxes, here are a few basic things to remember. Where the NM Cable enters the junction box, there should be a cable clamp or connector. Don’t overtighten the clamp onto the cable, just snug it down. The cable should be secured within 12” of the clamp or connector (check the actual installation manual as some require cable securement within 8” of the cable clamp). If the junction box is metal, it should be grounded. You can use a ground clip, ground screw or a “greeny” wire nut for this.  Twist the conductors together before installing the wire nut, and make sure to use a wire nut that is the proper size. Usually the capacity and number of connectors are identified on the top of the wire nut itself. After grounding the junction box and making good connections, place the cover on the junction box!

I am seeing a few of the push-in type connectors in place of the twist style wire nuts, and these seem to work fine. Just make sure you strip the conductor with the proper tool to the proper length per the installation instructions. I saw a few brands of these push-in connectors that limited their use to solid wire only (no stranded wire). On solid wire conductors, these push-in types are generally reusable. But it can be difficult to get the conductors to disengage. You may be better served replacing them.

If you notice that the outer sheathing (or jacket) of the NM Cable is nicked or damaged, make sure you address it properly. If there is a superficial nick in the outer sheathing, wrap electrical tape around the cable at the nicked area, to a thickness that equals the depth of the nick. If the damage exposes any of the conductors or the paper inside the cable, the affected area must be removed! There is no repair for damage that significant.

End wall crossover. Cables need better protection!

If the manufacturer notched out a wall stud or other structural member to run the NM cable, make sure to protect the cables with wire protective plates or “mash or smash” plates as they call them in the south. And make certain the cable is 100% protected!

Always replace the access panels or close the access area to protect the connection from moisture and possible damage. If any floor insulation is missing, replace it as well!

Revisit the manufacturers installation instructions for a little more detail. On a new home, use the connector type the manufacturer provided.  If there are problems making this connection on a new manufactured home, take a picture and report it back to the manufacturer. They can only make improvements if they get feedback from you!

Keep in mind that you should always refer to the Manufacturers Installation Instructions, but if you want to learn more, the Manufactured Home Construction & Safety Standards (MHCSS) at 3280.801 is where you will find the actual code requirements.  Click Here for the MHCSS  Also, it is worth knowing the MHCSS adopts Article 550 of the 2005 National Electric Code. So, check them all out to make sure you are doing things right!