Talking About Manufactured Homes, Post Harvey & Irma

Over the past few weeks, our industry has received a considerable amount of attention from the media and emergency management agencies. Unfortunately, most of the attention hasn’t been favorable.  Now is the time to refocus the attention on manufactured housing that is completed by professional installers, and meets or exceeds the various elements of the Manufactured Home Construction & Safety Standards (HUD Code), to provide not only affordable housing, but housing that is durable, high quality and above all, safe. Let’s discuss a few facts that you can share with your customers and the general public: 

  • There has not been a “mobile home” produced in over 41 years. You are installing and/or selling “manufactured homes” and the difference is significant. Don’t diminish the immense improvements that have been made by the industry since 1976. Use the proper terminology!
  • The HUD Code takes wind storm protections very seriously. The country has 3 different wind zones to address areas susceptible to wind hazard. Wind Zone II requires homes to be designed to accept 100 MPH winds. Wind Zone III’s design load is 110 MPH.
  • The anchoring process for manufactured homes has been completely revolutionized since 1976. There are newer anchoring systems available that not only meet the code requirements, but they are considerably easier to install and less susceptible to problems from site grading, frost heave or other environmental problems.  If you haven’t re-examined your anchoring procedures, you need to immediately. Look at a previous posts on this topic.  Introduction to Alternative Anchoring Systems
  • Every new manufactured home sold today is installed by a trained professional. And every installation is required to be verified for proper installation by a building code official or similar code enforcer.

Much of the destruction caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma was beyond the ability of any residential building code. Many homes sustained damage from impact of flying debris and flooding, as opposed to wind storm. Did you know you can equip manufactured homes with hurricane shutters to protect large windows and glass doors? Check the home installation instructions under “Complete Exterior Work” or visit www.apawood.org for more information (search for hurricane shutter designs) .

In far too many cases, manufactured homes were damaged due to the failure of carports, patio covers, awnings, and similar after-market additions that catch the wind and impose pressures on the home well beyond the intended design load. I am sure you all know that these types of accessory structures must be independently supported. If you haven’t already, watch this video, Click Here, it clearly illustrates the problems that attached structures can cause.

Remember, the HUD Code is a minimum code. Have you considered offering your customer the next step up? Offering a middle snow load in the south zone? Offering Wind Zone II in Wind Zone 1?  A higher level of performance is a feature that can be easily marketed, and may be instrumental in changing the narrative. Not every buying decision is based in the lowest price. Give your customers options and they just might choose a higher level of performance.

I think the time is right to start talking about the improvements that have been made over the past several years. If we continue with a mobile home mentality, the media and public will remain skeptical of our industry and never learn about these important changes and high level of performance and safety a properly installer manufactured home can deliver!

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