Getting Involved With a Storm Damaged Manufactured Home.

Early this spring in western Pennsylvania, a severe thunderstorm  blew over a huge oak tree which landed directly on top of a two-section manufactured home. Even though the homeowners were inside the home when the tree fell, thankfully nobody was injured. However, the home was significantly damaged.

Blue tarp placed over the hole in the roof to protect the damaged manufactured home.

The homeowners did exactly what every homeowner should do who finds themselves in this situation. Once the storm had passed, they did what they could to secure their home, moved to a safe location and contacted their insurance provider.

As expected, the insurance carrier sent out their adjuster who quickly determined that the home was easily repairable and offered the homeowners a modest check to supposedly cover the cost of needed repairs. In his opinion, the home didn’t even need to be re-installed even though there was now a 2” gap in the marriage line from the impact of the tree!

At the marriage line, showing how the home separated.

In the meantime, the homeowners contacted a very reputable manufactured home business in their area who immediately recognized that the home was beyond repair. But how to convince the insurance company that their suggested repairs were inadequate? The proposed repairs might have made the home look better, but did they follow the industry practices needed to comply with the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards?

Working with this retailer, we conducted our own assessment of the home and provided a written report that outlined the construction steps that are critical to maintain the structural integrity of the manufactured home. Primarily, we describe how the home must be separated to properly reconstruct the roof/ceiling assembly and close the gap. As you know, gaps between home sections would prevent the home from performing as an integrated structure as required by the HUD Code.

For example, we explained that the ceiling board must be fastened to the top plates of the side wall, marriage wall and the end wall of the home. We also laid out how the gypsum panels must be glued and fastened to the roof trusses. And that the gypsum must be treated with a vapor barrier primer type paint to replicate the original construction.

We discussed the importance of the ridge beams, roof rails and fascia boards to tie the roof trusses together. We also pointed out that the connection of the roof trusses to the laminated ridge-beam requires disassembly of the home, and that the entire ridge beam must be inspected for damage. Also, the reconstructed roof must be strapped to the marriage and side walls to withstand uplift forces.

Damaged roof trusses along ridge-beam.

After outlining these and several other problem areas, such as marriage, partition and sidewall reconstruction, we then pointed out that the home should be inspected by an independent inspection agency to review the repairs. And that when the home was repositioned onto the foundation, that the original installation instructions should be followed and a licensed installer should be utilized for the installation.

Close-up of how the roof trusses pulled away from the ridge-beam,

The local retailer was able take this report and generate a cost estimate to be included along with the estimate provided by the adjuster. Including the price of proper repairs that recognized the construction processes specific to manufactured housing, is allowing the homeowners to replace, instead of just quick-fix repairs to their home.

Should a customer of yours find themselves fighting with an insurance company when their home is damaged, maybe you can point out the construction features unique to the Manufactured Home Construction & Safety Standards. After all, a properly trained and licensed professional manufactured home installer certainly is in position to be more knowledgeable about manufactured homes than an insurance adjuster!

By the way, these folks have just ordered their new manufactured home!

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