Just like last weeks lasagna in the back of your refrigerator, manufactured home installation manuals don’t last forever. Professional manufactured home installers must be certain that they are following the most up-to-date installation manual, which would be the one that was shipped inside the home being delivered from the factory. But how many manufactured home installers actually hold off their work waiting for the current installation instructions to arrive along with the home?
If you said “none” you are correct!
But there is no other process in place to provide manufactured home installers with the appropriate installation instructions. As a result, installers often are found to be using out-dated or obsolete designs, missing important installation requirements, or just installing every home the same way using the same techniques that they used years ago.
Additionally, far too many installers use engineered designs that might have been handed down from retailers, other installers, or some other random source. The problem is, all too often these engineered designs are outdated, and have been not accepted by the manufacturer and their design approval agency (DAPIA).
I have recently been made aware of a few manufacturers that have modified their requirements for a very common foundation/anchoring system. But most installers missed the change as there is no mechanism to keep them up-to-date.
Equally important, there is no way for an installer to know whenever a manufacturer updates their full installation manuals. Several manufacturers that have not updated their manuals since 2008. Others publish revised manuals almost as often as I change my socks!
But how can a professional installer assure that the details they use are the most current, besides waiting for the home delivery to start construction?
Keep in mind, that if you are the installer responsible for the overall installation of a new manufactured home, you are required to keep records for three years. These records should contain DAPIA approved designs, and details or instructions to clearly illustrate the entire installation process. Ultimately, you must be able to answer any questions regarding how the home was placed on the site by producing the design or instructions you followed. It is critical that you are utilizing the correct installation instructions!
Why not ask your manufacturers to start providing product bulletins every time there is a change to the installation instructions? These product bulletins could be sent to each retailer and maintained in a binder for regular access by installers.
I know that a few manufacturers have their installation manuals available on-line. Most notably:
Clayton, Click Here For the Site
Champion, Click Here For the Site
Skyline, Click Here For the Site
This is a great idea, but it would be even better if installers could sign-up for email updates to keep them informed of any changes.
Ultimately, professional installers (and retailers) need to expect improved communication from the manufacturers. Start a dialogue with the Quality Assurance Manager or Engineer at the factory. Maybe there are some processes in place that you can utilize. If not, maybe he can develop a process to keep you informed.
Bottom line, you need to know that every home is properly installed, and following outdated instructions places you and the manufactured home in jeopardy!