Factory-Built Homes: The Safe and Inspected Housing Option in the US
Updated: Jan 4
Many Americans who dream of homeownership don't realize that a manufactured home can be a viable option for quality affordable housing. They also dismiss manufactured homeownership due to misinformation, myths and mischaracterizations of the only affordable quality housing in this country.
Many people assume that a mobile home is the same as an older model of manufactured housing. They don't know much about it.
Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, manufactured housing today is at least as good and sometimes better than traditional site-built housing. It also has a lower sales price of up to 50-70% plus the land cost.
Manufactured Housing are required to have a National Building Code
The only type of housing that is subject to the federal construction code are manufactured homes. To ensure compliance with the U.S. Congressional mandate, every aspect of manufacturing and installation is inspected. You may be wondering why manufactured housing is different from other types of housing.
The "mobile homes", also known as "trailers", burst onto the housing market in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. They were affordable housing. This huge demand led to dozens of factories building thousands of these homes in low-priced states, where there were almost no regulations regarding construction or safety.
Mobile home builders built homes as quickly as possible and at a low cost to make them competitive with other builders. They did not care about the quality of the homes or the welfare of their customers. Mobile homes were most often purchased in rural areas that were not subject to zoning regulations or where there was no need for land.
In the meantime, many manufacturers from the west coast were making quality mobile homes that could be used by homebuyers on higher-value land or in modern mobile home lease communities. California set a minimum standard for factory-built homes that would be used as a guideline for federal regulations.
Housing and Community Development
The U.S. Department of Housing and Community Development administers the federal code (commonly known by the HUD Code). Federal standards govern manufactured housing design, construction, strength, durability, transportability and fire resistance. They also regulate energy efficiency and quality.
A building code can only be as effective as the enforcement system it is accompanied by. The HUD Code requires that manufactured homes be enforced. This is an efficient and thorough program designed for factory production environments. The factory pace is different from that of construction sites, so the manufactured home enforcement program is also unique.
Both cases have the same goal: to provide the best safety possible in the design and construction of Manufactured Homes.