Building Codes Ensure Quality

Manufactured Homes are built to strict, national building codes that regulate design, construction, strength, durability, transportability, fire resistance, energy efficiency and quality control.  Performance standards for heating, plumbing, air conditioning, thermal and electrical systems are also set.

This code is the part of the National Manufactured Home Construction and safety Standards Act, otherwise known as the “HUD Code.” The familiar red seal attached to the exterior of the manufactured home is your assurance the home has been built to high standards and passed as many as 200 inspections during its construction.

Congress passed this act for three interrelated reasons:

  • To preserve access to affordable housing for all;
  • To facilitate interstate shipment of homes from factories all over America that would meet or exceed building codes no matter where located; and
  • States were not uniformly regulating home construction

An independent study by the University of Illinois Architecture – Building Research Council concluded that the HUD Code is comparable to – and in some areas exceed – commonly used local building codes. Where the HUD Code differs, results in important benefits to manufactured home buyers.

Local codes will tend to be “prescriptive.”  The Hud Code is performance-based.  The difference can be summarized in this manner:

  • Prescriptive codes tell the builder, “use this material, no matter what;”
  • Performance-based codes tell the builder, “here is the standard the materials you use must reach.”

Unlike local building codes, the HUD Code is specifically designed to be compatible with the factory construction process. Prescriptive codes, the HUD Code is specifically designed to be compatible with the factory construction process. Prescriptive codes often lag years behind materials and technology available to builders.  Performance-based standards allow builders to take advantage of current technology, improved construction methods and superior raw materials.

And just like any other standard, a building code is only as good as its enforcement.  HUD Code enforcement is more uniform and consistent because inspections take place in the factory under controlled conditions, and fewer inspectors have more experience inspecting more homes.

Michelle Dux
DeTray’s Housing Consultant

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