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Mobile Home News & Manufactured Home News & Modular Home NewsHUD's Study OK's Homes for CoastsJuly 15, 2006
Acomparison by the Housing and Urban Development department has shown that HUD Code homes built to Wind Zone III specifications are equal in strength to site-built homes that withstand 130 mph winds.

HUD has established specific building codes in Florida for homes that are to be placed in Wind Zone III. It is interesting to note that some Florida manufacturers are building all their homes to meet the Wind Zone III code.

The executive director of the Mississippi Manufactured Housing Association had written HUD for clarification of the new building code requirements for housing on the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. William W. Matchneer III, HUD's associate deputy assistant secretary for Manufactured Homes and Regulatory Affairs responded in a letter:

"The emphasis that city and county officials have placed on 130 mph wind speed design requirements has apparently raised questions regarding the acceptability of HUD Code manufactured housing in these areas.

"The primary issue is how the HUD Code compares to the International Residential Code (IRC). The HUD Code Wind Zone III (coastal areas) requires homes to withstand a fastest mile wind speed of 110 mph, while the IRC uses a three-second gust of wind. Logically, most people would agree that a sustained wind of 110 mph is as tough a standard (or tougher) than a three-second gust of 130 mph. The HUD Code official came to the same conclusion.

"Comparing the wind design requirements provided for Exposure Category B in the IRC with HUD's wind design requirements for Wind Zone III and Exposure C in the table of Design Wind Pressures shows the design re- quirements in the HUD standards are comparable to the 130 mph design loads required by the IRC," the letter states.

"Therefore, manufactured homes produced to HUD's Wind Zone III requirements will perform equally to homes designed to resist a 130 mph three-second gust velocity under the IRC requirements. We have no reservation in recommending HUD Wind Zone III homes as fully suitable for placement in areas now designated for homes that meet IRC 130 mph requirements, and believe that manufactured homes should be considered on an equal basis."

In 2004, the Florida Manufactured Housing Association (FMHA) hired an engineer to compare HUD standard with the Florida Building Code. The conclusion of that study was that HUD's fastest mile 110 standard was virtually equal to, and in some cases exceeded, the Florida Building Code's three-second gust of 130 mph.

It should be noted that new home installation law in Florida is one of the most strict in the United States. The requirements for placing and installing the tie-down anchors, along with the new stabilizers, means those new home foundations are strong and will withstand strong winds. It needs to be repeated again and again that homes built after 1994 that were in the path of Florida hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 sustained little or no damage. Studies and surveys reported that new homes are built strong and compare favorably with site-built homes.

If you live in a home built prior to 1994, or in a home that has not had the tie-downs inspected in the past five years you need to do so NOW as we enter the hurricane season. You want to assure that all your tie-downs are sound and properly installed and I strongly recommend that if possible you should have the new stabilizer installed under your home. These stabilizers will anchor your home and prevent it from moving in any direction.

While you are contemplating inspecting and/or strengthening your foundation consider that your carport and screen room are more susceptible to high winds than your home. You might want to consider talking with a contractor qualified to strengthen your carport and screen room to withstand high winds.


Myths VS Reality  

Fire Safety 

Myth: There is a traditional perception that 
manufactured  housing is more vulnerable to fire than other forms of 
single-family housing. 

Reality: The fact is that manufactured homes are 
no more prone to fire  than homes built on site, according to an annual report 
released by the Oklahoma  State Fire Marshall's office. 

Similar studies 
have echoed the above  statement made by the Foremost Insurance Company. A 
national fire safety study  conducted by the Foremost Insurance Company shows 
that site-built homes are more  than twice as likely to experience a fire than 
manufactured homes. According to  this study, the number of home fires is 17 per 
1,000 for site-built homes, while  only eight per 1,000 for manufactured homes. 

What caused the improved  fire safety of manufactured homes? Strict 
construction standards. Foremost  Insurance Company's marketing research 
department took an in-depth look into the  fire frequencies of manufactured 
homes built before the advent of HUD  (Department of Housing and Urban 
Development) construction and safety standards,  as well as homes built after 
the standards went into effect in 1976. Foremost's  researchers found that 
post-HUD constructed manufactured homes burn less often  and have lower fire 
losses than pre-HUD homes. 

Richard Wettergreen,  Assistant Vice 
President, Marketing Communications and Research at Foremost  Insurance Company 
said, "Manufactured homes are the only homes with a national  building code. The 
fire study indicates that HUD standards, adopted in 1976,  have a positive 
effect on fire safety in manufactured housing. When construction  methods and 
standards are considered, it appears to be a distinct and safe  advantage to 
live in a factory-built home. It's time the myth of high fire  potential in 
manufactured housing is laid to rest once and for all." 

Some resistant 
features of the HUD code include strict standards for  flame spread and smoke 
generation in materials, egress windows in all bedrooms,  smoke detectors and at 
least two exterior doors, which must be remote from each  other and reachable 
without passage through other doors that are lockable.  Site-built homes are 
required to have only one exterior door and no  "reachability" requirement. 

Another report entitled, "Fire Experience in  Manufactured Homes," by 
Dr. John R. Hall, Jr., which appeared in the May/June  1992 National Fire 
Protection Association Journal, concluded that manufactured  homes built to HUD 
standards present a much lower risk of death and a  significantly reduced risk 
of injury in fires than units that were not built to  HUD code requirements. The 
study showed that in fires occurring between 1980 and  1989 that the fire death 
toll per 100 fires in post-HUD homes is two-thirds to  three-fourths lower than 
pre- HUD homes. The fire injury is approximately  one-third lower than pre-HUD 
homes for the same period of time. 

Even  though the frequency of 
manufactured home fires is less than that of site-built  homes, the manufactured 
home fire is usually more severe. "Manufactured homes  tend to be smaller 
properties than other homes... This means the median room  sizes were much 
smaller in manufactured homes." said Dr. John R. Hall, Jr. Fires  can spread 
more quickly in smaller-sized manufactured homes and site-built  homes. Another 
explanation of these more severe fires is that there is a  significantly higher 
percentage of manufactured homes in rural areas than in  urban areas, while the 
percentage of site-built homes is much higher in urban  areas than in rural 
areas. A fire in a home located in a rural area has a  greater chance of 
becoming a "total fire" because of the increased amount of  time needed for fire 
equipment to reach the home, since it may be outside a fire  protected zone. 

Storm Safety 

Myth: Manufactured homes are particularly vulnerable to 
  the destructive force of strong winds and tornadoes. Manufactured homes seem to 
  attract tornadoes. 

Reality: Hurricane Andrew struck the southern tip of 
  Florida and the Gulf Coast regions of Louisiana in late August 1992 with 
  devastating winds in excess of 150 miles-per-hour. The third strongest 
hurricane  ever to strike the United States, Andrew was designated a Category 4. 
Thousands  of homes, both site built and manufactured, suffered extensive damage 
and  destruction from the force of the storm. 

Within weeks of the storm, 
the  manufactured housing industry endorsed appropriate improvements in the wind 
  resistance/safety of manufactured homes. After many months of effort by the 
  industry to negotiate proper improvements, the Department of Housing and Urban 
  Development (HUD) issued revisions to the wind safety provisions of the HUD 
  Code, which became effective July 13, 1994. 

In areas prone to 
  hurricane-force winds (known as Wind Zones II and III, according to HUD's new 
  Basic Wind Zone Map) the wind safety standards require that manufactured homes 
  be resistant to winds up to 100 miles-per-hour in Wind Zone II and 110 
  miles-per-hour in Wind Zone III. In both of these zones, the standard for 
  manufactured homes is now more stringent than the current regional and national 
  building codes for site-built homes located in these wind zones. 

 important element in the adequate wind safety of a manufactured home is the 
  proper installation and anchoring of the home according to the manufacturer's 
  instructions. Installation standards are regulated on a state-by-state basis. 
  When properly installed and anchored, the manufactured home's wind resistance 
is  significantly improved. For each new manufactured home sold, the 
manufacturer  must include installation instructions to properly support and 
anchor the home.  This requirement is part of the wind storm protection 
provisions of the HUD  Code. 

There is no meteorological or scientific 
basis to thinking that  manufactured homes attract tornadoes. The reality is one 
of coincidence: most  manufactured homes are located in rural and suburban 
locations, where  meteorological conditions favor the creation of tornadoes. 

A tornado's  deadly force does not selectively discriminate between the 
site-built and  manufactured home or "mobile home" (those built prior to the HUD 
Code's  implementation in 1976.) 

In most of the country 
(non-hurricane-prone  areas), manufactured homes are built to withstand 
sustained winds in the range  of 70 miles-per-hour. Above this range, a 
manufactured home will experience some  form of damage. Only in the case of 
severe weather, such as a tornado, are these  areas likely to experience winds 
in excess of 70 miles-per-hour. 

It is  estimated that approximately 40 
percent of all tornadoes have winds in excess of  112 miles-per-hour. Tornadoes 
can have winds in excess of 200 miles-per-hour in  extreme cases. Current 
building codes and practices, for either manufactured  homes or site-built 
homes, are not designed to withstand winds in excess of 110  miles-per-hour. 

A direct hit from a tornado will bring about severe  damage or 
destruction of any home in its path. A tornado's deadly force does not 
  selectively discriminate between the site-built and manufactured home or 
"mobile  homes" (those built prior to the HUD Code's implementation in 1976). 

If  a manufactured home has a below-ground basement, the home's 
residents should  seek shelter there. If a home, site-built or manufactured, 
does not have a  below-ground basement, the residents should seek immediate 
below-ground or other  appropriate shelter from the storm's possible effects. 
During a tornado warning,  a tornado has been detected. Residents should seek 
shelter in an interior room  with no windows. 

Energy  Efficiency 

Myth: Manufactured homes are less energy efficient than 
  site-built homes. 

Reality: On October 24,1994 a new minimum energy 
  conversation standard became effective. The new energy standards are resulting 
  in lower monthly energy bills, a factor industry officials say will enhance the 
  affordability of manufactured housing and, perhaps, improve mortgage 
  underwriting terms. Improved home ventilation standards have also been adopted 
  in conjunction with the energy standards, a step that will improve indoor air 
  quality and condensation control in manufactured homes. 

The new 
  standards rely on computer modeling to identify the optimum cost-effective 
  conservation level for a home located in any one of three regions in the 
nation.  In developing the standards, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban 
  Development followed Congress mandate to establish standards that "minimize the 
  sum of construction and operating costs" over the life of the home. This 
  emphasis on "lifecycle" energy costs is unique among national energy standards. 

A new thermal zone map for manufactured housing identifies three 
  regions: the southeastern states are grouped from South Carolina to Texas in 
  Zone I; the mid-zone of the nation is grouped from North Carolina across to 
  California in Zone II; and the remaining northern part of the country is 
grouped  together in Zone III. 

HUD's new standards require that 
manufactured  homes comply with one of three alternative options: design the 
home's overall  thermal efficiency to account for heat loss through the insulted 
surfaces of the  thermal envelope (better known as Uo-values) for three zones; 
adjust Uo values  with credits for high efficiency heating and cooling 
equipment; or by totally  redesigning the home with new innovative technologies 
that use no more energy  than published Uo values. Zone II, including Oklahoma, 
requires a Uo of 0.096.  These efforts are ensuring that manufactured homes 
remain affordable, not only  in start-up costs, but for the life of the home. 

Home  Appreciation 

Myth: Manufactured homes do not appreciate in value 
like  other forms of housing. Instead, manufactured homes depreciate in market 
value,  similar to the way automobiles lose value each day. 

While there  is no one easy answer, recent data seems to suggest that 
manufactured homes can  appreciate just like other forms of housing. 

Datacomp Appraisal Systems  recently completed a study that looked at 
185 manufactured homes in Michigan,  comparing the average sale price when new 
to the average resale price several  years later. The study found the average 
value of the home had increased by  $190, from $26,422 new to $26,612 used. This 
average figure is misleading, in  that 97 of the homes increased in value by an 
average of $2,985, while the  remaining 88 decreased in value by an average of 

The only  accurate conclusion is that some homes appreciate and 
some don't. Based on an  analysis of 88,000 actual sales, Datacomp found that 
there are specific reasons  why some homes appreciate while other depreciate. 
These reasons include: 


  • The housing market in which the home is located, will have a significant 
      impact on the future value of the home. 

  • The community in which the home is located, has a similarly significant 
      impact on the home's future value. 

  • The initial price paid for the home. 

  • The age of the home. 

  • The inflation rate. 

  • The availability and cost of community sites, which reflects the supply and 
      demand influences on the home's value. 

  • The extent of an organized resale network, where an organized network will 
      usually result in homes selling for a higher price than in markets without such 
      an organized network. 

    The appreciation in value of manufactured homes 
      comes back to the old real estate axiom -- location, location, location. When 
      properly sited and maintained, manufactured homes will appreciate at the same 
      rate as other homes in surrounding neighborhoods. 


  • Life of Manufactured  Homes 

    Myth: Manufactured homes are not built as well as other 
      forms of housing. Manufactured homes do not last as long as site-built 

    Reality: Manufactured homes are built with virtually the same 
      construction materials and techniques as site-built homes. The only difference 
      is that manufactured homes are built in a factory environment, where building 
      materials are protected from weather damage and vandalism. Manufactured homes 
      are built to the federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards, 
      better know as the HUD Code, which is administered by the U.S. Department of 
      Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

    The HUD Code is unique since it is 
      specifically designed for compatibility with the factory production process. 
      Performance standards for heating, plumbing, air conditioning, thermal, and 
      electrical systems are set in the code. In addition, performance requirements 
      are established for structural design, construction, fire safety, energy 
      efficiency, and transportation from the factory to the customer's home site. To 
      ensure quality, the design and construction of the home is monitored by both 
    HUD  and its monitoring contractor, the National Conference of States on 
    Building  Codes and Standards (NCS/BCS). The familiar red seal (the 
    certification label)  attached to the exterior of a manufactured home indicates 
    that it has passed  perhaps the most thorough inspection process in the 
    homebuilding industry. 

    The Manufactured Housing Institute conducted a 
    study in 1990 to examine  how long manufactured homes are habitable. The study 
    found that the habitable  life of manufactured homes depends on the year of 
    manufacture. This habitable  life has increased from 10.4 years for homes built 
    in 1945 to 55.8 years for  homes shipped in 1964. This figure has held steady at 
    the 55.8 year figure  through 1994, and is expected to remain at that level into 
    the future. 


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