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Inspection Insights: Manufactured Homes



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A manufactured home is a home that is built in a factory and transported to a building lot where it is placed on piers or a foundation.

Manufactured homes used to be known as “mobile homes” or “trailer homes”. These terms have faded away in favor of the term “manufactured homes”.

Manufactured Shadow

Manufactured homes are built on a non-removable steel frame chassis. The concept is that the entire home is built in the factory, on a chassis so that it can be rolled on its own wheels to the site. If the home were not a complete unit but rather panels or modules that are assembled on site, the structure would have to be built in compliance with the local building code. Since the home is built as a complete and moveable unit, the factory can build the home to a single standard.

If a garage or a deck or addition is added to the manufactured home, the local code applies.
The following factory built homes are NOT the same as “manufactured homes”. They are built in a factory but must comply with the local codes where the home will be located –

  • Modular home: A modular home is a home that is built out of pieces that were manufactured in a factory. Many modular homes have full basements and attached garages.
  • Panelized home: A panelized home is built from factory built panels. The panels are walls with windows, doors, plumbing and wiring already in them. The panels are transported to the site and assembled into a home.
  • Pre-cut homes: Pieces of the home are cut to size in a factory to facilitate easy assembly on site. Log home building kits, for example, include all of the pieces pre-cut and ready to assemble on site.

Single Section versus Multi-Section
Years ago, most manufactured homes were single section homes. They tended to be long and narrow, a necessity for transportation. Today most are multi-section. That is two or more sections are towed to the site and placed together. Multi-section manufactured homes open up the possibilities for more interesting floor plans. The long narrow look is no longer required.



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