HUD-Code Manufactured Homes by Randall Eaton
During the 1980's and 1990's mobile homes started looking more and more like regular stick-built homes. Two section and multi-sections homes started appearing on the scene with steeper pitch roofs, covered porches and other residential features not normally associated with standard looking mobile homes. The industry decided to drop the term mobile home because it no longer accurately described the new styles and sizes of homes being produced. The term, "Manufactured Home" is now the politically correct term. Terms like; "trailer home," or "trailer coaches" or just plain "trailer" are no longer used today.
All HUD-code manufactured homes have a steel undercarriage that supports each section. Once the section or sections have been transported to the customer's site, the wheels and axles are removed and the steel undercarriage is then supported by cinder blocks or steel piers.
Manufactured homes generally come in single or two-section units. In certain parts of the country you can also find three and four-section units. A number of manufactured home builders do build two-story homes but this is not the norm and this type of construction is not available in most states.
A manufactured home can be placed on a basement. In general, manufactured homes are single-story homes that are placed on a blocking system that supports the steel I-beams under each section. Manufactured homes are starting to look more like site-built homes every day but without the big price tag associated with site-built homes. On average a manufactured home costs between $35.00 and $65.00 per square foot.
Today's manufactured homes come with many of the same features typically found in a stick-built home: living and dining rooms with vaulted ceilings, skylights, fireplaces, modern kitchens and premium appliances. Large bedrooms with walk-in closets, bathrooms with whirlpool tubs, ceramic tile, hardwood floors and more! The options are almost limitless! In addition, new architectural styles and superior exterior details have made upper-end manufactured homes virtually indistinguishable from stick-built homes, allowing them to blend in seamlessly with other forms of housing.
A number of HUD-producers have begun to build what they refer to as an "on- frame" modular home. Essentially, this is a home built in a HUD-factory, on the same permanent metal chassis used in the manufacturing of a HUD-code home. However, instead of designing and building the home to HUD-codes and regulations these HUD-factories follow local and state building codes.
Some are calling these homes, "hudular homes", (a cross between a manufactured home and a true modular home). Others are using the term, "hybrid" or "high-end" manufactured home. Because of the confusion associated with this type of product I am going to use the term, "On-Frame Modular Home". The reason for this is simple; most HUD-factories will deliver this type of product
using the same steel undercarriage associated with a HUD-code home.
I like this new product, (on-frame modular) and feel it's the wave of the future. It has the potential of bringing the HUD-code industry out of the slump it's in and hopefully improve their image, which some feel has been damaged beyond repair. Both of my housing guides below features on-frame modular home producers.