The Truth About Manufactured Home Safety During a Hurricane
Manufactured homes get a bad rap when it comes to inclement weather, typically because they’re often compared to unregulated mobile homes built prior to 1976. On the contrary, manufactured homes—different from older mobile homes—are equally as safe as traditional homes during storms and hurricanes due to the regulations under which a manufactured home is built.
Manufactured Homes vs. Pre-HUD Code Mobile Homes
The myth that manufactured homes aren’t as safe as traditional homes during storms is perpetuated by mobile homes, which were built prior to 1976 when the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards (HUD Code) was implemented. Manufactured homes are far from the same as pre-HUD Code mobile homes, which were largely unregulated and not as safe.
Manufactured homes built prior to HUD Code were known as mobile homes and tended to resemble modern RV campers placed on concrete or wooden blocks, metal stands, or concrete foundations. Mobile homes were constructed under little to no building regulations, leaving them open for problems ranging from insufficient insulation to major fire hazards.
Since HUD Code was put in place, manufactured housing has shifted from poorly built mobile homes to strictly regulated and stable structures, having to meet a number of essential criteria before they are dispatched.
To ensure the highest durability, quality, and safety, HUD Code now regulates:
- Manufactured home design & construction
- Body & frame requirements
- Thermal protection
- Plumbing & electrical
- Fire safety
- Energy efficiency
For more information on HUD Code and the differences between these homes, check out Manufactured vs. Site-Built & Modular Homes.
Manufactured Homes Are as Safe as Site-Built Homes in Storms
Despite the stigma, manufactured housing is, in fact, just as safe as traditional housing in stormy weather––including hurricane-force winds––for several reasons outlined in HUD Code.
HUD Code underwent updates in 1994 after Hurricane Andrew hit two years prior, increasing the construction and safety standards for manufactured housing, and the federal government upped the requirements for installation and anchoring based on structure and wind safety standards. Taking into account states’ additional power to require higher standards for installation on top of the federal requirements, the resulting code for structure and safety of manufactured housing is significantly stricter than that of a traditional home. Site-built homes are regulated only by local or state standards.
Not only are manufactured homes held up to strict federal standards, they’re also modified for windstorm safety in accordance with the geographical region in which they will be located. The HUD Basic Wind Zone Map defines three zones based on frequency of high wind events. In Wind Zone II, manufactured homes are built to withstand sustained winds of 100 mph, while Wind Zone III housing is built for 110 mph hurricane-level gusts.
The myth that traditional homes are safer than manufactured homes during storms and hurricane-force winds is only that—a myth. Held to rigid federal standards that dictate specially tailored building codes for home construction and safety based on geographical location, manufactured housing is at least equally as safe as a traditional site-built home. So, as a manufactured homeowner you can enjoy the safety and comfort of your home no matter the weather.
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