The following was posted previously on Modular Musings, but since educating consumers about the benefits of modular construction and dispelling misconceptions about modular homes is an ongoing goal, we thought this lesson deserved a second look.
Most people understand what a site-built home is (a house built on-site and outdoors using traditional methods), but when it comes to the differences between a manufactured home and a modular home (like the one above), well, that’s where some people have a little trouble. It’s okay though. It’s something the modular home industry has been working on for many years. The good news is, we’re making progress!
Like a modular home, a manufactured home (sometimes known as a “mobile home” or “trailer”) is built in the controlled environment of a factory, sometimes in pieces, and delivered to its final destination. Other than that, the two residences are actually quite different.
1. CODES – Manufactured homes conform to federal HUD building codes while modular homes are built to the same state and local standards as traditional site-built homes (state and local codes often hold new houses to higher standards than federal codes).
2. VALUE – Manufactured homes may decrease in value over time, while modular homes follow the same housing market value trends as site-built homes.
3. APPEARANCE – Manufactured homes – though they’ve come a long way in recent years in terms of options and design – have a distinct appearance (often a single story). Modular homes, available in single- or two-story varieties, are often indistinguishable from site-built homes.
4. INSPECTIONS – In manufactured homes, building inspectors check the home but aren’t required to approve it. Modular homes, however, are held to much higher standards, with inspections in the factory and by local inspectors on-site. Modular homes are also built using the same materials as site-built homes.
5. QUALITY – Modular homes typically use 20 to 30 percent more materials (and are therefore even stronger than site-built homes) in order to ensure a safe trip to their final location. FEMA studies conducted after Hurricane Andrew have confirmed that modular homes are indeed stronger than manufactured or site-built homes.
Those are just a few of the ways manufactured homes and modular homes differ. We’ll discuss other dissimilarities in part two of this entry next month.