Are Manufactured Homes Safe During Storms?

Find out what standards can make manufactured homes safe during storms.

The question about whether or not manufactured homes are safe during storms comes up often when people begin to consider a manufactured home as an option for homeownership. Manufactured homes are built with the elements in mind, to make sure they are safe for you and your family.

Manufactured homes are designed and built to comply with construction code that takes into consideration wind safety requirements and snow loads for the area in which the home will be located to make sure each home is strong and durable. Check out how manufactured home builders ensure your home is safe.

Why are modern manufactured homes safer than pre-HUD code mobile homes?

We'll start with why there's a stigma about manufactured housing when it comes to safety during storms.

Mobile homes built prior to the 1950s were used as temporary housing for workers who needed to travel far distances to work during WWII. After the war, mobile homes were an affordable option for people with lower incomes to achieve homeownership.

On June 15, 1974, Congress passed the National Mobile Home Construction and Safety Standards Act which led to building code regulations which are now required by the Department Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Prior to this act being passed, there was little oversight in the building process of mobile homes which is why there is a stigma attached to homes built inside home building facilities. Home buyers were concerned about the strength and durability of homes built without any required building code or construction standard in a facility.

After this act was passed, the HUD Code was implemented and is followed by every manufactured home builder in America, including our home building facilities. This code ensures that every manufactured home builder follows the standards enforced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

What are the standards that make manufactured homes safe during storms?

The HUD Code contains a Body and Frame Construction Requirements sectionthat specifies exactly what is required during the building process to make sure that manufactured homes are built to withstand the elements. The following are a few HUD construction requirements to ensure the safety of manufactured homes¹:

  • Structural strength and rigidity
  • Protection against corrosion, decay, insects, rodents, and other similar destructive forces
  • Protection against wind hazards
  • Resistance to the elements
  • Durability and economy of maintenance

The structural design requirements included in this section of the HUD code require²:

  • That the roof framing is securely fastened to the wall framing.
  • That the walls are securely fastened to the floor structure.
  • The floor structure is securely fastened to the chassis in order to secure and maintain continuity between the floor and chassis. This will help resist wind overturning, uplift and sliding as imposed by design loads, which are specified amounts of weight the structure must be able to support.
  • Manufactured homes and each of the wind-resisting parts and portions must be designed for horizontal wind loads of no less than 15 psf (76.55 mph) and a net uplift roof load of no less than 9 psf (59.29 mph).
  • Manufactured homes in Wind Zones II and III areas of the country, that are more prone to hurricane and strong coastal storm conditions, are required to be built to withstand higher wind speeds.

Below is the Basic Wind Zone Map for Manufactured Housing from the US Department of Housing and Development. This map lays out which states are in Zone I, Zone II and Zone III.

Map of United States wind zones. Manufactured Housing Institute - Basic Wind Zone Map

How are manufactured homes inspected after they are built?

Following the construction of manufactured homes, there's an internal inspection process both during and after the construction of the home to certify that the HUD Code was followed properly. This inspection process is done to ensure that the home has been built to the correct standards for the zone it will be placed in.

For instance, homes in Wind Zone II and Zone III areas are built to withstand stronger winds. A manufactured home will also be internally inspected for other items throughout the building process to ensure its safety.

Although there are many considerations builders keep in mind to ensure manufactured homes are safe, just like with site built homes and other buildings, extreme elements may still cause damage to your manufactured home. If you live in an environment known to have extreme weather, check with local experts on how you can prepare your home for extreme weather.

  1. "MANUFACTURED HOME CONSTRUCTION AND SAFETY STANDARDS." ECFR — Code of Federal Regulations. Accessed September 15, 2017. https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=a2c5655a37054c584f7dd6a0ed240fb8&node=pt24.5.3280&rgn=div5#sp24.5.3280.d.
  1. "Manufactured Homes are as Safe as Traditional Homes During a Storm." MHI | Manufactured Housing Institute. August 2017. Accessed September 14, 2017. http://www.manufacturedhousing.org/safe-storm/.

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