Are Modular Homes Safe?

Are Modular Homes Safe?

How safe are off-site built homes? Prefab homes are built to weather earthquakes, high winds and more. Learn about our building standards!

People often wonder if prefab homes are safe because of stereotypes and other common myths that go around about off-site built homes, also known as manufactured and modular homes. Although our Clayton Built® homes are constructed in the same home building facilities, they are built to different building code requirements.

The exterior of a manufactured home featuring a spacious front porch and stone accents on the bottom portion of the home with landscaping in the front.

In most instances, our homes are built to comply with the same building code standards as an on-site built home in the same area. This means each off-site built home complies with applicable local, state and regional codes for the final location of the home.

Are off-site built homes safe to live in?

A husband and wife siting on the couch hugging their 2 children in the living room of a manufactured home.

Since off-site built homes comply with all the same building requirements that on-site built homes in the same given area must meet, they’re just as safe as on-site built homes in the same area.

Are off-site built homes safe in a tornado?

A sign that reads “In case of emergency” with a flashlight, matches and 3 bottles of water.

How safe can you really be in any home in a tornado?

Really though, off-site built homes are constructed on a permanent foundation and are built to state and local building requirements like any on-site built home. According to a structural damage report after Hurricane Andrew by Building Performance Assessment Team, the “inherently rigid system” in off-site built homes “performed much better than conventional residential framing.”1

A distant image of a manufactured home on a new home construction site.

The report also indicated that the structural integrity of off-site built units that is necessary for home transportation helps ensure the soundness of a connected house system.

Basically, because sections of an off-site built home must endure highway speeds as they get transported to the final home construction site, the home sections must be strong. The on-site completion of construction makes for a strong, safe home.

Are modular homes safe in an earthquake?

Homes in a big city.

Similar to safety in a tornado, the same goes for an earthquake—there’s not a perfect way to prepare for an earthquake, but having an off-site built home on a permanent foundation is a great start.

If the area where your home will be located has building or foundation requirements that take earthquake safety into consideration, then so will your home builder and on-site completion of construction team. This is to make sure that your home meets all applicable construction requirements in your area.

A big factor for safety will be the type of foundation on which the home is constructed. A report from the Central United States Earthquake Consortium found that either a permanent reinforced concrete block or masonry foundation system is the strongest foundation system available to off-site built homes.2

The on-site construction of a manufactured home with stone being applied to the outside of the block foundation.

Fortunately, a permanent concrete block foundation is a common option for off-site built homes ensuring the structural safety of homes in earthquakes.

For those of you who are wondering “How safe are prefab homes?” and “Are off-site built homes safe in storms?” you can rest assured that the off-site home building process has continued to evolve to ensure the safety and durability of each home.

Clayton Built® homes are constructed inside a climate controlled home building facility with high quality building materials by trained builders who ensure that each home is constructed for families to enjoy for a lifetime.

  1. "Building Performance: Hurricane Andrew In Florida." Fema.gov, www.fema.gov/media-library-data/20130726-1611-20490-8788/fia22_sec2.pdf.

  2. Earthquake Preparedness For Central U.S. Mobile Home Owners. PDF. Central United States Earthquake Consortium. http://www.cusec.org/publications/safety/preparednessmobilehomes.pdf

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