How is modular home code different than manufactured home code?

Did you know modular homes have different building requirements than manufactured homes? Learn what building requirements modular homes are built to!

Manufactured and modular homes are built differently, but what does that really mean? The method of building is not what makes manufactured and modular homes so different. Both types of homes are prefabricated homes that are built inside a home building facility. What makes them different are the codes to which modular homes are built are different than the code to which manufactured homes are built.

Is there a modular home code standard?

No, there’s not a modular home building code in the sense of a national standard like HUD Code, which defines the building requirements for all manufactured homes. Instead, modular home builders build modular homes to comply with all applicable state and local building codes required by the final location of the home.

Modular home builders ensure that modular homes comply with all applicable codes by submitting modular home construction plans to state and local regulators or their designated third-party reviewers prior to building these homes.

What are modular home building standards?

For site built and modular homes, home building standards vary by state and local regulatory bodies. Many states adopt their local building standards from the International Code Council instead of creating and enforcing their own codes.1  

However, there are different versions of the International Residential Code, and state and local governments can adopt different parts of the IRC as well as add their own requirements or amendments to the version of IRC. As of September 2017, forty-nine out of fifty states in the U.S. have either adopted IRC or use some version of it.

How do states vary on modular home requirements?

States can vary quite a bit on their specific modular home requirements. For instance, certain states, such as Louisiana, may not have state regulations around modular homes, so a home builder will submit construction plans to local regulators for review and approval to build.

Other states, such as Georgia and Wisconsin, will require modular homes to be permanently installed without a steel frame. Additionally, some states, like North Carolina and Tennessee, also have modular home seals that they will use to certify a modular home to state requirements.

These are just some examples of how states may vary on modular home requirements. Different regions may also have varying requirements for modular home exterior appearance, foundation skirting and more. Regardless of area, modular homes must meet the local requirements of your neighborhood, otherwise, the home cannot be constructed there.

What are some things that IRC prescribes?

IRC contains provisions for “single-family houses, two-family houses (duplexes) and buildings consisting of three or more townhouse units.” Some of its provisions address:

  • Plumbing systems
  • Electrical systems
  • Minimum room sizes
  • Ceiling heights
  • Wall structures
  • Ventilation systems
  • Exterior wall coverings
  • Roof systems
  • Fireplaces
  • Sanitary drainage systems
  • And much more

Are modular homes safer or less safe than manufactured homes?

Both manufactured and modular homes are safe living options and not necessarily safer than another.

As Manufactured Housing Institute explains, different independent analyses have shown that HUD Code and IRC are comparable in nature. Since modular homes are built to comply with all applicable state and local building codes for that destination, a modular home will be built with certain weather and environment conditions in mind for the site location.

However, HUD Code is comparable in safety and comfort requirements since it outlines wind zone, thermal zone, humid and fringe climate zone, roof load zone and heat transfer zone requirements for all manufactured homes. Basically, that means HUD Code also takes final destination climate into account for each home as well.

Whether you choose a modular house or a manufactured home, Clayton has many Prefabulous® home options for all types of homebuyers across America. Friendly home consultants at home centers all over the country are ready to help you find a Clayton Built® home, modular or manufactured, that perfectly meets you and your family’s needs.

  1. "Building Codes." FEMA. December 7, 2015. Accessed February 13, 2017. https://www.fema.gov/building-codes.

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