Mobile homes (or manufactured homes) are housing units built in factories, rather than on site, and then taken to the place where they will be occupied. They are usually transported by semi-trucks over public highways. They are less expensive per square foot than site-built homes, and are often associated with rural areas and high-density developments, sometimes referred to as trailer parks. In the UK and USA they are referred to as "mobile home parks."
The term "manufactured home" specifically refers to a home built entirely in a protected environment under a federal code set by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Contrary to popular belief, manufactured homes are not mobile homes. The term "mobile home" describes factory-built homes produced prior to the 1976 HUD Code enactment.
These houses are usually placed in one location, often a rented lot, and left there permanently. However, they do retain the ability to be moved, as this is a requirement in many areas. Behind the cosmetic work fitted at installation to hide the base, there are strong trailer frames, axles, wheels and tow-hitches.
Manufactured homes are not large recreational vehicles. The latter are more properly called travel trailers, motor homes or RVs, and they are usually parked at facilities called trailer parks, trailer courts, or RV parks for short terms.
The two major forms of manufactured homes are single-wides and double-wides. Single-wides are sixteen feet or less in width and can be towed to their site as a single unit. Double-wides are twenty feet or more wide and are towed to their site in two separate units, which are then joined together. Triple-wides and even homes with four, five, or more units are also manufactured, although not as commonly.
In the U.S., manufactured homes are regulated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), via the Federal National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974. It is this national regulation that has allowed many manufacturers to distribute nationwide, since they are immune to the jurisdiction of local building authorities. By contrast, producers of modular homes must abide by state and local building codes. There are, however, windzones adopted by HUD that manufactured home builders must follow. For example, state-wide, Georgia is at least windzone 2. South Georgia is windzone 3, the strongest windzone. After Hurricane Andrew in 1992, new standards were adopted for manufactured home construction. The codes for building within these windzones were significantly amended, which has greatly increased their durability. During the 2004 hurricanes in Georgia, these standards were put to the test, with great success.
However, older models continue to face the exposed risk to high winds due to the attachments applied such as carports, porch and screen room additions. These areas are exposed to "Wind Capture" which apply extreme force to the underside of the integrated roof panel systems, ripping the fasteners through the roof pan causing a series of events which destroys the main roof system and the home.
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