Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Importance of Proper Home Installation

by Harry Odum

In 2004, Florida was severely impacted by four separate hurricanes in a six week period; Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. It has come to be known as the “Year of the Four Hurricanes”. The State of Florida published a document titled “The Benefits of Current Enhanced Mobile Home Installation Standards” and stated,
“The assessments of mobile home damage caused by the 2004 hurricanes found that homes installed by licensed mobile home installers according to the new installation standards did not move from their foundations. Unfortunately, older homes that were not installed in accordance with Rule Chapters 5C-1 and 15C-2 often had tie-down straps and anchors that had rusted away to the point of providing no protection against movement of the home.”

In a test performed by IBHS, three homes were subjected to hurricane force winds, a conventional home, a manufactured home with an improperly installed carport and a manufactured home with a properly installed carport. The conventional home suffered as much damage as the manufactured home with the improperly installed carport. The manufactured home with the properly installed carport, however, sustained very little damage. This test, and others like it, show that a properly installed manufactured home, can, in fact, be safer than other home types.

What do you mean by “properly installed?”

A properly installed manufactured home is one that has been set up by a licensed installer, and installed according to federal regulations set out in the 24 CFR 3285 Model Manufactured Home Installation Standards (dated October 19, 2007). The 24 CFR 3285 regulates many aspects of home installation from testing soil types, to what types of material can be used for tie down straps. A properly installed manufactured home is one that is built and installed to geographic and climatic conditions, taking into consideration soil type, water levels, wind zones, snow loads and much more. When all this data is correctly gathered and made use of, a manufactured home will perform better than many conventional homes in the same area. Improper installation can cause minor issues, such as sticking doors and windows, or major issues, such as leaking roofs or sinking foundations.

Today’s manufactured home is much safer, in many ways, than a conventional home, and are a good investment for many homeowners. Make sure you get the best installation possible by doing a little research ahead of time and understanding what to look for before, during and after installation.  Read your home’s installation manual (by law, every home is to have an installation manual to be left after installation is completed), and don’t be afraid to ask questions. 

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