Manufactured Home Inspections?
A manufactured home is a structure transportable in one or more sections and designed to be used as a single family dwelling with or without a permanent foundation when connected to the required utilities. Manufactured homes are constructed using a different set of standards (“codes”) than site-built homes and are designed to be lightweight, mobile, and flexible in order to to survive road shock and high winds while they travel to their destination. Conversely, site-built homes are designed to stay put in a single site and endure only the conditions of that location. The terms mobile home and manufactured home are commonly used interchangeably, however HUD did away with the term “mobile home” in 1976.
Manufactured home inspections comprise the same components as a residential Whole House inspection, as they pertain to a manufactured home. For instance, many manufactured homes do not have attics, and have vaulted ceilings throughout the home. Manufactured homes also have a “bottom board” also commonly referred to as the “belly wrap” which protects the plumbing, heat ducts, insulation and makes rodent entry more difficult. However, the bottom board also limits an inspector’s ability to clearly view these same components in the crawl space. Plumbing leaks are often discovered in crawl spaces under manufactured homes by alert inspectors that observe a sag in the “belly wrap.” While these items limit the typical inspection, there are other items to consider. Manufactured homes have special requirements of their own such as pier placement and spacing, tie down requirements & ventilation, just to name a few.
Partly because of the differences in construction between a site-built home and a manufactured home, manufactured homes can be prone to incorrect installations. Examples may include an incorrect roofing product installed for the structure and pitch of the roof, roofs with little or no overhang, leaking seams, inadequate steps and rails, lack of sufficient egress in the event of an emergency, missing skirting, seismic restraints (stabilizing tie downs) missing or improperly installed, electrical defects, inadequate clearance to combustibles, modified HVAC equipment, blocked return or supply air, etc. Structures built adjoining manufactured homes such as carports, decks, and deck & patio roofs are required to self-supporting and should not be attached to the manufactured home in a structural manner (relying on the manufactured home for support).