Hurricane-Ready Homes

Have you ever questioned the stability and safety of manufactured housing? Think again. With June 1st marking the start of hurricane season in Florida, we have some facts that will put your mind at ease. Recent studies have shown that manufactured homes withstand hurricane force winds and other harsh weather conditions even better than site-built homes, and we’re here to tell you how.

The Code

In 1993 after Hurricane Andrew, the International Building Code was updated to require manufactured homes located in Florida to meet the same building codes and standards as site-built homes. This code was originally enacted in 1976 to distinguish the differences between “mobile homes” and “manufactured homes,” but additional safety requirements were added in the 1990’s. These building codes are now classified by three different wind zones that measure the risk of storm severity.

Manufactured homes are subject to an additional federal regulation that requires design and quality assurance professionals to conduct audits throughout the construction process (site-built homes do not have to adhere to this standard). Results of this regulation included updates in architecture, installation and anchoring, building materials, and more to ensure the safety of all manufactured homes built after the 1990’s.

The Changes

Today’s manufactured homes are built with the same materials as site-built homes and are leaving the “mobile homes” of yesterday in the dust. In order to meet Florida’s housing regulations, manufactured home builders tightened the engineering of exterior walls in order to withstand high wind forces. Stronger wall studs, floor joists, window headers, and roof sheathing are among the many upgraded parts of these homes.

The anchoring of manufactured homes also experienced a major uplift with coding changes. Reinforced straps, bolts, clamps, and ties are now used when installing these homes on their properties. Anchors are now installed longitudinally to provide additional stability and strength against shear-angle winds.

The Proof

The safety of manufactured homeowners is always top priority for FMHA-affiliated construction specialists, so we did our homework. A study performed at the University of Florida found that not a single manufactured home built after the regulations were changed in 1994 was destroyed by any of the four hurricanes that made landfall in Florida in 2004, nor were any destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Another study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety in 2014 found that manufactured homes withstood high winds and heavy storms even better than traditional houses when the high-risk structural add-ons such as carports and awnings were removed.

Still not convinced? Take a look at Hurricane Harvey homeowner testimonials here. Make sure to stay tuned for next month’s blog on hurricane preparedness as we enter this year’s hurricane season! Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for further updates on hurricane safety and manufactured housing.