Manufactured by Hand

When you hear “manufactured,” what comes to mind? For many, manufactured brings a picture of a machine-driven process – blinking lights, buzzing sounds, and a product shooting out of the other end of an assembly line. When you hear the term “manufactured housing,” you might envision just that. Truth is, manufactured homes are built by hand by people who care. From the first nail down to the last cabinet hung, skilled experts build each home by hand. With all the varying definitions and descriptions, it might be hard to pin down an answer.

We at FMHA want to help you better understand this terminology and clarify some misconceptions of the industry in this new blog series. In the Hand-Built Home series we’ll explore what goes into a manufactured home to help explain why they are some of the best built homes in the nation. We take our first topic seriously: quality and safety. FMHA members build homes to the highest standards. From the initial drafting of plans right until we hand over the keys, FMHA members provide the style, comfort, and safety you demand for your family.

Safety: More Than a Word, It’s a Mission
When it comes to safety, FMHA members make it their priority to ensure residents have a home that exceeds all safety standards. But in order to discuss the safety regulations for our homes, we first need to identify who sets them – the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Let’s go back to 1976, when the HUD Code was established. 40 years ago, these standards were the basis for safe housing, but they were not as strict as today’s standards. Over the years, HUD has continually analyzed building strength and safety conditions and has raised the standards for manufactured homes. In the wake of Hurricane Andrew in 1992, HUD made major enhancements to the wind standards for manufactured homes located in Florida. Since then, manufactured homes have performed as well as or better than homes built on-site.

These codes are the benchmark for our members. They detail the requirements needed for a home to be provided with a seal of approval from HUD, giving the green light for selling each home. Additionally, our members’ communities must also adhere to these requirements, meaning no home can be in the community unless the home has met all standards. Each year more regulations are introduced to keep up with advanced building techniques and technology because as time progresses, so do the methods of building safer homes.

An example of how these regulations strengthen our homes and make them safer than site-built homes can be seen in the fire safety standards. The HUD Code requires our homes to have two exterior doors and to have bedroom doors be within 35 feet of an exterior door. Site-built homes do not have these guidelines. These differences are quite important, as a 2011 study by the National Fire Protection Association showed. The study reported that manufactured homes have a less frequent rate of house fires and injuries than site-built ones. Higher standards means safer homes for your family.

Quality Homes like No Other
With safety comes quality, and no one knows that better than our members. Manufactured homes are continually inspected during the construction process so that we can ensure each home meets the rigorous HUD safety standards. Our homes are inspected by a third party to ensure biases are removed – something builders of site-built homes do not do. This helps to ensure that every home is built exactly to plan, and even subtle imperfections are identified and corrected so they don’t become a major expense for a homeowner down the road. These biases can be detrimental – for instance, last year saw a handful of site-built homes that needed a total reworking due to lack of proper inspection. We’re here to build you a forever home, not one that will fall apart.

Additionally, many manufacturers incorporate energy efficiency with their homes using the latest ENERGY STAR®-rated materials and technologies, so you can own the best appliances that cause less damage to the environment and your wallet. 

FMHA members know these are more than just buildings – they are homes where memories are made and families are raised. And it seems people are noticing, because the Manufactured Housing Institute reports that manufactured home shipments are continually climbing. Buyers are enjoying:

• Minimal maintenance
• Low utility bills
• Complete control on customization

Be sure to be on the lookout for our next topic: how manufactured, hand-built homes not only save money but the environment as well. Interested in learning a little more about our homes? Visit our quick-start guide and explore all of your housing options.