Are Manufactured Homes Safe? And Other Safety-Related FAQs

Jun 5, 2018Blog, FAQ, Safety

Are manufactured homes safe? It’s a question that’s been haunting you since you began your search for your perfect mobile home. You desperately want to move in, put your feet up, and relax. But you keep on wondering: are you moving into a delightful new home or a terrifying accident-waiting-to-happen?

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We’re here to help you navigate these feelings of uncertainty.

What if my home gets hit by a storm?

First off, let’s get some details on what you can expect from your mobile home when a storm rolls in.

You’re thinking it seems like a stormy summer, and you’re not anticipating it’s going to let up anytime soon. We turn to the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) as our authority. If you’re thinking your mobile home offers second-rate storm protection compared to other homes, think again.

MHI tackles the question head-on with this reassurance: “Manufactured homes are as safe as traditional homes during a storm, and in hurricane zones…”. Additionally, “the standards for manufactured homes are more stringent than regional and national building codes for site-built homes.” MHI also adds about assuaged fears in relation to a generic run-of-the-mill storm may still give you doubts. Or perhaps you’re thinking, “well that’s all good and well for those of you who live in places where you only get mild rain and thunderstorms, but where I live it’s a different story so I’m worried about bigger stuff.” Correspondingly, MHI doesn’t seem fazed by the concept of an even bigger storm: “In areas prone to hurricane-force winds (Wind Zones II and III) of the HUD Basic Wind Zone Map, the standards for manufactured homes are equivalent to the current regional and national building codes for site-built homes.”

Keep in mind that this high standard wasn’t always applied to mobile homes. According to MHI, the standards changed in 1992 because of Hurricane Andrew. Consequently, “the hurricanes that struck Florida in 2004,” did not destroy “one manufactured home-built and installed after 1994” by the hurricane force winds. That’s an impressive, possibly life-saving difference.

Storm approaching from afar to houses

So you’ve built your home after the change of standards. Then take comfort in knowing that these reassuring requirements apply to your manufactured home too.

How do they stack up against stick built homes?

You’re probably unconsciously comparing your new mobile home with the stick built homes you see all around. And as you ask yourself, “are manufactured homes safe?” you may even be feeling that your home is sub-par.

But, according to The Manufactured Housing Institute’s president and CEO, Richard Jennison, “The building materials in today’s manufactured home are the same as those used in site-built homes.” Furthermore, he says that the standards of site-built homes have a possibly lower standard than manufactured homes. He adds, “the standards for manufactured housing are subject to robust compliance and quality assurance regulations, sometimes more stringent than those for traditional site-built homes.”

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Is the risk of fire greater in a mobile home than other homes?

Maybe you’ve heard scary reports before of fires that tore through mobile homes, rapidly wiping out entire houses. You’ve been understandably scared. Moreover, you’ve probably thought that the risk of fire was somehow much greater in a manufactured home.

Fireman standing in front of a burning house

But did you know that the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA’s) 2007-2011 data doesn’t exactly bear that out? Contradicting your fears, the NFPA states, “the overall fire death rate per 100,000 housing units is roughly the same for manufactured homes and for another one- or two-family homes.” So maybe it’s time to confront your fire worry as unfounded.

Are manufactured homes safe in high winds?

You’re not the only one wondering about this question. In fact, we devoted an entire post to it here. The long and short of it is that it depends on whether your home is up to the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) standards.  This also includes whether the wind zone you’re living in matches up with the home engineered for that specific wind zone. Bear in mind that attachments to your home might not be able to withstand the same wind your house can. In fact, your carport or porch could even compromise your home’s ability to hold up against the highest wind speed it’s rated for.

Breathe Easy

Now that you’ve got an answer to your question, “Are manufactured homes safe?”, you can take a deep breath and tackle other issues like preparing your mobile home site or choosing a foundation. Knowing some facts about mobile home safety leaves you free to give your home and family the attention they deserve.


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