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Manufactured Home Construction

The Manufactured Home Construction Process

How it Works – And Why it Works Well

Manufactured Home ConstructionThe unique construction process of a manufactured home is what sets it apart from site-built housing. Manufactured homes are built off-site in a specialized facility. The tools and technologies used in manufacturing facilities have grown leaps and bounds since mobile homes first went into production in the 1920s and 30s. Building techniques are constantly developing and improving, and standards and ever-increasing when it comes to safety and stability of a manufactured home. In today’s manufacturing facilities, a combination of state-of-the-art machinery and expert manual labor is used to build a sturdy home that meets strict standards and undergoes rigorous evaluation.

We’ll dive into some of the most important aspects of manufactured home construction, and then break down all of the components that go into a factory-built home.

HUD Building Code

The HUD code is a set of building regulations and standards put in place by the Department of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The code applies to all manufactured homes built after the year 1976, and updates are made as needed to strengthen safety standards and protect the residents of manufactured homes. For example, in the early 1990’s the HUD revised their building code to increase standards on wind and weather resistance, especially for manufactured homes in certain areas that are prone to hurricane-force winds.

The HUD Code plays a major role in the construction of manufactured homes, with rules related to every aspect of the building process from electrical and plumbing systems, to fire safety, to material waste management. When construction of a manufactured home is complete, each home is inspected first by the manufacturing facility, and then again by a third party, to certify that the home is up to HUD code regulation. Outside of construction, the HUD code also regulates other aspects of a manufactured home such as installation, maintenance, and even sales and distribution.

Benefits of a Controlled Environment

Building a home in a controlled environment has several advantages over constructing a site-built home outdoors. Manufacturing facilities can purchase certain items in bulk, such as materials, appliances, and windows, to get a better deal and cut costs. This works well for manufacturers, unlike traditional construction companies, because of the readily available, climate-controlled indoor storage at the building facility. Surplus items that aren’t needed right away can still be safely stored and used as needed without being exposed to the elements. Building in a stable environment with no wind and with level ground also allows for more precision and faster building time. Beams, walls, and floors can be joined together at precise angles with no disturbance, and there are no weather delays to worry about!

Manufactured Home Construction Process

While construction on a manufactured home may not literally happen from the “ground” up, there is a very precise and specific process that manufacturers go through to complete a HUD certified home. Building happens in different stages or stations, all within the same controlled factory setting, and multiple components of the home are worked on at the same time. Each individual task such as framing, plumbing, wiring, insulation, appliance installation, and joinery being completed by a crew of specialized experts who work only on the sections of the home they have been trained to master.

The process begins with innovative engineers designing the home to meet customer needs. Then, skilled laborers measure and cut wood and other materials for walls, roof sections and other components that will be put together to complete specific modules of the home. Walls are placed where they belong on their structural foundation according to the plans, floors are installed, and every angle is joined together perfectly. Other experts run electrical wires and plumbing systems, add thick insulation and drywall, and polish it off with appliances, fixtures,  and finishings. A manufactured home can be swiftly and safely completed in much less time than a site-built home.

Quality manufactured home construction involves the following components:


Steel L-beams are connected to support the structure of your home, serving as the underlying frame for strength and stability.


Once the frame is welded together and stabilized, it can be topped with decking and a thin layer of concrete to serve as the foundation. This foundation is designed to support the weight of the finished home, but to also withstand the stress of transportation to the home site. Once dry, this base foundation is ready to carry the weight of the wall framing and roof. This is also when installation begins for interior plumbing, air systems, fixtures, cabinets, and appliances.

Note: This foundation is different from the permanent or temporary foundation that your home will be placed upon once it arrives at the property. We dig further into foundation types below.


Beneath the flooring of your home, a thick blanket of insulation is placed. This thermal padding will keep the home temperature regulated and make your home more energy-efficient. A specialized, reinforced vapor barrier is also placed in the underbelly below the flooring, which helps to keep out moisture, pests, and even allergens.

Plumbing System

A durable plumbing is installed as the other systems, insulation, and flooring of the home are put in place. Plumbing should always be placed within the insulation blanket below the flooring to help maintain consistent water temperatures. Layering the plumbing system into the insulation layer also helps prevent pipes from bursting due to extreme temperatures.


Decking is placed beneath flooring and carpeting to provide extra stability. If possible, manufacturers and residents should avoid particle boards for floor decking and use a material of better quality instead. Water-resistant flooring in bathroom and kitchen areas should be standard, but always important to check.


Exterior wall construction involves using studs framed on 16” centers. This is a standard process across most manufacturers. Door and window openings are reinforced for added safety and durability. Once the exterior and interior wall frames are up, the interior of the walls is packed with thick insulation to ensure maximum climate control. The construction and insulation in the walls of your manufactured home are key to keeping your home comfortable and your energy bills low.


Electrical wiring can be extremely dangerous if not completed correctly, which is why these systems are laid meticulously by electrical experts and rigorously reviewed by HUD code inspectors. All electrical wiring should be covered by steel plates and always pass through wall studs to ensure safety and prevent damage.


Structural lumber beams and ridge beams provide the structural integrity for the roof and create the hollow roof cavity. The roof cavity is then filled with insulation to help further reduce energy costs. Additional insulation or a roof cap can also be added to further regulate temperature energy.

Some manufactured homes have flat roofs, while others have angle roofs. Fiberglass shingles are the standard for construction, but PVC or rubber (EPDM) roofs are also common. Most manufacturers offer architectural shingles options or upgrades. The roof will be sealed and caulked, but releasing the roof is one of the important items to check and maintain on your home each year.


House wraps can be installed to further reduce energy bills, and vinyl siding is the standard for many manufacturers due to its durability and low-maintenance.

Innovation Matters

Using computer-aided design and flexible machinery, manufacturers can also effortlessly change their floor plans, upgrade materials, and swap out features or accessories like appliances, storage, energy savers, and more.

After Construction

Wind and Weather Testing

After construction of a manufactured home is complete, each home is rigorously tested for extreme wind and weather conditions. Manufacturers build their homes according to the HUD standards for specific Wind Zones. The regulations for each Wind Zone determine not only how your home is constructed, but also how your home is anchored to the ground or foundation once on site. Wind testing has proven to be extremely effective, preparing manufactured homes for even the strong hurricane-force winds. In a study after four hurricanes hit Florida in 2004, it was discovered that not a single manufactured home built after the 1994 HUD code changes was completely destroyed.1

Transportation and Installation

Leveling Mobile HomeAfter construction, testing, and multiple inspections, a manufactured home is transported to the buyer’s property or site of choice. The home will be slid, pushed, or lifted into place on its temporary or permanent foundation and leveled. There are many different types of foundations, ranging from more basic pier-and-beam foundations, to helpful crawl spaces, to full-blown basement foundations. The recommended HUD ‘MH permanent foundation’ is just as strong of a foundation as is used in traditional site-built homes. A study of homes completed after hurricane Irma found that 25% of single family site-built homes were destroyed to the foundation, compared with only 20% of manufactured homes destroyed to that level.2

Despite the fact that the term “mobile home” is frequently used to describe manufactured homes, most of these homes are never moved again once they are set on their foundation. While moving the home is possible, it can be expensive and can risk damaging the home.


The way your home is anchored to the foundation is a crucial decision and can determine the safety and stability of your manufactured home. This will help prevent any shifting or stress that might occur from strong winds or seismic activity. Anchoring must comply with both the HUD code and manufacturer’s requirements, as well as local building code, so having a professional complete this task is essential. Many states have strict anchoring requirements that help ensure the home’s safety and durability.

Final Site Preparation

Once a manufactured home is placed on its foundation and anchored or tied down, it typically takes one or two weeks before the home is move-in ready for residents. The site will be busy with professionals connecting utilities, setting up systems, and adding finishing to connect and seal all components of the home. The manufactured home will typically receive one final, comprehensive inspection and evaluation before residents are able to move in.

Manufactured Home Construction Makes for Affordable Living

Construction is the key when it comes to providing safe, sturdy, affordable housing in the form of manufactured homes. The unique building techniques and streamlined processes used in manufacturing facilities make building a home faster and cost-effective, a benefit to both manufacturers and consumers. A controlled building environment makes precision and waste minimization easy. Strict HUD regulations and rigorous inspection ensure quality craftsmanship and customer satisfaction. And at the end of it all, residents come away with a reliable, wallet-friendly home they are proud to call their own.

Sturdy Manufactured Home

How Strong is my Manufactured Home?

5 Reasons We Know Your Home is Sturdy

Sturdy Manufactured HomeFinding a home that can be trusted to keep you and your family safe is a top priority. Manufactured homes are quickly growing as an affordable housing option, but sometimes concerns still arise about the strength and stability of these homes compared with a site-built home. Worry not – Today’s manufactured homes are just as strong and sturdy as any site-built home, and may even be more durable against extreme weather like tornadoes and hurricanes. We’ve explained five reasons why we know your current (or future) manufactured home is ready for anything, so you can stop worrying and start searching for the home of your dreams. 

1. Manufactured homes are built with more materials than site-built homes.

Manufactured homes are intentionally constructed with 20 to 30 percent more materials than site-built homes.1These homes need to withstand the stresses of transportation from the factory to the intended lot or property, so they are built for maximum durability from start to finish. The common myth is that manufactured homes are weaker or flimsier than site-built homes, but the reality is just the opposite. The extra materials used in the construction of the structure provide additional support to the manufactured home, even in the strongest weather conditions. This building technique makes each factory-built home a strong and resilient structure. 

2. Manufacturing facilities enforce strict building standards and inspections.

Construction is closely monitored for all manufactured homes. All homes built after the year 1976 must adhere to a set of strict building standards specifically developed for manufactured homes by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The HUD Code sets regulations that all manufacturers must abide by, with stringent rules that address building safety and construction processes. HUD standards provide rules and regulations for everything from plumbing, electrical, and fire safety to inspection, testing, and proper installation. 

Safety inspections to confirm quality and stability are conducted regularly in manufacturing facilities. These inspections are not just conducted by the facility themselves, but also by third-party inspectors that are trained to detect any problems or violations to address them right away. As building nears completion, many different tests are completed to ensure that all plumbing, electrical, and air systems are working correctly. Rigorous weather tests are also completed to make sure the home can withstand hurricane and tornado level winds. Once the home is confirmed to be code-compliant by the manufacturer, and again by third-party inspectors, it is awarded a permanent certification seal to represent the high standard of quality. 

3. Manufactured homes are built in a controlled environment.

Building a home in a manufacturing facility has several advantages when it comes to constructing strong, reliable housing. Building materials such as wood and metal are stored safely inside, unlike site-built homes where materials are exposed to the elements. Exposure to elements like rain and moisture during the building process can lead to warping, corroding, and other effects on building materials. With indoor storage space the materials can also be purchased in bulk for a lower price and saved until needed, meaning that building costs can be lowered and so can the retail price of the home.

The controlled environment of the manufacturing facility benefits more than just the building materials of your home. A stable environment with no wind and with level ground allows for more precision in the construction of the home structure. Beams can be aligned more accurately and walls can be joined at perfect angles, which makes your home as solid and sturdy as is physically possible. Manufactured home facilities also have access to state of the art tools and technologies that aren’t easily accessible at outdoor construction sites. These tools ensure quality construction, but they also provide opportunities for innovation in home resilience. Manufacturers are constantly discovering new ways to strengthen and enhance the construction of their manufactured homes.

4. Factory-built homes are rigorously tested for wind and extreme weather.

Every single manufactured home is rigorously tested at the end of construction to make sure it meets HUD code federal requirements for roof load, wind resistance, thermal efficiency, safety and durability. The home also has to meet regional standards for wind, tornado, and hurricane resistance, which are determined by the area of the intended property. In the early 1990’s the HUD revised their building code to improve the wind resistance of manufactured homes in areas prone to hurricane-force winds. This means all manufactured homes built for these zones today are certified to withstand these extreme weather conditions.

A study completed in 2004 during the Florida hurricane season showed that not a single manufactured home built after 1994 was destroyed by hurricane-force winds.2 In 2017, when Florida experienced hurricane Irma, the majority of manufactured homes were in a similar condition to site-built homes – battered but intact. The manufactured homes of today stand strong through any weather, thanks largely to the rigorous construction standards and review processes in place throughout the industry.

5. Cost savings come from smart buying, not from cheap materials.

Another common myth about manufactured homes is that they are cheaper to buy because they are made with cheaper materials than a site-built home. The lower costs of a manufactured home are made possible in a number of ways, but the cheaper cost of building a factory home is made possible by buying smarter, not by buying lower-quality materials. Manufacturing facilities buy their materials such as wood, metal, and glass in bulk, since they have plenty of space for indoor storage. These building materials are much cheaper to purchase in large quantities, but on-site builders have to worry about materials being damaged in the elements, or about having extra materials left over that go to waste. 

Manufactured home factories can safely store and use every bit of their materials, making them more cost-effective and more environmentally friendly. The ability to reuse and recycle efficiently, unlike site-built homes, contributes to the green build approach that manufactured housing construction has adopted. Manufacturers can also buy in bulk for other items that are traditionally expensive for home builders, such as appliances and other home system components. These efficiencies are what lead to the lower cost of manufactured homes, not a lack of quality in the design, materials or construction. Homes can be built for maximum safety and stability, while still being affordable for manufacturers and home-buyers alike. 

Making a Better Name for Manufactured Housing

Stereotypes and movies can give manufactured homes a bad name, portraying them as weak, unstable housing that can blow away in an instant. The myths and misconceptions around manufactured homes have officially been busted, and we know now that today’s factory-built homes are strong, sturdy structures that make for a safe, comfortable lifestyle. Using new precise technologies, a controlled environment, and unbeatable cost savings, manufactured homes are built to meet and exceed the strict strength and stability standards that keep your family safe. 


  1. 6 Busted Myths About Manufactured Homes
  2. Mobile Home Lifespan