Installing a Mobile Home to Local Building Code

Architect & Engineer working drawing document about project planning and progress of work schedule on the home building construction site
  • Rachel Johnsonby Rachel Johnson
  • Aug 22, 2019
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Local Building Code for Modular Vs. Manufactured Homes

Each county and city across the nation, except for a very select few, has a set of legal requirements for construction of the homes within its boundaries. These legal requirements are called the Local Building Code.


For many areas, the building code is essentially equivalent with the federal HUD (Housing and Urban Development) code. This is a set of building standards passed as legislation in 1976 to ensure the safety and quality of new homes and is the code adhered to by the manufactured home industry.

However, some areas have additional rules in their building code that either exclude manufactured housing outright or need more retrofitting to classify the manufactured home as a “modular” home.

Where do I Find the Local Building Code?

Because each city and county have different rules, it’s always important to know the building code before you buy property or begin construction in that area.

While some areas may require only permits to install a mobile home, others might require engineering certifications or other professional inspections.

You may also find that manufactured housing is not allowed at all on your property or that you are limited by the size, type of foundation, or even exterior cosmetic details like shutters or a dormer.

Many of these rules can be found online and a knowledgeable site inspector will already be familiar with requirements in many areas, but to be sure you don’t run into any surprises, calling and speaking with your county development office is always a good idea.

Fleetwood Weston model 32764W manufactured home exterior

What is the Difference Between a Modular and Manufactured Home?

One local building code you might encounter is requiring manufactured homes that are classified as “modular”. Modular homes are not only built to the federal HUD standard but alterations are made in the building process to comply with local building code as well.

Modular homes must also be installed on an engineered concrete foundation, a project which can cost upwards of $12,000 in addition to the home’s building upgrades.

Because these homes comply with local building code and are installed on concrete runners, once a modular is installed it is considered a site-built home and will appraise and appreciate as one.

Though the option of modular homes can be beneficial for homeowners limited by their local building code, it’s important to verify modular modifications are a requirement in your area before incurring the additional thousands in expenses.

Double wide mobile home getting joined together

Know Your Building Codes Before You Buy

Buying and installing a mobile home is not a time to guess and hope for the best. The local building code is very serious and failing to comply with your county or city’s home installation requirements will end up costing more money and headaches than you ever thought possible.

As a precaution, we require site inspections on each customer’s property prior to moving forward with a mobile home sale which not only helps with understanding what a property needs for a home installation, but also how much it will cost.

The bottom line is, the more you know, the smoother your home purchase and installation will be. Less surprises means less stress and more peace as you look forward to move-in day!

Rachel Johnson

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rachel Johnson
Rachel has worked in the mobile home industry over the last five years and is passionate about sharing and promoting this affordable housing option to potential home buyers in Texas. Purchasing her first mobile home in Texas at age 18 and later selling it for a considerable profit, Rachel and her family are now pursuing their next venture in home ownership.