How Hurricane Andrew Changed Manufactured Housing | HomeFirst

How Hurricane Andrew Changed Manufactured Housing

When Hurricane Andrew hit the United States in 1992, the results were devastating. Hundreds of thousands buildings and homes of all types were damaged or destroyed by the storm. As horrific as Hurricane Andrew was, it did prompt changes that made manufactured housing better able to withstand storm damage.

Before 1994, all manufactured homes were built to the exact same HUD standards, regardless if they were going to be placed in a coastal, hurricane-prone state like Florida or in a landlocked state like Nebraska. In the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, new regulations for manufactured homes were instituted that divided the country into different wind zones. Most of the United States is a Zone 1 wind zone, which means homes in those areas must be able to withstand 70 mile per hour winds. But areas more likely to be impacted by hurricanes are either Zone 2 or Zone 3 areas. Homes going in a Zone 2 area need to withstand 100 mile per hour winds and Zone 3 homes need to stand up to 110 mile per hour winds. The requirements for manufactured homes in Zone 2 and Zone 3 areas are actually stricter than the building codes for site-built homes in those areas.

All manufactured homes are required to be built to the standards of the wind zone where the home will be placed. Although manufactured homes are rarely moved once they are placed on their site, wind zones are something you need to consider if you’re thinking of moving one. For example, you wouldn’t be able to relocate a manufactured home built to Zone 1 standards and move it to a Zone 3 area. However, you could move a Zone 3 home to a Zone 1 area.

While older manufactured homes may be more vulnerable to storm damage, modern ones built under the updated 1994 regulations have proven to hold up very well during storms. During the 2004 hurricane season, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles went to 77 manufactured housing communities in Florida to see get an idea of effective the updated 1994 regulations were at improving wind resistance. Of the 2,883 homes made after 1994 they looked at, none of them was damaged beyond repair.

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