What You Need to Know About the HUD Code

One of the biggest differences between manufactured homes and traditional site-built homes is that manufactured homes adhere to building standards set forth by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), while modular and site-built homes follow International Residential Code (IRC) standards. But what is the HUD code and how is it different from IRC standards?

Since June 15, 1976, all manufactured homes in the United States have been built according to  HUD building codes. The HUD code is a national standard that overrides all local building codes. Therefore, all states and counties have to accept HUD standards, even if HUD’s codes conflict with local building codes. Once a home has been approved by HUD, local or state enforcement agencies can’t try to force it to comply with local regulations that conflict with HUD codes. With homes built to IRC codes, they do have to comply with all state and local building regulations.

One of the key differences between HUD codes for manufactured housing and IRC standards is that the HUD code requires all manufactured homes to have a permanent steel chassis attached, which helps with transporting the home to its site, while homes built to IRC standards do not have this chassis and are set on a permanent foundation. HUD codes also dictate things such as the minimum size for a manufactured home, ceiling heights, how many outside doors a home must have, the minimum square footage for bedrooms, how many windows a house needs, and more. HUD codes also have requirements that are designed to make manufactured homes safer in the event of a fire.

Although the HUD code is a national standard, manufactured homes still have to meet some standards specific to the areas where they are going to be placed. HUD has divided the country into different wind zones, roof load zones, and thermal zones and manufactured homes need to meet these standards for their area. For example, manufactured homes going in coastal areas likely to be hit by a hurricane need to be built to withstand higher wind speeds while manufactured homes going in areas that get heavy snowfall in the winter need to have roofs that can support a heavier amount of weight.

Plans for homes built to HUD standards are faster and less expensive to get approved than IRC code homes. The homes can also be built much faster, too. But just the approval and building time for HUD-approved homes is faster doesn’t mean HUD standards are low or that homes built to them are made with poor workmanship. In fact, HUD codes are actually quite strict and homes built can provide you and your family with a place to live for decades to come.


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