Is It Manufactured, Modular or Mobile?

Manufactured, modular and mobile are terms that are often confused. Although they are all types of factory-built housing, there are some differences.

Manufactured Homes

isit1A manufactured home is defined as a structure built on a permanent chassis that can be used with or without a permanent foundation when connected to the required utilities. Additionally, it is constructed in a factory with federal standards enforced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. These standards regulate the home’s design and construction, strength and durability, transportability, fire resistance, energy efficiency and quality control. It also sets tough performance standards for heating, plumbing, air conditioning, thermal and electrical systems. The National Building Code Inspection System pre-empts local building codes as they relate to federal construction codes for manufactured homes.

Manufactured homes are single-story and delivered to the home site in one, two, or occasionally three sections. Flooring, cabinetry, fixtures, appliances and plumbing have been installed at the factory. If the home has multiple sections, the sections are joined at the site, with minimal finish work completed by the installer, such as the joining of carpet and the connection of utilities. Manufactured homes may be placed on private property or in a manufactured home community.

Manufactured homes also offer more space than before. Multi-section homes are available with floor space ranging from 1,200 square feet to over 2,400 square feet. With 5/12 pitched roofs, garages and landscaping, they are often hard to distinguish from site-built housing. A University of Michigan study noted that the manufactured home industry has been a leader in developing and implementing new technology that has eventually made its way into site-built housing.

Modular Homes 

isit2Modular homes are also factory-built. They begin as components and are designed, engineered and assembled in a controlled, factory environment. The components come together at the building site and the home is completed by a licensed builder. Modular homes must meet codes regulated by state and local agencies, the same way in which site-built homes are regulated

Modular homes can be one-or two-story dwellings and are delivered to the home site in two or more sections, often as a shell of a house. Although some of the interior amenities have been accomplished at the factory, much of the interior and exterior finish work is completed by the builder at the home site. The interior amenities installed at the home site are governed by local codes. Modular homes are placed on private property.

Mobile Homes

“Mobile home” is the outdated name for manufactured housing, the term mandated by the federal government in 1976. All of the homes built after 1976 must comply with federal standards. These standards regulate things such as durability, materials, systems, wind safety, fire safety and energy safety.

For more information about manufactured homes, visit our web site at or contact the Ohio Manufactured Homes Association, 201 Bradenton Avenue, Suite 100, Dublin, Ohio, 43017-3540; 614.799.2340.

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