The inspection system for manufactured homes
It can generally be acknowledged that a building code is only as good as the enforcement system that accompanies it. The manufactured home enforcement program required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is a thorough and efficient system designed specifically for the factory production environment. Because the factory pace differs from that of the construction site, the manufactured home enforcement system is necessarily different too.
The goal in both cases, however, is the same—to ensure the highest degree of safety in the design and construction of the home. Ideally, a building code should be backed up by uniform and consistent enforcement. The HUD enforcement system relies on a cooperative federal/state program to ensure compliance with the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards (the HUD Code). The Department of Housing and Urban Development enforces the HUD Code through its agent, the National Conference of States on Building Codes and Standards (NCSBCS).
Uniformity and consistency can be maintained better in the federal government enforcement system because of two key factors. First, the inspections take place in the factory, during each phase of construction, and follow behind the manufacturer’s own in-plant inspection and quality assurance teams. This allows for more thoroughness since time is spent inspecting homes rather than traveling to inspection sites. Efficiency is increased because travel time is limited and necessary paperwork is minimized. Second, consistency is maintained because fewer people inspect more homes. The enforcement procedure is much less susceptible to individual interpretations, as would be the case with on-site inspections in every jurisdiction across the country.
Inspection starts before production starts
The federal government enforcement system begins under the watchful eye of the Design Approval Primary Inspection Agency (DAPIA). The DAPIA (a third-party inspection agency) must approve the engineering design of the home; approve the manufacturer’s quality assurance manual for its plant; and coordinate with the other third-party inspection agency, known as the Production Inspection Primary Inspection Agency (IPIA). The IPIA has the responsibility of making sure the production facility programs and procedures are in accordance with the DAPIA-approved quality assurance manual; and it conducts inspections of homes produced in the factory to assure conformance with the approved design.
Certification assures the home buyer
Before leaving the factory, each home must have a numbered certification label affixed to the exterior of each section of the home. This label certifies to the homebuyer that the home has been inspected in accordance with the federal government enforcement procedures, and that it complies with the national building and safety code administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Only when all inspection parties are satisfied that the home complies with the code, will the certification label be affixed to the home. A consumer seeing the home for the first time will have the assurance that the home has been thoroughly tested and inspected from the design stage through final construction, and found to be built according to the approved design.
For more information about manufactured homes, visit our web site at www.welcomehomeohio.com or contact the Ohio Manufactured Homes Association, 201 Bradenton Avenue, Suite 100, Dublin, Ohio, 43017-3540; 614.799.2340.