Proposed updates will expand the use of manufactured homes to address affordable housing supply and bring the “HUD Code” up to industry standards.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced today its proposals for updating the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards, commonly referred to as the “HUD Code.” The proposed updates were published in the Federal Register and are the largest set of changes to the HUD Code in over two decades. The updates support the Biden-Harris Administration’s priority of expanding the supply of manufactured housing as a component of its efforts to address the nation’s housing supply challenges.
“Manufactured homes are an important element of the nation’s affordable housing supply,” said Assistant Secretary for Housing Julia Gordon. “These proposed updates, when final, will help to expand the availability of safe and affordable homes that align with current design trends and construction methods.”
Containing new and updated standards, including 88 standards incorporated by reference, the proposed rule will bring the HUD Code in line with more recent manufactured housing industry standards and further improve the quality and safety of manufactured home construction. Proposed changes in the rule will facilitate innovation and greater production of manufactured homes with features that are sought-after by consumers and that are common consumer needs for modern living, including: multi-unit dwellings; ridge-roof designs; open floor plans, truss designs, specifications for attics, and accessibility improvements, among others.
When final, the updates contained in the proposed rule will enact a significant number of recommendations made by the federally-mandated Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee. Further, the updates will eliminate the need for manufacturers to obtain alternative construction approvals for frequently requested features and materials that already meet or exceed HUD standards.
The proposed updates are available for public comment for 60 days. Comments must be submitted via the methods described in the proposed rule.
Proposed Updates to HUD Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards
July 19, 2022
22 million people live in manufactured homes throughout the country. The Biden-Harris Administration views manufactured homes as a priority solution for solving the nation’s affordable housing challenges. Proposing updates and additions to the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards, commonly referred to as the “HUD Code” is one way HUD is playing a leading role in fostering increased production and broader consumer acceptance of manufactured housing as a viable, affordable, and comparable alternative to a site-built home.
Summary of HUD Code Updates Contained in the July 19, 2022, Proposed Rule
Key proposed additions and updates included in the proposed rule will allow:
- Materials that facilitate modern design approaches and improve quality: Updates to reference standards for materials (wood, steel, piping) and products will align with other building standards, will allow the use of more modern design approaches and installation of alternative materials, and will improve the quality and safety of homes for consumers.
- Ridge roof designs: Revising definitions and regulatory language will allow certain specified roof ridge designs (peak cap and peak flip roof assemblies) without a requirement for specific on-site inspections by a HUD-approved agency, except for certain exclusions. This type of roof installation is common throughout the industry and uses technology that is time-tested. This will be beneficial for manufacturers and consumers by incorporating more recent design practices into the regulations and eliminating unnecessary inspections and associated costs.
- Multi-unit manufactured homes: Proposed changes to regulatory language address multi-unit dwellings, proposing allowance of up to three units while assuring comprehensive fire safety to multi-unit occupants by adding benchmarks and guidelines that meet Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety standards. This may help to further leverage manufactured housing as a means of addressing affordable housing needs.
- Open floor plans, truss designs, and specifications for attics: The updated requirements for exterior door separation and structural design requirements will improve allowances for open floorplans while maintaining fire safety, clarify unclear provisions, and allow potential for optimization of truss design. In addition, the proposed rule will include more clarity regarding structural design requirements for attics.
- Accessibility improvements: Modifications to standards for accessible showers will comply with nationally-recognized disability standards for roll in showers. This will eliminate the need for HUD alternative construction approval and reduce cost and burdens for manufacturers and consumers.
- Modern and energy-saving appliances: Updating and adding new standards will allow for the use of more modern and energy efficient appliances, including gas-fired tankless water heaters, eliminating the need for HUD alternative construction approvals for use of such appliances.
- Additional process efficiencies that save time and reduce costs: Improved language stipulating prerequisites for the process of obtaining installation licenses will increase flexibility for installers; updates to water system piping testing procedures will decrease on-site testing time; and utilization of appliance QR codes for manuals and information will reduce paperwork and bookkeeping.
About the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards (HUD Code)
The National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974 (the Act) authorizes HUD to establish federal standards for the design and construction of manufactured homes to assure quality, durability, safety, and affordability. Effective in 1976, HUD established the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards, commonly known as the HUD Code, which has worked to transform manufactured homes in quality, safety, durability, and affordability.
HUD standards may preempt state and local laws that do not conform to the HUD standards. HUD’s Office of Manufactured Housing Programs enforces standards directly or through State Administrative Agencies that have partnered with HUD, monitors inspections of factories and retailer lots, regulates installation standards for the homes, administers a dispute resolution program for defects, establishes and collects a fee for each home built, authorizes a certification label to be placed on each section of a home that meet the HUD standards, and pursues a civil or criminal action for violations of the Act.
About the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee
The Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) is a statutory Federal Advisory Committee body charged with providing recommendations to the Secretary of HUD on the adoption, revision, and interpretation of HUD’s Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards and related procedural and enforcement regulations. The MHCC was also charged with developing and proposing model installation standards to the Secretary of HUD, so HUD could enact model manufactured home installation standards and implement an installation program for the manufactured housing industry. By regulation, HUD also engages the MHCC in the process of revising the Manufactured Home Model Installation Standards and Installation Program Regulations.