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You Can't Fix It Till You Know
By George Porter
This month's topic can apply to a lot of things in the installation
and repair of manufactured housing. The bottom line is you have
to know what is correct before you can see that there is a need
for change or repair.
An example of this would be anchors. If you think that the
things are a result of some stupid government regulation and nothing
is going to keep one of these homes on the ground in a tornado
anyway, then you don't see the problem and you will not ever contribute
to the solution. You won't care if the anchor is the right type
for the soil, or what the torque reading is, or the stabilizer
plate, or anything else that may be necessary to make the system
work. If you just screw or pound some handy chunk of iron into
the ground because some reg. says you have to, then you are right,
probably anchors don't work, at least in your case.
One of the main problems with anchors in my opinion is that
they are seldom tested. 99.99% of the anchors installed in the
nation have never had a tug on them. They just sit there in the
ground under the home and wait. When they are subjected to a test
such as a storm with winds over 70 mph most don't do too well.
To some this is the proof that anchors don't work and they are
not going to knock themselves out doing some longwinded procedure
on anchoring for nothing. Remember this: "An anchor that
is installed 95% correctly has a 95% chance of failure".
Being close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and skunk
fights. Anchoring is more like math, it is usually either right
or wrong, but you might get lucky.
The solution to this national problem is not more rules, it
is education. Installers need to know more about how these systems
work. Anchoring is part of a home foundation system, The piers
hold the home up and the anchors hold it down. It takes both to
meet the requirements of wind zones l, ll, and lll. There are
entire states that by regulation do not require anchoring on HUD
Code homes. There are many more states that have no laws at all
concerning anything that has to do with manufactured housing installation.
There are states that have laws but no enforcement power but there
are very few states that actually show people how and what to
do. Of these very few states none of them are exactly like each
other. Add this to the 10,000 counties and towns that have dreamed
up there own set-up and anchoring regulations and it is no wonder
the crews that do the work usually pay little attention to any
of it. They figure their chances of meeting the local regulations
are hard enough without having to be responsible for it actually
working correctly. It becomes a matter of economic survival to
do what is necessary to get paid. If the customer wants to see
anchors in the ground then stick some in, the customer doesn't
care what kind as long as he sees anchors. Many inspectors feel
the same way, they drive up, look for a few anchors and blocks,
then move on. The details take too much time.