Adobe Acrobat Reader
It's Not Easy Making It Easy
By George Porter
MHI had a task force on installation recently and I was privileged
to serve on it. The job of the committee was to revise ANSI Code
A225.1, a sort of generic model code that has been around for
about 10 + years, and turn it into the new model code that the
Manufactured Housing Improvement Act called for. How hard could
this be? The original ANSI Code was put together by a large group
of engineers so it should be pretty close to being complete in
the first place right? "Fraid not!" One problem is that
while many states used the ANSI Code for it's alternative installation
procedures, especially on used homes, the fact is that as a practical
matter it probably was never followed all that closely and only
certain parts were focused on as that regulatory agency saw the
need. I don't know of any state that used it in it's entirety
to install homes. What had to happen is that when you got to
a situation where it was confusing, the inspector made an on the
spot decision and moved on. Well, you sure can't do that with
this new model code because part of the wording in the act is
that no manufacturers manual can be less restrictive than the
government model. So.. If the model is messed up then the whole
industry would be too. This was more than just a meeting about
some details in some government document; every word affected
everything long into the future.
There were over 100 changes proposed and then sent back to
the committee which then made suggestions and other changes to
the proposals. Then we met in Denver to discuss and vote on the
69 changes that the group was in disagreement on. The meeting
was scheduled for about 2 2 hours in the morning but it seems
we needed a little more time than that, about 11 more hours!
Mark Nunn at MHI ran the meetings and he deserves some sort
of official commendation for the job he did. This could have boiled
into a general non-directional mess but Mark would have none of
it. The rules of order ruled! Mark did his job superbly! He knew
where each motion was at all times and exactly what the wording
was, even if was extremely complicated. The man has a strong mind
and the patience of Jobe. If it were not for him we either would
still be haggling over things or the model code would be very
strange indeed. As it turns out I think we have something pretty
good, thank you Mark.
You have to be at these things to appreciate how complicated
it gets. For instance: the code must prescribe a way to join the
marriage walls of multi section homes. Across the nation there
are at least seven totally different ways that this is done. The
ANSI Code originally said you lag them together. Well, you sure
wouldn't want to do that with a Cavalier product which was made
to get 30 gauge metal down the marriage line with screws on both
sides every few inches. And you better not put the new Fleetwood
together that way either, you will ruin the new structural beam
in the roof. So what do you do when these homes all become used
and you need a simple way to do it that will not destroy some
of the homes? You can't list all the homes in the nation with
their date of manufacture and method of assembly, simply impossible!
So what would you do? How would you write a procedure that fits
everything? Don't say you can't, because you must do this thing,
you have to address this issue! What good would an installation
code be without a way to close the roof of the home?
Believe it or not we worked it out. While it is tempting to
let you guess exactly what we did till next month ... I won't.
The precise wording is not out yet and it is definitely not
in effect. Please don't think you are reading law here, it could
Basically the method is:
Follow the directions found in the original manufacturer's
installation manual when it is available. When the manufacturers
manual is not available and the original manufacturers method
of roof and marriage wall closure cannot be determined by examination,
such as factory drilled bolt holes or roof lag bolts, then the
roof should be closed with 30 gauge x 9 inch wide galvanized steel
cap continuing for the length of the home. This cap will be fastened
with # 10 screws or 1 inch x 1 1/4 inch 16 gauge staples, 6 inches
on center each side.
Secure end walls and any marriage wall openings with #10
x 6 inch wood screws, at a minimum of 6 inches on center staggered
intervals. Fasten the floor with 3/8 x 6 inch lag screws installed
at a maximum of 36 inches on center staggered and at a 45 degree
angle. Pilot holes for lag screws must be pre-drilled with a 1/4
inch drill (maximum) before installing lag screws.
This will ONLY be used on pre-owned homes, on all new homes
the manufacturers manual is the law.
This and 68 other "little" problems were worked out
by this committee. I know what you are thinking, "a camel
is a horse designed by a committee!" There is probably some
truth here but in this case I think we have a horse that drinks
less water, it's the very best we could do.
Thank you to the whole committee, especially to those who
stuck it out 'till the very end.