Manufactured Housing Resources George Porter


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Home Installation Manager Fleetwood Enterprises, Inc.

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The Future

By George Porter

The Lido Peninsula Resort and Cannery Village

These cutting-edge developments use a manufactured housing product that, in no way, resembles the conventional standard building produced by the industry. It has gained acceptance in the areas where it's located and, in fact, enjoys a high degree of economic success. Most of these are two-story homes. Many companies today are beginning to explore the possibility of multi-story HUD code homes.

If a person were to try to guess the problems needing to be solved in the industry's future, those would involve:

1. How to build a multi-story home that complies with the HUD code;
2. How to have higher roof pitches, which are still suitable for transportation;
3. And, how to solve a weight problem with the transportation of the home.

The first part of how to build a two-story home is gradually becoming known. The previously mentioned projects use them exclusively. It requires the use of a crane and therefore, the cost of the onsite work is greater. But, the acceptance of the public more than makes up for the added expense and the results are stunning. If you drive by a present day home and quickly glance at it, the most immediate thing that tells you that it is a HUD code home maybe the low roof pitch, somewhere around 3/12. This highly recognizable factor in our housing is often times used to zone us out of developments. Although this roof sheds water just as well as any other roof that works properly, the generally public is not thrilled with its aesthetic value.. For this reason, many factories are starting to put hinged roofs on their homes. Through the use of a hinged roof, the home has a more conventional roof pitch of 5/12 or even 7/12. With this change, HUD code homes are virtually indistinguishable from any other type of home, from the exterior. The homes of the future will undoubtedly have many difference styles of roof and pitches, and will more closely resemble site-built housing then ever before.

The weight and strength of the transportation system must also undergo changes in the future. There is definitely a limit to the width of the chassis when the wheelbase is limited to 8 feet. As the homes get heavier, they will sooner or later run out of places to put axles underneath them. At the present time there are homes being shipped from one place to another that have as many as eight axles, that's 16 tires, underneath them. These are homes have extreme difficulty manipulating corners because at least 12 of those 16 tires must skid sideways in order to turn. This is extremely hard on the frame of the home. For this reason, a technology must be instituted to create either a lighter home, or axles with a higher capacity, so we can use fewer of them.

Some manufacturers are already looking into an all-steel construction of the home. An all-steel home is one with all steel floor joists, steel wall studs and steel rafters. Believe it or not, an all-steel framed home is approximately 30% lighter than a wood framed home. There are many other advantages such as resistance to rotting and warping and storage at the manufacturing facility. Through the use of lighter materials such as steel, the future innovations for roof systems, such as 512, 712 and even a hip roof system, enable the homes of tomorrow to become much more widely accepted throughout the nation. This acceptance will come in the form of zoning restrictions lifted by local governments and by conventional mortgages at conventional rates through financial institutions.

The system of production, delivery and distribution is the secret to success of this industry. Once the product becomes more mainstream, the size of this industry should grow exponentially.

According to the National Board of Realtors, 80% of the American public cannot afford the average new American stick-built home. They have neither the means nor the ability to make the payments and/or down payment, let alone the settlement costs. This industry is the only way they will ever own a new home. Therefore, 80% of the new home buying public belongs to the manufactured housing industry. Innovative designs, coupled with excellent installation, will provide the American public with the type of home it desires and the safety and durability that it requires.