LearnMH Webinar Recap: Updated HUD Codes Open Big Opportunities for Retailers, Manufacturers

Paul Barretto

Changes are coming with the implementation of the new HUD Code that defines and regulates all manufactured homes. In the LearnMH June 3rd webinar, special guests Manny Santana, Director of Engineering for Cavco Industries, and Devin Leary-Hanebrink, Counsel with McGlinchey Stafford, shared their thoughts and insights on the changes scheduled to be implemented by July 12th.

Manufactured Housing is the only type of residential housing regulated by a federal code administered through the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The HUD Code is a living document that defines and evolves with the industry. “Since 2013 there have been nine changes to the HUD Code alone, so anyone who believes it hasn’t changed or is outdated is mistaken,” stated Devin during the webinar. Today’s manufactured homes are very different from when the code was first implemented. Over time, it has changed and improved the quality, standard, and designs.

The HUD Code update addresses conflicting or outdated requirements, policies, and practices, as well as new challenges and opportunities. It is also an example of the leadership and support provided under former HUD Secretary Ben Carson that has been continued through Theresa Payne’s Office of Manufactured Housing administration as they were responsible for addressing the backlog of changes that 

had been growing. The hope is that new HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge will continue the momentum allowing the Office of Manufactured Housing to address the challenges facing the industry.

According to Manny Santana, the new updates include provisions for things such as attached garages and carports that are self-standing and do not require the home to bear its weight. Previously, manufacturers were required to obtain Alternate Construction approvals (AC letters) which required a lot of effort, documentation, and inspection to install them which resulted in higher costs and longer completion times. In many cases, those will no longer be required.

Some noteworthy code changes include:

  • Required guardrails on open porches and stoops when a home is set above 30”
  • Increasing the minimum interior door widths from 24” to 36” for greater access
  • Clarifying requirements for two-story manufactured homes and introducing requirements for attached manufactured homes.

The changes create opportunities for more two-story manufactured homes and introduce the concept of townhouse and 2-4 unit manufactured homes. Imagine the efficiency gains, reduced waste, and lower cost in creating higher-density housing.

There are more opportunities for greater efficiency on the list of future changes to be addressed, such as removing the minimum threshold requirement for showers, which would make it easier for the wheelchair-bound resident or those with movement and mobility disorders, or installing tankless water heating systems. Both currently require special exceptions and approvals that make it prohibitive for manufacturers to include them as options.

The Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee and the HUD Office of Manufactured Housing have already prioritized more changes to come. Manufactured housing is changing and evolving, creating new opportunities for the industry to demonstrate its ability to meet the home buyer’s needs and the housing market.

How do you think the market will respond to the HUD Code changes? Let us know on LinkedIn and in our Factory-Built Housing Forum.


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About Paul Barretto

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