Manufactured homes have been in supply since the early 20th century and have remained as a top alternative to more traditional site-built housing throughout the years. Manufactured homes combine the benefits of shorter construction time and versatility to create an affordable yet desirable housing option. As advancements have been made in the manufactured home industry over time, so have the installation and safety requirements. In our area, environmental loads can be a potential problem to homes and other rigid structures. Environmental loads are naturally occurring factors in the environment that may affect the structure of a home such as wind, rain, snow, and seismic activity. These factors can vary depending on location and climate, but generally, they are a large portion of the basis for specific safety requirements and recommendations for today’s manufactured home industry.
Due to the light weight and elevated construction of manufactured homes, these homes are more susceptible to damage caused by environmental loads. Forces caused by high winds and seismic activity can create instability in an improperly secured manufactured home which can create potential damage or worse. In June 1976, Congress passed the National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Act. This began a trend initiated by HUD (Housing for Urban Development) that guarantees all homes from that time forward would be built based upon rigid national standards that are still enforced today. One of these standards is the use of approved tie down straps, which help stabilize the structure against movement caused by environmental forces. There are several different types of tie downs and corresponding installation techniques but the most commonly used are “over the top” tie downs and “frame anchors”. “Over the top” tie downs consist of a concealed flexible metal strap that wraps around the roof and underside of the structure and is secured using ground anchors to fasten the structure to the adjacent grade and/or slab. “Frame anchors” are metal straps or bars that attach to the chassis or “frame” of the home and anchor to a concrete footing and/or slab beneath the structure.
The use of tie downs as a stability component in mobile homes was not introduced until the early 1990’s. Due to this timeline, most homes built prior to this time were installed without the use of approved tie downs, which was not required. When buying an older manufactured home, it is important to have a thorough home inspection to identify any outdated components and/or installation practices such as missing tie downs. As the demand for housing grows, buyers are likely to experience the lack of updated safety features in older manufactured homes. As such, options for retrofitting tie downs on manufactured homes are widely available and relatively cost efficient. While self-installation is possible, it is recommended that you contact a qualified contractor for more information on costs and options for professional installation to ensure safe conditions over the longevity of the home.