Jump to content

mobile home insp


Recommended Posts

I got talked into doing an older one just after I started. Hated it. It was like inspecting a junker car. I made the decision then that I would never do another. Not a tough decision as it is extremely rare to get a call for them around here. But, depending on your area, you may want to.

For the one I did inspect, I did a bunch of research and made up a checklist. A lot of that came from this http://www.ibhs.org/publications/downlo ... _21455.pdf .

I leave most everything else to those with real experience in mobile/manufactured homes. One piece of advice though. Wear a hard hat underneath!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for posting the PDF Richard. That's the kind of stuff I was looking for.

I got my first call about inspecting a mobile home today. It was an agent who claimed to own the mobile home. He was searching for an inspector on behalf of a buyer. I think he was surfing for something particular. I made it clear to him that inspecting mobile homes was a different kind of thing and that I had not yet done any. I gave him a quote. We'll see if he calls back.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I kinda like inspecting manufactured/ mobile homes. Are you talkin' about the old school mobile home, or a newer manufactured home? Once you get the hang of them, they are pretty much a breeze. You pretty much know what is wrong before getting there.

I've inspected some that were selling for 15-20k-- I often wondered why I was there. (old mobile homes).

Manufactured homes aren't that bad. Crawlspaces around here are pretty easy.....they seem to have pretty good clearances, and the insulation is held in place by that fabric material.

There is no attic to inspect, the subfloor/ substructure is mostly inaccessible, and you don't have to deal with all of the fallen insulation under the place.

I'm not sure this will do you any good, but here is a link to Oregon's code for manufactured homes: http://www.bcd.oregon.gov/programs/mdpr ... 02mds.html

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Here are a few diferences off the top of my head.

Water heaters are often hidden behind a panel in a wall. Water heaters in Manuactured Homes (MH) should be rated for that application. Usually there is some text on the label that says OK for use in a MH.

Air Admittance Valves are allowed in the DWV system.

Flexible drain pipe is allowed under sinks.

You should know that the block perimeter (if one exisits) is not really the foundation but is there as window dressing. The real foundation is under the unit. There are a few different types - you'll see.

The band board at the junction of the exterior siding and the skirting is often rotted.

The roofing shingles will most probably be stapled not nailed.

MHs are not designed to have any exterior structure attached to their exterior walls e.g. carports, decks or additions. Any structure attached to the MH must not use the MH as support.

I'm sure there are a couple more ... they'll come to me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

John,

Many years ago I dealt with the same issue; trying to find out what things were unique about inspecting mobile homes, and discovered that there's actually quite a bit of learning involved; particularly when you're talking about tie-down systems. So, I went out on the net and dug up a bunch of references and downloaded them to TIJ's library. Go to "Library" in the menu, click on "File Downloads" in the sub-menu and then scroll down. You'll find the federal manufactured housing code there, a study showing the differences between the model codes at the time and manufactured housing codes, a manual on tie-down systems, and more.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Jim Baird

John:

I have done a few.

What I tell the buyer is that I will issue a letter describing my findings, as my regular component breakdown simply can't be carried out.

Huh? I've done lots of them; other than the fact that they're made out of thinner/cheaper materials and are mounted on a big steel chassis, the process isn't much different than inspecting any other home with a crawlspace. My inspection protocol is pretty much the same and my report software works fine with them.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Water heaters are often hidden behind a panel in a wall.

True.
id="indT">

Water heaters in Manuactured Homes (MH) should be rated for that application. Usually there is some text on the label that says OK for use in a MH.

Many jurisdictions (CA, OR, NV) allow the use of standard listed residential water heaters for replacement even though the water heater might have a label noting that it is not approved for manufactured homes. Most times MH approved water heaters are only required for the original construction of the home.

Oregon has a very good downloadable MH code that’s pretty complete. I highly recommend downloading the code to become familiar with the terminology.

The California code is ok for set ups but for items like replacement water heaters etc. but you need to know where to go in the CA Health and Safety Codes.

The majority of states operate under an agreement with HUD becoming the State Administrative Agency (SAA) for manufactured housing in their state, in the few states where there is not an SAA HUD will contract with an independent agency. In this role the states write and enforce regulations for the set up, alteration and repair of MHs. The State Administrative Agency (SAA) is a program function of the Manufactured Housing (MH) Section that administers the Department's delegated authority under The National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974.

Basically after the first sale of the home, the home is no longer governed by the HUD code but by the state and the state reports to HUD. If you look through the ‘Manufactured Home Construction And Safety Standards’ you will find no reference remodel, repair or alteration except alterations prior to the first sale. Another interesting item is there are many two story HUD code homes but you will find no requirement for rise and run in the HUD code.

States may also adopt regulations and requirements for new and existing homes where there are none by HUD; for example California has recently begun to require ‘fuel-burning water heaters strapped or seismically braced for earthquakes’. HUD has no seismic requirements but only requires fuel burning appliances anchored so as not to be displaced when the home transported.

id="indT">

Air Admittance Valves are allowed in the DWV system.

AAVs are not allowed by HUD but the local jurisdiction (state) might allow for replacement or alteration.

‘Anti Siphon Valves’ are allowed; anti-siphon valves are mechanical vents with a spring loaded neoprene gasket.

id="indT">

Flexible drain pipe is allowed under sinks.

False, not allowed. You might be getting confused with flexible clothes dryer vent that are allowed by HUD.
id="indT">

You should know that the block perimeter (if one exisits) is not really the foundation but is there as window dressing.

Be careful here:

1. The home may require additional perimeter support at the exterior longitudinal walls and marriage line. You will also have the support piers for the ridge loads at the marriage line. Note most homes for the last 25-30 years have also required additional piers under the jambs at the exterior doors, this enables you to adjust the door in its opening by raising or lowering the pier.

2. A perimeter foundation/support system might be part of the required ‘tie-down system’ (wind loads).

3. A perimeter foundation/support system might be part of foundation system enabling the home to become an improvement to the underlying land thus converting the home to real property. Most ‘foundation systems’ here in the west are engineered for both wind and seismic loads.

4. If FHA was involved in the initial funding of the unit you will normally see some type of support at the exterior walls.

A full evaluation of the support system is well beyond the scope of a home inspection. It would require the installation instructions for that particular home, the installation instructions for any tie-down or foundation system, and if you really want to get in it a soil report. Then you would measure the footing pads and determine if they are adequately sized.

In my EW work on MHs I spend 2-4 hours under a MH.

id="indT">

The real foundation is under the unit. There are a few different types - you'll see.

Terminology, foundation support system under the unit chassis frame.
id="indT">

The roofing shingles will most probably be stapled not nailed.

Yes but what is more important is that only a single layer of roofing is allowed
id="indT">

MHs are not designed to have any exterior structure attached to their exterior walls e.g. carports, decks or additions. Any structure attached to the MH must not use the MH as support.

Generally true, but be careful here also:

Homes and their support system may be engineered for the attachment of accessory structures. Again you would need to have all the installation instructions.

id="indT">

I would say one of the main functions of the skirting is to keep out pests.......

There is also an energy component of not having a wind blow under the home.
id="indT">
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by Jim Baird

Hausdok,

I don't know how they put them together in the northwest woods, but down here you can't see the floor structure and can't get into the attic (there usually is no attic), and I wouldn't dare try to get onto one of those roofs.

Yes, they are generally the same here; however, why would you only produce a letter describing your findings when the report format really doesn't have to be any different. They're still inspected the same way; exterior, roof and visible exterior portions of the foundation and/or skirting and decks; electro-mechanicals, interiors and then the crawlspace and chassis. Where you can't see something, you just note that in the report.

About the hardest part of inspecting these is crawling the area beneath them without giving yourself a concussion and removing the stupid access panels to the water heaters if they don't have an exterior door so you can access the water heater from the outside.

Even with the suspension fabric underneath I can still usually figure out what all of the plumbing and heating components are and often even how they're framed 'cuz the darned suspension mesh fabric is often torn open by varmints, allowing me to see the framing and insulation.

The inspection and report content end up being very similar in length and content to that of a small rambler with a crawlspace; even without attic access.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Patt,

You are right about exterior attached stuctures, I should have added that MHs can be engineered to accept them. In my mind I was thinking about the home owner addon.

Are you sure about AAVs in DWV, I am not talking about anti-siphon in supply pipes. I'm pretty sure I've seen these in newer MHs under sinks instead of a vent connection which appeared to be designed that way. I'm pretty sure I've also heard that at an Association meeting.

The same is true about flexible pipe, I am talking about the flexible tailpiece that connects the sink to the P trap. ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by SWagar

Patt,

You are right about exterior attached stuctures, I should have added that MHs can be engineered to accept them. In my mind I was thinking about the home owner addon.

Are you sure about AAVs in DWV, I am not talking about anti-siphon in supply pipes. I'm pretty sure I've seen these in newer MHs under sinks instead of a vent connection which appeared to be designed that way. I'm pretty sure I've also heard that at an Association meeting.

The same is true about flexible pipe, I am talking about the flexible tailpiece that connects the sink to the P trap. ?

Don't believe everything you hear.

http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/wais ... 80_06.html

PART 3280--MANUFACTURED HOME CONSTRUCTION AND SAFETY STANDARDS

§ 3280.603 General requirements.

(a) (6) (111) Fittings, connections, devices, or

methods of installation that obstruct

or retard the flow of sewage, or air in

the drainage or venting systems in an

amount greater than the normal frictional

resistance to flow shall not be used…

(b) (5) All piping, except the fixture trap,

shall be designed to allow drainage.

§ 3280.611 Vents and venting.

There is no mention in this section of AAVs. People have been confusing the two for a long time; AAVs are non-mechanical, Anti-siphon are mechanical.

(d) Anti-siphon trap vent. An anti-siphon

trap vent may be used as a secondary

vent system for plumbing fixtures

protected by traps not larger

than 1 1/2" inches, when installed in accordance

with the manufacturers’ recommendations

and the following conditions:

(5) Materials for the anti-siphon trap

vent shall be as follows:

This section goes on describing the material the needs to be used in the construction of the anti-siphon vent.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Patt,

Is this what you mean by an anti-siphon device?

They look awfully similar to AAVs but are different internally. I assume they perform the same function.

I found this info about AAVs and Mechanical Vents at :

http://www.plumbingsupply.com/autovent.html

1-1/2" Auto Trap Vent - Product info

This auto trap vent features:

Generally used in mobile homes, rv's, and trailers (not code in many areas for homes)

Used in places where non-mechanical venting is impossible to install

Operates mechanically with a spring and rubber diaphragm

Some call this mechanical vent a "check vent."

Click to View

200912202410_auto_trap_vent.jpg

5.98 KB

End product info

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Originally posted by SWagar

So what I hear you saying is that AAVs are allowed in Manufactured Homes?

I didn't say that. I pointed out both devices serve the same purpose. I'm not exactly a mobile home specialist, but if you read the document posted by Patt, the acceptable materials used for the construction of the device are only of the cheaper, less reliable vent device.

If there was a decent profit to be made, I'm sure Studor would be pushing for amending the standards.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...