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HUD Proposes Manufactured Housing Updates

HUD views manufactured housing as one relief valve for the affordable housing crisis, and its proposed construction rules are the biggest change in 20 years.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced proposed updates to its Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards, commonly referred to as the “HUD Code.”

The updates published in the Federal Register are the largest set of changes to the HUD Code in over two decades. They support a Biden-Harris Administration priority to expand the nation’s supply of manufactured housing, which it sees as one component of its efforts to address U.S. housing supply challenges.

“Manufactured homes are an important element of the nation’s affordable housing supply,” says HUD Assistant Secretary for Housing Julia Gordon. “These proposed updates, when final, will help to expand the availability of safe and affordable homes that align with current design trends and construction methods.”

HUD says the proposed new rules and rule updates will bring the HUD Code in line with recent manufactured housing industry standards and further improve the quality and safety of manufactured home construction. It says they will “facilitate innovation” and lead to greater production.

Part of the upgrade addresses changing consumer tastes. The proposed rules address things like multi-unit dwellings, ridge-roof designs, open floor plans, truss designs, specifications for attics, accessibility improvements and more.

The proposed updates are available for public comment for 60 days. Comments must be submitted via the methods described in the Federal Register.

Summary of HUD Code Updates in the Proposed Rule

  • Materials that facilitate modern design and improve quality: Updates to reference standards for materials (wood, steel, piping) and products align with other building standards, allow more modern design approaches and alternative materials, and improve the quality and safety of homes for consumers.
  • Ridge roof designs: Revising definitions and regulatory language allow certain specified roof ridge designs (peak cap and peak flip roof assemblies) without a requirement for specific on-site inspections by a HUD-approved agency, with a few exclusions. HUD says this type of roof installation is common, and the rule helps manufacturers by eliminating unnecessary inspections and associated costs.
  • Multi-unit manufactured homes: Proposed changes allow up to three units that meet Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety standards. A multifamily option is seen as a way to address affordable housing needs.
  • Open floor plans, truss designs, specifications for attics: Updated requirements for exterior door separation and structural design make open-floor plans easier to achieve. The proposed rule will also include more clarity on structural design requirements for attics.
  • Accessibility: Modifications to accessible shower standards comply with disability standards for roll-in showers.
  • Energy-saving appliances: Changes allow more modern and energy efficient appliances, such as gas-fired tankless water heaters.

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