The Evolution of Factory Built Housing
The "FACTORY BUILT HOME" has no doubt come a long way in almost 100 years.
It all started in the 1920s whence "Trailers", "Travel Trailers", "Trailer Coaches" were built primarily for the American traveler who desired having a real bed and a place to sleep at a campsite instead of having to camp out in a sleeping bag and a tent.
Additionally, during Word War II, trailers were used as temporary homes for factory workers who came from all over America for the many job opportunities that were created as a result of the war.
When veterans returned home after the war they found it quite difficult to find affordable housing. Thus the Factory Built Housing Industry began building homes that were large enough to accommodate these veterans and their families and that could be moved from location to location.
However, in came the '60s and consumers began demanding even more from the industry. They wanted and needed larger "Trailers" with more bells and whistles. They also demanded all the new appliances that began to surface in the market place.
However, many still wanted it to be "Mobile" albeit seldom do these 2nd generation "MANUFACTURED HOMES" aka "COACHES" ever move once installed.
Interestingly one of the first renditions of this 2nd evolution was a house (travel) trailer called "THE NEW MOON" which was featured in the Lucy & Desi hit "The Long Long Trailer". This was one of the first 50 foot plus Trailers built and was the leading edge for the next generation of Factory Built Housing.
In fact my wife's family actually owned a NEW MOON for over 50 years that was permanently located (wheels & axles removed and home placed on pilings) in the renowned "EL MORRO TRAILER PARK" on the ocean in Laguna Beach. This modest little charmer served 4 generations very well as one of the best vacation homes anyone could ever wish for.
In walks next generation (above) of "Factory Built Housing", the "MOBILE HOME". Mobile homes were bigger in size, nicer in appearance and met the needs of prospective young American homeowners.
As a result of this sweeping phenomenon Congress passed the "National Mobile Home Construction and Safety Standards Act in 1974", aka the "HUD Code" which made "mobile homes" the only form of private and single-family building subject to federal regulation.
These regulations became effective on June 15, 1976, and the MANUFACTURED HOME INDUSTRY has been regulated by them every since. Additionally they preempt any existing state or local construction and safety codes which means that you don't pull your permits through the local city & county jurisdictions. They are issued and regulated by the California Housing & Community Development Deapartment (HCD).
The primary goal of the "HUD CODE" federal regulation was to more clearly define "MOBILE HOMES" as "BUILDINGS", rather than "RECREATION VEHICLES or TRAILERS".
Finally "The Housing Act of 1980" adopted this change officially, mandating that the use of "Manufactured Home" replace the words "Mobile Homes" in all federal law and literature for homes built from 1976 to date.
Today's Manufactured home (above) is built in a factory on a permanent steel chassis to the HUD preemptive code and all of the design and engineering criteria including wind, seismic, roof load, floor loads, etc. are built to a national standardized criteria.
Under the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) code, manufactured home fabrication supersedes the requirements of the local building jurisdictions. Because the requirements for set-up can vary depending on whether a homeowner wants permanent or more temporary housing, manufactured housing is generally less expensive and the permit process can be less restrictive and time consuming.
The Modular home, albeit constructed in the factory as well, is built to local city & county building codes and regulations which is used by conventional site builders so the code will vary depending to the local building jurisdictions.
Because the home is always installed on a permanent foundation, the cost may be higher for the more substantive and permanent installation, but the pre-fabricated building offers distinct advantages from a financing standpoint. In essence, the pre-fabricated building is considered an equal to the site built home with regards to financing.
But there are also many other advantages. Because the construction takes place within a factory, it eliminates the possibility of damage from weather and allows the materials to be assembled in a climatically controlled environment. Unlike manufactured homes with standardized design criteria, applications of size and style are unlimited as the units are totally customizable.---so possibilities range from cozy cottages to multi-story apartment buildings, mid rise hotels & motels, commercial buildings, etc!
Custom designed modular homes have sold in excess of 1 million dollars.
MODULAR HOMES far from being a low-end option, today modular housing methods are used in spacious, multilevel homes with soaring interior rooms, multiple roof lines, and sophisticated design elements-virtually indistinguishable from their pricier custom-built counterparts. Interiors include high-end features such as curvilinear architectural details i.e. column-lined arched doorways, built-in bookcases and granite kitchen counter-tops.
The "FACTORY BUILT HOME" you see today be it "HUD MANUFACTURED HOME" or a "MODUALR HOME" is truly a home and bears little resemblance to its "tin-box" aka "Wobbly Box" ancestors, the "Trailer".
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