Why FEMA Says Modular Homes Are Safer
While no manufacturer would ever be so bold as to say that their homes are hurricane-proof, it has been proved time and again that modular homes stand up to extreme conditions much better than their site-built counterparts.
When Hurricane Sandy hit the northeast and homeowners went to tally up the damage, modular homes fared significantly better. FEMA has continually praised modular construction for sound workmanship dating all the way back to a report they issued back in 1993 about Hurricane Andrew hitting Florida.
Modular manufacturing is subject to the same rigorous quality-control as other high end manufacturing. Since parts and homes are factory-made, there’s no worry that they’ll be subpar. The seals on roofs are done by a factory worker whose job it is to work on roofs all day, every day. Because of this, he has all of the tools, training, and experience he needs to do his job perfectly every time. The same is true for every other step in the modular home manufacturing process.
The report cited that “Much of the damage to residential structures also resulted from inadequate design, substandard workmanship, and/or misapplication of various building materials.” Because of factory construction, a lack of knowledge, skills, or design will never be an issue.
Since modular homes are inspected not only by state and local building inspectors, but also at every step of the manufacturing process, they are subject to far more inspections than a site-built home. This is a huge plus since the report also states that “Inadequate training of the inspectors and supervisors are factors that may have contributed to the poor-quality construction observed.”
Site-built homes only have one inspection once the home is completed. In some states, the inspection doesn’t even have to be carried out by a licensed inspector. This one inspector is responsible for checking everything from the roof, to the basement, to the electrical wiring, to the plumbing, and everything else as well. With a modular home, a specialized inspection takes place at every step of construction. These inspections aren’t mandated by the government, but by the manufacturers themselves to make sure that quality is kept as high as possible. Then, once the house is built, it will be given a final inspection just like a site-built home.
The FEMA report observed that “relatively minimal structural damage was noted in modular housing developments.” It credited the building style of modular homes because the module-to-module construction provides an “inherently rigid system.” Despite the 131-155mph winds of a category 4 storm, FEMA reported that modular homes “performed much better than conventional residential framing.”