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What is a Manufactured Home?

A Home On a Permanent Chassis

By Jackie Craven

Definition:
A manufactured home is one that is constructed almost entirely in a factory. The house is placed on a steel chassis (a supporting frame) and transported to the building site. The wheels can be removed but the chassis stays in place.

A manufactured home can come in many different sizes and shapes. It may be a simple one-story "mobile home," or it can be so large and complex that you might not guess that it was constructed off site.

Local building codes do not apply to manufactured homes; instead, these houses are built according to specialized guidelines (Federal HUD regulations in the United States) for manufactured housing. Manufactured homes are not permitted in some communities.

Also Known As:
factory-built, factory-made, mobile

Examples:
A manufactured home is one type of factory-built housing. Other types of homes that use factory-made building parts include modular homes, panelized homes, mobile homes, pre-cut homes, and other varieties of prefab homes. Factory-built houses usually cost much less than homes that are site-built.

Chassis Support System:
"Manufactured homes are constructed on a chassis consisting of main steel beams and cross members; fitted axles, leaf springs, and wheels making up the running gear; and a steel hitch assembly. After the home is sited, the chassis frame distributes the manufactured home loads to the foundation system. The hitch assembly is generally removed for appearance purposes."—FEMA P-85, Protecting Manufactured Homes from Floods and Other Hazards (2009) Chapter 2.