Are you looking to buy a manufactured “mobile” home and finance it with a FHA loan? Are you looking to refinance your current loan with an FHA loan? If you are, then the foundation of your home will have to be reviewed by a licensed structural engineer to ensure that is complies with HUD requirements dictated by HUD Handbook 4930.3 entitled, “long-lasting Foundations Guide for Manufactured Housing” and as updated per the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (enacted July 30, 2008). New homes must meet the requirements of HUD Handbook 4145.1, REV-2, CHG-1 entitled, “Architectural Processing and Inspections for Home Mortgage Insurance” and reported using form HUD-92051 entitled, “Compliance Inspection Report”.
The foundation requirements posted by HUD are often times more stringent than those required by the local building code. The intent of these requirements is to make your home safe by increasing it’s ability to resist strong winds and earthquakes, more resistant to moisture problems and enhanced bearing strength to reduce the possibility for foundation settlement.
Below is a list of the basic HUD foundation requirements:
• Poured concrete footings or approved engineered foundations must sustain the docks.
• If using concrete blocks (CMU) as docks, then the docks must be either laid in Portland cement mortar or dry-stacked and coated with a fiber strengthened surface bonding cement. Steel jack stands are an approved pier substitute provided they are designed and sealed by a licensed engineer.
• The chassis must be anchored to the footings (screw-in earth anchors are not allowed).
• Enclose the foundation with a lasting skirting. As of May 21, 2009, vinyl or metal skirting materials are allowed.
• Provide adequate ventilation in the crawl space area. 1 square foot of net free area per 150 square feet of crawl space floor area is required around the perimeter of the home.
• The ground underneath the home must be covered with a 6mil minimum thickness polyethylene vapor obstacle.
• All equipment used to transport the home (tongues, axles and wheels) must be removed from the site.
• All utilities must be permanently installed.
As you can see, the requirements are more stringent than those required by most building codes. I recommend contacting your local licensed structural engineer who can assist you with calculating your home’s compliance and what steps, if any, are required to upgrade the foundation of your home.