There is a common misconception that any home that has its components built in a factory is a manufactured home. There are three types of homes that have much of their construction done in a factory. They are the manufactured home (formerly called a mobile home), modular home, and panelized home. Because of its lower cost compared to traditionally built homes, called stick built homes, the manufactured home is popular in many areas of the country. This is especially true in areas that have low land costs.
The difference is that the manufactured home is almost entirely built and assembled at the factory, then installed at the site. The modular and panelized homes have their components built in the factory, but are assembled at the site.
Another major difference is that the modular and panelized homes are controlled by local building codes. The manufactured home falls under the federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards (MHCSS). These are Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rules that went into effect on June 15,
1976. Factory-built homes constructed before that time are called
The HUD rules completely cover the building of the manufactured home, including requirements such as how strong of a wind it will withstand and how much weight the roof will hold. HUD works with state agencies to inspect both factories and their products. Each manufactured home has a certification label and data plate naming its manufacturer and contact information, as well as technical data. For example, the plate could state that the home cannot withstand high winds and should not be located within a certain distance from a coast.