Manufactured homes are not built as well as other forms of housing. Manufactured homes do not last as long as site-built homes.
Manufactured homes are built with virtually the same construction materials and techniques as site-built homes. The only difference is that manufactured homes are built in a factory environment, where building materials are protected from weather damage and vandalism. Manufactured homes are built to the federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards, better know as the HUD Code, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The HUD Code is unique since it is specifically designed for compatibility with the factory production process. Performance standards for heating, plumbing, air conditioning, thermal, and electrical systems are set in the code. In addition, performance requirements are established for structural design, construction, fire safety, energy efficiency, and transportation from the factory to the customer's home site. To ensure quality, the design and construction of the home is monitored by both HUD and its monitoring contractor, the National Conference of States on Building Codes and Standards (NCS/BCS). The familiar red seal (the certification label) attached to the exterior of a manufactured home indicates that it has passed perhaps the most thorough inspection process in the homebuilding industry.
The Manufactured Housing Institute conducted a study in 1990 to examine how long manufactured homes are habitable. The study found that the habitable life of manufactured homes depends on the year of manufacture. This habitable life has increased from 10.4 years for homes built in 1945 to 55.8 years for homes shipped in 1964. This figure has held steady at the 55.8 year figure through 1994, and is expected to remain at that level into the future.