The truth about manufactured home performance in hurricanesModern manufactured homes are not the flimsy constructions of popular myth. They are, in fact, engineered and built to be stronger than the most stringent building codes require.
The bad news is: Florida was hit four times in a single year by major hurricanes some of which affected Alabama.
The good news is: the 2004 hurricane season proved beyond any doubt that manufactured homes built and maintained to 1999 standards are fully the equal of any homes in America when it comes to handling major storms.
Many Americans have been victimized by an outdated conception of manufactured homes—one which has been perpetuated in the news media, and reinforced by the reporting of disasters such as Florida's six-week-long siege of hurricanes in 2004. During this period, a number of erroneous "facts" were spread either by rumor or reporting. In many cases, the news media, rather than searching out the truth, simply passed on the same kind of rumors one hears waiting in line at supermarkets.
For instance, CNN meteorologist Chad Meyers, reporting during the aftermath of Hurricane Charley, told a nationwide audience that "National Guard guys this morning said there are stacks of bodies in that mobile home park in Punta Gorda." Such rumors were rife in the aftermath of Charley. One Punta Gorda resident was quoted by the media as saying "Six hundred people are missing from trailer parks and the bodies are being stored in freezer trucks!"
But passing along rumors is not responsible reporting. IN FACT, according to state officials, in all of Florida, 16 people died as a result of this deadly storm. Only two of these fatalities were related to manufactured homes, and those deaths occurred when the residents of a decades-old mobile home ignored an evacuation order.
It was not just the news media which attacked the manufactured home industry in the wake of Charley. Commentators such as fiction writer Carl Hiassen also put forward much misinformation. Writing in the Miami Herald on August 22, 2004, Hiassen said "There is no such thing as a safe [manufactured] home."
IN FACT, manufactured homes held up well, even when compared to site-built homes. That this was to be the case should not really surprise anyone: since 1999, manufactured homes have been built and installed to standards tougher than any but the most recent codes for site-built structures. As required by the Florida Building Code, all manufactured homes sold in Florida's coastal counties since 1994 are engineered to withstand sustained winds of 110 mph and 3-second gusts of 130 to 150 mph. Manufactured homes in coastal Alabama conform to these same standards.
IN FACT, the Florida Bureau of Manufactured Home and RV Construction surveyed 11,800 manufactured homes among 77 communities in seven counties, including hard-hit Charlotte and DeSoto. Of the manufactured homes installed according to Rule 15-C—the most stringent tie-down regulation in the country—the Bureau could not find a single home that had been moved from its foundation. And RADCO, an independent engineering firm, revealed that 100% of manufactured homes produced and installed in accordance with the current Federal Standards successfully withstood the effects of Hurricane Charley. In fact, The Grove is a Hurricane Ivan survivor and no home was structurally compromised, only exterior attachments were damaged and repairs where completed faster on average than neighboring site-built communities.
And in the end, responsible reporting did win out: after touring the area, Florida Gov. Jeb Bush was quoted by the media as saying, "the new construction standards for manufactured homes are working." Such news organizations as Fox News, CNN, and the Associated Press were finally forced to admit that homes built to the new codes didn't budge an inch in the 145 mph winds recorded at Punta Gorda.
Despite the public mis-perception and media misinformation, the FACT is that modern manufactured homes, intelligently engineered and well-built, are fully the equal to other building types when it comes to safety and security.
VIDEOS: New Generation of Manufactured Homes
Watch the quality of construction of the modern manufactured home.
Starting from the floor up these improvements provide up to
a 100% increase in strength against uplift. Automation in the
home's construction insures maximum strength...better energy
efficiency...all topped with solid roof sheeting.
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If you still have any lingering doubt about the strength of a post 1999 manufactured home to weather any storm, you owe it to yourself to visit the BuiltStronger.com website.