HUD Publishes Proposed Installation Standard; Other MHIA Provisions Move Forward
On April 26, HUD published its long-awaited proposed model installation standard for manufactured homes. Following a 60-day public comment period, HUD plans on publishing a final rule before the end of the year in compliance with the requirements of the Manufactured Housing Improvement Act of 2000 (MHIA). All community owners are encouraged to review the proposed standard since it will impact installation of homes in communities once adopted by HUD. The proposed standard does not make a distinction between homes installed in communities and those on private property.
The final standard will be used as the basis for determining whether state installation programs are in compliance with the MHIA, and it will also be the standard in effect in those states that do not adopt their own standard (the “default states”). Of particular concern to community owners is a provision that would require all footings to be below frost level unless a monolithic slab designed to ASCE 32 is used. The industry has 60 days to provide comments. MHI is preparing comments on the proposed installation rule and its draft comments will be distributed to the membership at least three weeks prior to the comment deadline. A copy of the proposed standard can be downloaded from the MHI website at www.manufacturedhousing.org. A summary of the proposal will also be available on the MHI website shortly.
At a recent meeting of HUD’s Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC), there was a discussion on HUD’s enforcement of the model installation standard in the default states. HUD indicated that it would not preempt local jurisdictions from implementing more stringent requirements for home installations. However, members of the MHCC objected to HUD’s plans, and MHI plans to work with the MHCC to ensure that HUD preempts local jurisdictions in default states from requiring more stringent criteria than what is provided under the model installation standard.
Also at the meeting, HUD said it plans to publish its proposed rule for the remainder of the installation program (training & licensing of installers and inspections) sometime in mid-summer. HUD also provided a status on the ground anchor assembly test protocol that will permit universal acceptance of ground anchor assemblies across the country. Assemblies would be tested and labeled for certain soil classifications that could be used in any state as long as the soil conditions are determined at the installation site.
With respect to the MHIA’s dispute resolution requirements, HUD said that although its proposed rule would require states to include the consumer in the process, HUD officials stated that it would waive this requirement in the final rule. The MHCC passed a resolution stating that the consumer should be invited as an observer only. HUD indicated that the proposed rule is nearing internal department clearance and should be published mid-summer.
On the topic of the final status of the first set of proposed standards changes to the HUD Code, HUD announced that the controversial roof truss test protocol would be sent back to the MHCC for further review. HUD also indicated it would not accept the deletion of the formaldehyde health notice posting in HUD-Code homes, even though a study by the Manufactured Housing Research Alliance supported removing the notice. HUD, however, did promised to revisit the formaldehyde notice issue and what additional information or testing would be required on the topic for removal of the notice.
The “On-Site Completion” proposed rule has not made it out of HUD’s internal department clearance as yet. Any proposed rule will not be published until the installation program and dispute resolution program proposed rules are made available for public comment.
Subpart I reform discussions focused on the definition of ‘service records.’ The goal is to provide a unitary file for manufacturer recording-keeping that would be acceptable to SAA’s and auditors. A motion was passed to provide a more generic description for service records to be maintained by the manufacturer for Subpart I review.
HUD also suggested striking a proposal by the MHCC that would revise the current regulations for determining Subpart I issues. MHCC’s proposal would revise these methods by stating that the defect or safety hazard would need to be introduced during the manufacturing process by the manufacturer, including a person performing work on behalf of the manufacturer or providing a component on behalf of the manufacturer. The MHCC plans to continue its efforts on Subpart I reform.
The MHCC scheduled its next meeting for Nov. 8 – 10, 2005, in Alexandria, Va, at which time HUD anticipates the publication of all proposed rules relating to the implementation of the Act. For further information contact Mark Nunn at 703-558-0665 or email@example.com.