Deciphering the VA Lender’s Handbook Chapter 12 Part 11
The VA will usually only guarantee manufactured homes if they are classified as real estate – which generally means that they are fixed to a permanent foundation and they are located on a permanent lot. There are two types of construction that a manufactured home can fall under: existing construction and proposed/under construction. The VA’s Minimum Property Requirements are slightly different for each of the two cases, and it’s good for you to know the Requirements for whichever type of construction you are planning on working on. The home is classified as existing construction if the foundation has been fully completed and the manufactured home has been installed on it. The home is classified as proposed or under construction if the foundation has not been fully completed and/or the home has not been installed on the foundation.
For manufactured homes classified as existing construction, there are two MPRs that the VA has established. First, the site, manufactured home unit, and other on-site improvements must meet VA MPRs for existing construction described in earlier articles. In other words, being a manufactured home does not exempt it from having to meet all of the basic VA MPRs that the VA has for all existing construction. Second, the manufactured home unit must be properly attached to a permanent foundation system which is constructed to withstand both supporting loads and wind-overturning loads, and is acceptable to the building authority having jurisdiction. In other words, the foundation can’t be the result of you and Uncle Fred taking a wheelbarrow and a bunch of bags of cement mix out to the lot on a Saturday. Both the foundation itself and the way the home is attached to the foundation need to be strong enough to handle any weight or wind pressure that comes its way. In cases where the appraiser has doubts to the acceptability of the foundation and there are no local requirements to set a standard, the appraiser is allowed to require a statement from a registered professional engineer. However, since such statements are usually expensive, the appraiser is counseled not to require one unless they are really necessary.
For a manufactured home that is classified as proposed or under construction, the VA also has two MPRs specifically for them. First, the site and on-site improvements (but not the manufactured unit itself) must meet the requirements outlined in the MPRs for other proposed or under construction properties. Just like the existing manufactured home, the proposed or under construction manufactured home is not exempt from the basic MPRs that the VA has for properties being financed with a VA loan. Second, the manufactured unit must be properly attached to a permanent foundation system which is constructed to withstand both supporting loads and wind-overturning loads, and is acceptable to the building authority having jurisdiction. This requirement must be fulfilled before the home can be occupied by the veteran borrower. If you are interested in getting more information about manufactured home installations, a good place to check is the manufacturer’s installation instructions, which will have a lot of details about how the home should be attached to support vertical loads and anchoring systems to resist horizontal and uplift forces. The following table is taken from the Handbook and has the requirements for the foundation on a proposed or under construction case:
|Piers and Footings||The load-bearing piers and footings must
|Concrete Slabs or Continuous Footings||
|Anchoring Devices||Anchoring devices, adequate to resist all loads, must
Anchoring straps or cables affixed to ground anchors, other than pier footings, will not meet this requirement unless specifically allowed by the building authority of jurisdiction.
|Hurricane Ties||Properties located in Wind Zone II or III (wind speeds in excess of 80 mph) must be provided with diagonal hurricane ties which have been properly engineered for the location, and comply with the requirements of the building authority having jurisdiction.
Important: The installation procedures included in both the manufacturer’s foundation instructions and NCS BCS Handbook A225.1 are not generally adequate for manufactured homes in these areas.
|Flexible Connections for Seismic Activity||Properties located in areas of high seismic activity require special foundation designs to compensate for the effects of ground movement and to provide flexible connections between the foundation system and the manufactured home and all utility connections.
Building authorities in these areas should be consulted for acceptable design features and special code requirements.
|Permanent Perimeter Enclosure||A permanent perimeter enclosure(not “skirting”)with a continuous foundation-type footing will be required only when specifically required by the local building authority. When required, it must be
|Moisture and Humidity Reduction||The reduction of moisture and humidity in an enclosed under floor space is required. Except in arid regions with dry soil conditions, a continuous moisture barrier that covers the natural or excavated ground surface within the perimeter enclosure of the home must be installed.Provisions should also be made to prevent water from entering the crawl space and for the control and diversion of surface water away from the manufactured home.|