You may have heard of manufactured housing or what are commonly referred to as mobilehomes, but have you ever heard of factory-built housing? In its simplest form, factory-built housing is a factory constructed version of a site-built dwelling. Other than the fact the construction of factory-built housing takes place in a manufacturing facility, there is no difference between factory-built and site-constructed dwelling in its final form. The homes are designed and constructed with the same materials and use the same building codes as site-constructed dwellings.
This gives factory-built homes some definite advantages over site-built homes. The factory system combines engineering know-how and factory-production methods to design and build homes more efficiently and with greater quality control. The efficiency results in lower costs. Plus, building a home indoors means no concerns about weather, faster construction and less waste.
So what is HCD’s role with regard to factory-built housing? HCD is essentially the building department for the home construction work done in the factory and has administrative standards for design and inspection approval of the homes in the manufacturing facility. These rules are enforced by HCD-approved third party agencies in factories all over the country with HCD oversight. All factory-built products for sale in California must bear HCD’s insignia of approval prior to leaving the factory. Most of the factories HCD deals with are located in California, Oregon, Arizona, Utah, and Idaho, but some are in Canada, the Mid-West, and even overseas.
HCD’s role concludes when the home leaves the factory. Once the factory-built dwelling arrives at its destination, the units are assembled on-site under the authority of the local building department. The local building departments, not HCD, are responsible for inspecting the assembly and installation of factory-built units.
Factory-built housing presents an excellent opening for innovation in meeting HCD’s mission to preserve and expand safe and affordable housing opportunities for Californians. In furtherance of this, the department is pursuing ways to optimize how factory-built homes fit into the full suite of HCD activities (policy, financing and regulation) to make the most of this industry’s potential to produce much needed housing to Californians.