Earliest State Code
North Carolina has been a pioneer in the field of regulations to protect its citizens from unsafe buildings, with a statewide building code in force since 1936. This building code provided local inspectors with clear guidelines for insuring that buildings constructed in their jurisdictions were safe with regard to building, plumbing, mechanical, and electrical systems. However, the building code was primarily directed to site built construction. The modern manufactured home is a factory built unit that is marketed as a finished product, making it difficult or impractical for a local building official to inspect the structure for code compliance.
Mobile Home Code Enforcement
In 1969, the North Carolina General Assembly enacted a law requiring all mobile homes that were manufactured, sold, or offered for sale in North Carolina after July 1, 1970 to be manufactured in accordance with a model code, Standard for Mobile Homes USAS A119.1. This 1969 legislation also preempted the local inspection of mobile homes provided that homes were evaluated, tested and inspected by Underwriters’ Laboratories or a similar agency approved by the North Carolina State Building Code Council.
Many manufacturers chose the factory inspection method which utilized affixed labels as proof of compliance. However, some manufacturers chose to rely on the availability and willingness of local inspectors to accept unlabeled mobile homes. Others simply elected to take the chance that there would be no local inspection of these homes in many areas of North Carolina.
In 1971, the General Assembly revised the 1969 legislation. This revision made it mandatory that all mobile homes manufactured to be sold in North Carolina after September 1, 1971 have a Standard for Mobile Homes USAS A119.1 “Label of Compliance” affixed by an independent, competent, solvent and trustworthy organization approved and licensed by the North Carolina State Building Code Council.
In 1974, the United States congress determined that, in order “to reduce the number of personal injuries and deaths and the amount of insurance cost and property damage resulting from manufactured/mobile home accidents, and to improve the quality and durability of manufactured/mobile homes”, it would be necessary to establish federal construction safety standards. These standards were implemented through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) effective June 15, 1976, and are entitled Part 3280, Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards.
These standards preempted state jurisdiction over the construction of all manufactured / mobile homes after June 15, 1976. The Commissioner of Insurance retained jurisdiction over the installation of homes throughout the State and has promulgated this edition of the State of North Carolina Regulations for Manufactured Homes (hereafter called “this code”) and previous editions.
Effective August 11, 1982, the HUD officially changed the name “mobile home” to “manufactured home”. The State of North Carolina also adopted this name change on June 27, 1985. It should be noted that the name change did not affect the federal construction standards in any way.
Prior to July 13, 1994, North Carolina was divided into two Wind Zones for the construction and installation of manufactured homes: Zone I (standard) and Zone II (hurricane resistive). Effective July 13, 1994, the federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards required North Carolina to be divided into three Wind Zones: Zone I (standard), Zone II (100 mph), and Zone III (110 mph). All homes with a date of manufacture on or after July 13, 1994 are subject to the requirements for these new Wind Zones.