Written By: Joan Ewing, Op-Ed Writer
There is confusion over just who can certify that a manufactured home foundation is permanent per HUD requirements. The simple answer is this. Only a professional engineer or registered architect can certify permanent foundations on existing manufactured homes whether under the September 1996 Permanent Foundation Guide for Manufactured Homes or the newer HUD Model Installation Rules.
Part of the confusion comes from the HUD manufactured home appraisal form itself, because it specifically requires an appraiser to state whether the home is attached to a permanent foundation. The only responses on the form are “yes” or “no”. However, the proper response should be “an engineering certificate is required” and it should be placed in the comments section. An appraiser does himself/herself no favors at all by answering this question. If they say yes and it is not HUD compliant, they are opening themselves up for a lawsuit and I know of several appraisers who are in legal proceedings over just this issue.
The September 1996 Permanent Foundation Guide for Manufactured Homes is very clear on the requirements. Only a “Licensed Professional” may certify foundations and/or seal drawings. The PFGMH defines licensed professionals as professional engineers or registered architects. The newer HUD Model Installation Rules also allow both engineers and architects to certify foundations.
However, that does not mean the engineer or architect must personally go under the manufactured home. Field technicians routinely collect field data for engineers in many engineering fields and this area is no different. The engineer is ultimately responsible for the information in his report.
Appraisers, home inspectors and any one else who puts in writing whether a foundation meets permanent foundation requirements accepts needless legal liabilities, and, for the most part, don’t get paid a penny more for there services. State engineering boards are very aggressive in contacting home inspectors who imply they can provide engineering certifications on their websites.
About The Author
Joan Ewing - As an op-ed writer and active FHA DE Underwriter for the past 15 years, Joan Ewing is a proud NAMP® Certified Ambassador Loan Processor (NAMP®-CALP). Joan brings years of FHA Government experience to her writings, letting her readers tap into her underwriting knowledge base.