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Mobile home trailer tie down capacities

Mobile home trailer tie down capacities

Mobile home trailer tie down capacities

I have gotten pulled into one of these FHA refinace deals on a manufactured home.  My client needs me to certify the foundation is in compliance with the 1996 HUD "Permanent foundation guide to manufactured housing".

It seems to have a few issues.
1.  No lateral force resisting system.
2.  Block was drystacked and then grouted solid  - I don't believe this to be a problem but thought I would list it.
3.  I don't know what type of vertical anchorage they used in the ground.  I know it is the standard 1-1/4" thick strapping secured to the frame of the trailer on the exterior piers of the double wide only.

I can come up with something for #1 above with diagonal cable bracing I figure.  But how do I determine the capacity of the existing anchors (probably helical or cross pins)?  Per the HUD foundation book I need an anchorage capacity of 2210#.

If anyone has any experience or suggestions I would be very appreciative.

RE: Mobile home trailer tie down capacities

How could you risk exposure in what you can't see and didn't witness being built?

I've had to tell my client on occasion that superman couldn't come to take a look.

RE: Mobile home trailer tie down capacities

Depending on the circumstances, the owner or mobile home manufacturer may have some installation instructions available to peruse.  This should be the starting point.  While you cannot testify as to what is below the visible straps unless there are... PICTURES... (I never ask too much do I) you can testify as to what is there and compare it to the HUD requirements.  

If HUD wants numbers that you cannot provide without a limitation of liability (what's that?), then let HUD be the bad guy here.  Never take the responsibility for that which you cannot see.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering

RE: Mobile home trailer tie down capacities

Do not certify any foundation which you have not inspected during construction.  If you do, and something goes wrong or somebody believes something has gone wrong, you could be facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in liability in years to come.  The risk is too great.  Please, don't do it!  

I only wish I had heeded my own advice fifteen years ago.


RE: Mobile home trailer tie down capacities

Mobile home anchors are "off the shelf" galvanized steel helical anchors that are usually about 4 to 6 feet long, and turned into the ground with a pipe through the "eye" or clevis depending on design.  The helical section is usually 8 to 12 inches in diameter.  Capacity depends completely on soil conditions as the shank has much greater capacity than needed.  Go to a local dealer and look at one.

Lateral force resistance is provided by opposing anchors.

Assuming you have something other than loose sand, 2210# is probably not a big deal.  Load test one of them.

RE: Mobile home trailer tie down capacities

I thought I read somewhere that these helical anchors shall not be permitted to be used as a permanent foundation for a mobile home, regardless of the capacity the anchors may possess.  Does your 1996 HUD document allow them?

RE: Mobile home trailer tie down capacities


In my previous job, I had to do these all the freaking time.

The key word they are looking for is "appears"

Below is the wording of the last one I did.  It didn't pass.  Had it passed, I would have replaced the sentences in parantheses with the sentences in brackets.  Hope it helps.
On April 19, 2006, YOUR NAME HERE of YOUR COMPANY'S NAME HERE visited the above referenced property.  The purpose of this visit was to observe the foundation of the residence and determine if it was in compliance with Permanent Foundations Guide for Manufactured Housing, HUD-007487.  

The curtain wall of the residence is present to keep out vermin, meeting the HUD Publication's standards.  The foundation piers appear to be spaced in accordance with the publication.  The transverse lateral ties appear to be spaced per the publication and placed in concrete.  (However, there were no longitudinal tie downs installed.  In order for this residence to be in compliance with HUD publication, HUD-007487 with 1996 revisions, longitudinal tie downs shall be installed.) [The longitudinal tie downs appeared to be installed per the publication.  The foundation of this residence appears to be in compliance with Permanent Foundations Guide for Manufactured Housing, HUD-007487.]

The scope of this report is limited to matters discussed herein.  No opinion is offered and none should be inferred regarding other aspects of either the structure or the structure taken as a whole.   By accepting this report, you, and any other person, persons, or company to whom it is distributed, agree to a strict limitation of liability for YOUR NAME HERE, YOUR COMPANY'S NAME HERE, and its employees, to an amount not to exceed the fee paid in hand.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide you with this service.  Should you have any questions, or if I can be of further assistance to you, please feel free to contact me.

RE: Mobile home trailer tie down capacities

I get phones calls for this on an almost daily basis.  Calls come from homeowners, real estate agents, mortgage companies, etc.

I tell them that your everyday struct eng firm does not have any experience with mobile home tie down systems. But I don't where to direct them. Who should I refer them to?

RE: Mobile home trailer tie down capacities

I was requested to do the FHA certification once.  I don't like telling people to go away, so I looked into it a little bit.  
Apparently most home inspectors will do the certification for a low price, so everybody wins.  The home inspectors don't have to worry as much about getting sued.
The engineer doesn't get the liability and the potential homeowner gets a reasonable cost for filling out government forms.

RE: Mobile home trailer tie down capacities

Thank everyone so much for all of your posts they have been helpfull.  A couple of replies and comments.

The client has to have an engineer due the observations according to the loan officer.

I actually do have pictures and documentations on the 3' deep pier footers.  As for the vertical anchorage I see no reason why we can't remove one see what it is and test it's capacity at another location close to the trailer for further verification.

nutte:  It took quite some digging but I finally found what you may have been refering to Page A-6 Note #4 under C1 foundation type.  This does say screw in anchors are not permitted??????  I don't know really what sense that makes as I thought they were the most prevelant and certainly can provide quite a bit of capacity if you have decent soil.  These certaily provide more capacity than the barbed stakes that I have also seen used.  

I think if I load test the anchorage and have him install the longitudinal and transverse diagonal cable bracing.  I believe I will sleep well at night.

ChipB: Thanks a bunch for the wording to also further help protect my butt.

RE: Mobile home trailer tie down capacities

K2skis, my point was that despite the strength that screw-in anchors have, they are specifically excluded from being used as "permanent foundations."  Yes, they are extremely common, meaning that most mobile homes do not have "permanent foundations" according to this document.

RE: Mobile home trailer tie down capacities

Good point. How would a mobile home have a permanent foundation?  I guess by it's pure definition it can't.

But, we've all seen mobile homes have their wheels/axels taken off and set upon CMU piers and/or a perimeter block wall. At what point does the mobile home become an immobile home?

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