Basement Foundation for a Manufactured Home

Topic: 
Basements and Crawl Spaces
Question: 

We are preparing for the builder of our factory manufactured home to construct the basement. What things should we expect from him? How long should the foundations stand and cure before the house is put on it? How long does it take to stake out the house? What other things should we look for to be good consumers expecting an excellent product? Thanks

Answer: 

My greatest concerns regarding this (and almost any construction project) has to do with the qualifications of the builder. Does this builder know how to build basements? How many has he/she built? What is the quality of the work? is the builder licensed, bonded, insured and solvent?

These questions are of even greater import when dealing with manufactured homes and the folks who deal with manufactured homes. My experience and that of many other's suggests that the quality of manufactured homes is not as good as that of site built homes. Many manufactured homes are considered semi permanent structures. And many of the components are of poor quality, e.g. plumbing fixtures, cabinets and surfaces.

The concept of manufactured homes is great: build a home under climate controlled factory conditions and thus build a better quality and less expensive structure. The reality is often: build an inexpensive home using poor quality material, build it fast, don't worry about quality and hire used car dealers to sell the homes... No, I am not a great fan!?

On top of all that, I have found that most manufactured homes are not installed on a basement and thus the construction of basements is not a specialty skill that is likely to be found among manufactured home builders.

Now for some of your specific questions:

  • A good set of plans and detailed specifications are the basis for any construction contract.

  • Depending upon the complexity of the site, staking and excavation could take as little as one work day.

  • Concrete (usually) requires about 30 days to fully cure, but construction on top of the concrete can usually start within days after the foundation is poured.

    One last question: Are you really dealing with the builder of the home? or, are you working with a dealer or installer of the homes? I recall one sad case regarding the purchase of a manufactured home in which the manufacturer, the regional rep., dealer, installer and a sub contractor all pointed fingers at one another, and no one accepted the responsibility for the defective product and installation.

    George