Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a manufactured home, a modular home, a ready-to-move home and a prefab home?

There is some confusion about the differences between manufactured and other prefabricated home types. Manufactured homes are no longer referred to as mobile homes; in fact, they aren’t really mobile anymore! Adding to the confusion has been the rise of the term modular home, and even though manufactured homes are also built in factories, there are differences between modular and manufactured homes, even though both are considered manufactured.

  • Manufactured homes are built in a factory on a rigid steel frames, and are typically set on concrete blocking or cement or metal pylons. Manufactured homes are built to Canadian Standards Association (CSA) Z-240, a stand-alone building code that sets out construction requirements, from building practices to materials. Z240 homes are built on rigid steel frames which remain the home for its lifetime. Standard specifications include 2 x 8 floor joists on a steel frame, 2 x 6 exterior walls, 7 ½’ side walls, vaulted ceilings, and gypsum drywall covered interior walls.
  • Park model homes are manufactured homes built to CSA Z241. The park model standard is a stand-alone building code similar to the CSA Z240; but  Z241 homes are intended for seasonal occupancy and are constructed with this in mind. However, these park models can be upgraded with superior insulation and heating systems which can then accommodate longer occupancy periods.
  • Modular homes are built in a factory with a wood floor system and are designed to go on a concrete foundation, either a full basement or crawlspace. These homes are built to Canadian Standards Association A-277. In addition they are built to meet BC Building Code. The standard specifications include engineered floor trusses, 2 x 6 exterior walls, 8′ & 9′ ceilings and primed and painted drywall. Once built, the modules or sections are then transported to the building site and put together on a permanent foundation and anchored.
  • Ready-to-Move Home (RTM) This type of structure is also constructed in a building centre or factory and is hauled to the home site where it is anchored to the foundation. It’s similar to the modular home, but it is built in one piece. Once the home is firmly set on the foundation, it’s completed with the addition of a heating and cooling system and stairs.

How are the certifications identified on manufactured and modular homes?

In newer homes, a plate adjacent to the electrical panel denotes the certification type and regulating agency. A specification plate is also located in the home which again denotes the certification type, inspection agency, timing of construction and other important details including snow-load capabilities and electrical capacities. In older homes, certification plaques were placed in a minimum two locations generally by the main entrance, a kitchen cabinet or near the electrical panel.

It is extremely important to be able to confirm the certification of the home. If the labels cannot be found in the normal locations, homeowners should check the purchase agreement documents for this type of information. In some cases, the Manufactured Home Registry system or local government administration office may have this information on file. Worst case, the home will need to have an electrical inspection conducted.

How is my investment in my manufactured home protected?

British Columbia is the only jurisdiction in Canada that protects a person’s investment in a manufactured home by having a central register of ownership details and controlling the movement of homes within B.C.

Under the Manufactured Home Act (previously the Mobile Home Act), no sale, transfer or purchase of a manufactured home in B.C. is effective unless the transaction is registered with the Manufactured Home Registry. The registry protects a person’s investment in a manufactured home by:

  • Maintaining a central register of manufactured home ownership details
  • Controlling the movement of manufactured homes in B.C.
  • Improving the security of lenders in financing purchases of manufactured homes.

What are the types of warranty coverage offered on factory homes in British Columbia?

In B.C., factory-built housing is currently exempt from Homeowners Protection Office requirements because the manufacturer is subject to third-party inspection and, further, the factory provides its own warranty. The standard home warranty on factory-built homes in B.C. is termed a 1 &10 warranty, which provides for coverage on all components of the home during the first year, and then anything structural over the subsequent 10-year period following purchase.

These warranties are typically provided by an independent home-warranty provider who is responsible for ensuring the warranty coverage remains in place in the event the manufacturer ownership changes or ceases operation. It is critically important that purchasers receive an in-depth briefing of the home warranty provisions during the home purchase negotiations phase and especially which independent warranty firm is involved.

How do financial institutions approach factory-built housing?
In the case of financing on the typical home intended for permanent siting on owned land, financial institutions approach factory-built housing in no different way than the typical mortgage on any type of home. To find out more about financing options, click here.

However, if the  home remains within the Manufactured Home Registry and is typically a Z240 home in a manufactured home park community, the financial Institution will treat the home on a chattel basis. Chattels in B.C. are addressed through the Personal Property Protection Act and the home is registered within this system. Different terms apply for chattels versus standard mortgages. In these cases, the financial institution will required signing of a site lease agreement by the community park manager to ensure access to the home by the institution in the case of payment default.

How will my manufactured home be assessed?

In British Columbia, your manufactured home will be assessed and taxed like other residential property. The assessed value of the property won’t include the value of the land if your manufactured home is:

  • in a manufactured home park not on reserve land, or
  • on land privately owned by someone other than yourself.

If you move your manufactured home anytime during the year, your property will continue to be assessed and taxed in its previous location for the year. Next year it will be assessed and taxed in its new location.

What legislation is my manufactured home covered under?

In British Columbia, if you own a manufactured home and rent the site it sits on, your tenancy falls under the Manufactured Home Park Tenancy Act (MHPTA). However, if you are renting a mobile home within a manufactured home park, you are covered by the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA).

What if I want to move my manufactured home?

To move your manufactured home in British Columbia, you must get a tax clearance certificate and submit an application to transport.

Can a factory built home be placed on a basement or crawl space foundation?

Both a manufactured and a modular home can be placed on a basement or crawl space. The specifications for doing so vary from region to region, but both are possible.

Are there standard sizes for manufactured homes.

As a general rule, manufactured  homes come in single-wides and double-wides. Single-wides are 18 metres or less wide and 27 metres or less long. They can be towed to their site as a single unit. Double-wides are 6.1 metres or more more wide and 27 metres or more long. They are towed to their site in two separate units, then joined together. Triple-wides and even homes with four, five, or more units are also built, but they are not as common.

Are all manufactured homes alike?

Manufactured homes are definitely not all alike! Many may be similar in shape and size; however, you might think the same of certain types of site-built homes, such as a ranch home or Craftsmen home. In fact, manufactured homes are increasing available with a wide range of interior and exterior options, and vary from luxury models with hardwood floors, whirlpool baths, stonework fireplaces and walk-in closets to recreational park models.

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