Manufactured home HUD tags and data plates are needlessly confusing and hard to understand. There are several words used to describe each thing and the words used doesn’t necessarily make much sense.
Add a serial number and a certification number into the mix and you have an even more confusing mess. Hopefully, this article will explain everything in simple terms.
Manufactured Home HUD Tags and Other Nonsense
In the manufactured home world, manufactured home HUD tags and Data Plates are confusing because a plate is not a plate and a tag really isn’t technically a tag:
A certificate is not the same as a plate or a manufactured home HUD tag, but it is displayed on a tag, and a tag is different from a data plate but has the same information as a certificate.
Understand? Me, either!
To simplify it all, remember that there are only 2 main labels attached to a factory-built home: a manufactured home HUD tag and a Data Plate.
In addition to the two labels, there are 2 main numbers used in the manufactured home industry: a serial number and a certification number. The certification number is stamped onto the HUD tag. The serial number is not.
Manufactured Home HUD Tags 101
A manufactured home HUD tag is a metal plate that is riveted onto the exterior of the home. It has a certification label number stamped into it.
Manufactured home HUD tags are also called construction code labels, certification labels, and HUD labels.
There should be a red metal tag with silver text riveted to the rear exterior of each section of every manufactured home built since 1976.
This metal tag has 3 letters and 6 numbers stamped into it. It gets confusing because there are several terms used when referring to this metal tag. They come from the fact that the certification number is stamped onto the HUD tag or HUD label.
Here are a few of the different names I’ve seen used for this metal tag:
- The HUD Tag
- The HUD Construction Code Label
- The HUD Certification Label
- The HUD Label
If that’s not confusing enough, the HUD website plainly states that the metal must be red with silver lettering. So, why are there black labels and silver labels?
The best explanation I could find is that the red paint sometimes chips off and the different color is simply based on whatever kind of metal the factory used to make the tag.
What Information is Displayed on Manufactured Home HUD Tags?
Manufactured Home HUD Tags, as I will call them, are the metal plaques attached to the exterior of your home that is 2″ wide and 4″ long.
One resource I found states the tag must be placed one foot above the bottom and one foot from the edge of the back of each section of a manufactured home.
Manufactured home HUD tags have the same paragraph on every manufactured home in the US:
The manufacturer certifies to the best of the manufacturer’s knowledge and belief that this manufactured home has been inspected in accordance with the requirements of Department of Housing and Urban Development and is constructed in conformance with the federal manufactured home construction and safety standards in effect on the date of manufacture. See data plate.
Within the first sentence of that metal tag, there are 3 letters, a dash, and then 6 numbers. These are different for every manufactured home in the country. The number and letter sequence is the certification label number (if I’m understanding this correctly).
This means that the home was inspected in the factory before it left and met all the requirements set by HUD in the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards law.
Per HUD’s online portal, the first three letters mean:
The label number shall be etched or stamped with a 3 letter designation which identifies the production inspection primary inspection agency and which the Secretary shall assign.
What exactly does “the production inspection primary inspection agency’ mean?
It’s the third party inspection agency that inspected the home at the factory.
The 6 digit number is simply stamped sequentially by the label maker and used as an identifier for the home.
Related: The Directory of Mobile Home Manuals
Manufactured Home Data Plates 101
A manufactured home Data Plate isn’t a plate, it’s a sheet of paper inside your kitchen cabinet or bedroom closet.
What is a Data Plate?
A Data Plate is a very important white paper that has a bunch of really important information and a simple line map of the United States on it.
The paper is usually 8.5″ x 11″ and looks like this:
The Data Plate will include the following information:
- Manufacturer, or builders, name, and address.
- Date the home was built.
- Serial number
- Model number
- Code Certification – Identifies the Federal HUD Manufactured Housing Code in effect at time of construction (Source)
- Roof loads, floor Loads, wind loads (this is vital information because manufactured homes must be built to withstand certain wind speeds based on the region of the country it was intended to be installed)
- Equipment installed into the home (brands, models)
- The third party inspection agency that inspected and labeled the home at the factory (inspectors cannot work for the builders)
- HUD Label Number: As mentioned above, the first 3 letters are the third party inspector that inspected, passed, and labeled the home at the factory. For example, GEO means it was inspected by Georgia and the label’s number will provide the exact factory information based on records. A few more examples:
- HWC = Hilborn, Werner, Carter & Associates, Inc.
- PFS = PFS Corporation
- NTA = NTA, Inc.
- RAD = RADCO
- TRA = T. R. Arnold and Associates, Inc.
- GEO = the state of Georgia
- TEN = the state of Tennessee
(a) The name and address of the manufacturing plant in which the manufactured home was manufactured;
(b) The serial number and model designation of the unit, and the date the unit was manufactured;
(c) The statement: This manufactured home is designed to comply with the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards in force at the time of manufacture;
(d) A list of the certification label(s) number(s) that are affixed to each transportable manufactured section under §3280.8;
(e) A list of major factory-installed equipment, including the manufacturer’s name and the model designation of each appliance;
(f) Reference to the roof load zone and wind load zone for which the home is designed and duplicates of the maps as set forth in §3280.305(c).
This information may be combined with the heating/cooling certificate and insulation zone map required by §§3280.510 and 3280.511. The Wind Zone Map on the Data Plate shall also contain the statement:
This home has not been designed for the higher wind pressures and anchoring provisions required for ocean/coastal areas and should not be located within 1500′ of the coastline in Wind Zones II and III, unless the home and its anchoring and foundation system have been designed for the increased requirements specified for Exposure D in ANSI/ASCE 7–88.
(g) The statement::
This home has—has not—(appropriate blank to be checked by manufacturer) been equipped with storm shutters or other protective coverings for windows and exterior door openings. For homes designed to be located in Wind Zones II and III, which have not been provided with shutters or equivalent covering devices, it is strongly recommended that the home be made ready to be equipped with these devices in accordance with the method recommended in the manufacturers printed instructions.
(h) The statement::
‘‘Design Approval by’’, followed by the name of the agency that approved the design.
Where is the Data Plate Located?
By federal law, all manufactured homes must have a data plate attached inside the home. It can be put in several different places:
- inside of a cabinet door in the kitchen
- the back wall of the small bedroom closet or master bedroom closet
- inside your water heater closet
- on the inside of a bathroom cabinet door
*DATA PLATES SHOULD NEVER BE REMOVED *
If you replace your cabinets or plan to remove the wall that has the Data Plate you should carefully remove and attach the paper to a different area of the home (in another cabinet or closet, for example).
You should protect the Data Plate, by all means necessary. Losing it can keep you from financing, selling, improving, or repairing your home. Some professionals suggest adding a thick clear piece of laminate over it so that it cannot fall off or be destroyed.
How to Get a New Data Plate or ‘Performance Verification Certificate’
If you are missing your data plate and need it to meet your state or local laws for property sells, improvements, etc. you will need to request and pay for a new one through the IBTS.
Institute for Building Technology and Safety
The IBTS, or Institute for Building Technology and Safety, is a long-term HUD subcontractor that handles all requests for missing manufactured home Data Plates. If you need a new Data Plate for a manufactured home you will submit the request directly to the IBTS, not HUD. Oh, you will also be paying the IBTS for the new data plate and it isn’t cheap. The basic certification is $50 and if you need it expedited you get to pay $100.
Manufactured Home Serial Numbers 101
We aren’t quite finished, yet! Your manufactured home has a serial number assigned to it and it’s important for many reasons.
Your serial number will be clearly displayed on your home’s Data Plate but it will also be stamped into the steel cross member that the hitch is attached to for each section of the home.
If your home is a double wide, it will have the same serial number but there will be an A used for one section and B for the other section.
In most states, the serial number and the VIN, or vehicle identification number will be the same thing.
What Does Each Digit Mean in the Serial Number?
I get this question at least a few times every month. Fortunately, Mcgarry and Madsen designed a handy image that explains each digit in a manufactured home serial number:
- The first three digits represent the factory where that home was built.
- After the three digits, there are two letters that represent the state where the home was built.
- After the state abbreviation, you have the six digits that represent the manufactured home’s serial number.
- Finally, you have the A or B (or maybe C if it’s a triple wide) that represents each section of the home. Single wides would have only an A.
Other Resources and Helpful Information
I had to do a lot of research for this article and I probably still got a few things wrong. The following websites and PDF’s were used during my research. If you want to learn more about the HUD laws, tags, Data Plates, and serial numbers you will want to visit the following links:
This PDF from the NC state agency was most helpful. It’s written in an easy-to-read manner and has great photos (many of which I’ve used in this article).
Of course, HUD is an invaluable resource for anything about manufactured homes. This page was very helpful during my research.
McGarry and Madsen is a manufactured home inspection company based in Florida. They have a blog that I find myself checking constantly. Their knowledge is invaluable and I used a couple images found on their site.
Thank you so much for reading Mobile and Manufactured Home Living!