Is your builder using at least HUD Housing standards to build your new home?
HUD housing actually publishes standards they expect builders to follow. Is your custom home builder offering the basic construction requirements that HUD housing builders have to follow on top of your normal IRC codes and local municipality policy.
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By Murray Wennerlund published 11-23-2022 updated 11-23-2022

HUD UNIVERSAL CONSTRUCTION SPECIFICATIONS

The purpose of this section is to outline all relevant specifications and guidelines for Solution 1 Construction Projects. This section is applicable to both repair and reconstruction projects. When the scope of work is derived from Xactimate, and the Xactimate item definition conflicts with the following standards, the more stringent standard will apply. Standard quality items are generally considered as β€˜off-the-shelf’ type items. Program material standards are located at the following link:

GENERAL REQUIREMENTS

  1. Workers Compensation and Liability Insurance.
  2. Builders Risk Insurance.
  3. Complete mobilization and demobilization from assigned site.
  4. Site interior and exterior shall be neat and orderly at the conclusion of each work day.
  5. All materials shall be properly protected from weather, theft, or vandalism.
  6. All materials must be new and unused.
  7. All manufacturer guidelines and installation instructions must be followed.
  8. All specification sheets (appliances, mechanical utilities, hardware, etc.) will be placed into a binder and given to the Applicant no later than at the time of the Final Inspection.
  9. Plumbing fixtures shall be metal bodied. Plastic fixtures are not allowable.
  10. Electrical trim out shall be uniform in color.
  11. Trim joints shall be mitered.
  12. All framing will be #2 Yellow Pine.
  13. Items and/or components being replaced in their entirety shall meet the requirements specified in the reconstruction standards for the corresponding item(s).
  14. Roofing shall conform to the Fortified Roof minimum requirements in the event that replacement of the roof sheathing is required, or if new construction, and must be photographed at each stage. Details can be found at "fortifiedhome.org"
    1. Construction Requirements 7/16 in. minimum roof deck sheathing and 24 in. o.c. maximum rafter framing (Retrofit solutions provided by a professional engineer may be considered).
    2. Existing sheathing shall be re-nailed with 8d ring-shank nails at 6” on-center.
    3. Install minimum 4” wide roof deck flashing tape at all seams and penetration.
    4. Install minimum 30lb felt or equivalent synthetic underlayment, secured with button cap nails at 6” on center along laps and 12” on center in the field. Staples are not allowable.
    5. Drip edge shall be installed over underlayment and fastened at 4” on-center and staggered.
    6. Starter strips shall be self-adhering or secured with roofing cement and shall be installed at eaves and rake. Reversed shingles are not allowable.
    7. Asphalt shingles shall be high-wind rated and impact rated.
    8. Ridge vent shall be designed for applicable wind load. Gable end vents permissible if required by plans however vented soffits and continuous ridge vents must also be provided. Turbine style vents are not allowable.
    9. Documentation Requirements:
      The contractor shall provide the evaluator with in-progress photos with identifiable traits or landmarks of the property showing the following:
      1. Installation of tape or self-adhered membrane
      2. Fastening of underlayment
      3. Fastening of drip edge metal over underlayment
      4. Application of flashing cement along roof edges
      5. Installation of starter strips at eaves
  15. All windows must be Energy Star, double hung vinyl impact resistant windows, and Energy Star single hung windows will be allowable if unable to procure double hung windows. Documentation will be required demonstrating manufacturing and/or shipping delay of double-hung windows. Screens are required on all windows.
  16. Smooth transitions shall exist from ground surfaces to solid surfaces. Example: gravel should be graded up to finished height of driveway.
  17. All light fixtures will need to be LED or use LED bulbs to obtain ENERGY STAR certification, and shall include lamps recommended by light fixture manufacturer.
  18. Exterior doors shall be metal insulated 6-panel style, painted with hardware and matching locksets. Doors shall open to the interior, outswing doors not allowable.
  19. Interior slab doors will match existing doors if any existing doors are to remain, or be wooden, hollow core six-panel style painted with hardware.
  20. Interior doors opening into room shall open towards the nearest perpendicular wall, with clear access to the light switch.
  21. All door components will come from the same manufacturer (e.g. slabs, frames).
  22. Bi-fold doors will match existing doors or be wooden, hollow core, 3-panel per slab painted with hardware.
  23. Pocket doors shall have locking mechanism installed. Double doors shall be fitted with roller ball catch with matching finish.
  24. Drywall will be Β½ inch, minimum level 3 finish, 5/8 inch on ceilings. Water rock will be installed in bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms around plumbing rough-ins, sinks / vanities, showers, and toilets.
  25. Hard trim edges (e.g. window stool/sill) shall be rounded/softened.
  26. Flooring will be FHA approved standard-grade carpet and padding in bedrooms only and standard grade vinyl sheet/plank flooring throughout the remaining areas. Must allow color options on carpet, wood-look vinyl, tile-look vinyl, and plank flooring. Homeowner may elect vinyl sheet/plank flooring in any and all rooms. Floor material must be of a type and thickness compliant with HUD material standards. Floor transitions must be ADA compliant as required.
  27. Kitchen cabinets will be standard grade, prefinished, base and wall with hardware.
  28. Cabinet shelves shall be installed when cabinets are new.
  29. Unless otherwise specified, all painted items shall have one coat of primer and two coats of finish paint.
  30. All interior paint will be standard white flat finish. No custom colors or finishes. Exterior paint will be color-matched as close as possible to existing color scheme. Exact match is not guaranteed. Where paint is deferred, the contractor shall install one coat of either tinted primer or paint &; primer in one. Seams, joints, miters, edges, etc. shall be caulked and smooth.
  31. Wiring shall not be left unsecured or exposed within the living space.
  32. Bathroom vanity light fixtures and/or mirrors shall be installed center to the vanity or pedestal.
  33. Refrigerator door shall open away from the kitchen space.
  34. Plug-in style CO detectors not allowable.Β 

In Louisiana elevation of your home is going to become common in all new builds. Often you'll hear HUD requires a home to be elevated 2 feet above FEMA Base Flood Elevation (BFE) to start. After you read the new rate calculations many homeowners will opt to build BFE + 3 feet to be eligible for less costly flood insurance rates.Β 

To build a home elevated in Louisiana at HUD standards the cost for elevation and the home should be roughly $157.25 per square foot of living space. We can argue about elevating living and builders that charge the same price per square foot of living space as they do for building porches. In Louisiana when you elevate your best feature of your new home is it's large covered porches but without walls, heat, air, etc. they should never cost as much as your living space. Be sure you get that in writing when you're building a new home to better or equal to HUD housing standards.Β 

GREEN AND RESILIENT BUILDING STANDARDS

  • Green and Resilient Building Standards Guidance Flyer (Version 1, 09/29/22)
  • Rehabilitation: Green and Resilient Building Standard Certification (Version 1, 09/29/22)
  • Reconstruction: ENERGY STAR Certified Home Certification (Version 1, 09/29/22)
  • IBHS Fortified Roof Certification (Version 1, 09/29/22)
  • IBHS Fortified Gold Certification (Version 1, 09/29/22)Β 

Β 

*Drywall Level III finish β€œLEVEL 3:

All joints and interior angles shall have tape embedded in joint compound and shall be immediately wiped with a joint knife leaving a thin coating of joint compound over all joints and interior angles. One (1) separate coat of joint compound shall be applied over all joints and interior angles. Fastener heads and accessories shall be covered with two (2) separate coats of joint compound. The surface shall be smooth and free of tool marks and ridges.

Β  Β  β€’ Typically specified in appearance areas that are to receive heavy- or medium-texture finished (spray or hand applied) before final painting, or where heavy-duty/commercial grade wallcoverings are to be applied as the final decoration. This level of finish is not recommended for smooth wall designs or applications where light textures, non-continuous textures, or lightweight wallcoverings are applied." Resource: CertainTeed What are the recommended levels of finish?