Definition for Manufactured Home, Mobile Home, Modular Home, Park Model RV?

definition of a modular home
Amherst by New Era Homes

Manufactured Home, Modular Home, Panelized Home, Mobile Home, RV – A Definition.

All these terms! What is the difference?

People live in all sorts of different spaces. While home is simply “where you hang your hat,” it can be helpful to know what these industry terms mean. So, whether it is factory built or pre cut, motor home or RV, manufactured home or park model RV – let’s look at the definition of each.

The Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) has a great publication on their website called, Understanding Today’s Manufactured Housing. Let’s start with a definition of Manufactured Homes from that piece:

Manufactured Homes:

These are homes built entirely in the factory, transported to the site. They are installed under a federal building code administered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards (commonly known as the HUD Code) went into effect June 15, 1976. The federal standards regulate manufactured housing design and construction, strength and durability, transportability, fire resistance, energy efficiency and quality. The HUD Code also sets performance standards for the heating, plumbing, air conditioning, thermal and electrical systems. Manufactured housing is the only federally regulated national building code. On-site additions, such as garages, decks, and porches, often add to the attractiveness of manufactured homes and must be built to local, state or regional building codes.

Definition of a Manufactured Home
Kabco Builders

As for a definition of Modular Homes, we will go to Champion Home Builders. Champion Home Builders builds manufactured homes and modular homes. Accordingly, here is their definition of modular construction:

Modular Homes:

definition of a modular home
Amherst by New Era Homes

Modular homes are residences built in a controlled factory environment in sections, or modules, and then transported to the construction site. There, they are installed on permanent foundations and completed by professional installers.

But there’s even more to like about modular homes.

Modular homes can reduce construction time by more than 35 percent, getting you into your new home faster so you can enjoy it longer. Site-built homes can take many weeks to complete, while modular homes are assembled on site and usually finished within a week.

Now, let’s go back to MHI for the next three definitions:

Panelized Homes:

These are factory built homes in which panels a whole wall with windows, doors, wiring and outside siding are transported to the site and assembled. The homes must meet state or local building codes where they are sited.

Pre Cut Homes:

This is the name for factory-built housing in which building materials are factory cut to design specifications, transported to the site and assembled. Precut homes include kit, log and dome homes. These homes must meet local, state or regional building codes.

Mobile Homes:

definition of a pre-HUD home
1968 mobile home for sale on MHVillage in Fort Myers Florida

This is the term used for manufactured homes produced prior to June 15, 1976, when the HUD Code went into effect. By 1970, these homes were built to voluntary industry standards that were eventually enforced by 45 of the 48 contiguous states.

In order to get a definition of Park Model RVs, let’s take a look at Cavco Industries. Cavco builds a variety of products, including manufactured homes, modular homes, park model RVs and cabins and even commercial structures. To that end, they have a great What is a Park Model RV? section on their site that gives this definition:

Park Model RV:

Definition Park Model RV
The Little Hero, a Park Model RV by Cavco Industries.

A park model RV (PMRV) is a unique trailer-type RV that is designed to provide temporary accommodation for recreation, camping or seasonal use. PMRVs (also sometimes referred to as recreational park trailers) are built on a single chassis, mounted on wheels and have a gross trailer area not exceeding 400 square feet in the set -up mode. They are certified by their manufacturers as complying with the ANSI A119.5 standard for recreational park trailers.

Recreational Vehicle or RV

MHVillage doesn’t have many RVs on their site, since they are geared towards Manufactured and Mobile Homes. So, let’s go to for a definition of RVs.

The term “motor home” is often used interchangeably with “RV.” “Motor home,” however, is an informal phrase, used to describe a variety of recreational vehicles, while “recreational vehicle” (or RV) is a technical and legal term. RVs usually mean either a motor vehicle or trailer equipped with some of the amenities of home. Examples include kitchens and bathrooms.

Tiny Homes

You might also be wondering about Tiny Homes and how they fit in. If so, what is the definition of a Tiny Home? We have a great article on the MHVillager all about Tiny Homes: The Difference Between a Tiny House and a Park Model. Plus we also have an article showing some tiny home and park models here: Five Adorable Small and Tiny Home Models We Love.



MHI: Understanding Today’s Manufactured Housing

Champion Home Builders: What are Modular Homes?

Cavco Industries: What is a Park Model RV? What Qualifies as an RV or Motorhome?