Manufactured Housing Research Alliance (MHRA)

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The Manufactured Housing Research Alliance (MHRA) has been leading cooperative PATH research in manufactured housing since 1999, and the organization became the research arm of the Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) on January 1, 2000. MHRA is a nonprofit organization that works to improve the building methods and construction of manufactured homes. Below is a listing of some of the activities MHRA has conducted with PATH and its partners.


  • Together with PATH and FEMA, develop new manufactured housing foundation systems suitable for flood hazard sites. Construct prototypes of those designs most likely to be commonly used and value-engineer them with respect to cost and performance. Publish the designs in a guidebook of design criteria and pre-engineered solutions for use by industry.
  • With PATH, investigate the effectiveness of current whole house ventilation standards and evaluate typical system performance. Evaluate and recommend alternative ventilation strategies that provide a continuous exchange of indoor and outdoor air.
  • With PATH, investigate the potential to improve home performance through alternative attic configurations, including unvented attic designs. Research how attic construction may be optimized by climate to improve moisture control, conserve energy, and minimize ice damming, while maintaining the integrity of the roof system. Demonstrate and test promising candidate designs with respect to performance and cost.
  • With PATH, improve the longevity and performance of construction adhesives and sealants in manufactured housing construction. Conduct a preliminary investigation to identify and characterize the opportunities to improve home durability and strength, reduce construction cost and environmental impact, and improve the plant environment through the use of advanced adhesives and sealants.

  • With the North American Steel Framing Alliance (NASFA), develop and test a steel framing prototype for manufactured housing plants. Using the designs developed under this PATH/MHRA project, manufacturer Karsten Homes is erecting a plant to produce homes entirely of cold-formed steel. The homes will be sold primarily to Native Americans and erected by Habitat for Humanity. This joint research helped push Karsten’s plans forward; representing a huge commitment to what for this industry is a radical change in technology.
  • Demonstrate proper air distribution system design and installation techniques through a series of intensive in-plant testing and redesign projects. Diagnosticians and experts in air distribution systems worked with plant personnel in a small, yet representative group of manufacturing companies to evaluate their current practices, identify methods to improve performance, and test the results. MHRA will facilitate the spread of these techniques throughout the industry.
  • With HUD PD&R;, conduct research on moisture problems in manufactured homes including laboratory testing to identify factors that contribute to moisture damage. Build and evaluate alternative construction assemblies designed to eliminate moisture problems and publish the results.
  • With PATH, develop roadmapping strategies for manufactured housing research by identifying and defining the areas most important to achieving PATH goals in manufactured housing. As part of this effort, define a series of integrated and needs-driven initiatives to be conducted through a private-public partnership. Involve a broad cross-section of representatives from the private and public sectors in the roadmapping process.

  • With PATH, eliminate technical and code barriers to the use of HUD-Code housing in new single family attached construction. Recommend changes to the HUD standards and strategies for navigating the local approval process for these homes.
  • Facilitate the construction of single family attached demonstration projects using HUD-code construction technology. Identify single family attached demonstration developments, solicit interested co-sponsors, and select home manufacturers and developers. Work with the developers and manufacturers to complete the project. Conduct post-project satisfaction surveys and analysis of the process and final product. Publicize the results.
  • With PD&R;, seek methods to eliminate moisture problems in manufactured homes in hot, humid climates by: conducting a literature survey of residential moisture issues; characterizing existing moisture problems in hot and humid climates; investigating control homes showing no evidence of moisture problems; and establishing relationships between building characteristics and moisture problems.

  • With PATH, develop and evaluate low-cost, lightweight, high-performance, steel-framing as an alternative technology for manufactured homes. Plan and gather information through a preliminary feasibility study. Develop short-term strategies for using steel framing in HUD-Code homes.
  • With PATH, research moisture damage sources and develop solutions. Conduct a field evaluation of recent moisture control problems experienced in manufactured homes. Present results of evaluations in a document illustrating moisture control problems found in manufactured homes, and outline proven techniques for avoiding such problems.
  • With PD&R;, develop ways to improve foundation systems for manufactured homes. Develop new and more effective foundation systems, and assist in the technology demonstration and early commercialization of these systems.
  • Build on and continue the preliminary work undertaken with Manufactured Housing Institute (MHI) to improve current foundation installation practices. Publish a guide to manufactured home foundation systems for use by industry.

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