Permitting for Modular

What is a modular residence?

A modular residence (referred to as “industrialized housing” under Texas statutes) is a residential structure that is (1) designed for the occupancy of one or more families, (2) constructed in one or more modules or constructed using one or more modular components built at a location other than the permanent site, and (3) designed to be used as a permanent residential structure when the module or the modular component is transported to the permanent site and erected or installed on a permanent foundation system.

A modular residence is NOT  a “manufactured home” (also referred to as mobile homes or trailers, which is not a permanent structure and typically does not sit on a permanent foundation system). Modular residences are regulated in Texas by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR), and manufactured homes are regulated in Texas by a completely different agency (the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs).

Pursuant to TDLR regulations, modular residences must be constructed to the standards of the International Residential Code, which are the same building standards required by Texas municipalities for residences constructed on-site.

Can a city or county prohibit where I construct a modular residence?

NO. Texas statutes do not allow municipalities to adopt regulations that are more restrictive for modular residences than those required for residences constructed on-site; furthermore Texas Statues require that municipal regulations and requirements to be uniformly applied and enforced without distinction as to whether the residence is manufactured off-site or constructed on-site.

TDLR makes it clear that a municipality CANNOT prohibit modular residences from being placed inside city limits or from being placed in areas zoned for residential.

What can a city or county require for my modular residence?

Municipalities may require site and foundation plans which illustrate adherence to, local land use and zoning requirements, building setback and side and rear yard requirements, and landscape requirements. Municipalities may also inspect the foundation and any on-site construction to ensure compliance with the plans and local code, but with respect to the modular residence itself may only conduct a visual inspection of its installation to ensure compliance with the International Residence Code, the International Energy Conservation Cde and the National Electrical Code (which under Texas law control over any conflicting municipal ordinances or requirements) and that there was no damage during transport that needs to be repaired. Each separate modular component will come from the manufacturer with a decal or insignia confirming that it has already been inspected by the TDLR before leaving the manufacturing facility.

With respect to the modular residence and its interior, a municipality may only require designs, plans and specifications from the manufacturer bearing the Texas Industrialized Building Code Council’s stamp of approval.

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