Is a Barndominium Considered a Manufactured Home?

Is a Barndominium Considered a Manufactured Home
Is a Barndominium Considered a Manufactured Home

Barndominiums are growing in popularity thanks to their customizability, eco-friendly nature, and cost-efficiency. These metal-sided homes are often ordered in preset designs that can be built by local professionals. This sounds similar to a manufactured home, so are they considered one?

A barndominium is not considered as a manufactured home in the USA. Manufactured homes are assembled in a warehouse and then delivered to the house lot. They must have a permanent chassis that allows the home to be moved. Barndos are assembled after they arrive at the lot, and they are not mobile.

In the following article, we will discuss in greater detail why barndominiums aren’t considered manufactured homes. We will also explore the differences between the two types of dwellings, including building codes, design differences, and movability.

What Is a Barndominium?

A barndominium, or barndo, is a metal barn or warehouse that has been altered to accommodate living quarters. The name of which comes from a combination of barn and condominium. 

The first version of a barndominium was the barnhome. These were wooden homes that had a barn attached to one side that housed the cows, horses, and other large animals. The reason for the attachment was that the body heat from the big mammals would help to keep the house warm in the winter.

Nowadays, barndominiums are luxury dwellings. They can be made from existing barns or made to order from one of the many barndominium manufacturers throughout the United States.

For example, the type of beautiful home that can be created with a barndominium, watch the video below:

What Is a Manufactured Home?

A manufactured home is a home that is built in a large-scale factory and then moved to its destination. The homes are fully constructed in the warehouse and then moved to their intended location.

Manufactured homes are commonly called mobile homes, but their name was changed in 1976 when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development decided that all manufactured homes would have to be built to the HUD (Housing and Urban Development) standard.

Manufactured homes are still commonly referred to as mobile homes, however, and by definition, they are. One of the criteria of a manufactured home is built on a chassis or framework. It allows the home to be moved. The home may only be moved once, or it may be moved multiple times over the years, but either way, the chassis must be there.

Why Isn’t a Barndominium Considered a Manufactured Home?

There are a few key differences between a barndominium and a manufactured home. Some of them are visual, and some have to do with American regulations. We’ll take a closer look at these differences below.

Building Regulations

One of the main differences between barndos and manufactured homes is the regulations surrounding their construction. All manufactured homes have been built to the HUD standard since 1976. This is a nation-wide construction code that overrides all local and state building codes.

Once one of the manufactured homes has been inspected and approved by a HUD representative, no local jurisdictions may force the builders to perform any adjustments.

Barndominiums, however, are built according to the IRC, the International Residential Code. This is the same code that is applied to regular home construction. Barndominiums also have to obey all state, city, and county regulations.

The Permanent Chassis

Another major way in which these two styles of dwellings differ is the chassis. A chassis is a framework on which an object is built and becomes part of the item itself. One of the most common examples of this is in vehicles. The framework is created, and the rest of the car is built around it.

Manufactured homes are required to have a permanent chassis built into the bottom frame of the house. This allows the homes to be moved to the living site and set up into a permanent home. The buildings could potentially be relocated in the future, hence the original name of the mobile home.

Barndominiums, on the other hand, do not have a chassis. These homes are not moved or relocated once they are built. The buildings are permanent fixtures to the basement or ground that they sit upon. If it helps to understand the difference between the two, you can think of barndos like a traditional home with metal sides, and manufactured homes as a large, more comfortable, R.V.

Where They Are Assembled

Another aspect in which these two homes differ is where and when they are assembled. Manufactured homes are fully assembled in a factory before they reach the location or state that they will stay. They are then moved to their destination lot, sitting on wheels, stilts, or a permanent foundation.

Barndominiums can be designed and prefabricated in a factory. They are assembled on-site. This is one reason why barndominiums must adhere to local building codes because the actual building process will happen in the location the home will stay.

Barndos do not have to be prefabricated, though. They can be made from altered or repurposed barns that already exist on a property. Barndominiums also do not need to be made of metal, but it is the most common option when ordering from a manufacturer.

Shape and Size

When it comes to shape, the barndominiums are much more flexible than the manufactured homes. Barndos can be any variety of shape, size, height, or square footage. The homes can be massive 10,000 square foot mansions or cozy 1,500 square foot abodes.

Manufactured homes, however, must follow much stricter boundaries. Since the homes have to be moved on a chassis and therefore driven down a highway, they cannot be wider than 18 feet and are usually a simple rectangle shape.

The standard width of the home varies between 14-18 feet. Some people attach multiple units to create larger homes known as double-wides or even triple-wides. With a triple-wide, you can create a little more dynamic layout, but not nearly as much as with a barndominium.

Height Restrictions

Another way in which the two types of structures differ is with the possible height of the buildings. This is thanks to the different building codes that each dwelling follows.

Barndominiums can be built with impossibly vaulted ceilings, as long as they fall within local building codes. Check out this Texas barndominium that boasts over 20-foot tall ceilings:

Manufactured homes don’t have the same freedom. Again, the entire point of these homes is to be mobile. This means that the structures need to be transportable on state highways. While en route to their new destinations, the homes may have to pass under bridges, overpasses, or go through tunnels.

Because of this, the buildings cannot exceed 13’ 6”. That’s measured from the ground to the topmost point of the ceiling. This is a huge drawback for manufactured homes. Realistically, 9’ is as tall of a ceiling as you’re going to get in one of these structures.


While a barndominium is not a manufactured home, the two structures do share similarities. Customization and affordability are bonuses with both abodes, and both have come a long way since their inception.

Mobile homes are slowly overcoming their negative public image, while luxury barndominiums are on the rise. Barndos do offer more flexibility, however, and could come to replace manufactured homes over time.

Keep all the information discussed in this article in mind if you are thinking about getting a barndo.