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Manufactured Home Assembler

Manufactured Home Assembler

Education and Training: None

Salary: Median—$11.64 per hour

Employment Outlook: Poor

Definition and Nature of the Work

Manufactured home assemblers are factory workers who specialize in building transportable houses. The homes they construct are in great demand as efficient, economical alternatives to conventional homes that are built at a construction site. They are also popular because the construction is completed under factory supervision, with each step monitored according to federal and state guidelines. The homes come with warranties, which vary by company.

These homes are unlike mobile homes of the past. They are usually moved just once, from the factory to the living site. A variety of floor plans are available. Many of today's homes are manufactured in sections, which are trucked to the homeowner's lot and assembled into one building. Through the use of computer-assisted design, manufacturers can even customize the homes to fit the taste and needs of each homebuyer. However, customizing can reduce the cost savings that is achieved through factory construction. According to the industry, a home manufactured in a factory costs from ten to thirty-five percent less per square foot than a comparable site-built house.

Many pieces of the manufactured home are prefabricated to make assembly easy and consistent. The assembler's work begins with construction of the chassis that serves as the home's supporting foundation. Below the floor of the home, assemblers install thermal insulation and a network of water and sewer pipes and ducts that will supply heating and air-conditioning. Assemblers then build and install the floor, which they attach to the chassis. Next they secure the walls to the floor, beginning with the innermost walls and working outward to the siding. The upper insulation, beams, and roof are added last.

When the basic structure is completed, the plumbing, wiring, heating, air-conditioning units, and appliances are installed and connected. The finishing touches, such as floor coverings, moldings, and hardware, are added. The house is then ready to be sold and transported by truck or tractor to the designated site.

Education and Training Requirements

Manufactured home assembly is generally considered semiskilled labor. It has no particular education requirements, although a high school diploma is often preferred. Training is provided on the job.

Getting the Job

Manufactured home factories are located in nearly all states. They are listed in the Yellow Pages or at state employment offices. Local newspaper ads may also list job openings. Beginners are accepted readily if a factory is in need of workers.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Workers who learn the various assembly processes thoroughly and have good interpersonal skills may be promoted to group supervisors. Those who earn college degrees may become factory superintendents, engineers, or designers in the industry.

While the number of manufactured homes being purchased is increasing substantially, especially in rural areas, opportunities in this occupation are expected to increase more slowly than the average for all jobs through 2014. The future of the industry will depend, in part, on the cost of conventional housing.

Working Conditions

Assemblers generally work a forty-hour, five-day week. However, they may be subject to layoffs during slow periods. The job entails a moderate amount of physical activity and some discomfort during summer months, when factories become overheated and cannot be air-conditioned sufficiently because of their size. Assembly requires workers to repeat the same type of work throughout the day.

Where to Go for More Information

Manufactured Housing Institute
2101 Wilson Blvd., Ste. 610
Arlington, VA 22201-3062
(703) 558-0400
http://www.manufacturedhousing.org

Earnings and Benefits

The income of manufactured home assemblers varies according to skill, experience, employer, and location. In 2004 the median hourly wage was $11.64. In rural areas, where wages are low, home assemblers can work for as little as minimum wage. Workers sometimes have an opportunity to earn overtime pay during busy periods. They may also receive bonuses for exceptionally high output. Benefits may include paid vacations and holidays, medical insurance, and pension plans.

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