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HUD Level Requirements Washington DC

Lately many people have been asking about the Pocket Penetrometer. They say that it won't work for them or they are not sure how to use it. You can call an engineer. You can identify one of fourteen different types of soil and guess as to its moisture content. You can even do ASTM test 1586, which is a 16' tripod with a 32 hp motor mounted to one of the legs that will raise a 140 lb.

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How Level is Level?

How Level Is Level?
Wed 04/27/05 09:10:08 pm
by George Porter

How can you tell when a home is out of level? There are some regulators that say that you must be within an inch all over the home and there are others that say that if everything is working, doors, windows, etc., then it's level enough. There should be a way to absolutely tell when the home is too bent on the frame or in the roof. How about when the tail ends of the main beam are hanging above the supports at the rear of the home because of the camber? How much is too much there?

These and many other questions have been coming up over the last 30+ years for me, and I guess I thought no one really knew. I certainly never asked anyone who gave me an answer other than "Well, when I look at a problem like that, this is what I do" and then they proceed to tell me what they believe to be the facts. Guess what, all this is written down and has been available to everyone for over twenty years. It is somewhat embarrassing for me to tell you where I found this wealth of information. It has been right under my nose, and I never thought of looking there. All about this question and thousands of other questions is found in a government document called Part 3280, you might know it better as the HUD Code. This is so typical, where is the last place you always look for help when you can't figure something out and all the stuff you have been dreaming up doesn't seem to work? Well it's the instructions of course! Somehow, I've got to get it into my head that getting caught with instructions in your hand doesn't prove to the world that you are too dumb to figure this out by yourself. There is always room for improvement I guess.

Back to the question of level! According to Part 3280, subsection 3280.305 (d) it clearly states that the formula for allowable deflection (bending) of girders (main beams) is L/180. "L" is defined by the clear span between supports or two times the length of a cantilever. So if you support your homes eight feet apart under the beams then "L" is eight feet in your case. A cantilever is a projection supported only on one end, like a diving board, or in our case, the distance between the beams and the sidewall of the home. What you do is divide that length (eight feet) by 180 and you get the maximum deflection allowed under the HUD Code. It is easier to do this in inches so let's use 96 inches instead of 8 feet. 96 divided by 180 = .53 inches or a little over1/2 inch.

The sidewalls can be measured the same way but they are not beams, they are floor, and the floor has a different standard L/240. If the floor extends out from the beams 48 inches then you must use the rule for cantilever and double the distance. This makes sense because if you cut a span between two supports in half you would have two cantilevers pointing at each other. It is assumed that each cantilever is halfway to the next imaginary support so you double its length to keep the deflection...

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