New building codes, better construction standards and tie-down requirements enabled the majority of Florida’s recreational park model trailers to withstand the most intensive series of hurricanes to hit the U.S. mainland in 118 years, according to the Recreation Park Trailer Industry Association (RPTIA).
“We’ve had numerous reports of lost skirting, porches and carport canopies, but the living areas of the park models have held up beautifully, even in parks that faced some of the fiercest hurricane winds,” said William Garpow, executive director of the RPTIA.
RPTIA based its assessment on information received from park-model manufacturers that serve the Florida market. RPTIA also contacted several campgrounds and RV parks in cities that faced the brunt of Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne from the middle of August to the end of September.
And while there were some instances in which park models were damaged, Garpow said the feedback from most campground operators indicates that Florida’s park models held up during the hurricanes.
Ocala-based Chariot Eagle, Florida’s largest park-model manufacturer, has hundreds of units in the Florida Panhandle, the Punta Gorda-Fort Myers market, as well as the Port St. Lucie-Stuart and Lake Wales-Winterhaven areas. But as of Sept. 29, the company was not aware of any of its units being destroyed.
The minimal damage is evidence that new building codes and tie-down requirements are working, said Bob Holliday, president and CEO of Chariot Eagle. “The requirements, especially since 1994 after Hurricane Andrew, are quite stringent, and have made park models and manufactured homes built after that date especially resistant to high winds. “Much of the credit also goes to the newer tie-down laws in the hurricane zones.”
Park-model manufacturers also point to their own improved construction standards, which they are using more and more as a marketing tool, not only in Florida, but in other parts of the country that face severe weather.