USDA – Minimum Property Standards Reference Sources

The following are the addresses for the standards referenced in the Minimum Property Standards :




















USDA – SI Conversion Units

In recognition of the Metric Conversion Act of 1975, P. L. 94-168, appropriate conversion factors have been provided in the table below. If interested in further use of the coherent systems of SI units should refer to The Metric Guide for Federal Construction, First Edition as Published by the National Institute of Building Sciences.

Table of Conversion Factors to Metric (SI) Units













*Exact value; others are rounded to the minimum number of signature units.




USDA – Test Procedures and Performan Criteria

Following is a partial list of the testing procedures and performances criteria required by the Minimum property standards. It is important to ask your licensed contract if you have any questions in regards to these standards.



Test Procedures. Test of Walls shall be conducted in accordance with ASTM E 72-80, “Standard Methods of Conducting Strength Test of Panels for Building Construction.” Panel size shall be eight feet by eight feet

Performance Criteria.

Dry Test: Load increments – 400 lb; Maximum load – 5200 lb or 0.65 kips/ft; At load of – 1200 lb average total deflection 0.20 in. Residual deflection 0.10 in.; At load of – 2400 lb average total deflection 0.60 in. Residual deflection 0.30 in.

Wet Tests: Load increments – 400 lb; Maximum load – 4000 lb or o.50 kips/ft; At load of – 1200 lb average total deflection 0.28 in. Residual deflection 0.44 in; At load of – 2400 lb average total deflection 0.80 in. Residual deflection 0.40 in.



Test Procedure. Air leakage shall be tested in accordance with ASTM E 283-91

Performance Criteria.

When tested at a static air pressure of 1.567 psf, the rate of air leakage shall not exceed 1/2 cfm per ft of crack length. Air leakage for jalousie windows is not to exceed 1 1/2 cfm per sq ft of total ventilating areas. Air leakage for sliding glass doors is not to exceed 1 cfm per sq ft of overall frame dimension.

In areas subject to winds (90 mph and over) the performance requirement for sliding glass doors may be increased at the discretion of the HUD Field Office so that the air leakage will not exceed 1/2 cfm per sq ft of overall frame dimension.


Test Procedure. Water infiltration shall be tested in accordance with ASTM E 331-86.

Performance Criteria.

Minimum Performance – No water shall pass the interior face of t he unit when tested at a static pressure of 2.86 psf with water applied at the rate of 5.0 U.S. gal per sq ft per hour for a time period of 15 minutes.

In areas subject to wind driven rain (90 mph and over) the static pressure from above may be raised to 6.24 psf at the discretion of the HUD Field Office.


Test Procedure. Physical load tests shall be conducted in accordance with ASTM E 330-90

Performance Criteria.

Minimum Performance:

Under a uniform load of 10 psf applied to surface unit, except jalousie windows and sliding glass doors, max deflection of any member shall not exceed 1/175 of its span

Under a uniform load of 20 psf applied for 10 seconds to the ext., then a uniform load of 10 psf applied to the int for 10 seconds, there shall be no glass breakage, damage to hardware or residual deflection

In areas subject to winds 90 mph and over, the uniform loads, show in above may be increased to 40 psf exterior and 20 psf interior loadings, at the discretion of the HUD Field Office.

Material Standards

Ask your contractor what these specifications mean and if they are able to follow these standards for USDA.



Cork Board – FS HH-I-525A; Cellular Glass – FS HH-I-551E; Cellulosic, Vegetable or Wood Fiber – ASTM C 739-91; Expanded Polystyrene Insulation Board – FS HH-I-524C; Fiberboard – FS LLL-I-535B Class C or E or ASTM C 209-84; Insulation Board (Urethane) – FS HH-I-530B; Insulation Board, Thermal (Mineral Aggregate) – FS HH-I-529B or ASTM C 726-88; Insulation Board, Thermal, Faced, Polyurethane or Polyisocyanurate – FS HH-I-1972/GEN, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6; Mineral Fiber, Board (Roof) – FS HH-I-526C; Mineral Fiber, Insulation Blanket – FS HH-I-521F; Mineral Fiber, Pneumatic or Poured – FS HH-I-1030B; Perimeter Insulation – FS HH-I-524C, FS HH-I-558B, Form A, Class 1 or 2; Reflective, Thermal – FS HH-I-1252B; Cellulosic Fiber Insulation Board – PS 57-73; Application of Structural Insulation Board (Fiberboard) Sheathing – ASTM C 846-82; Perlite – FSHH-I-574B or ASTM C 549-81; Vermiculite (used as masonry wall filler) – FS HH-I-585C, Class 2, (for other uses) ASTM C 516-85; Spray Applied Cellulosic Thermal Insulation – UM 80-79


Elastomeric Type, Multi-Compound – FS TT-S-227B; Elastomeric Type, Single-Compound – FS TT-S-230A; Oil and Resin Base Type – FS TT-C-598B; Silicone Rubber Base – FS TT-S-001543A; Butyl Rubber Base, Single-Compound – FS TT-S-001657A; Latex Sealing Compounds – ASTM C 834-91; Voluntary Specifications for Ductile Back-Bedding Glazing Tapes – AAMA 800-92; Voluntary Specifications for Non-Drying Sealants for Use with Architectural Aluminum – AAMA 800-92; Voluntary Specifications for Oil-Extended Glazing Tapes – AAMA 800-92; Cellular Neoprene – ASTM C 509-91; Specifications for Dense Rubber-like Compression Gasket Materials – ASTM C 864-90


Metal Doors and Frames

Interior Steel Doors and Frames (flush) – PS 4-66; 1 3/4 inch thick Steel Doors and Frames – CS 242-62; Aluminum Storm Doors – ANSI/AAMA 1102.7-89

Wood Doors and Frames

Hardwood, Harboard and Plastic Faced Flush Doors – ANSI/NWWAMA IS 1-87; Interior Prehung Wood Door Units – NSDJA 1-79; Ponderosa Pine Doors – ANSI/NWWMA IS 5-73; Douglas Fir, Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock Doors – FHDA 7-79; Wood Storm Doors – ANSI/NWWMA IS 6-86; Exterior Wood Door Frames – WM 3-79;

Special Doors

Aluminum Prime Windows – ANSI/AAMA 101-88; Wood Sliding Patio Doors – ANSI/NWWMA IS 3-88

Metal  Windows and Frames

Aluminum Prime Windows – ANSI/AAMA 101-88; Aluminum Insulating Storm Products – ANSI/AAMA 1002.10-83; Thermal Transmittance and Condensation Resistance of Windows, Doors and Glazed Wall Sections – AAMA 1503.1-88; Thermal Performance of Residential Windows and Sliding Glass Doors – AAMA 1504-88; Wood Window Units – ANSI/NWWMA IS 2-87


Locket – ANSI A156.2-89; Insect Wire Screening – IWS-089 or CS 138-55; Screening, Insect, Non-metallic – FS L-S-125B; Insect Screening and Louver Cloth Woven from Vinyl-Coated Glass Fiber Yarn – ANSI/ASTM D 3656-89

Glass and Other Glazing Panels

Acrylic Plastic Sheets Glazing – UM 58a-75; Glass – FS DD-G-451D; Safety Standard for Architectural Glazing Materials – CPSC 16 CFR, Part 1201; Safety Glazing Material Used in Buildigns – SGCC Certified Products Directory; Tempered Glass – FS-DD-G-1403B


Aluminum – AAMA 1402-86; Fiberboard Shingle Backer – ASTM C 208-82 (1982) Class G; Basic Hardboard (Revised 1988) – ANSI/AHA A135.4-82; Cellulosic Fiberboard – ANSI/AHA 1-194.1-95; Hardboard Siding – ANSI/AHA 135.6-90; Plywood – PS 1-83; Rigid PVC (polyvinyl chloride) – ASTM D 3679-92; Textured Plywood Panel Siding – UM 64b-75; Stucco (exterior plaster) – ASTM C 926-90


Ceramic Tile – ANSI A137.1-88; Specification for Installation of Ceramic Tile – ANSI A108.1A-92; Terrazzo – NTMA Specifications, Details and Technical Data – 1990; Block, Slat – PS 27-70; Laminated Hardwood Flooring – ANSI/HPMA LHF-87; Strip Oak Flooring – NOFMA-ORGR/ Vol. 1, No. 1-86 & 89 addendum


Asphalt Tile (Type I) – Vinyl Tile (Type III) – Rubber Tile (Type IV) – ASTM F 1344-91; Linoleum – FS LLL-F-1238A; Rotovinyls (Unfilled Vinyl Sheet) – FS L-F-001641-71; Backed Vinyl Plastic Sheet or Tile (Grade C) – FS L-F-475A; Homogenous Vinyl Sheet – FS L-F-00450A; Underlayment Basic Hardboard – ANSI/AHA A135.4-88, Particleboard (Grade 1-M-1) – ANSI A 208.1-89, Plywood – PS 1-83


Minimum Construction Performance Standards for Kitchen Cabinets – ANSI A 161.1-86



Gas Piping – NFPA 54-92 & 58-92


Water Softeners – WQA S 100-85; Water Filters – WQA S 200-88; Point-of-Use, Low Pressure Reverse Osmosis Water System – WQA S 300-84; Point-of-Use, Distillation Drinking Water – WQA S 400-86; Community Water Systems Minimum Design Standard for Community Water Supply Systems – HUD Handbook 4940.2 8-73


Community Sewage Systems Minimum Design Standard for Community Sewage Systems – HUD Handbook 49400.3 Rev. 1-12/92


USDA – Abbreviations

AA          Aluminum Association

AAMA          American Architectural Manufacturers Association

ACI          American Concrete Institute

AFPA          American Forest and Paper Association

AHA          American Hardboard Association

AIA          American Institute of Architects

ANSI          American National Standards Institute

ARMA          Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association

ASCE          American Society of Civil Engineers

ASHRAE          American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineering

ASME          American Society of Mechanical Engineers

ASTM          American Society for Testing Materials

AWS          American Welding Society

BOCA          Building Officials and Code Administration

Btuh          British thermal units per hour

CABO          Council of American Building Officials

cfm          Cubic feet per minute

CFR          Code of Federal Regulations

CPSC          Consumer Product Safety Commission

CRI          Carpet and Rug Institute

CS          Commercial Standard

DOT          Department of Transportation

EO          Executive Order

EPA          Environmental Protection Agency

ext.          Exterior

F          Fahrenheit (degrees)

FHA          Federal Housing Administration

FGMA          Flat Glass Marketing Association

FHDA          Fir and Hemlock Door Association

FS          Federal Specification

ft.          Feet

gals          Gallons

hr          Hour

HUD          Department of Housing and Urban Development

in.          Inches

int.          Interior

ISWA          Insect Screening Weavers Association

lb          Pounds

max          Maximum

min.          Minimum

mph          Miles per hour

MPS          Minimum Property Standards

MR          Materials Release

MS          Manual Series

NAHB-RF          National Association of Home Builders – Research Foundation

NAIMA          North American Insulation Manufacturers Association

NAS          National Academy of Sciences

NIBS          National Institute of Building Sciences

NIST         National Institute of Standards and Technology

NCDC          National Climatic and Data Center

NFPA          National Fire Protection Association

NOFMA-OFGR          National Oak Flooring Manufacturers Association – Official Flooring Grading Rules

NRCA          National Roofing Contractors Association

NSDJA          National Sash and Door Jobbers Association

NSPI          National Spa and Pool Institute

NTMA          National Terrazzo & Mosaic Association

NWMA          National Woodwork Manufacturers Association

oz          Ounces

PHCC          National Association of Plumbing, Heating and Cooling Contractors

PCI          Prestressed Concrete Institute

PTI          Post-Tensioning Institute

psf          Pounds per square foot

PVC          Polyvinyl chloride

RFCI          Resilient Flooring Covering Institute

SCACM           Southern California Association of Cabinet Manufacturers

SGCC          Safety Glazing Certification Council

Sq.          Square

SI          International Standard (Metric)

TCA          Tile Contractors of America

t&g or T&G          Tongue and Groove

U          Coefficient or thermal transmission Btu/(hour) x (square foot) x (F {Sub(inside)})

UL          Underwriters Laboratories

UM          Use of Materials Bulletin

USDA          United States Department of Agriculture

WM          Wood Moulding and Millwork Producers

WQA          Water Quality Association (Formerly Water Conditioning Foundation)

USDA – Definitions

COMMUNITY SYSTEM. A state-regulated central utility system owned, operated, and maintained by a private corporation or a nonprofit property owner’s association.

CONDUCTANCE, THERMAL. The time rate of heat flow through a unit area of a material of a given thickness, per unit of temperature difference. Value is expressed in Btu/(hr x sq ft x F) or w/(m sq x k). Symbol C

CONDUCTIVITY, THERMAL. The time rate of heat flow through a unit area of a homogenous material under the influence of a unit temperature gradient. Value is expressed in (Btu x in)/(hr x sq ft x F) or w/(m x k). Symbol k

HABITABLE ROOM. A room designed and used for living, sleeping, eating, or cooking, or any combination thereof. Bathrooms, toilet compartments, closets, halls, storage spaces, laundry and utility rooms, basement recreation rooms, and similar areas are not considered habitable rooms.

INDEPENDENT INSPECTION AGENCY. Where the term “independent inspection agency” is used in the standards, the reference is to an agency which maintains a program of continuous control, testing, and inspection over the quality of the product. Such an agency must conform to procedures set forth in ANSI Z34.1-87, and shall be acceptable to HUD.

LISTED AND LISTING. Terms referring to materials, equipment, or products which have been tested to and comply with an applicable standard and which are shown in a list published by a recognized certifying agency.

LIVING UNIT. A single residential unit providing complete, independent living facilities for one or more persons which includes permanent facilities for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation.

PERM. The unit of measurement of the water vapor permeability of a material. Value of one perm is equal to one grain of water vapor per square foot per hour per inch of mercury vapor pressure difference.

PROPERTY. An area of ground under the ownership of a single person or entity including all buildings and improvements thereon.

PUBLIC SPACE. An open space on the premises accessible to a public way or street, such as a yard, court, or open space dedicated to public use and abutting the premises.

PUBLIC SYSTEM. A central utility owned, operated, and maintained by a municipality, county, or other unit of local government having power to tax or levy assessments.

R THERMAL RESISTANCE. A measure of ability to retard head flow. The reciprocal of thermal conductance: R=1/C=(hr x sq ft x F)/Btu or (m sq x k)/w.

REQUIRED. Mandatory.

SHALL. Indicates that which is required.

TOILET ROOM. (Half bath). Enclosed space, containing a watercloset and a lavatory.

U OVERALL COEFFICIENT OF HEAT TRANSMISSION. The combined thermal value of all the materials in a building section, air spaces, and surface air films. U is expressed in Btu/(hr x sq ft x F) or w/(M sq ft x k).

USDA – Construction

Work completed shall be performed in a workmanlike manner and in accordance with good usage and accepted practices. All materials shall be made and installed so they perform in accordance with their intended purposes.


Underground piping and related items shall be protected from corrosion. Underground mechanical and electrical systems shall be protectively coated to minimize corrosion where soil conditions warrant. Where applicable, sacrificial anodes may be used. Sacrificial anodes may be used where soil resistivity does not exceed 15,000 ohm – centimeters. Otherwise, an impressed current system of corrosion prevention shall be used.


Surfaces and base courses for roads, streets, parking areas, and walks shall be durable materials. Their construction shall be in conformance with generally accepted local design practices. Adequate surface and underground drainage systems shall serve all paving and improvements so as to ensure continuing stable soil support for these improvements..


A chemical barrier must be provided for structures build in areas where termites are determined by the HUD Field Office to be a hazard. A physical barrier will also satisfy this requirement. Soil treatment and pressure treated lumber are chemical barriers.


Gutters shall be provided is the soil is of such a nature that excessive erosion or expansion will occur, or roof overhangs are less than twelve inches in width for one story structure or less than 24 inches in width for two story structures. When gutters are omitted, a diverter or other suitable means shall be provided to prevent water from roofs or valleys from draining uncovered entrance platforms or steps. A gutter having the same cross section as the downspouts shall be used for spacing of up to 40 feet between downspouts. For each additional 20 feet of gutter, the gutter width shall be increase by one inch.

Strainers shall be installed at the head of the downspouts when the downspout is connected to an underground drain.

Scuppers shall be installed at the outfall end of a valley for special roofs designs, such as butterfly roofs. Scuppers shall be installed for overflow of all roofs enclosed by parapet walls, except when the construction of the roof and the type of roof covering used are designed to hold water.  Suitable overflow devices shall be used.

Downspouts shall be sized on the basis of 100 square feet of roof surface to one square inch of leader.


All exterior doors and weatherstripping shall be properly fitted so as to eliminate excessive infiltration of air.


Windows shall be installed in accordance with the recommendations of the manufacturer.

Windows and weatherstripping shall be properly fitted to eliminate excessive infiltration of dust, snow, or rain.

Screens shall be installed on openable windows in habitable rooms and bathrooms.


Application of paints, stains, and other coating systems shall  be in strict accordance with manufacturer’s directions. Additional coats may be required if the finish surface does not provide coverage or hiding that is acceptable to the HUD Field Office.


Carpeting and cushioning shall be installed in accordance with the Specifiers Guide for Contract Carpet Installation, published by the Carpet and Rug Institute. The carpet shall be installed over one of the following underlayments: A finish floor as provided and described in Section 509 and 609; a troweled concrete floor; a plywood subfloor (the top ply of plywood shall be at least “C plugged” grade); a plywood, hardboard or particleboard underlayment over any other subfloor described in this paragraph; other materials where they provide smooth, hard, durable surface.


The top material shall be securely bonded to a reinforced steel core, to 5/8 inch plywood, or to any other equivalent material; top material shall be phenolic laminate, vinyl plastic covering, ceramic tile, stainless steel or other material suitable for its intended use. At least three inches back and end splash shall be provided against all abutting vertical surfaces which are not water and grease resistant. When a back splash is omitted, the joints at the juncture of the counter top and vertical surfaces shall be tight and sealed; all edges, including the sink and any built-in surface units, shall have a non-corrodible metal molding or other suitable edging.


Each living unit shall be provided with a continuing and sufficient supply of safe water under adequate pressure and of appropriate quality for all household uses, and that will not impair the functioning or durability of the plumbing system or attachments.


Each living unit shall be provided with a water-carried system adequate to dispose of domestic wastes in a manner which will not create a nuisance or endanger the health of the occupants or the public.

USDA – Crawl Space & Attic Space


The space between the bottom of the floor joists and the earth under any building shall be provided with a sufficient number of ventilating openings through foundation walls or exterior walls to ensure ample ventilation. Such openings shall be covered with a corrosion-resistant wire mesh with a mesh size not greater than half inch nor less than quarter inch in any dimension. The minimum net area of ventilating openings shall not be less than one square foot for each 150 square feet of crawl space area.

One ventilating opening shall be within three feet of each corner of each building where such opening are required.

Some exceptions are where ventilation openings may be vented to the interior of building where warranted by climatic conditions and the total area of ventilation openings may be reduced to 1/1500 of the under floor area where the ground surface is treated with an acceptable vapor retarder material, and one such ventilation opening is within three feet of each corner of building. The vents may have operable louvers.

The under floor grade shall be cleaned of all vegetation and organic material.


Cross ventilation shall be provided for each separate space. Ventilation openings shall be protected against the entrance of rain and snow.

The ratio of the total net free ventilation area to the area of ceiling shall not be less than 1/150. An exception to this, where the ratio may be 1/300 is if a vapor retarder having a transmission rate not exceeding one perm is installed on the warm side of the ceiling; between 25 to 50 percent of the required ventilating area is provided by vents located in the eaves or cornices with the balance of the required ventilation provided by ventilators located at least three feet above the vents in the eaves or cornices; or the attic space is accessible and suitable for future habitable rooms or walled-off storage spaces have at least 50 percent of the required ventilation area located in the upper part of the ventilated spaces as near the high point of the roof as practicable and above the probably level of any future ceiling.

USDA – Bath, Doors, Railing Building Designs


Shower compartment floors and walls shall be finished with a wear resistant and non-absorbent surface to a height of not less than six feet above the floor.


Living unit entrance doors shall be side-hinged doors not less than three feet wide and six feet eight inches in height. Locking devices are to be as follows: Each exterior doorway and each doorway leading to garage areas, common hallways, terraces, balconies, or other areas affording easy access to the premises shall be protected by a door which, if not a sliding door, shall be equipped with a deadlock using either an interlocking vertical bolt and striker, a minimum of 1.2 inch throw dead bolt, or a minimum half inch throw self-locking dead latch. Locks shall not require the use of a key for operation from the inside. Further, all sliding doors, first floor and basement windows, and windows opening onto stairways, fire escapes, porches, terraces, balconies or other areas affording easy access to the premises shall be equipped with a locking device. A sliding door used as a main or service entrance shall be equipped with a keyed locking device.


Required railings shall have a minimum height of 36 inches and balusters shall be designed to prevent the passage of spherical object having a diameter of six inches.

USDA – Rehabilitation Construction

Rehabilitation construction includes all repairs to or replacement of present elements of an existing building , such as windows, stairs, flooring, or wiring; rearrangement of rooms by the relocation of partitions or by the installation of new bathrooms and kitchens; or the general replacement of the interior of a building. This may or may not include changes to structural elements such as floor systems, columns or load bearing interior or exterior walls. Rehabilitation construction and with the provisions of the program handbook for the particular program. New construction on cleared or vacant land or additions to an existing building which enlarge the floor area or height of the building, meeting the standards for new construction.