How YOU Can Help Legalize Tiny Houses

group-photoThank you for your interest in helping legalize tiny houses. We are so close to reaching that goal. We are literally one winning vote away from success. As you may have already heard, we need to win a 2/3 majority of the voting members of the International Code Council (ICC) in this last round of voting. They have two weeks in which to cast their vote, starting on November 8th and we need YOUR help to reach as many of them as possible before the voting starts (and even after it starts too). 

We have prepared the following infographic to help you make a difference in the votes cast. The more voting members of the ICC you can encourage to vote YES on RB 168-16, the better. We have to be really careful how we approach building officials as they have a language all to themselves that we are now working within. It may seem obvious, but we need to be professional, calm, polite, and on topic. 

Please check out the information below. You can use the suggested talking points for a face to face meeting or phone call, or you can download the suggested letter and include it in an email. Because the timing is tight, please don’t send a snail-mail letter. We need to be sure that your message will be delivered before the voting window opens on November 8th in case your building officials decide to vote early in the process.

You can view the proposed appendix on this page, if you haven’t already. It’s a good idea to know what’s in there before you contact your building officials. You’re also welcome to copy the infographic and share it on your social media platforms. Just be sure to tell people to make their contact before November 8th and to do it in line with the details of the graphic so that we have a well represented approach to the campaign.

Okay, let’s get this done and make tiny houses legal for everyone in the US who wants one!!!

Go Team Tiny!!!

p.s. You can find the text of the suggested letter at the bottom of this page if you want to just cut and paste into an email rather than send the PDF.

Tiny Houses Infographic to encourage Voting Members

Here is the text of the letter to Building Officials:

=================================

Dear sir or madam:

You may have heard that public comment RB 168-16, an effort to create an IRC Appendix for tiny houses, recently received enough votes in favor at the ICC Public Comment Hearings in Kansas City, MO to move on to the cdpAccess public comment voting process.

As a voting member of the ICC, you will have an opportunity to vote for this important new IRC appendix between November 8th and November 21st. I encourage you to vote YES on the inclusion of the appendix for the following simple and important reasons:

1. This appendix makes simple suggestions to reduce the scale of housing while maintaining the health and safety regulation of the building in order to protect the occupants. This fully meets the intent of the code, including the need to provide affordability in our housing, as specifically described in Section R101.3 of the 2015 IRC.

2. Building officials across the country, perhaps you as well, need a building code that addresses issues specific to tiny houses. The current housing trend of building tiny is growing fast and it’s important that the IRC put something in place to oversee the safe construction of these homes.

3. People are building tiny houses right now without oversight and they will continue to build them whether building officials provide that oversight or not. We in the tiny house community believe it’s important to provide oversight to ensure the health and safety of the occupants, especially with such a large proportion of owner-builders in the industry.

Please be sure to watch the testimony for RB 168-16 from the hearings in Kansas City as many building officials explained their reasons for supporting this public comment and we believe you will find their points interesting and perhaps even familiar to your own situation. The footage will be made available on the http://www.cdpaccess.comwebsite in days ahead.

I’d like to thank you for considering a YES vote on Public Comment RB 168-16. We in the tiny house community want to work with building officials to provide affordable, healthy, and safe housing for thousands of people across the US.

A vote in favor of this public comment is a vote in favor of just that.

Thank you.

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73 Responses to How YOU Can Help Legalize Tiny Houses

  1. Andy November 1, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

    This is great! Any suggestions on how to figure out who the local voting ICC members are? Do we just contact our local building departments and ask who the voting members are, or is there a directory of voting members with their locations?

    • Andrew November 1, 2016 at 2:01 pm #

      I would just reach out to your local building department and ask to speak with a voting member of the ICC. If the front desk doesn’t know who that is, then ask to speak with the head building official for building codes (not zoning). Good luck and Thanks!

      • Ni'Cole November 1, 2016 at 9:46 pm #

        Hi Andrew, I’m definitely looking into this but do you have any plans on creating a directory even if just for some of the major cities with the most voting power. I fear not many people will be able to easily find their local ICC voting member.

        Best,

        Ni’Cole

        • Andrew November 2, 2016 at 10:05 am #

          Hi Ni’Cole. I don’t have any plans to create such a document as there are upwards of 20,000 voting members to identify. If people talk to their local building departments, and/or building departments in larger cities around them, they can make good headway.

        • Penny Rutter November 7, 2016 at 8:10 am #

          Thank you. I’m having issue trying to find mine, so this is a great idea.

      • Charleigh Maestas November 6, 2016 at 3:31 pm #

        Hi Andrew my name is charleigh I’m a disabled woman I’m 30 years old and I was wondering why can tiny houses be way cheap for sale than regular houses but they end up being expensive and I am homeless on the street and I cannot afford anything I only make 460 a month on my SSI not fair

        • Penny Rutter November 7, 2016 at 8:12 am #

          I’m in the same boat. There has to be easier access to housing, for ALL people.

        • Andrew November 7, 2016 at 2:10 pm #

          Hi Charleigh. It’s tough for sure. Many of the tiny houses out there are built to be high end homes, just small. As such, they have details in them that jack the price up. Others are built to regular standards but are priced high because the folks selling them are looking to make a big profit (I’m not a fan of over pricing the construction by the way). There are some very inexpensive models available, but they are few and far between right now and there is nowhere legal to put them in most jurisdictions. Unfortunately, it’s a slow process: changing the housing industry. We’re working on it and I hope we (the collective we) can make broad changes in the years ahead to help provide housing for all of those who need it.

  2. Tina GAllagher November 1, 2016 at 2:00 pm #

    So we’re leaving the International community to decide how we’re building our homes and what the standards should be? What about the US Building codes?

    • Andrew November 1, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

      Hi Tina. These are the US building codes. The International Residential Code (IRC) is the model code for pretty much every construction code for residential housing (one- and two-family dwelling units) in the US. If your jurisdiction enforces a building code, it’s likely from the IRC, even if it has been changed along the way to enforcement locally. There is no other way to change building codes in the US at a large level than by going the route we have gone. 🙂

  3. Carmen Shenk November 1, 2016 at 2:57 pm #

    Would you be so kind as to provide the contents of the letter above in a way we can copy and paste it? Thanks.

    • Andrew November 1, 2016 at 3:04 pm #

      Hi Carmen. You can copy and paste it from the PDF that is downloadable in the text of the blog article. It won’t work from the infographic, but it will work from the PDF version of the letter. You can even download the letter and then forward it as is if that’s easier.

      Thanks!

  4. Elena November 1, 2016 at 3:01 pm #

    Is it best to o luv como tact the official for our town/ city or is it ok to contact others in the area too? I don’t know if you want just residents reaching out. Thanks!

    • Andrew November 1, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

      It’s fine to contact others as well. A little overlap is a good thing. It shows that there is interest from multiple people in the area.

  5. Elena November 1, 2016 at 3:02 pm #

    Sorry for the precious typos, I’m on mobile. The first sentence should have send “is it best to only contact the official…”

  6. Thom Stanton, TH Designer November 1, 2016 at 3:30 pm #

    Copy-Paste ready. Thanks to all in support of this effort.

    ————————–

    Dear sir or madam:

    You may have heard that public comment RB 168-16, an effort to create an IRC Appendix for tiny houses, recently received enough votes in favor at the ICC Public Comment Hearings in Kansas City, MO to move on to the cdpAccess public comment voting process.

    As a voting member of the ICC, you will have an opportunity to vote for this important new IRC appendix between November 8th and November 21st. I encourage you to vote YES on the inclusion of the appendix for the following simple and important reasons:

    1. This appendix makes simple suggestions to reduce the scale of housing while maintaining the health and safety regulation of the building in order to protect the occupants. This fully meets the intent of the code, including the need to provide affordability in our housing, as specifically described in Section R101.3 of the 2015 IRC.

    2. Building officials across the country, perhaps you as well, need a building code that addresses issues specific to tiny houses. The current housing trend of building tiny is growing fast and it’s important that the IRC put something in place to oversee the safe construction of these homes.

    3. People are building tiny houses right now without oversight and they will continue to build them whether building officials provide that oversight or not. We in the tiny house community believe it’s important to provide oversight to ensure the health and safety of the occupants, especially with such a large proportion of owner-builders in the industry.

    Please be sure to watch the testimony for RB 168-16 from the hearings in Kansas City as many building officials explained their reasons for supporting this public comment and we believe you will find their points interesting and perhaps even familiar to your own situation. The footage will be made available on the http://www.cdpaccess.com website in days ahead.

    I’d like to thank you for considering a YES vote on Public Comment RB 168-16. We in the tiny house community want to work with building officials to provide affordable, healthy, and safe housing for thousands of people across the US.

    A vote in favor of this public comment is a vote in favor of just that.

    Thank you.

  7. T Ah November 1, 2016 at 3:45 pm #

    When will the hearing footage be posted to the cdpACCESS.com website? Do you have a date?

    • Andrew November 1, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

      I don’t know when that will be posted, but it is only available to ICC voting members. They will get an announcement from the ICC when the footage is available. It will go out with all of the other provisions from the hearings.

  8. Sam November 1, 2016 at 3:53 pm #

    Hey I’m with the BC Tiny House Collective in British Columbia, Canada and we’re doing research/ lobbying the province to develop tiny house building construction codes that are safe and sustainable. I’m assuming this international code has influence over codes in other countries besides the US?

    • Teena November 1, 2016 at 4:37 pm #

      Hi there Sam, from what Andrew wrote above, I’m guessing the word “International” does not actually mean “other countries”. As far as I understand it, this is just the name which was chosen by the US and only affects the USA Codes.

      • Andrew November 1, 2016 at 4:49 pm #

        The IRC is currently in use in 49 states, Washington DC, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. It is used in other locations as well as models for international codes. Check out the other response I wrote to Sam if you’re interested to hear a bit more. 🙂

    • Andrew November 1, 2016 at 4:48 pm #

      Hi Sam. The IRC is developed by the International Code Council and they oversee codes all over the world, but mostly in the US. The codes they write (called I-codes) are often used as a resource for other countries when developing codes. It is certainly worth speaking with your code officials about it. If nothing else, they will know the magnitude of the code we are talking about (a national code for the US) and that, in and of itself, could be influential.

      • Chris Stagg November 2, 2016 at 11:31 am #

        Canadian organizations are usually linked VERY closely with their USA counterparts. Is it possible that some Canadian organizations are members of this USA IRC and could possibly be voting on the issue?

        If so we should also be reaching out to the Canadians that are invloved.

        • Andrew November 2, 2016 at 11:41 am #

          I don’t think there are voting members of the ICC in Canada that would be in play with this vote. I don’t know for sure though.

      • Martin Hammer December 15, 2016 at 12:53 am #

        Hi all,

        This is a very delayed reply about this subject, but I wanted to set the record straight.

        In practice the use of the word “International” in the International Code Council and the International Codes it publishes is misleading and constitutes to a large degree a misnomer. When this independent non-governmental non-profit organization was established in 1994, its intention was to develop and publish model codes available to any and all countries. However, since the first “I-Codes” were published in 2000, by far their greatest use has been in the U.S.

        There are but a handful of countries in the Caribbean, Central America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe that have used some of the I-Codes. The number stands to increase, but I expect at a slow rate. The I-Codes are quite ‘U.S-centric’ (responding to materials, methods, and building practices in the U.S., plus the fact that they are written in English) such that their applicability to other countries has limits. That said, ICC is looking to expand use of its codes in other countries. For example some have been translated into Spanish. But applicability is not simply a matter of language.

        Canada has it’s own national building codes that are not based on the I-Codes. A list of the countries outside the U.S. that use the I-Codes is on the following webpage: http://www.iccsafe.org/international-code-adoptions/

  9. heather November 1, 2016 at 4:31 pm #

    Does this apply to tiny houses on wheels? I see no reference to wheels? Is this just for small houses on a foundation?

    • Andrew November 1, 2016 at 4:57 pm #

      Hi Heather. It benefits both THOFs and THOWs. Although we were specifically not allowed to address the wheels aspect in this code cycle (we were told that was not an option by the ICC Codes Manager), we were able to enter provisions to benefit THOWs as well.

      For example, ceiling heights, sleeping lofts, loft access, and emergency egress are all impacted in a positive way. In essence, everything above the trailer will be code approved and the only remaining detail will be the foundation/trailer. That can be managed on a case-by-case basis with the building department and will face very few barriers to approval if the approach is in line with the intent of the building code.

  10. Aimee Smallwood November 1, 2016 at 6:48 pm #

    Hi Andrew,

    Do you think it would be OK for me to email the ICC staff to request names and emails for the voting ICC members for Louisiana? Thanks so much for all of your hard work!

    • Andrew November 2, 2016 at 9:59 am #

      Hi Aimee. I think that would be fine if you have the time to do so. Please let me know what you find out. You can always contact your local (and larger cities nearby) building departments as well.

  11. Maree November 2, 2016 at 12:03 am #

    Hi
    This is very exciting times. I’m in New Zealand and we have a number of THOWs over here too, so will approach the local building code people in my area..

  12. J November 2, 2016 at 2:21 pm #

    I would suggest personalizing the form letter. Add in your jurisdiction name or make a reference to their work or role.

    Solicitees who sniff out or suspect mail blasting are quite likely to disregard if not take a negative view on the cause.

    • Andrew November 3, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

      Definitely a good idea if you’re emailing.

  13. J November 2, 2016 at 4:31 pm #

    Google on ICC Voter List produced this list on BOMA.org:

    BOMA International – ICC State Primary Voter List — September 16, 2013
    State (ICC Region #) Primary Voter

    Alabama (ICC 9) Code Officials Assoc Alabama http://www.coaa.com
    State of AL Roy Turman, Jr roy.turman@genconbd.alabama.gov
    City of Mobile Laura Clarke clarkel@cityofmobile.org
    City of Tuscaloosa Alan Boswell aboswell@tuscaloosa.com

    Arizona (ICC 11) Arizona Bldg. Officials http://www.azbo.us
    Phoenix Area Cindy Stotler cindy.stotler@phoenix.gov
    Pima County Yves Khawam Yves.Khawam@pima.gov
    Tucson Ron Boose rboose@tucsonaz.gov

    California (ICC 1) California Building Officials http://www.calbo.org
    LA Basin Central Coast Chapter, ICC centralcoasticc.com
    Sacramento Citrus Belt Chapter, ICC http://www.citrusbelticc.org
    SF (Bay Area) EastBay Chapter, ICC http://www.eastbayicc.org
    Jay Elbettar – ICC Board jayelbettar@caaorofessionals.com

    Colorado (ICC 11) Colorado Chapter, ICC http://www.coloradochaptericc.org
    City & County of Denver Keith Peetz keith.peetz@denvergov.org
    City of Cherry Hills Village Steve Thomas – IABO Board Sec/Trea sthomas@coloradocode.net
    City of Thorton Greg Wheeler gwheeler@cityofthornton.net

    Deleware (ICC 7) Deleware Bldg Officials Assn http://www.deboa.org
    City of Dover Scott Koenig skoenig@dover.de.us
    DEBOA Marc A. St. Jean deboapresident@deboa.org
    New Castle County George Haggerty landuse@nccde.org

    Florida (ICC 9) Bldg Official Assoc of Florida http://www.boaf.net
    City of Tallahassee Glen Dodson glenn.dodson@talgov.com
    Jacksonville James Schock shock@coj.net
    Miami-Dade County Michael Goolsby MG045@miamidade.gov
    Orlando Timothy Johnson timothy.johnson@cityoforlando.net

    Georgia (ICC 8) Bldg Officials Assoc Georgia http://boagcodes.org
    City of Atlanta James E. Shelby jshelby@atlantaga.gov
    City of Marietta Hal Cosper hcosper@mariettaga.gov
    Midland Bill Duck- IABO Board Chair bduck56@gmail.com

    Illinois (ICC 4) South Suburban Bldg Officials Assoc. http://www.ssboa.com
    Illinois/Iowa Chapter, ICC illowaicc.org
    City of Aurora Herman Beneke hbeneke@aurora-il.org
    City of Chicago Elizabeth Scanlan escanlan@cityofchicago.org

    Indiana (ICC 5) Indiana Assoc Bldg Officials http://www.iabo.com
    State of IN Homeland Security James Greeson jgreeson@dhs.in.gov
    West Lafayette Jason Burks  jburks@westlafayette.in.gov
    City of Indiananpolis Scott Mason

    Kansas (ICC 4) International Assoc Bldg Officials http://iabohome.org
    Kansas City Jerry Mallory – IABO Past Chair jerry.mallory@jocogov.org
    Topeka Heart of America Chapter, ICC http://www.heart-o-america.org
    Wichita Tim Ryan- IABO CEO Tim.Ryan@opkansas.org

    Kentucky (ICC 5) Code Administrators Assoc KY http://www.caak.org
    State of KY Ron Hampton Ron.Hampton@ky.gov
    State of KY Jeff Camp jeff.camp@elizabethtownky.gov
    Northern Kentucky Planning Comm. Jeff Bechtold- IABO Board Vice Chair jbechtold@nkapc.org
    Bowling Green Ron Tabor ron.tabor@bgky.org

    Maryland (ICC 7) Maryland Bldg Officals Assoc. http://www.mdboa.com
    Anne Arundel County Bill Bryant – ICC Board wbryant@iccsafe.org
    Baltimore Michael Braverman DHCD_Permits@baltimorecity.gov
    Harford County Richard Truitt, Sr rctruitt@harfordcountymd.gov
    Howard County Robert Frances bfrances@howardcountymd.gov 

    Michigan (ICC 5) SEMBOIA http://www.semboia.org
    Michigan Bureau Const Codes Nathan Ford bccinfo@michigan.gov
    City of Bloomfield Hills Larry Rospierski LRospierski@bloomfieldhillsmi.net

    Minnesota (ICC 3) Assoc. Minnesota Bldg. Officials http://www.ambo-icc.org
    City Minneapolis Patrick Higgins patrick.higgins@ci.minneapolis.mn.us
    City of North Saint Paul James Henneck jim.henneck@ci.north-saint-paul.mn.us
    City of South Saint Paul Joe Heimkes jheimkes@southstpaul.org

    Missouri (ICC 4) MO Assoc. Bldg Off. & Inspectors http://www.maboi.com
    Kansas City Gregory Franzen Greg.Franzen@kcmo.org
    St. Louis Ronald Brendel

    Nevada (ICC 1) Southern Nevada Bldg Officials
    Clark County Southern Nevada Chapter, ICC http://www.snicc.org
    Las Vegas Northern Nevada Chapter, ICC http://www.nnicc.org
    Reno Ronald Lynn rll@clarkcountynv.gov

    New Hampshire (ICC 6) New Hampshire Bldg Officials Assoc. http://www.nhboa.net
    City of Concord Tedd  Evans tevans@ConcordNH.gov
    City of Nashua William McKinney mckinneyw@nashuanh.gov
    Town of Bedford Wayne  Richardson wrichardson@bedfordnh.org

    New Jersey (ICC 7) Bldg Officials Assoc of New Jersey http://www.boanj.com
    State of NJ (Trenton) John Terry jterry@dca.state.nj.us
    Millburn Stephen Jones – ICC Board – 1st VP stephenjones@iccsafe.org
    Millville Michael Morrano michael.morano@millvillenj.gov
    Hillsborough John Fiedler jfiedler@hillsborough-nj.org

    New Mexico Southern NM Bldg Official Assoc. http://www.snmboa.org
    Albuquerque
    Las Cruces Robert Kyle rkyle@las-cruces.org

    New York (ICC 6) New York State Bldg Official Conf. http://www.nysboc.net
    State of NY Ron Piester – ICC Board President rpiester@iccsafe.org
    Buffalo Mark Morganti mmorganti@city-buffalo.com
    Town of Greece Leo Carroll lcarroll@greeceny.gov

    North Carolina (ICC 8) North Carolina Bldg Inspectors Assoc. http://www.ncbia.org
    City of Raleigh Jerzy Z. Hubert Jerzy.Hubert@raleighnc.gov
    City of Winston-Salem Dan Dockery dand@cityofws.org
    Robeson County Jeff Britt jeff.britt@co.robeson.nc.us

    Ohio (ICC 5) Ohio Bldg Official Assoc. http://www.oboa.org/web2
    City of Cleveland Edward W. Rybka erybka@city.cleveland.oh.us

    Oregon (ICC 2) Oregon Bldg. Officals Assoc. http://www.oregonbuildingofficials.com
    City of Portland Paul L. Scarlett bds@portlandoregon.gov
    City of Redmond Gary Lampella- IABO Board Gary.Lampella@ci.redmond.or.us
    City of Salem Rebai Tamerhoulet rtamerhoulet@cityofsalem.net

    Pennsylvania (ICC 7) Penn. Assoc. of Bldg. Officials http://www.paofficials.com
    Philadelphia Michael Fink michael.fink@phila.gov
    Pittsburg John Jennings john.jennings@pittsburghpa.gov

    South Carolina (ICC 8) Bldg Official Assoc South Carolina http://www.boasc.org
    City of Myrtle Beach Chris Lee clee@cityofmyrtlebeach.com
    City of North Charleston Michelle Hawkins michhawkins@northcharleston.org
    Richland County Michael Smith smithmi@rcgov.us

    Tennessee (ICC 8) Tennessee Bldg Official Assoc. http://tboa.net
    City of Nashville Terry Cobb terry.cobb@nashville.gov
    City of Oak Ridge Denny Boss- IABO Board dboss@oakridgetn.gov

    Texas (ICC 10) Bldg Offical Assoc. of Texas http://www.boatx.org
    Dallas/Ft. Worth Larry Holmes 214-948-4330
    Houston Thomas Hosey thomas.hosey@houstontx.gov
    Irving Gary Miller gmiller@cityofirving.org
    San Antonio Roderick Sanchez roderick.sanchez@sanantonio.gov
    Waco Randy Childers- IABO Board randyc@ci.waco.tx.us

    Utah (ICC 11) Utah Chapter, ICC http://www.utahicc.org
    Cache County Darrin Hancey darrin.hancey@cachecounty.org
    Salt Lake City Orion Goff Orion.Goff@slcgov.com

    Virginia (ICC 7) Virginia Bldg and Code Officials Assoc. http://www.vbcoa.org
    State of VA Cindy Davis (CDR) cindy.davis@dhcd.virginia.gov
    State of VA Emory Rodgers
    City of Alexandria John Catlett john.catlett@alexandriava.gov
    City of Alexandria Greg Fields
    City of Martinsville Kris Bridges – Pres. VBCOA kbridges@ci.martinsville.va.us
    City of Newport News Michael Redifer mredifer@nngov.com
    City of Norfolk Lynn Underwood lynn.underwood@norfolk.gov
    City of Norfolk Vernell Woods, Jr. – Past Pres. VBCOA
    City of Richmond Douglas Murrow douglas.murrow@richmondgov.com
    County of Arlington Shahriar Amiri samiri@arlington.va.us
    County of Arlington Shawn Strausbaugh (M/P)
    County of Chesterfield William Dupler – ICC Past President duplerb@chesterfield.gov
    County of Chesterfield Richard Witt
    County of Chesterfield Charles Bajnai
    County of Fairfax Guy Tomberlin – ICC Board Sec/Treas. gtomberlin@iccsafe.org
    County of Fairfax Richard Grace (P/M)
    County of Prince William Sean Farrell – 2nd VP VBCOA sfarrell@pwcgov.org
    County of Prince William Eric Mays emays@pwcgov.org
    County of Prince William Charles Black
    County of Roanoke Joel Baker jbaker@roanokecountyva.gov
    Town of Blacksburg Cathy Cook – 1st VP VBCOA ccook@blacksburg.gov

    Washington (ICC 2) Wash. Assoc. of Bldg. Officials http://www.wabo.org
    City of Bellevue Lee Kranz lkranz@bellevuewa.gov
    City of SeaTac Gary Schenk- IABO Board gschenk@ci.seatac.wa.us
    City of Seattle Jon Siu jon.siu@seattle.gov

    Wisconsin (ICC 3) Wisconsin Code Officials Alliance http://www.wcoa.org/WCOA/Home.html
    City of Franklin Fred Baumgart – WCOA Pres. fred.baumgart@wcoa.org
    City of Milwaukee Art Dahlberg adahlberg@milwaukee.gov
    City of Oak Creek Ed Ciechanowski ed.ciechanowski@wcoa.org

    • Kathleen Smith (MD) November 3, 2016 at 11:16 pm #

      Thank you!

  14. Claire November 3, 2016 at 8:28 am #

    I reached out to every city & county I’ve ever lived in, Salida, CO – Ashland, OR – Bend, OR – Durango, CO!

    • Andrew November 3, 2016 at 12:10 pm #

      Thanks Claire! Did you talk to Jeremy Payne in Ashland, OR?

      • Claire November 7, 2016 at 8:30 am #

        Yep!

  15. Caleb November 3, 2016 at 10:02 am #

    Does this this proposal include THOW’s or just homes on a solid foundation?

    • Andrew November 3, 2016 at 12:13 pm #

      Hi Caleb. It is specifically written for THOFs because the ICC Codes Manager refused to allow us to include THOWs this time around. That is on our radar for the next code cycle (three years out). That said, the code, as written, will have a huge impact on getting THOWs approved because it manages all of the “above trailer” issues that THOWs are stuck with: ceiling heights, sleeping lofts, loft access, emergency egress and rescue, etc. It will most definitely help people building THOWs.

  16. Carol November 3, 2016 at 1:15 pm #

    Sorry. J. Has way to much info. Let’s be real. I’m not going to spend hours on this. God bless you who have the calling to do so. I back you. But I’m not doing a search and rescue. Give me the form to sign and submit and I’m in. Yep. It’s on you. But then again. You started it

    • Andrew November 3, 2016 at 1:48 pm #

      Carol, J is not suggesting that you contact everyone on that list. The list is there for you to find your state and contact the person (people) listed therein. It’s actually a very easy way to find contacts.

      Further, you’re welcome to just contact the building department in your town or in a large city near you (even better) and send them the letter. You can literally copy the letter from the text below the infographic and then paste it in an email to your building department members. Should only take a few minutes to complete.

      We aren’t asking anyone to spend hours on this. We’ve already done that on our end. We just need support in contacting as many building officials and asking for their support as possible. There’s no way we can do it ourselves with all of the officials across the country.

      Thanks for doing whatever you can do.

  17. Amy Turnbull November 4, 2016 at 9:20 pm #

    Hi, Andrew

    I reached out to the City of Los Angeles Building and Safety Department today. They are very much in the camp of “why do we need an Appendix–tiny houses are already included in the IRC. Please advise how we should respond. I know this sentiment was aired among opponents of the Appendix at the hearings.

    • Andrew November 5, 2016 at 8:20 am #

      Hi Amy. I’d be very careful to consider whether there is room to change their minds or not before proceeding. We have to be careful not to stir up opposition in hopes of changing a vote or two or ten. Please feel into whether there is even room for a conversation or if they think it’s a dumb idea and therefore won’t vote for it.

      If you think there’s room for conversation, then I would suggest the following points.

      1. Ask them to watch the testimony so that they can hear from fellow building officials and why THEY think it’s important to have an appendix.

      2. Explain that people are building tiny houses right now under the radar because provisions of the IRC such as ceiling heights, loft access, use of sleeping lofts, and emergency escape and egress are prohibitive to such a tiny scale home. As such, those homes are being built without oversight and are putting people at risk. The inclusion of an appendix will help bring people TO the building department to build under their oversight thus making the homes safer for the occupants and eliminating the building departments’ need to site violations regarding tiny homes.

      3. Even when people attempt to build IRC compliant tiny houses, they still mark plans with things like “storage loft” knowing good and well they will eventually be sleeping in that space. Because it’s marked storage, the building department has no authority to mandate emergency egress from that space, making it a potential death trap for occupants in a fire. The appendix would eliminate this as people would mark their plans honestly with the words “sleeping loft” which could then be addressed directly to ensure safety measures are taken.

      4. Because of their scale, tiny houses require standards that are not currently covered in the IRC. The appendix provides those standards while maintaining a focus on health and safety for the occupants and for emergency rescue workers, should they be needed. It is a clear path within the intent of the code, as written in Section R101.3 Intent, which reads:

      “The purpose of this code is to establish minimum requirements to safeguard the public safety, health and general welfare through affordability, structural strength, means of egress facilities, stability, sanitation, light and ventilation, energy conservation and safety to life and property from fire and other hazards attributed to the built environment and to provide safety to fire fighters and emergency responders during emergency operations.”

      The most important thing is to recognize that providing an appendix will actually increase oversight and ease the tension that tiny houses have caused while MAINTAINING health and safety for the occupants. People will not stop building THs, so it’s to the building department’s advantage to have a code they can point to that specifically addresses them.

  18. Amy Turnbull November 5, 2016 at 1:20 pm #

    Thanks for your response, Andrew. The California Fire Prevention Officers Association (Northern and Southern), the ICC Los Angeles Basin Chapter, Fire-Life Safety Committee and the ICC Los Angeles Basin Chapter, Structural Committee all voted “neutral” on the Appendix at the hearings; this is encouraging! And Victor Cuevas, who heads the Administration Committee that oversees all these agencies (and more) did not definitively say they were against the Appendix when I spoke with him on Friday. He did say, however, that tiny houses are already included in the code.

    I always like to look at both sides of an argument so I want to be clear what opponents mean when they say tinys are already included in the code. I’m not sure you fully answered my question.

    I went with the IRC R101.3 approach when I spoke with Victor on Friday:

    “The purpose of this code is to establish minimum requirements to safeguard the public safety, health and general welfare through affordability, structural strength, means of egress facilities, stability, sanitation, light and ventilation, energy conservation and safety to life and property from fire and other hazards attributed to the built environment and to provide safety to fire fighters and emergency responders during emergency operations.”

    I chose not to include the argument, “People are building tiny houses right now without oversight and they will continue to build them whether building officials provide that oversight or not,” which is part of your suggested letter to building officials (aka governmental voting members.) It almost sounds like, “well, if you’re not going to approve this, we’re going to build tiny houses anyway. The practice of building tiny houses without standards contributed to the memo circulated last May by the State of California Department of Housing and Community Development, better known as the “Tiny Houses Banned” memo. In fact, the Committee Chair of ICC Region I considers this memo a statement against tiny houses, even though it’s purpose was informative and descriptive–a sort of reiteration of the gray area to which tiny houses belong.

    Therefore, I chose to leave this argument out of my approach since I agree with your idea that we should be careful “not to stir up opposition…” Unfortunately, that opposition already exists, therefore, I welcome your explanation of what ICC members mean when they say tinys are already included in the code.

    Thank you in advance for the time you spend on this effort!

    Sincerely,

    Amy

    • Andrew November 7, 2016 at 2:05 pm #

      Hi Amy. Martin Hammer will be replying to you on this one to give some more clarity. In the meantime, I’ll just say that there are no provisions in the IRC specific to tiny houses. What the building officials are suggesting is that if you build a house that happens to be tiny, you can do that through the existing code. What they’re missing is that the scale of tiny houses is not conducive to many of the provisions that would be required, thus the need for the appendix. There are specific challenges that we find in tiny houses that someone who has not built one themselves would not know exist. This is a common challenge. Martin will write more later…

      • Amy Turnbull November 7, 2016 at 7:01 pm #

        Thank you. I look forward to his response.

        • Martin Hammer November 9, 2016 at 1:08 pm #

          Hi Amy,

          Andrew summarized most of what I was going to say. If your quote of the L.A. building official is correct (“why do we need an Appendix – Tiny houses are already included in the IRC”), I think he is mistaken. There are no provisions specific to tiny houses in any of the model I-Codes, including the IRC. It’s possible a local jurisdiction has added such provisions to their building code, but to date that is rare, and I doubt that is the case in L.A.

          More often what is heard is what Andrew said, “if you build a house that happens to be tiny, you can do that through the existing code.” But also as Andrew said, and as you know, there are challenges to full code compliance when house are extremely small. The proposed appendix addresses the biggest area of difficulty, namely lofts, their dimensions, access, and egress.

          I like that you chose the talking points you thought would be most effective for interacting with your building official. I hope you are successful, both for the short term in encouraging him to vote for the Public Comment RB168-16, and for developing a longer term cooperative relationship regarding tiny houses.

          Thanks Amy.

          • Amy Turnbull November 11, 2016 at 6:12 pm #

            Thanks for your reply, Martin. It seems the statement “tiny houses are already part of the code” then becomes a matter of perception of how big a tiny house is: tiny versus extremely tiny.

            I agree developing a long term cooperative relationship regarding tiny houses is important; it is the first of many steps going forward in our advocacy toward legitimizing alternative, affordable housing.

            Thank you for all your hard work writing the Appendix.

            Amy

  19. Noel Ranson November 6, 2016 at 4:25 am #

    I am with my tiny house fellows. I moved to Colorado for my job to live tiny. I downsized and moved only to find out Colorado is not on board with Tiny houses! The credit union will only give me a loan for 1000 Sq ft and in the ground. I am having to go RV due financial reasons and not my tiny house. We should have a right to live tiny! Why is issues allowed but trying to live tiny and debt free is not the American dream right now!

    • Andrew November 7, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

      I hear you Noel. That’s a big reason we have worked so hard to get this code in place. It will make tiny houses legal in a way they’ve never been before and will very likely open up funding options, insurance, and much more. Step by step. For now, please use the information contained in this blog to contact your local ICC building officials and fire marshals to help get the code approved. It will have ripple effects across the industry.

  20. Ray Pryor November 7, 2016 at 7:10 am #

    Hi can you embed the YouTube video at the top of this page? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESzuQXjXHlY I’m sending local Tiny House enthusiast to this page and the video would help. Thanks in advance

    • Andrew November 7, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

      Hi Ray. Unfortunately I can’t add the video as I’m out of the country right now and don’t have strong enough internet access to take care of that from here. I think it’s okay though as the point of that video is to bring people to this page anyway, so it would be a bit of a circular presentation. 😉

      Thanks for sending folks this way and helping us win the vote!!!

      • Kaela November 8, 2016 at 10:54 am #

        Am I too late to mail officials? 🙁

        • Andrew November 8, 2016 at 11:11 am #

          Hi Kaela. You can still email or call them for sure. the vote doesn’t start until tomorrow. Do a search online for your town (or a bigger city near you) plus the words building department. You should be able to find some contacts that way. You can also scroll up to the message left above in the comments with a ton of ICC member contact information and see if there is someone from your state. Thanks!!!

  21. Karen Isaacson November 7, 2016 at 10:47 am #

    Your contact page has ‘validation issues’ and won’t accept my comments there, so:

    HUD’s building and safety code for manufactured homes considers loads and not specific materials (e.g., ‘#2 or better 2x4s’) like the UBC for calling out how manufactured homes should be built. This might be useful to people advocating for tiny homes, as smaller manufactured homes, like park models, are tiny homes in themselves.

    • Andrew November 7, 2016 at 2:00 pm #

      Thanks Karen; however, we have to be very careful NOT to call tiny houses manufactured homes as the manufactured home industry and HUD have been crystal clear that they don’t want to accept tiny houses in their ranks. Further, manufactured home facilities are sanctioned to build the houses, but the DIYer is strictly forbidden from building their own. That’s a big advantage of the IRC, owner builders are welcome there.

      The guidelines contained within the UBC (or in appendix E of the 2015 IRC: Manufactured Homes) may be useful for our industry, but we have to be very careful about how we approach that. For now, please stick with the IRC approach as it’s laid out. Once we get this approval and the TH appendix into the code, we will be able to make changes and updates moving forward. That’s where the larger conversation will come into play.

      Thanks!!!

  22. Jade November 14, 2016 at 5:55 pm #

    Any news or progress on the outcome Andrew?

    • Andrew November 14, 2016 at 7:44 pm #

      Not yet. The vote is open until November 21st and the results will be posted some time after that (I don’t know when exactly). Believe me…I will be sure to post the results as soon as I have them! 🙂

      • Jesse November 17, 2016 at 11:50 am #

        Thank you for this update Andrew!

  23. bunny November 17, 2016 at 2:29 pm #

    Will this make them legal for everywhere in the united states?

    • Andrew November 17, 2016 at 2:33 pm #

      Hi Bunny. If approved and adopted, this will make them legal in 49 states (not Wisconsin), DC, Guam, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

      • bunny November 18, 2016 at 1:26 pm #

        aaaahhh fingers crossed!!!

  24. Blake November 23, 2016 at 6:15 pm #

    Interested in the results. Any update?

  25. Ash November 28, 2016 at 5:08 am #

    Any updates on those results? Voting has closed, but I haven’t read or heard anything.

    • Andrew November 28, 2016 at 11:55 am #

      We won’t know the results until December 6th. I’ll let you know as soon as I hear the results.

  26. Debbie December 6, 2016 at 2:34 pm #

    Hi Andrew, I go before our City Council tonight to get revisions to our ADU ordinances approved. I have been working with our P&Z since the beginning of summer. The main change will be getting the minimum sq footage down to 100 sq feet. Also, the town says it has to be on a foundation. If I have to, I can live with that. There is opposition on the Council and from some community members. So tonight, either one of my dreams come true or it is squashed like a bug. We’ll see.
    Debbie
    P.S. I attended your workshop last spring in Denver. It was great.

    • Andrew December 6, 2016 at 5:51 pm #

      Good luck Debbie. Fingers crossed. Your dreams can’t be squashed, no matter what. They may just be harder to see come to fruition. Hold on to your dreams no matter the outcome.

  27. Debbie December 6, 2016 at 8:15 pm #

    Everything went great. When it was all said and done the only thing Council wants is language added stating the owner must live in one of the dwellings at least 7 months out of the year. That is not an issue to us. In 30 days it will be voted on and 30 days from that it becomes code. It is going to be really hard to switch my brain from dreaming to planning. I am so excited.

    • Andrew December 12, 2016 at 12:30 pm #

      Fantastic news! Congratulations.

  28. Allyson Cohen January 21, 2017 at 9:18 am #

    I want a tiny home in the Bangor/Brewer ME area. Legally is is a go? Preferably on a foundation

    • Andrew January 27, 2017 at 4:21 pm #

      It’s much easier on a foundation. The new code is not in effect yet as the appendix still needs to be adopted. That said, you can try to use it when discussing plans with the county/city. It’s possible they will accept it if you “sell” it properly to them. My dad lives in Castine, so I know Bangor and Brewer pretty well! Good luck!

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