Andrew was invited to give a presentation and answer questions about Appendix V (the new tiny house construction code adopted by the ICC-International Code Council) to the Board of Building Regulations and Standards on Sep. 12, 2017 in Boston, MA. In attendance was the state Chief Inspector, the chairman of the president of the AIA Massachusetts chapter, the head of all of Massachusetts’ building commissioners, the head of all commercial Realtors in the state, the fire marshal, and numerous lobbyists and consultants in the industry.
About 20 of us sandwiched into a small meeting room and agenda items rapidly turned over; it was Andrew’s turn to present in no time at all. As he answered questions, he was faced with the same concerns that each community/state seems to express: why should we give tiny houses exceptions when there are rules that everyone else must adhere to? Why should we ‘rush’ through adopting the Appendix rather than wait another 3+ years when the rest of the 2018 code is adopted state wide (code adoption is typically 3+ years behind actual date)? The current code already allows for very small houses so why should we go through considerable effort to adopt the Appendix? All good and valid questions and it was clear that there was some opposition to the adoption process.
Andrew held the floor for about 30 minutes and during that time, as officials had their questions answered, the mood began to shift. Since there was a well thought out answer to each concern, the proposal to adopt the Tiny House Appendix, and create a legal pathway for tiny houses to receive certificates of occupancy (COO), started to fall into context.
The board chairman called for a vote that the state of MA officially begin the process of adopting Appendix V. The response was a unanimous vote in favor. A very strong start towards legalization of tiny houses at the state wide level. So where does it all go from here?
First, there will be some paperwork that will be filed to highlight pluses and minuses of adopting the Appendix as well as associated costs. Secondly, a meeting will occur within the next couple months with the leaders of the other codes (i.e., plumbing and electrical) that may be impacted by the decision. After that, there will be a public hearing (most likely in May) followed by a 30 day comment period. After that point, the board will meet again and officially vote on the adoption of Appendix V. The final step is for it to move through the Secretary of State’s Administration and Finances office for promulgation. Adding all of those events up, they anticipate seeing Appendix V go into effect middle of 2018.
So, things are looking pretty sunny for the state of Massachusetts and tiny houses. It’s not going to happen overnight but at least the door is now officially open and a clear line of sight exists. We will keep you updated on the process as we continue to receive updates. Thanks to all of YOU for all the support you have extended in this effort. We couldn’t have gotten as far as we have without all the support!!
p.s., As the proud wife, I just want to pass on this comment that one of the board officials shared with Andrew, “Your presentation was the reason we had a unanimous position on this.” Sniff, sniff…makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside to see him get to do something he’s so naturally gifted at and to see his talents recognized. OK, gushfest over. 😉
p.p.s., One exciting point to mention is that the state wanted to see Andrew and Martin’s rough draft of the moveable tiny house code proposal. Two top state officials not only encouraged Andrew to speak directly to the group about moveable tiny houses but also offered solutions within the existing code which could allow for the approval of moveable tiny houses more easily than previously expected. We will share more as this exciting development continues!