State of MA Takes Step Closer to Adopting Tiny House Appendix!

Ma tiny house

Fitting sign to find before the meeting with state officials!!

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. 

Awaiting Andrew’s turn to present the Tiny House Appendix

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.

MA tiny house agenda

The agenda for the meeting

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!

12 Responses to State of MA Takes Step Closer to Adopting Tiny House Appendix!

  1. Lynne September 14, 2017 at 9:11 am #

    Gabriella, as a life-long Massachusetts resident and Tiny House enthusiast, I cannot be more excited for you, Andrew and the rest of the Tiny House community. I am not surprised at all that your diligence has paid off with your professionalism and practical approach to a very serious problem not only in MA but in the country as well. Young people living in Boston (my own son included) have to live in ridiculously-priced apartments that are over-crowded and disgusting at times. They are your target audience. I am so ready to get started on creating a Tiny House either for him to live in. Keep up the great work!!!

    • Gabriella
      Gabriella September 16, 2017 at 9:05 am #

      Thanks Lynne! Always nice to receive such positive feedback! Hopefully your son and millions of others can begin to see a change in housing costs in Boston and beyond. Lord knows it’s needed and one of our primary motivations!!

  2. Vickie September 14, 2017 at 12:26 pm #

    I live Des Moines, Iowa. I am so interested in getting the tiny house Community started here. If there are enough people interested in the movement here, but, I need the help big time right now just to get me started. In other words HELP.

    • /bob September 14, 2017 at 1:18 pm #

      Vickie, I am also from West Des Moines. In the news the last few days were 2 items about Tiny Houses. One being built in 3 days in Norwalk per request of the Home Show Expo by Built On The Fly.

      http://whotv.com/2017/07/21/des-moines-company-builds-tiny-home-in-three-days/

      The other being built by High School students who are members of ACE – mentor program as a project for the homeless and being donated to the homeless outreach, Joppa, which desires to create a Tiny House Community for the homeless in the area.

      http://whotv.com/2017/06/07/high-school-students-build-tiny-house-for-homeless/

      These may be 2 points of contact for you as a start. My impression is that there would have to be at least some acceptance at the community construction boards to enable these to even start up.

      • /bob September 14, 2017 at 2:33 pm #

        After reviewing the articles I posted links to (pending moderation) I realized those projects were in June and July this year. There was another project in the news Sept 13 that may be one of those two or possibly yet another, 3rd, Tiny House project in the Des Moines area. Just to let y’all know there are stirrings of the Tiny House movement in Iowa as well. Who knows, this state may yet adopt the TH appendix.

      • Gabriella
        Gabriella September 16, 2017 at 9:01 am #

        Thanks as always /bob!! I’ll also add that there is an active community in Fairfield, IA.

    • Gabriella
      Gabriella September 16, 2017 at 9:04 am #

      Vickie, here is an IA tiny house MeetUp group. It’s specific to Fairfield but may be great starting place: https://www.meetup.com/Fairfield-Tiny-House-and-Co-Housing-Meetup/

      • /bob September 21, 2017 at 4:29 pm #

        And just found out about this event happening this weekend.
        Tiny Fest Midwest is about to happen this weekend!!! Features Jay Shafer as keynote speaker and many other speakers from the Midwest area.
        Here is the web link to the event being held in Colfax, Iowa.
        http://tinyfestmidwest.com/

  3. D. I. September 14, 2017 at 10:19 pm #

    So excited to hear about t.h.o.w/t.h. legalization. This is a spark of hope. I would love to see some legal avenues open up in FL too; any advice on how you all got this far. Is there a posted copy of the appendix we can read as well?

  4. Neil September 15, 2017 at 8:07 am #

    Well done Andrew & team!

    Your diligence in everything TH is paying off…nationwide!

    Looking forward to your Oct. event in Ashland, OR.

    Thank you.

    • Gabriella
      Gabriella September 16, 2017 at 8:59 am #

      Thanks Neil! And will be great to have you with us in Ashland!! 🙂

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