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  • Writer's pictureRev. Eko Noble

2024 RLS Non-Toxic Tiny House Project Update

Thank you for your interest and support of the Non-Toxic Tiny House Prototype Project.  The completion of this project has been slowed by a number of factors, including the effects of the pandemic, funding limitations, and a very necessary pause until building code and zoning issues impacting this new form of housing are fully clarified. 

Perhaps the most important positive development on a national level in the past couple years was the approval of new building code regulations called IRC (International Residential Code) Appendix Q at the national level.  This legalizes structures under 400 square feet, opening the possibility for local building and zoning code regulators, state by state and county by county, to adopt this code and make tiny houses built and inspected to it and connected to public utilities legal, as a moveable house or ADU eligible for a year round Certificate of Occupancy.

This is a crucial development that both preserves equity in the construction of the tiny home and allows it to become the stable long term living situation it was design to be, as a modest "real home," not forcing owners to be transient unless this is their choice and best option.  Many specific building requirements remain dependent on local code application standards to the extent that the only reasonable way to assure the success of a build is to first determine where the tiny house will be sited and then work closely with local authorities during the final construction to avoid the possibility of having to redo plumbing/electrical/wall systems and face expensive modifications.

Disappointingly, many early tiny house builders sold unrealistic dreams in terms of legal occupancy and zoning requirements, then moved into consulting, allowing unknowing consumers to bear the considerable financial risk of investing in structures that heartbreakingly will never be legal to live in.  Now larger construction companies are building and manufacturing tiny homes to specific codes and standards, so with adequate planning and research there is less risk.  Healthful building materials and practices are still not really adequately addressed, except by consumer demand, and this is where information and education can make all the difference to move towards truly healthful standards. 

What we are learning about healthful non-toxic construction can be applied to tiny homes on wheels, smaller homes on foundations, as well as homes designed to allow transport (at least once or twice) without structural damage to take advantage of flexible siting options, new models of cooperative land ownership, thus empowering individuals with more modest resources greater opportunity for stable permanent housing.  What we wish most is that everyone has an affordable, healthful and decent place to live, and we will continue our efforts to create knowledge base resources for these better alternatives.

So, long story short, we are in a holding pattern until our permanent site is secured.  We will continue research, gathering organizational resources, and proceed to finish the project when everything lines up.  Each and every donation to this project, so gratefully received, has been well utilized.   Despite delay, the quality and objectives of the project remain firmly in sight and achievable. Thank you so much for your vision and support.

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