Appendix Q “Tiny House Appendix” Advances in Massachusetts, August 2018
Tiny House Appendix Advances in MA!
From the Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS) August 14, 2018 Regular Meeting Division of Professional Licensure (DPL):
Proposal Number 5-2-2018 – Consider adopting Appendix Q of the International Residential Code pertaining to Tiny Houses.
“On a MOTION by Rich Crowley seconded by Kevin Gallagher it was voted in the majority to advance Appendix Q forward as an amendment to the ninth edition of the code, independent of the tenth edition effort.
On discussion, Rob Anderson indicated that Board members should refrain from making changes to the ninth edition if the effort is to advance to a tenth edition based on the 2018 I-Codes. Jen Hoyt and Kerry Dietz agreed that it becomes awkward and confusing and, by their estimation, there still may be some issues to be resolved with other agencies relating to tiny houses and it makes more sense to review further as part of the tenth edition revision.
Following discussion, the motion was approved via a majority of Board members with Rob Anderson, Jen Hoyt, and Kerry Dietz voting in opposition.”
According to Rich Crowley, board member of the MA BBRS, the next steps are for a public hearing in November and then a final vote.
“We’ve voted it in now it’s on to public hearing and final vote. After Tuesday’s vote I don’t anticipate any objection… In fact at one of our previous meetings there was one member, the architect, that voiced some opposition to micro units and this time she offered some positive feedback. The Proposal will return with a document that will more than likely get a unanimous approval as well. That should make it to the hearing and to promulgation along with tiny houses.…Once the hearing is over the following month we decide on all the items came in front of us at the hearing and vote up or down or move them somewhere but some form of action is taken at that following meeting. tiny houses are more than likely move forward. At that point it’s just two steps away from [promulgation].Next it goes to Administration and finance. Once they sign off then it goes to the governor’s desk for signature. It takes maybe a day or two after that for the Secretary of State too publish it as a part of our first amendment to the 9th Edition of the mass building code. The date that gets published is the date of becomes Law so to speak.I think we can get it all done by the first of the year pretty close. I have talked to lieutenant governor who’s very excited and wants to see it move forward. In fact when one of governor Baker’s main themes is for affordable housing and that’s what this does. Give people a chance to get on that first rung of the ladder.”
What is The Tiny House Appendix?
Appendix Q addresses building code standards for small houses on foundations that have already been adopted into the 2018 International Residential Code (IRC), including standards for lofts, stairs, egresses, and ceiling heights. To be clear, the adoption of the Tiny House Appendix won’t completely legalize tiny houses in Massachusetts– that’s up to each city– but if it is adopted, it will provide a set of building standards for under 400 sq ft homes where they are legalized, and where they aren’t yet legalized, help legitimize tiny homes in the eyes of local building departments. Appendix Q does not address tiny houses on wheels, as they are currently considered vehicles.
Read the Tiny House Appendix here.
Appendix Q in Massachusetts
Andrew and Gabriella Morrison have been instrumental in writing and getting the Tiny House Appendix adopted into the national 2018 IRC: now it’s up to each state, and then each city/town in each state, to adopt it into their specific building code. Andrew presented at a Massachusetts BBRS meeting, introducing Appendix Q last fall.