Applying Appendix Q To A Tiny Home On A Chassis
Written by Janet Thome
Tonight, The City and Borough of Sitka, Alaska creates history for the tiny home industry. The second and final reading for ORD 20-02S (A) passed at a vote 6 to 0 and is a great win for movable tiny homes. Sitka, Alaska has approved tiny homes on a foundation, but what is groundbreaking, is they have written an ordinance that amends Appendix Q that applies to movable tiny homes. From the floor joists up, the tiny home will be built to the IRC Appendix Q.
Photo Credit: Digz 2 Go
The chassis on which a tiny house is placed or constructed, including all components attached to the chassis, shall be of adequate structural strength to resist all dead and live loads imposed upon it and/or required by applicable safety standards. The Building Official may require third party certification to ascertain compliance with this section.
Both tiny homes on a foundation and movable tiny homes, will require a building permit and will be subject to inspection during construction.
Photo Credit: Stone Canyon Cabins
Listen To City And Borough Assembly Meeting
Legal Classification: Tiny House On A Chassis
It is somewhat of a hybrid standard, built to local building codes, though Sitka created their own classification which allows for full time living with conditions. The trailer will need to be registered at the DMV for transport purposes and the trailer should be structurally rated to support the load which is placed upon it.
Highlights Of ORD 20-02S( A)
Tiny Home On A Chassis Limited To A Maximum Of 400 Square Feet
A Tiny home on a chassis is limited to a maximum of 400 square feet including all additions and appurtenances, not including lofts. Any loft in a tiny house or tiny house on a chassis will be considered a sleeping loft and shall have an emergency escape openings as required by the 2018 International Residential Code Appendix Q.
The chassis on which a tiny house is placed or constructed, including all components attached to the chassis, shall be of adequate structural strength to resist all dead and live loads imposed upon it and/or required by applicable safety standards.
Tiny Home Built Outside Of Sitka
A tiny house on a chassis constructed outside of Sitka may be used as a residence or sleeping quarters if the applicant can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the building official that it has been constructed in accordance with the International Residential Code.
Excerpts Of ORD 20-02S (A)
6.12.190 Use as residence or sleeping quarters.
- 319 A. No mobile home, manufactured home, recreational vehicle, or other motor vehicle, tiny
- 320 house, or tiny house on chassis shall be used as a residence or sleeping quarters unless:
- 322 1. Such unit or vehicle has a designated spot within a mobile and manufactured
- 323 home park, recreational vehicle park or other area specifically designated by the
- 324 chief of police; or
- 326 2. Such unit or vehicle has a permanent spot on other private property, its
- 327 placement on such property as a residence meets all zoning requirements, and
- 328 such unit or vehicle meets the standard size requirements and sanitation
- 329 requirements of a residence under the Sitka General Code.
- 331 3. In the case of a tiny house, the unit has been constructed in accordance with
- 332 the International Residential Code as locally adopted and amended, has been
- 333 inspected as required by the International Residential Code, and has been issued
- 334 a certificate of occupancy by the building official.
- 336 4. In the case of a tiny house on chassis, the unit has been constructed from the
- 337 floor joists up in accordance with the International Residential Code as locally
- 338 adopted and amended, has been inspected as required by the International
- 339 Residential Code, and has been issued a certificate of approval by the building
official. A certificate of approval is valid only for the specific location at which the unit has been installed and inspected.
Sitka, Alaska Paves The Way
The ordinance will be a template that other jurisdictions can follow across the country. Almost every day, we are seeing a battle with homeowners and municipalities, is it a structure, or is it a vehicle. Perhaps it is both, I applaud Sitka for forging a way for others.
I have spoken to building officials that have said the wheels make them want to pull their hair out and how many building departments, insurance companies and financial institutions are still scratching their heads over the wheels and say no, instead of creating a logical and permissible path for movable tiny homes or as Sitka, has beautifully classified them as Tiny Homes On A Chassis.
A Special Shout Out And Thanks To Scott Brylinsky
We all owe a special thanks to Scott Brylinsky, who wrote the ordinance, out of painstaking research and although he did not find what was applicable, he wrote a prescriptive path, that addresses all safety, health and fire regulations, that will result in structuring sound, safe tiny homes.
Scott is the Special Projects Manager for the Department Of Planning And Community Development.
Appendix Q Tiny House
Appendix Q was adopted into the 2018 International Residential Code ( IRC ) building code to provide regulations and standards for tiny homes on a foundation that is 400 square feet or less
The International Residential Code is a comprehensive, stand alone residential code that creates minimum regulations for one-and two family dwellings of three stories or less.
The IRC brings together all building, plumbing, mechanical, fuel, gas, energy and electrical for provisions for one-and two-family residences. Appendix Q was adopted to the IRC building code standards through the ICC Code Developement Process.
ORD 20-02S ( A )
Sitka Leads The Way With Tiny Home Law
After four months, three Planning Commission sessions, three first readings by the Assembly and nearly one hundred phone calls made by Planning Department Special Projects Manager Scott Brylinsky, the Assembly Tuesday night passed the ordinance that makes tiny homes a viable living option in Sitka.