Adopts Small Home Specialty Code to regulate construction of homes

Not more than 400 square feet in size Effective October 1st, 2019

Written By Janet Thome
Photo: Oregon Cottage Company

”Small House Specialty Code” – Means the specialty code adopted under section 2 of this 2019 act. It means a code of regulations adopted under ORS 446.062, 446.185, 447.020 (2), 455.020 (2),455.496, 455.610, 455.680, 460.085, 460.360, 479.730 (1) or 480.545 or section 2 of this 2019 Act.

Section 2 Of HB243 : Including But Not Limited To  Appendix Q

1) As used in this section, “small home” means a single family residence that is not more than 400 square feet in size.(2) Not withstanding ORS 455.020 and 455.030, the 2018 International Residential Code, including  but not limited to Appendix Q of that code, is adopted as a Small Home Specialty Code applicable to the construction of a small home.


  • Requires amendment of Low-Rise Residential Dwelling Code to provide that Small Home Specialty Code supersedes conflicting provisions of Low-Rise Residential Dwelling Code.
  • Authorizes municipal building official to alter, modify or waive specialty code requirements for small home if strict adherence to Small Home Specialty Code is impractical or infeasible.
  • Requires that building permits and zoning permits for small home designate small home as single family project.
  • Requires that certificate of occupancy for small home allow occupancy only for residential use as single family dwelling.
  • Specifies application of fire sprinkler head and fire sprinkler system design criteria to small homes.
  • Authorizes municipal building official to allow increased detection and occupant notification in lieu of fire sprinkler head or fire sprinkler system.
  • Requires that small home be built with listed heat detector unit alarm or listed photoelectric smoke alarm.
  • Sunsets Small Home Specialty Code and small home fire sprinkler design , heat detector and smoke alarm provisions on January 2, 2026.

Text Bill HB243


Related:  Oregon Reach Code Effective Sept. 20th, 2018

SECTION 102 APPLICABILITY102.1 General. This code is an overlay to the other Oregon Specialty Codes. This code is not intended to be used as a stand-alone construction regulation document or to abridge or supersede safety, health or environmental requirements

Under Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 455.500, the division, after consultation with the appropriate advisory board, shall establish a Reach Code. The Oregon Reach Code is an optional set of standards providing a choice for builders, consumers, contractors, and others.

Customers can choose to build to the codes adopted as the State Building Code or to build to this optional Reach Code.When adopting this code, the division considers economic and technical feasibility, and any published codes that are newly developed for construction.

The Oregon Reach Code is not limited to energy provisions and may include other subject matters. This code is an optional tool for local builders and local government and is not applicable in areas of state administration.The 2018 Oregon Reach Code consists of two parts. Part I includes optional energy standards for commercial and residential buildings. Part II includes optional provisions for tiny houses, 400 square feet or less in floor area, not including loft areas.

Part I—Commercial Energy provisions

Adopted code:2018 International Energy Conservation Code(IECC) with Oregon Reach Commodification:For structures covered under the Oregon Structural Specialty Code(OSSC), the 2018 IECC represents an improvement to the 2014 OSSC/2014 OEESC. The 2018 IECC is a contemporary code that advances energy efficiency through a timely evaluation and recognition of the latest advancements in construction techniques, emerging technologies and science related to the built environment. The 2018 IECC is recognized by the U.S. Department of Energy as the most current national energy efficiency construction code

Part 1- Residential Energy Provisions Adopted code:2017 Oregon Residential Specialty Code (ORSC), including Chapter 11,with Oregon Reach Commodification:For residential structures covered under the ORSC, the 2017 ORSC exceeds national standards that are  technically and economically feasible for residential structures.

Part  11- Tiny Houses
Adopted code:2018 International Residential Code (IRC), including Appendix Q for Tiny Houses, with Oregon Reach Commodification:The 2018 IRC, including Appendix Q, provides minimum standards for the construction of tiny houses, 400 square feet or less in floor area, not including loft areas.In addition to an energy provision modification,(requiring all LED lighting), this code establishes new occupancy classification for the tiny house on wheels product. Many wheeled-type structures are constructed using recreational vehicle-type products that are not typically allowed for permanent dwelling use. The exemption of product certification requirements under the electrical and plumbing statutes allows the Oregon Reach Code to provide a solution for contractors wanting to incorporate these products.This code provides another tool for tiny house builders. Provides flexibility for local government to address housing needs.Includes standards for both tiny houses on wheels and permanent tiny houses.

2018 Oregon Reach Code

Tiny Homes Intended For Permanent Living

1) Tiny houses classified as a Group R-3 occupancy, one-family dwelling unit as defined in the Oregon Residential Specialty Code intended for permanent living.

2) Tiny house on  wheels classified as a Group R-5 occupancy intended for temporary or emergency use or  as allowed by the building official.Group R-5 structures are structures on wheels approved by the building official under this code.

A Group R-5 structure must be built on a chassis with cord and hose utility connections in accordance with R107.3 and R107.3.2. A Group R-5 structure is limited to temporary living quarters for seasonal or emergency use or as allowed by the building official.

The duration of stay may be determined by local ordinance or local administrative rule.Exception: Group R-5 structures located in approved recreational vehicle, manufactured housing, or transitional housing parks may not be subject to limitation on use and period of stay, unless addressed through land use and planning by the local municipality. See Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 197.493.

 Oregon Revised Statute (ORS) 197.493: Placement And Occupancy Of Recreational Vehicle

1) A state agency or local government may not prohibit the placement or occupancy of a recreational vehicle, or impose any limit on the length of occupancy of a recreational vehicle, solely on the grounds that the occupancy is in a recreational vehicle, if the recreational vehicle is:

(a) Located in a manufactured dwelling park, mobile home park or recreational vehicle park;

(b) Occupied as a residential dwelling; and

(c) Lawfully connected to water and electrical supply systems and a sewage disposal system.

(2) Subsection (1) of this section does not limit the authority of a state agency or local government to impose other special conditions on the placement or occupancy of a recreational vehicle. [2005 c.619 §12]

Note: See note under 197.492 (Definitions for ORS 197.492 and 197.493).

Article Source Oregon Laws.Org

R119.2 Occupancy classification conversion from Group R-5 to Group-3

R119.2 Occupancy classification conversion: Group R-5 -wheeled residential structures constructed in accordance with this code may be converted to a Group R-3 permanent one-family dwelling provided that upon application to the local municipality for a change of occupancy, the applicant provides adequate information demonstrating how the structure will meet the minimum requirements for connection of electrical and plumbing systems and be permanently anchored to the ground to meet minimum requirements for resisting seismic and wind forces such as, construction details, design drawings, calculations and other information necessary, including how the chassis and floor system is anchored to the proposed foundation system, and any products or equipment that may not meet the minimum requirements of the 2018 International Residential Code including Appendix Q.

Oregon Reach Code

Video Public Information  Meeting

Related: Oregon Legislation For The RV Industry

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Article Source Tiny Home Industry Association

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“Tiny home” is an umbrella term for structures designed to provide low-cost or minimally sized housing options for consumers. Tiny homes are subject to building codes and licensing standards that govern their constructionism installation, zoning codes that dictate where they can be sited, and registration or requirement tiny homes when moving on public roads.

Article Source Oregon Legislature.Gov

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Article Source The Oregonian

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