The tiny home movement grows in popularity year after year with the most notable and enticing features of living debt-free and having more time and energy to do the things you truly enjoy instead of taking care of your home.

The International Code Council defines a tiny home as a small home that is 400 ft.² or less in size. With more and more tiny homes being built there are more and more unique ways in which people are building them. There are tiny homes on wheels, there are drivable tiny homes, there are tiny homes set on permanent foundations, and each tiny home has its different set of add-ons like outdoor decks, and porches, or even pop-outs.

With so much creativity and the allowance for customization, there’s not really one standard universal category that encompasses a tiny home. With this, some question if tiny homes are safe. When you put further inquiries of holding up to inclement weather and safety regulations these are certainly understandable concerns and questions.

What safety regulations are tiny homes required to have?

The specific regulations for tiny homes will vary depending upon the individual area in which you plan to live in your tiny home. Some areas of the United States are more tiny home-friendly than others and allow for more considerations when it comes to building and living in a tiny home full-time.

To fully know what is required of tiny homes where you live the best source of information would be your local zoning department. They can tell you specific zoning laws for the exact location of where you plan to live in a tiny home.

There are some pretty standard and universal regulations when it comes to tiny homes for the entire country. Here are some of the most standard tiny home regulations in the United States.

Bathrooms

Every tiny home in the United States is required to have at least one bathroom that is separate from all the other rooms in the tiny home.

Emergency exit point

There is no minimum requirement for how many windows a tiny home needs to have in the United States, but a tiny home must have at least one other emergency exit point that does not include the main entrance of the home.

Minimum ceiling height

All of the common living areas in a tiny home need to have a ceiling height of at least 6 feet and 8 inches. All bathrooms must have a ceiling height of at least 6 feet and 4 inches.

Stairs

If a tiny home has a lofted area, the United States requires that it has some type of ladder or stairs to access the loft area inside the tiny home.

Utilities

Federally there is no requirement for specific utilities that need to be present inside of a tiny home. This is why several tiny homeowners choose to forgo certain utilities to have a more sustainable lifestyle or be able to save more money on required monthly bills. Some utility alternatives that are popular include composting toilets, solar power for energy, and choosing not to hook up permanent running water.

Is a tiny home safe for permanent living?

The lack of strict and universal building codes leads many to wonder if living within a tiny home really is a safe option. Some people even begin to wonder with so little space would it be possible to vacate one should a house fire occur. Or what about a heavy storm where living in a traditional house is still a concern for safety from the storm?

The answers to fire safety and staying safe in inclement weather really do depend on how the home itself has been built. Just as in a traditional home it is always best to make sure that carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are in great working condition and that there is a working fire extinguisher in an easily accessible area.

Weatherproofing should also be done on tiny homes just as in any other regular traditional home. The type of weatherproofing you will need to ensure that your tiny home is the safe will of course depend upon the area in where you are living. For example, those living in tropical areas want to make sure that they have sturdy measures in place for heavy winds and rains such as impact glass.

For more information on purchasing a tiny home in the Puget Sound area please stop by and see us or contact us anytime.

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