This came as a surprise to me as I recently wrote a post titled, "Navigating minimum square footage requirements for tiny houses WITHOUT a trailer — International Residential Code says it can be as little as 138 square feet"
My point was that the minimum area regulations were not that bad, and that it is in fact municipal ordinances—not the building code—that are the real legal barrier to building tiny houses. But this change will make the building code even less of an issue—allowing for a legal dwelling under 100 square feet.
Now all habitable room just have to meet the minimum area of 70 square feet and height of 7 feet (already the requirement for all "other habitable" rooms besides the previously required 120 square foot room).
In a previous post back in 2010, Meyer notes that he is also responsible for adding the exemption for kitchens not having to meet minimum area requirements, allowing the kitchen to not have to have its own designated room:
"Kitchens are deeded habitable, but are exempt from the minimum room area. Earlier editions of the code required 50sf for this location. The current exception was also one of my code changes. If was quite a battle to get the ICC membership to delete this requirement. However, we prevailed. Based on this experience, it may be quite difficult to delete the 120sf and 70sf minimums in future codes. However, I think that a proposal to do so is certainly worth consideration for the 2015 edition."
And it looks like his proposal was indeed worth consideration. See his argument for removing the 120 square foot room requirement below:
Meanwhile, Eli Spevak has put out a proposal titled "A Legal Path to Tiny Homes in Portland." The proposal would allow for both small auxiliary structures (under 200 square feet) and tiny houses on wheels to be legally accepted as habitable structures, provided they meet a property maintenance code and receive a "temporary certificate of occupancy."
Read Spevak's full tiny house proposal here.
I have been working on a proposal of my own for a municipal ordinance that would allow for tiny house developments (THDs)—allowing for the development of tiny house communities on parcels in residential zones. To develop this ordinance, I'm drawing from Ross Chapin's extensive work with "pocket neighborhoods" and the "cottage housing" codes he helped craft around Seattle. More on that soon.
|Pocket Neighborhoods by Ross Chapin|
Follow-Up Post: "A Legal Path for Tiny House Communities"