Last week, Virginia became the seventh state to adopt the International Residential Code Appendix Q for tiny houses. It passed with zero opposition. Surprisingly, this is a complete turnaround from just a few years ago when the state-building department shut down any tiny house building code discussion.
“Our proposal for inclusion of Appendix Q for Tiny Homes moves forward with full support of DHCD and all in attendance at today’s meeting. This has been a 6 year effort that finally flew right across the finish line… WHEW!!!”
-Thom Staton, VA American Tiny House Association Chapter Leader and Tiny Home Industry Association President
Now, not only did this model building code get approved, but it also went a couple steps further.
Like California, Virginia’s adoption makes Appendix Q apart of the state building code. Therefore, it’s mandatory throughout the state. In contrast, in other states, local-level adoption is still required.
Most importantly, advocate Thom Staton points out that across Virginia, “tiny house solutions can be designed for fully site-built, site-assembled (prefab), or factory-based modular homes.”
It is not inclusive of tiny houses on wheels. Though, that option can be explored on the local level. Like the established precedent in the THOW planned unit developments in Durango, CO and Lake Dallas, Texas.
Additionally, unlike the other states, Virginia approved the proposed IRC 2021 Appendix Q changes. Leaders from the American Tiny House Association and Tiny Home Industry Association (THIA) collaborated on the updated version. They identified opportunities to adjust ceiling heights and landing platforms requirements—both related to sleeping lofts.
Follow the THIA’s Appendix Q page for updates on the 2021 version and on other states’ adoption processes, like Washington and Florida.
Live in Washington? Submit a public comment on Appendix Q, now until September 27th. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Alexis Stephens, Tiny House Blog contributor