What I learned from posting my first video!

The Rose by Tiny Diamond Homes click and watch and you will learn more.

My assistant and myself were in a hurry to complete a video of Tiny Diamond Homes newest build, called the Rose. We borrowed power from a neighbor and quickly cleaned the construction mess. Tiny House Listings wanted a video for their page asap.

We glanced through the instructions on my new camera and were ready to go. Next will be a list of helpful hints to avoid our mistakes.

Decide what you want to include in the video.

Walk the house as if you are filming.

Share with your camera woman when to film where you are not standing.

Give pauses in your speak during the video to help with editing.

Don't try to open every closet and drawer.

Include lots of interesting facts.

Don't talk while moving from area to area, this is a great place do trim out film.

Keep a sense of humor and know you will get negative comments.

Read the negative comments and learn, there is usual something valid in them.

Lastly, be proud you took on the challenge and if you have over 110,000 views in five days and the numbers are still climbing, you did something right! The next one can only be better.

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A Review written by our latest custom Susan G. from Texas!

Why My Builder of Choice Is Tiny Diamond Homes?

tinydiamondhomesrose.jpeg

 

Rose, Tiny Diamond Homes's most recent build, is my family's shelter. We are set to take delivery of her later this week. Today I am sharing with you why I chose Tiny Diamond Homes as my builder and why I think you should, too.

 

For well over a decade, one man and his company dominated the modern tiny house scene in United States. We old-timers know his name and the name of the company he started. His homes were initially all of 99-120 square feet. The early models did not even have running water in the kitchen. Clearly, an electric clothes washer was out of the question. His brand was not the only game in town, but it was definitely the most well-known brand around. Sleek marketing triumphs again. Decision made. I WOULD own one. 

 

Fast forward to 2015. My long term plan meant bupkis to life and the series of curveballs it threw me. Suddenly, my timeline for downsizing my dwelling was moved up 5 years. The aforementioned man and company now had numerous competitors. On top of that, he no longer ran the company he had founded. I hadn't had cable tv since back when it was actually called cable tv so I was completely taken aback by the number of tiny home builders that had sprung up since 2013 alone. I waded through research on 50 companies just to narrow my search down to 10 builders that I wanted to seriously investigate. (Tiny Diamond Homes did not initially make the cut, BTW.) And the tv shows! Who has time to keep up with the Kardashians when there is so much reality tv (an oxymoron if ever there was one) about owners and builders of tiny dwellings. It seemed my path towards self-sufficiency was beset with more hangers-on and freeloaders than the parking lot scene at a late '80s Dead show. I was back to square one on research about builders and myriad other topics like RVIA certified builds, insurance coverage, city codes, permits and parking. Thank God and Al Gore for the World Wide Web.

 

I began to have misgivings about buying an RVIA certified home around April 2016. A certified RVIA means that the tech uses straps to attach the structure to the trailer. The good news is that I could buy RV insurance. The bad news is...well, straps? Really? The insurance and RV industries define an RV as short term, temporary shelter. Uh oh. Rose is not short term or temporary. She is the last house I intend to buy in my life so no RVIA abodes for me. Even though small home insurance is available in Texas, I did my homework and planned a presentation to pitch the idea to my longtime traditional insurance company.  My agent may have required copious photos of the build and they certainly would have wanted the cold, hard facts about building materials and the structural integrity of my house. So remember when I said Tiny Diamond Homes did not make my top 10 list? I had not liked the siding on their previous builds and their website was not as user friendly as it is now. I remembered their words about structural integrity and superior craftsmanship though. So I gave Cheryl a call and quizzed her about specifics. In other words, I was gonna pick her brain, tell my insurance company what they wanted to hear and then find another builder because I still did not like the aesthetics of Tiny Diamond Homes's builds. She spent a good 20 minutes on the phone teaching me about the finer points that set Tiny Diamond Homes apart from other builders. Here they are...

 

  • Egress from all sleeping areas and lofts in case of fire
  • Their houses contain a sub floor--they don't build right on top of a trailer like a lot of the tv shows do.
  • No straps here-- Tiny Diamond Homes attaches the structure to their patent-pending trailer with 10 inch bolts every 16 inches.
  • They prefer to put the exterior door on the long side of the house instead of the short end. It is not logical to put the biggest opening on the smallest wall. I believe she called it sheer.
  • They use only quality trailers that are built to carry the weight and provide road clearance. My trailer carries 18,000 pounds and is weighted for 12,000 on the tongue. The trailer alone weighs about 4600 pounds.
  • They install a forced air return in each home plus a heavy duty exhaust fan in the bath.
  • They only use vented appliances.
  • Steve Coates is a licensed general contractor with over 30 years’ experience. To me, one guy with 30 years under his belt is better than 3-4 guys with a combined total of 30 years of experience no matter how old the guys are. 
  • They admire the concept of up cycling furniture, but will not do it unless the buyer proves there is no lead paint, black mold or asbestos. In other words, Tiny Diamond Homes builds structurally sound houses, not toxic boxes on wheels.

 

I mulled things over for a couple of days while I perused their website some more. This time I ignored the absence of bling on their site and read with an open heart, instead of just my eyes. I encourage you to do the same even if you don't like their past builds. Here's why...Steve and Cheryl have a social conscience that matches mine. How do I know? Steve believes in mentoring and uses every build as an opportunity to train others. He especially likes teaching and working with returning vets. He and Cheryl are actively working towards development and construction of a tiny home community for our vets. It is one thing to say you support vets with a bumper sticker made in China. It is on a whole other realm to put blood, sweat and tears into supporting our returning vets. Steve and Cheryl walk the walk instead of talking the talk. In fact, they don't talk much at all because they are busy working. Did you know that they hire employees, not independent contractors? They sacrifice $3000 per month so that their full-time employees are covered by unemployment insurance and workman's comp. A host of other CEOs don't give a flying red rat's behind about people and choose to pocket the 3 grand for themselves. I was hooked and I feel grateful I found Tiny Diamond Homes. 

 

I carried the vision for my home in my heart and Tiny Diamond Homes made it a reality. Thank you, Steve and Cheryl!

Susan,  thank you for being the first to share your experience with us in writing!  Thank you for being you and may you enjoy your home as long as you live and may it continue to sparkle for the generations beyond!!!!  Hugs, Cheryl Coates

What exactly does HUD want to amend in the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards?

I just finished reading the entire FR–5877–P–01 Manufactured Home Procedural and Enforcement Regulations; Revision of Exemption for Recreational Vehicles.

In my opinion, HUD wants consumers to clearly understand and know the differences between manufactured housing and recreational park trailers. HUD has specific standards and codes manufactures homes are built to meet. In 1974 a mobile or manufactured home was defined as “a structure, transportable in one or more sections,... which is eight body feet or more in width and is thirty-two feet in length.” this made anything less than 256 excluded. In 1976, HUD codified their first exemption for recreational vehicles since their were RV larger than 256 sq. ft. that would fall into the mobile home guidelines. Since the RV larger than 256 sq. ft. were never meant to be a permanent dwelling, HUD determined that, “[r]ecreational vehicles do not fall within the definition of mobile homes and are not subject to these regulations. A recreational vehicle is a vehicle, regardless of size, which is not designed to be used as a permanent dwelling, and in which the plumbing, heating, and electrical systems contained therein may be operated without connection to outside utilities and which are self-propelled or towed by a light duty vehicle.” These manufactured homes are meant to be permanent residences full time. RV have been exempt from these standards because of the temporary use.

I believe if we want tiny houses on wheels for full time living, we need to join forces and apply codes and standards from traditional residential and from recreational vehicles. As a new industry we can choice the best standards and codes that are applicable to create the best of two worlds. As builders, both individuals and companies, we unite to protect those living in our homes and others around our homes. There is plenty of work for all of us and setting standards ensure we protect the families that live in our homes. We all know it doesn't take a 2"X12" rafter to span 8'5" now we just need the engineers stamp to prove it.

The HUD revision really isn't making tiny houses illegal because what they are won't change. It may put a fire under this new industry so we can put notice in our homes showing our customers we are meant for full time permanent living! Isn't that what living in a tiny house on wheels or on a foundation is about? Thank you, Cheryl

FR–5877–P–01 Manufactured Home Procedural and Enforcement Regulations; Revision of Exemption for Recreational Vehicles

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This Proposed Rule document was issued by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

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DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT

24 CFR Parts 3280 and 3282

[Docket No. FR-5877-P-01]

RIN 2502-AJ33

Manufactured Home Procedural and Enforcement Regulations; Revision of Exemption for Recreational Vehicles

Agency

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Housing-Federal Housing Commissioner, HUD.

Action

Proposed rule.

Summary

This rulemaking proposes to revise the exemption for recreational vehicles that are not self-propelled from HUD's Manufactured Housing Procedural and Enforcement Regulations. This proposed rule is based on a recommendation adopted by the Manufactured Housing Consensus Committee (MHCC) which would define a recreational vehicle as one built on a vehicular structure, not certified as a manufactured home, designed only for recreational use and not as a primary residence or for permanent occupancy, and built and certified in accordance with either the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1192-15 or American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A119.5-09 consensus standards for recreational vehicles. HUD is adopting the MHCC's recommendation but modifying it to require certification with the updated ANSI standard, A119.5-15, and by including a requirement that units claiming the ANSI A119.5-15 exemption prominently display a notice stating that the unit is designed only for recreational use, and not as a primary residence or permanent dwelling.

Dates

Comments Due Date: April 11, 2016.

Addresses

Interested persons are invited to submit comments regarding this rule to the Regulations Division, Office of General Counsel, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 Seventh Street SW., Washington, DC 20410-0500. Room 10276, Washington, DC 20410-0500. Communications must refer to the above docket number and title. There are two methods for submitting public comments. All submissions must refer to the above docket number and title.

1. Submission of Comments by Mail. Comments may be submitted by mail to the Regulations Division, Office of General Counsel, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., Room 10276, Washington, DC 20410-0500.

2. Electronic Submission of Comments. Interested persons may submit comments electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at www.regulations.gov. HUD strongly encourages commenters to submit comments electronically. Electronic submission of comments allows the commenter maximum time to prepare and submit a comment, ensures timely receipt by HUD, and enables HUD to make them immediately available to the public. Comments submitted electronically through the www.regulations.gov Web site can be viewed by other commenters and interested members of the public. Commenters should follow the instructions provided on that site to submit comments electronically.

Note: To receive consideration as public comments, comments must be submitted through one of the two methods specified above. Again, all submissions must refer to the docket number and title of the rule.

No Facsimile Comments. Facsimile (FAX) comments are not acceptable.

Public Inspection of Public Comments. All properly submitted comments and communications submitted to HUD will be available for public inspection and copying between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays at the above address. Due to security measures at the HUD Headquarters building, an advance appointment to review the public comments must be scheduled by calling the Regulations Division at 202-708-3055 (this is not a toll-free number). Individuals with speech or hearing impairments may access this number through TTY by calling the Federal Information Relay Service at 800-877-8339. Copies of all comments submitted are available for inspection and downloading at www.regulations.gov.

For Further Information Contact

Pamela Beck Danner, Administrator, Office of Manufactured Housing Programs, Office of Housing, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 Seventh Street SW., Washington DC 20410; telephone (202) 708-6409 (this is not a toll free number). Persons with hearing or speech impairments may access this number via TTY by calling the toll free Federal Information Relay Service at 1-800-877-8389.

Supplementary Information

I. Background

The National Manufactured Housing Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974  (1) (Pub. L. 93-383, approved August 22, 1974) (42 U.S.C. 5401-5426) (the Act) authorizes HUD to establish and amend the Federal Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards (the Construction and Safety Standards, or Standards). When originally enacted, the Act covered mobile homes, defined as “a structure, transportable in one or more sections, which is eight body feet or more in width and is thirty-two feet in length.” Consequently, structures measuring less than 256 square feet were excluded from the definition of mobile home under the Act.

On May 13, 1976 (41 FR 19846), HUD issued 24 CFR part 3282, its Mobile Home Procedural and Enforcement regulations. In this regulation, HUD codified its first recreational vehicle exemption. Recognizing that recreational vehicles in excess of 256 square feet would be included in the definition of “mobile home,” HUD decided to exempt recreational vehicles from the scope of the regulation since they are not designed to be used as a permanent dwelling. HUD determined that, “[r]ecreational vehicles do not fall within the definition of mobile homes and are not subject to these regulations. A recreational vehicle is a vehicle, regardless of size, which is not designed to be used as a permanent dwelling, and in which the plumbing, heating, and electrical systems contained therein may be operated without connection to outside utilities and which are self-propelled or towed by a light duty vehicle.”

In 1980, the Housing and Community Development Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-399, approved October 8, 1980) amended the definition of “mobile home” in the Act by striking out “eight body feet or more in width and thirty-two body feet or more in length” and substituting “in traveling mode, is eight body feet or more in width or forty body feet or more in length or, when erected on site, is three hundred twenty or more square feet.” The Housing and Community Development Act of 1980 also added a provision to the Act that exempted from the coverage, “any structure which meets all the requirements of this paragraph [42 U.S.C. 5402(6)] except the size requirements and with respect to which the manufacturer voluntarily files a certification required by the Secretary and complies with the standards established under this title.”

On August 7, 1981 (46 FR 40498), HUD proposed removing the exemption for certain recreational vehicles from its Procedural and Enforcement regulations. HUD stated that it had received numerous comments from the manufactured housing industry and from the public criticizing the exemption, and that the exemption had been difficult to apply. HUD also stated that it proposed establishing a procedure under which manufacturers of units which meet the definition of manufactured home except for the size requirements may bring their units under the jurisdiction of the Act by providing for a certification. HUD stated that the proposed certification would be easy to comply with and place a minimal burden on the manufacturer.

HUD received numerous comments, however, which were critical of the proposal to do away with the recreational vehicle exemption. As a result, relying on a conference report on the 1980 amendments that directed HUD to consider a more flexible standard for smaller manufactured homes (such as park models) whose square footage is between 320 and 400 square feet, HUD continued the exemption but expanded it to its current form. Specifically, HUD determined that recreational vehicles were exempt from HUD's Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards and its Procedural and Enforcement Regulations if a unit is:

(1) Built on a single chassis;

(2) 400 Square feet or less when measured at the largest horizontal projections;

(3) Self-propelled or permanently towable by a light duty truck; and

(4) Designed primarily not for use as a permanent dwelling but as temporary living quarters for recreational, camping, travel, or seasonal use.

In 1988, HUD issued guidance to clarify the method for measuring a unit to determine whether it qualified as a recreational vehicle under HUD's exemption. In interpretative bulletin A-1-88, (2) HUD stated that “measurements shall be taken on the exterior of the home. The square footage includes all siding, corner trim, including storage space, and area enclosed by windows, but not the roofing overhang.” In 1997, HUD also allowed for lofts no more than 5 feet in height to be excluded from the recreational vehicle exemption's square footage requirements. (3) Since 1988, A-1-88 and HUD's loft guidance have been the sole, definitive standards for measuring for the recreational vehicle exemption.

In the fall of 2014, HUD determined that some manufacturers were producing park model recreational vehicles (PMRVs) which were in excess of the recreational vehicle exemption's 400 square foot threshold. A PMRV (also known as a recreational park trailer) is a trailer-type recreational vehicle designed to provide temporary accommodation for recreation, camping or seasonal use. PMRVs are built on a single chassis, mounted on wheels and generally have a gross trailer area not exceeding 400 square feet in the set-up mode. Based on this determination, HUD issued a memorandum on October 1, 2014, reiterating the method through which recreational vehicles should be measured to qualify for the recreational vehicle exemption. (4) As part of that memorandum and in light of changes within both the Manufactured Housing and Recreational Vehicle industries, HUD agreed to submit the memorandum to the MHCC to consider whether the current exemption required updating.

Subsequently, HUD also discovered that some Fifth Wheel Travel Trailers could also fall within HUD regulations. A Fifth-Wheel Travel Trailer is a towable recreational vehicle mounted on wheels and designed to be towed by a motorized vehicle by means of a towing mechanism that is mounted above or forward of the tow vehicle's rear axle. However, HUD has not exercised regulatory oversight over Fifth Wheel Travel Trailers and considered them as falling within the regulatory exemption.

On December 2, 2014, the MHCC considered HUD's October 1, 2014, memorandum and recommended that HUD adopt language that more clearly differentiated recreational vehicles and manufactured housing. Specifically, the MHCC stated that “recreational vehicles, in their many shapes and sizes, are not manufactured homes and are outside of the manufactured home standards and regulations.” It also stated there is no need for a complicated definition of recreational vehicles and recommended that HUD revise its recreational vehicle exception to provide as follows:

Recreational vehicles are not subject to this part, part 3280. A recreational vehicle is a factory built vehicular structure designed only for recreational use and not as a primary residence or for permanent occupancy, built and certified in accordance with NFPA 1192-15 or ANSI A119.5-09 consensus standards for recreational vehicles and not certified as a manufactured home.

II. This Proposed Rule

After reviewing the MHCC's recommendation, HUD is accepting the recommendation with revision. Initially, HUD proposes to restructure the exemption by removing it from § 3282.8 and codifying it at § 3282.15. HUD is also proposing to incorporate ANSI's updated 2015 Recreational Park Trailer Standard, A119.5-15, which after review, HUD believes best reflects the current state of recreational vehicle construction. Finally, to ensure consumer awareness of the difference between manufactured housing and recreational vehicles and the construction standards used to build each, HUD is proposing to require that each ANSI A119.5-15 certified structure seeking an exemption include a notice to be prominently displayed in a temporary manner in the kitchen (i.e., countertop or exposed cabinet face) until the completion of the sale transaction that explains that the manufacturer certifies that the structure is a recreational vehicle designed only for recreational use, and not for use as a primary residence or for permanent occupancy. The notice shall further explain that the manufacturer certifies that the unit has been built in accordance with ANSI A119.5-15. This notice shall be placed prominently to ensure consumers are made plainly aware of the distinction between recreational vehicles that are not self-propelled and manufactured housing, reflecting the intent of the MHCC in its recommendation to draw a clear distinction between the two products.

III. Incorporation by Reference

This rulemaking proposes to incorporate ANSI A119.5-15 and NFPA 1192-15 consensus standards for Recreational Vehicles by reference. The ANSI A119.5-15 standard covers fire and life safety criteria and plumbing for PMRVs considered necessary to provide a reasonable level of protection from loss of life from fire and explosion. The NFPA 1192-15 standard provides the minimum construction standards considered necessary to protect against loss of life from fire and explosion for non-Park Model Recreational Vehicles. Both ANSI A119.5-15 and NFPA 1192-15 are available for review and comment via read-only, electronic access. NFPA 1192-15 is available for review at http://www.nfpa.org/freeaccess. ANSI A119.5-15 is available for review at www.rvia.org/?ESID=A119.

IV. Specific HUD Questions for Public Comment

The public is invited to comment on any of the specific provisions included in this proposed rule and is also invited to comment on the following questions and on any other related matters or suggestions regarding this proposed rule:

1. What if any costs beyond the notice requirements for recreational vehicle manufacturers seeking an ANSI A119.5 exception would be imposed on recreational vehicle manufacturers as a result of the implementation of this proposed rule? Are PMRVs that meet HUD's statutory and regulatory definitions of “manufactured homes” currently being constructed outside the scope of ANSI A119.5? If so, how many units are being built? What would be the costs of requiring these manufacturers to build to ANSI A119.5 in order to take advantage of the exemption? Would it be more efficient and advantageous for HUD to exercise direct regulatory oversight over this portion of the industry? What would be the costs and benefits of doing so?

2. In what manner, if any, should HUD ensure that recreational vehicles conforming to NFPA 1192-2015 be certified to be exempt from the provisions of HUD's Manufactured Home Procedural and Enforcement Regulations? For example, should HUD require that a Notice of certification be provided in each such recreational vehicle built to NFPA 1192-15 similar to the notice being proposed for PMRVs or should other methods be considered such as a label to be exempt from HUD's regulations?

3. As described in the preamble to this proposed rule, HUD has not exercised regulatory oversight over Fifth Wheel Recreational Vehicles that might meet the statutory and regulatory definitions of “manufactured home,” This proposed rule proposes to except Fifth Wheel Recreational Vehicles from regulatory oversight. Should HUD take a different approach and begin exercising regulatory oversight of these units that meet the statutory and regulatory definitions of “manufactured home?” What are the costs and benefits of bringing these units within HUD oversight? Should HUD exercise any regulatory authority over Fifth Wheelers or other forms of recreational vehicles?

V. Findings and Certifications

Under Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review), a determination must be made whether a regulatory action is significant and, therefore, subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in accordance with the requirements of the order. Executive Order 13563 (Improving Regulations and Regulatory Review) directs executive agencies to analyze regulations that are “outmoded, ineffective, insufficient, or excessively burdensome, and to modify, streamline, expand, or repeal them in accordance with what has been learned. Executive Order 13563 also directs that, where relevant, feasible, and consistent with regulatory objectives, and to the extent permitted by law, agencies are to identify and consider regulatory approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public. This proposed rule is not a significant regulatory action under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, and it was not reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). This proposed rule revises the definition of recreational vehicle to clarify the types of recreational vehicles excepted by 24 CFR parts 3280 and 3282. In the past, both consumers and manufacturers of recreational vehicles have questioned whether certain recreational vehicles are subject to HUD's Construction and Safety Standards, codified in 24 CFR part 3280, and HUD's Manufactured Home Procedural and Enforcement Regulations, codified in 24 CFR part 3282. This proposed rule would provide that recreational vehicles are excepted from HUD regulation if the unit is built in conformance with either NFPA 1192-15, Standard for Recreational Vehicles, or ANSI A119.5-15, Recreational Park Trailer Standard. This rulemaking is not significant because it proposes to clarify rather than change or add substance to the existing regulation.

The Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) generally requires an agency to conduct a regulatory flexibility analysis of any rule subject to notice and comment rulemaking requirements, unless the agency certifies that the rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. It is HUD's position that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. HUD and MHCC have recognized the benefit of clarifying the current recreational vehicle exemption to allow recreational vehicle manufacturers to certify certain units as recreational vehicles under a streamlined process. This proposed rule is intended to promote this goal by ensuring that recreational vehicle manufacturers have a clear understanding of which units qualify for the recreational vehicle exemption. In addition to benefiting the consumer by providing clarity regarding the manufacturing standards used to construct the unit, this proposed rule would reduce the paperwork burden and costs of construction delays on recreational vehicle manufacturers. Furthermore, this proposed rule's notice requirement would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, as the notice in question may be produced and displayed within a unit at marginal expense to the manufacturer. Easing the process for recreational vehicle certification assists manufacturers, while the notice requirement supports achievement of the goal of ensuring a clear distinction between recreational vehicle structures and residential manufactured housing. Accordingly, the undersigned certifies that this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. Notwithstanding HUD's view that this rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities, HUD specifically invites comments regarding any less burdensome alternatives to this rule that will meet HUD's objectives and the statutory requirements.

The information collection requirements contained in this proposed rule have been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3520). In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act, an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless the collection displays a currently valid OMB control number. The burden of information collection in this proposed rule is estimated as follows:

Information collectionNumber ofrespondentsFrequency of responseTotal annual responsesBurden hoursper responseTotal annual burden hoursHourly costTotal annual cost

§ 3282.151722337910.1378.11 $30.63$11,581.20

Totals1722337910.1378.130.6311,581.20

In accordance with 5 CFR 1320.8(d)(1), HUD is soliciting comments from members of the public and affected agencies concerning the information collection requirements in the proposed rule regarding:

(1) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

(2) The accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information;

(3) Whether the proposed collection of information enhances the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

(4) Whether the proposed information collection minimizes the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond; including through the use of appropriate automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology (e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses).

Interested persons are invited to submit comments regarding the information collection requirements in this rule. Under the provisions of 5 CFR part 1320, OMB is required to make a decision concerning this collection of information between 30 and 60 days after the publication date. Therefore, a comment on the information collection requirements is best assured of having its full effect if OMB receives the comment within 30 days of the publication date. This time frame does not affect the deadline for comments to the agency on the proposed rule, however. Comments must refer to the proposal by name and docket number (FR-5776-P-01) and must be sent to: HUD Desk Officer, Office of Management and Budget, New Executive Office Building, Washington, DC 20503, Fax number: (202) 395-6947; and Colette Pollard, HUD Reports Liaison Officer, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 7th Street SW., Room 2204, Washington, DC 20410.

Interested persons may submit comments regarding the information collection requirements electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov. HUD strongly encourages commenters to submit comments electronically. Electronic submission of comments allows the commenter maximum time to prepare and submit a comment, ensures timely receipt by HUD, and enables HUD to make them immediately available to the public. Comments submitted electronically through the http://www.regulations.gov Web site can be viewed by other commenters and interested members of the public. Commenters should follow the instructions provided on that site to submit comments electronically.

A Finding of No Significant Impact with respect to the environment has been made in accordance with HUD regulations at 24 CFR part 50, which implement section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4332(2)(C)). The Finding of No Significant Impact is available for public inspection online at http://www.regulations.gov, and in person between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays in the Regulations Division, Office of General Counsel, Department of Housing and Urban Development, 451 Seventh Street SW., Room 10276, Washington, DC 20410-0500. Due to security measures at the HUD Headquarters building, please schedule an appointment to review the Finding by calling the Regulations Division at (202) 402-3055 (this is not a toll-free number). Individuals with speech or hearing impairments may access this number via TTY by calling the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

Executive Order 13132 (entitled “Federalism”) prohibits an agency from publishing any rule that has federalism implications if the rule either imposes substantial direct compliance costs on State and local governments or is not required by statute, or the rule preempts State law, unless the agency meets the consultation and funding requirements of section 6 of the Executive Order. This proposed rule will not have federalism implications and would not impose substantial direct compliance costs on State and local governments or preempt State law within the meaning of the Executive Order.

Title II of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 (2 U.S.C. 1531-1538) (UMRA) establishes requirements for federal agencies to assess the effects of their regulatory actions on State, local, and tribal governments, and on the private sector. This proposed rule does not impose any federal mandates on any State, local, or tribal governments, or on the private sector, within the meaning of UMRA.

The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance number for the Manufactured Housing Program is 14.171.

List of Subjects

24 CFR Part 3280

Housing standards, Incorporation by reference, Manufactured homes.

24 CFR Part 3282

Administrative practice and procedure, Consumer protection, Intergovernmental relations, Investigations, Manufactured homes, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Accordingly, for the reasons stated in the preamble, HUD proposes to amend parts 3280 and 3282 of title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:

Part 3280 Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards

1. The authority citation for part 3280 continues to read as follows:

Authority

42 U.S.C. 3535(d), 5403, and 5424.

2. In § 3280.2, revise the definition of “Manufactured home” to read as follows:

§ 3280.2

Definitions.

* * * * *

Manufactured home means a structure, transportable in one or more sections, which in the traveling mode is 8 body feet or more in width or 40 body feet or more in length or which when erected on-site is 320 or more square feet, and which is built on a permanent chassis and designed to be used as a dwelling with or without a permanent foundation when connected to the required utilities, and includes the plumbing, heating, air-conditioning, and electrical systems contained in the structure. This term includes all structures that meet the above requirements except the size requirements and with respect to which the manufacturer voluntarily files a certification pursuant to § 3282.13 of this chapter and complies with the construction and safety standards set forth in this part. The term does not include any recreational vehicle as specified in § 3282.15 of this chapter. Calculations used to determine the number of square feet in a structure will include the total of square feet for each transportable section comprising the completed structure and will be based on the structure's exterior dimensions measured at the largest horizontal projections when erected on site. These dimensions will include all expandable rooms, cabinets, and other projections containing interior space, but do not include bay windows. Nothing in this definition should be interpreted to mean that a manufactured home necessarily meets the requirements of HUD's Minimum Property Standards (HUD Handbook 4900.1) or that it is automatically eligible for financing under 12 U.S.C. 1709(b).

* * * * *

Part 3282 Manufactured Home Procedural and Enforcement Regulations

3. The authority citation for part 3282 is revised to read as follows:

Authority

28 U.S.C. 2461, 42 U.S.C. 3535(d), 5403, and 5424.

§ 3282.8

[Amended]

4. In § 3282.8, remove and reserve paragraph (g).

5. Add § 3282.15 to subpart A to read as follows:

§ 3282.15

Exception for recreational vehicles.

(a) Exception. A recreational vehicle that meets the requirements of this section is exempt from 24 CFR parts 3280 and 3282.

(b) Definition. A Recreational Vehicle is:

(1) A factory built vehicular structure, not certified as a manufactured home;

(2) Designed only for recreational use and not as a primary residence or for permanent occupancy; and is either:

(3) Built and certified in accordance with either the NFPA 1192-15, Standard for Recreational Vehicles or ANSI A119.5-15, Recreational Park Trailer Standard as provided by paragraph (c) of this section; or

(4) Any vehicle which is self-propelled.

(c) Notice and certification requirements. In order to be exempt, an ANSI A119.5-15 certified recreational vehicle must contain a Notice prominently displayed in a temporary manner in the kitchen (i.e., countertop or exposed cabinet face) which must read as follows:

(1) Title of Notice. The title of the Notice shall be “*****NOTICE*****” which shall be legible and typed using bold letters at least 1 inch in size.

(2) Content of Notice. The content of the notice text shall be as follows:

The Manufacturer of this unit certifies that it is a Park Model Recreational Vehicle designed only for recreational use, and not for use as a primary residence or for permanent occupancy. The manufacturer of this unit further certifies that this unit has been built in accordance with the ANSI A119.5-15 consensus standard for Park Model Recreational Vehicles.

(3) Text of Notice. The text of the Notice, aside from the Notice's title shall be legible and typed using letters at least 1/2 inch in size.

(4) Removal of Notice. The Notice shall not be removed by any party until the entire sales transaction has been completed. A sales transaction is considered complete as defined under § 3282.252(b).

Dated: January 4, 2016.

Edward L. Golding,

Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Housing.

[FR Doc. 2016-02387 Filed 2-8-16; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4210-67-P

Footnotes

(1)  When originally enacted as Title VI of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1974, the Act was titled the “Mobile Home Construction and Safety Standards Act of 1974”. Section 308 of the Housing and Community Development Act of 1980 (Pub. L. 96-399, approved October 8, 1980) amended the Act by replacing “Mobile Home” with “Manufactured Housing” in the title and by replacing each reference to “mobile home' with “manufactured home.” Section 599A of the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Appropriations Act for 1998 (Pub. L. 105-276, approved October 21, 1998) amended the definition of manufactured home to exclude “any self-propelled recreational vehicle.”

(2) http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=A188.pdf.

(3) http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=loftletter.pdf.

(4)  . http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/documents/huddoc?id=rvmemo.pdf.

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What makes a tiny house design right?

Do you dream of designing the perfect tiny home for yourself? Do you think you will knowif you have done it?  Designing a tiny house on wheels is not as easy but to be honest I think most people believe it is.  Over the last 3 and half years I have talked to thousands who believe their design was perfect.  Many have sent their designs by e-mail and others decided to visit me from a thousand miles away and every time I pause, studying their hard work.  Most of the time, I tryto say the right thing, "I can tell you have put a lot of time into this," or "I have never seen such creative use of space," and yet in my head I wonder why everyone thinks this is easy.  I know from experience it is not and there is always more to learn and apply.  Maybe, just maybe, I can help you get started in the right direction.

Before trying to design or look for the right design for your home I would like you to answer a few rather personal questions.  I will do my best to even offer my thoughts as to the why of these. 

What age group are you in?  Okay, if you know my educational and personal background, you will know I am asking this to help me understand what stage of life you are in. 

Many of the young adults contacting me carry huge student loans and have no credit history.  They might be in a relationship now but it could probably end at anytime.  I hate to share this but young couples that are not married typically split apart before their tiny home is completed.  Actually, over 400+ unmarried young couples have visited us and all of them are no longer together.  We know sit chat with these couples about potential problems of living in a small space without commitment because we care.  The little things that annoy them now will become larger unless they focus on the beauty outside. We share with them there are many ways we can help them at the design stage if they work different shifts or have different sleeping schedules.  If there will be babies in their future we can help their tiny home grow to accommodate their need for privacy etc. without a fortune.  

When we have a couple with small children we have other considerations especially safety.  It's amazing how many of these families want individual spaces for everyone.  The first thing I try to instill in their minds is lofts are for sleeping not for living in.  After watching so many shows on tiny houses, it seems, all of them have a theme that lofts are living spaces for everything.  We believe otherwise.  If we created comfortable headroom in a loft it impacts the gathering spaces where most time is spent.  Think about it, not all of the people wanting to live in a tiny house are under 5'10".  I may not personally know what it's like to be a 6'5" guy or girl but I have seen their struggles.  Ask anyone this tall how hard it is to take a shower in lower ceilings.  Even the International Residential Code have minimal requirements for ceiling height to have the space included in the square footage of the home.  Lofts in tiny homes on wheels should not be considered in the square footage ever, but builders are. 

 

Legalizing Your Tiny House: How To Approach Zoning/Building Departments By Gabriella on January 8, 2016

Legalizing Your Tiny House: How To Approach Zoning/Building Departments

By Gabriella on January 8, 2016 in Construction Details, Helping Each Other/Inspiration, Tiny House Communities, Tiny House Design Strategies, Tiny House Plans, Uncategorized, Zoning/Codes

It’s not everyday that we hear from a Code Enforcement Officer, especially one that is interested in building tiny. So when Jaime wrote to us, I was excited and asked if he would be willing to share his “insider” perspective into the mysterious world of zoning and building departments. In this article you will learn how to go to zoning/building departments with your tiny house plans. He has been gracious enough to reveal everything he has learned during his time working for an East Bay area city in California. Though I realize not everyone will want to go the legalization route with their tiny house, for those of us that do, this information is invaluable. 

 

My name is Jamie. I have over 20 years in the banking and finance field, 22 years as a California State Licensed General Contractor, and from 2008 until 2013, as a Certified Code Enforcement Officer for an East Bay area City.  I decided to retire and come back to my home town in Upstate New York to assist my aged mother with two rental properties she owned.

 

With that being said, I wanted you to know that I am not an expert in any one field, but I do have some experience with being on “both sides of the table” when it comes to construction and dealing with Building Officials. Working within confines of your local code may seem daunting but if we have an open mind and a reasonable understanding of why codes are there, we can work together to fulfill our dreams of building a home that has a smaller impact on Mother Earth.

 

Building codes are not written intentionally to be difficult. They are there because a lot of people have died historically from poor construction practices. They cover all aspects of a building for conditions of “Life, Health and Safety”. We realize that it is virtually impossible for any one person to know all of the codes but it does help to have some knowledge about them and also an understanding of why they exist. When presenting your plans, it’s important to create a good relationship with your Building Officials.  They are there to help you ensure that habitable structures are safe and energy efficient.

 

HERE ARE SOME ACTIONS STEPS AND TIPS FOR GETTING YOUR TINY/SMALL HOUSE PLANS PASSED:

 

1) It is always a good idea to discuss your plans with zoning first. Familiarize yourself with your local zoning codes (many jurisdictions have them available on their website). If that feels daunting, hire an architect or designer to help you navigate this piece of the puzzle. Better yet, hire a professional to draw up your plans (or purchase a completed set of engineered plans). Once the building officials see that someone knows what they are doing, they are more apt to be more accommodating.

 

If zoning says “no” to your project, ask what they would allow and try to get them to work with you. Overall, nearly all Building Officials are friendly, polite and there to help so I hate to admit that there are some that are downright rude. I have even seen some deny projects because they didn’t fit in with the Official’s vision for their jurisdiction, even though the plans complied with the zoning and municipal codes. It helps to ask local builders in your community who they recommend you work with. People in the building community will know which Officials are reasonable and which ones aren’t.

 

In most jurisdictions, in terms of submitting architectural plans, you must have a property already purchased and approved for the construction of a dwelling unit.

 

2) I would not recommend bringing in “hand drawn” plans.  They are unprofessional and can be construed by officials to mean that you don’t know what you’re doing. Hand drawn plans are only acceptable for non-habitable sheds or minor remodels to existing structures.

 

The plans should be code compliant and to scale. Generally 3 copies are required.  One for the builder (you), one for the city to archive and one for the county for taxation purposes.  These plans will need to list the sizes of the rooms, the egress paths, any plumbing, electrical, mechanical and structural features.  They should also list all materials being used.  If one of the building materials is not approved by the local jurisdiction, the building official will need proof that the material meets or exceeds the local building codes.  We don’t want someone using materials that burn easily, release toxic fumes when ignited, etc.

 

Your plans will need to demonstrate that you have adequate ventilation including but not limited to combustible air for fuel burning appliances, an air return to replace any vented moisture laden air, and that the venting is a minimum of 36″ away from an operable window.

 

The electrical system must be able to handle the demands placed on it.  For example are you installing a microwave, garbage disposal, dishwasher etc., they require dedicated circuits.  In a standard home, there are generally 7 dedicated circuits in the kitchen alone. The plumbing system is also something that has to be designed whether you are hooked up to a municipal network or not.  Proper venting is necessary to keep sewage gasses away from the air you breathe since methane can make one very ill and is flammable.

 

Structures must meet the demands put on it in order to pass the review process.  For example, in earthquake country, specifications must be met to prevent the house from falling over.

 

3) If you are building a smaller home, ie 200 sq ft., one is going to need to meet minimum size restrictions. You can look at what minimums are for “studio” set ups in your area since that allows for open floor plan that includes the sleeping space. In terms of a tiny house being on wheels, at least in the area I worked, code requires that permanent structures be “positively” fastened to a solid foundation. If it is mobile, it is classified as a “mobile home” and must be located in a “mobile home park” zoned area.

 

4) If you receive a “no” for your proposed project despite being courteous, working in the spirit of cooperation, and having well designed plans, I would encourage you to go to the local Council meetings and to present your issue and ask for the laws to change.  For example, I had a resident who defied the local municipal code restricting the ownership of chickens in a residential area.  I had to cite her for not following the law.  I mentioned that she always had the right to go to council meetings to discuss her concerns.  Lo and behold, she did and the local municipal code changed.  It took a few months, but our city officials were open to it.  They created a committee comprised of local residents and rewrote the laws with the help of zoning and building personnel.

 

One thing to keep in mind is that ALL cities in California must follow the State’s Building Codes.  So in order to change the code in that state, the public needs to go to the Building Code Council and advocate changes.

 

5)  Before you present your plans, I’d highly recommend you do as much research as possible so that you can be prepared and able to answer the tough questions. Go in with an open mind and really listen to what they are saying and what their concerns might be.  If they knock you down, don’t get discouraged. Instead be open to suggestions and thank them for their expertise. I have noticed that, generally speaking, if Building Officials see you really want to work with them, they are more apt to help you and less inclined to be combative.

 

6) People should expect that if they did not do any homework, they most likely will be shot down.  So with that in mind, I repeat, do some research.  Look online at the city’s website.  Make an appointment to meet with the planning/zoning personnel.  Make sure you understand the overall land use objective for your area. Many cities are trying to redevelop land to bring in revenue through taxation. Get creative and look at other jurisdictions that are allowing tiny houses to be built.

 

7) People really should not be worried if the plan checker comes back with a lot of changes.  This is pretty normal and fine but it does slow down the process. You can minimize the changes that the checker wants to see by knowing what your local code calls for. Make your plans as clear as possible.  I have had one of my own plans rejected because I didn’t show the floor framing member sizes on a bath and kitchen remodel.  In terms of timing, be aware that most building departments operate on a first in, first out position. If/when they have to kick the plans back to you and you re-submit them, you are put at the back of the line again.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS: If you are really passionate about building small, don’t let small bumps in the road derail you. I have found that when someone has everything in place, has done their research and can show officials the benefits of tiny house living in a community, that they are actually receptive.

 

I personally think going small is very important.  Over the years, I have lived in big homes and really found them to be burdensome more than anything else.  Not only from the standpoint of being wastful of our natural resources but to maintain them as well. I am a strong advocate for smaller and tiny homes provided they are built with “Life, Health and Safety” in mind. I wish you readers the best of luck and I hope you can get nationwide changes going!

About Gabriella

Gabriella has had a fascination and interest in housing and how we occupy space for most of her life. A global traveler, she has lived in all types of housing from an Oceanside mansion in Rio De Janeiro, to an 80 sqft historic log cabin with no running water, plumbing and electricity in the Colorado mountains. Gabriella is happiest and most at peace when living in a tiny space in close contact with her family and nature.

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Where does the drive to design and build come from?

Since we launched Tiny Diamond Homes in 2012, we have had thousands of people contact us about building their tiny house design.  The numbers of visitors that have toured our homes is now over 35,000 and climbing.  It's hard to imagine these numbers but yet I do because I personal spoke with each one.  Their stories are similar within each demographic and all have spent hours dreaming, drawing, sharing, designing and revising their tiny homes.  What drives this desire for change?  They shared and I believe it is more than just simplifying their lives.  The desire isn't all just about money or too many things; it's about learning more about ourselves and what it takes to care for ourselves.

I grew up in the 1960s-70s knowing part of my father's job was moving where the government wanted him to work.  Yes, I am the youngest of the generation called the "baby boomers" who are now trying to prepare for retirement.  Many may think that it is time to save the planet, by using less and simplifying our lives but let's remember this didn't just start yesterday.

My father was a brilliant chemist with the goal to reverse the damage done by the pollution of the world.  I don't know too many kids that weren't allowed to have a diet drink in the 1960s and 70s, but my dad insisted the chemicals used caused cancer and he was right.  Acid rain, frog mutations, and the plight of our eagles from insecticides that protected our vegetables but softened the shells of the eagles eggs. I learned about lead poisoning and where lead was hidden in our paint, gas, and plumbing.  Asbestos could be found in the siding of older homes, around pipes, and in the linoleum floors of these older homes.  I now see some people recycling materials without checking for these contaminants. Please acknowledge that our parents and their parents knew the problems our earth would face and they took action.

For generations now many of us have been almost nomads with most of our relatives too far away to support and pass on their hard earned wisdom.   Were you told "Home is where the heart is"?  What does this really mean?  Was it words of wisdom to help us to help us cope with the nomad lifestyle?   Are we starting to feel the loss of our roots?  Is this a side effect of our technological advancements?  

It seems to me, that this movement has been not just about simplifying ones life but also wanting to be mentally and physically involved in the aspects of our life that scientific advancements separate us from.  In many ways, I believe we are searching for our roots and ourselves by the desire of being independent and self-sufficient without the aid of modern society.    I know most of us have seen the words somewhere that we can all build our own homes with just a couple of hand tools and a little of guidance.  We all can learn to build our own homes but should we?

More later and thank you for reading my thoughts! Cheryl