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Is there any way to get a DIY Tiny Home Certified to be able to park it in RV parks?

I am struggling to find any information on how to build a tiny home myself and get it certified. I love the idea of building myself because it will be exactly what I want and I will be in control of the budget. It seems like tiny houses began as a way to own a home outright, but now its this huge money maker for builders who charge crazy amounts. 

1 Answer, 0 Replies
Thom Stanton
Thom Stanton  replied:

Great question that will require a bit of a detailed response as this is essentially the crux of our current shift from a grassroots movement into a bona fide industry.

The recreational vehicle industry provides certification of their units through facility inspections provided by the industry Association, RVIA. Unlike residential construction, for which an independen on like residential construction, for which each dwelling unit must submit plans, receive authorization to proceed along a schedule of inspections that follow the "permit process, and "recreational vehicles are most typically produced in a factory environment. As such it makes the most sense for inspection agencies like Pacific West Associates to review each facility for their adherence to industry standards for quality assurance and construction compliance.

The tiny house industry has some early adopters in the inspection realm, including Bildsworth and Pacific West tiny homes. As for a few others, both of these firms provide an inspection process of that reviews compliance through a series of stages on an individual unit. Both firms are DIY friendly, and the cost for the inspections is reasonable, Especially when you consider how the inspection of your tiny house will help "future proof" what you construct on your own.

Your question involved RV parks, which exercise a degree of autonomy within their own industry, which is related to RV manufacturing, but is yet to have been independent. There are several large groups that manage RV parks, and pass down some of their own standards. As such, a tiny house may have no issue parking in the large majority of RV parks throughout the US. That said, it will be both frustrating and a bit embarrassing to be told you cannot park your tiny house alongside RVs.

This is a new industry born from a movement that stemmed from needs that are not being met by existing industries. While we may be enthusiastic, and completely believe in the quality of our product, it takes more than good faith for finance companies and insurance companies to underwrite A new product, especially one that wasn't built by a licensed and/or otherwise credentialed contractor.

In summary, if you plan to ever use your tiny house as a permissible dwelling unit, it may be wise to forgo the wheels and move to a foundation from the get go. If you are set on building a movable tiny house, please give heavy consideration to working with a professional inspection company.

When the day comes where more municipalities allow tiny houses as permissible residential structures, many DIYers, and those who have bought tiny homes from professionals will want to seek admittance into these new tiny house focused communities. While there may be a degree of "grandfathering" allowed by some, most code enforcement officials are going to require some proof of compliance.

Having your tiny house inspected during construction — from the trailer through framing, into integration from trades, and ultimately finishing — appears to be the best way to future proof your DIY based tiny house as having proven conformance to establish construction codes.

If you have additional questions, or wish to request more specific information, please feel free to give me a call.

Wishing you all the best.

GoTiny! - Thom