There's been much a-buzz (glitz, glamour, envy) surrounding the Tiny House movement over the last few years. Certainly, there are benefits to the lifestyle simplicity, financial freedom and independence granted by going Tiny. However, are we shortchanging ourselves of the protection and safety effective regulated in normal homes?
Don't get me wrong, I'm the first to suggest cutting around the rules to excuse myself from following the norms of convention. But, when it comes to our homes -- our sanctuary of health, family, joy, & growth -- do we really want to risk our health and safety to avoid a few of the regulatory and financial hoops presented by our jurisdictions?
Building code regulations is the handbook which gives architects and builders the bare minimum "rules" to follow to achieve a happy & healthy home for their client. In our everyday lives, we're constantly google-ing for instruction videos and DIY guidelines to help us absorb a new activity quicker and with more skill. Why then with the Tiny House movement, are we taking steps away from the basic building principles laid out in the handbooks of codes and the knowledge base of building sciencist? How is it acceptable that we regress back into unsafe and unhealthy building practices to satiate the need for independence?
The basics of building science steer professionals toward building a healthy and comfortable home. There are many loopholes to conventional building practices that Tiny House builders have been able to capitalize on due to the naivety of the end-user. Take for instance the basic tenants of sanitation, fire safety, moisture management, and indoor air quality. Where in the marketing materials are these mechanisms spelled out to the buyer? While much of Tiny Home marketing materials focus on the cute and boutique features of the interior living space, the consumer is left in the dark when it comes to health and safety features and even basic inspections, longevity testing, and quality control of their eventual home.
Again I've never been one in favor of regulations, but I've learned through the turmoil of business growth that 'trusting' the motives of a for-profit company seldom results in an end-product that adequately serves the health, safety, and well-being of the homeowner.