“Tiny homes” movement prompts NFPA to offer guidance on building and life safety components of these dwellings

April 11, 2017 — An alternative to traditional housing options, tiny homes are growing in popularity. These permanent dwellings, known for their small size and economical living costs, are cropping up across the U.S., as are concerns regarding the applicability of building and life safety codes for these unique dwellings.

Addressing these concerns, NFPA has released a new white paper, “Applying Building Codes to Tiny Homes.” The paper underscores general code requirements guiding traditional home construction and the applicability of these requirements for tiny homes. Code provisions highlighted in the paper include requirements for room size, means of escape, stairs, smoke alarms, and automatic fire sprinklers. The paper also highlights code provisions for sanitation and how the National Electrical Code® can safeguard homes of all sizes against electrical hazards.

If a tiny home’s design does not fully adhere to code requirements, building codes allow for code exceptions, allowances, and equivalencies that serve as acceptable alternatives. For instance, certain building codes permit the use of alternate materials or construction methods when the original provisions in the code cannot be met.

“While building codes do not specifically address the concept of tiny homes, many code provisions are applicable to these dwellings and do not conflict with tiny home design,” says Ray Bizal, NFPA senior regional director and staff liaison for NFPA’s Building Code Development Committee, which developed the white paper. “Our intent with the white paper is to highlight how codes and standards can safely guide the creation of today’s tiny homes while pointing to possible code-compliance issues that could impact a tiny home’s design.”

Download the report by visiting NFPA’s website.

For this release and other announcements about NFPA initiatives, research and resources, please visit the NFPA press room.

About the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global, nonprofit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information visit www.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.

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Contact: Lorraine Carli, Public Affairs Office: +1 617 984-7275