I had an amazing time at the Relax Shacks workshop in Wilmington. I was able to meet so many bloggers and builders that I have known online – including Alex from right here at Tiny House Talk. I also had the privilege of spending more time with Ryan Mitchell of The Tiny Life – we even shared a condo for the weekend. At the workshop, he announced the release of his eBook Cracking the Code: A Guide to Building Codes and Zoning for the Tiny Houses.”

As a blogger, and someone who built a tiny home of my own, I am so grateful for the existence of this book. It is not overstating it to say it is an invaluable resource. I am often asked questions here on Tiny House Talk, over at my own blog, and on Facebook, about permits and codes. I had always felt powerless when faced with these inquiries as the answers aren’t so simple. Thankfully, Ryan Mitchell has come to the rescue by putting together years of research on building codes for his own house and releasing it as an eBook guide. Mitchell shares insight on how to work with your local government and how civil disobedience might be the best option for some tiny house builders.

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Cracking the Code by Ryan Mitchell

Click below to read more about Ryan Mitchell’s eBook.

The first section of the book is Ryan’s commentary on why building codes exist, the best work with local code enforcement, the best way to avoid enforcement, and finally how to get past the question of codes all together in order to build your own tiny house. The second half of the book is a collection of resources including sample codes, an inspection checklist, and a glossary of important terms.

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Author Ryan Mitchell looking pensive at the Wilmington NC workshop.

As Mitchell states, building codes vary between municipalities so it is impossible to speak with any real authority on the matter. The only way to understand the legalities of tiny houses in your area is to talk with your local code enforcement office and see what you can build and what you can’t. Mitchell provides the language to use and the steps to take to do this for yourself.

I’ve already had the opportunity to refer people to Cracking the Code and I am so happy to have this resource available.

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   Cracking the Building Code on Tiny Houses with Ryan Mitchell

Laura LaVoie

Contributor and Tiny House Owner at 120SquareFeet.com
Laura M. LaVoie is a professional writer living in the mountains of North Carolina in a 120 Square Foot house with her partner and their hairless cat, Piglet. Laura graduated from Western Michigan University with a degree in Anthropology. She has been published in magazines and anthologies on the subjects of mythology and culture. She spent nearly 15 years in the temporary staffing industry before deciding to become a full time writer. Laura works closely with the Zulu Orphan Alliance volunteering her time and the skills she's learned building her own small house to build a shelter for orphans and other vulnerable children living near Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Laura also enjoys simple living, brewing and drinking craft beer, and popular culture.

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  • Marsha Cowan May 8, 2013, 3:44 pm

    I was wondering the same thing. I am in NC which has some really stringent and dibilitating codes because of the type of image NC wants to portray to the electronic companies, computer companies, and other big businesses that they want to attract to this state. Since so much money comes into the state along with people who wouldn’t be caught dead in less than 4000 square feet, and who wouldn’t want to be seen even near small houses, the rest of us are hard pressed to find a way to live simply, much less tiny.

    Reply Link
    • Laura M. LaVoie May 8, 2013, 3:47 pm

      The only thing I can do is recommend that you check out the eBook. Ryan lives right here in North Carolina and was dealing with local codes as well as the international building code.

      His book does a good job explaining the best ways to talk with your local government.

      Reply Link
  • Robert Henry February 3, 2014, 8:17 pm

    I know many folks would like to get cities to approve tiny homes. I think that is a steep hill to climb. I started looking for rural property in michigan that might allow a small home even if built on a foundation. It is really hard because even small townships have adopted the “international” codes, including minimum house size.

    I have recently considered developing a novel approach. I would like to found a religious organization which has at its core the concepts of sustainability, avoidance of unnecessary consumption, etc. I wonder how small townships might be open to allowing a more open view based on expression of religious freedom. Of course it has to be said that the expression cannot harm others and not impose on the freedom of others as well.

    I happen to really like what the folks with Minim House have done. I want a home that has it all. This is not an economic issue for me. I have a high salary, but I could use the extra money to invest in helping others. That’s part of the religious expression, too.

    Reply Link
    • Alex Pino February 4, 2014, 12:08 pm

      I’ve never though of that one Robert!

      Reply Link

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