Posts Tagged ‘IRC’

A New Housing Insurance Market?

March 16th, 2017 Comments off

An unrelated “tiny home.” Credit: Youtube.

Although it’s still considered a small share of the market, the growing buzz around so-called “tiny homes,” has opened up a new market for insurance.

According to Insurance Journal, while enthusiasm does run high, so do the challenges and realities that the tiny home industry, and owners, face: building codes, zoning ordinances, community norms and, insurance issues.

Some of the biggest issues involve building codes that have yet to be standardized and a variety of city and municipality zoning and ordinance regulations on where tiny homeowners can place their dwelling legally,” said Mike Schmidt, business development director for the Tiny Home Industry Association and CEO of Ensemble Ventures, a Colorado Springs business development firm.

As state and local governments struggle with, and have their own rules on, exactly how to classify tiny homes, there continues to be confusion over definitions between RVIA standards (Recreational Vehicle Industry Association) versus International Residential Codes (IRC), which lends to potential challenges around how to insure them.

There’s been some crossover between the two and how you apply insurance to this market is very interesting,” said Schmidt.

There are different types of tiny houses — how they are sited and built, how they are placed, whether they are on a trailer; a lot of things that are evolving and developing.

Additionally, zoning codes and regulations that classify tiny homes as RV’s create an additional set of problems surrounding permanent residency.

HUD basically mandates and specifies that you can’t live in an RV more than 30 days at a time in a fixed location which has really hampered the (tiny home) industry significantly,” said Schmidt.

We’ve spent a lot of time looking at single family homes building, and development lags in the country. There’s a serious need for affordable housing and tiny houses may have a role to play if we can get some of the conflicting zoning and ordinances cleaned up.

As Daily Business News readers are already aware, even though tiny homes may look more affordable on the surface, manufactured housing provides a significantly better value per square foot.



Credit: CJOB.

It appears that changes could be on the horizon, given a recent addendum to the IRC.

The addendum provides architects, designers, builders, community developers and zoning officials a means of recognizing tiny houses as an official form of permissible dwelling,” said Thom Stanton of the Housing Development Institute.

The Insurance Industry

With code and zoning issues, the insurance industry has been slow to move. But one agent has decided to dive in and work to corner the market after meeting one of the earliest adopters of tiny homes.

I met Dee Williams and she talked about the frustration of not being able to find insurance,” said Darrell Grenz, owner of the Darrell Grenz Insurance Agency in Portland, Oregon.

I started going to some of her workshops to learn about the tiny home industry and then one of my clients built a tiny home.


A park model home by Skyline Homes. Park models are being used by some to target the ‘tiny house’ movement. These homes – depending on their size and configuration – may be built to the ANSI or HUD Code.

Then, Grenz was hooked.

It was almost like destiny. My office, located in North Portland, has become a hotbed for the tiny home movement,said Grenz.

But, Grenz ran into challenges as he started calling his carrier reps, as many said no to taking the risk. He finally got a big break, which involved Lloyd’s of London building a program to insure tiny homes.

Even with that success, there’s still concern about agents not having a full understanding of the market.

The problem is that most insurance agents do not understand the differences on all these things (in tiny homes) and the tiny home movement, if it’s really a movement,said Martin Burlingame, CEO of Colorado Springs-based Commercial Insurance Group.

It’s a disaster for insurance because you have agents doing all kinds of crazy things.

The biggest problem when it comes to insurance is whether the tiny home is a permanent residence or a rental property. Many tiny home enthusiasts have taken to the Airbnb-style home venture.

Even though Burlingame says that the market isn’t growing as fast as many would like, he sees the potential.

How the industry evolves over the next few years will be interesting to watch. The evolution reminds him of another emerging market and product evolution: the legal marijuana industry,” said Burlingame.

Why Not Manufactured Homes vs. Tiny Houses?


Several manufactured housing professionals believe that those fascinated with tiny houses ought to be thinking manufactured homes instead.


Brian Cira, photo credit, MHProNews.

Anybody with a brain in their head would look at a manufactured home,” Brian Cira, president, Fairmont Homes, Nappanee, IN said.

We do it much more efficiently, much more smartly. We’ve been doing this for decades. … We could build these [tiny houses] all day long.

For a detailed comparison of tiny houses and manufactured homes, see the article, linked here. ##


(Image credits are as shown above.)



RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Modular Homes Allowed, but Need Better Definition

May 17th, 2013 Comments off

According to gobogalusa, the Franklinton (Louisiana) Board of Aldermen heard the results of the meeting of the Planning and Zoning Commission regarding the regulation of modular homes. Building inspector Bob Walters said they are built similarly to manufactured homes but are governed by the International Residential Code (IRC). Walters stated the zoning book definition is not accurate, but the commission decided to allow modular homes as defined into R1 zoning areas as long as they are compatible with existing homes. As MHProNews has learned, the town attorney recommended the language be better defined in order to insure compatibility, especially in terms of the width of modular homes.

(Image credit: gainesville–Veteran’s Housing)

HUD and MOD Codes Ahead of County

June 1st, 2012 Comments off

TrinidadTimes says Las Animas County in southern Colorado has not updated its building codes since 2003, and county building inspector Joe Richards says updating them to 2009 standards might save homeowners and businesses on their property insurance. The Insurance Services Office rates buildings on a scale of one to ten with one being the highest. Las Animas is rated nine, and he says its due in part to poor inspection practices by a previous inspector and by the 2003 codes now enforced. The city of Trinidad updated its codes to comply with the 2009 International Residential Code (IRC), but the county commissioners want to discuss the new codes with area contractors. He says manufactured and modular homes are already being built to the 2009 standard, and he has recommended the county update soon. has learned since the codes are updated every three years, the county indicated it may upgrade to the 2012 codes.

(Photo credit: postandcourier /Jim Parker)

Local official surprised by Attorney General’s suit against modular developer

September 30th, 2011 Comments off

Michael Delaney New Hampshire's Attorney General -credit DOJ-NH-GOVLaconiaDailySun reports on ‘surprise’ legal action by New Hampshire’s Attorney General Michael Delaney’s Office. In a follow up to the story covered earlier this week in, Shanna Saunders said the city code enforcement office had been working with the developer and home owners to resolve some complains, but never expected the NH AG’s office to file suit. “I knew people were coming to the office and looking at their files,” Saunders said. Saunders explained the Villa at Paugus Woods was originally approved by the city planning board in 2006 as a cluster subdivision for a U.S. Department of Housing Urban Development (HUD) Code single-family manufactured homes. “I think when this was approved these had HUD stamped on it,” she said, noting that manufactured housing are built to federal HUD Code standards for manufactured housing and doesn’t required local inspections except for site work, like roads, drainage and the sewer systems and hookups to services like electricity, water and sewage. At some point, the project apparently changed from HUD Code manufactured housing to modular home construction. Former city contract code enforcement officer Jim Van Valkenburgh explained modular home ares engineered and built in factories and the design engineers and subcontractors are the ones responsible for design defects. “Each modular house also has a manufacturer’s sticker number with an identification number on the outside,” he said. “This means it was acceptable to our department of safety,” Van Valkenburgh said. He said that as the contracted code enforcement officer, all inspections were made as mandated by Laconia’s adopted International Residential Code of 2006, so he disagrees with the allegations in Delaney’s lawsuit that says life-safety issues are compromised. “I would not sign a certificate of occupancy without it meeting the minimum code standards of the residential building code,” he wrote. Brady Sullivan with the Villa at Paugus Woods development stated that he had cooperated with officials and that they would be vindicated.

(Photo credit: NH-DOJ)


Ashton Kutcher’s luxurious Two and a Half Men ‘Trailer’

August 16th, 2011 Comments off

Anderson Mobile Estate Getty Images, Ashton Kutcher's residence for 2.5 men setEonline has likely done mainstream media, the RV and manufactured housing business a favor by visually depicting what a ‘trailer’ is in their recent story on Ashton Kutcher.  Kutcher has replaced Charlie Sheen on the set of Two and a Half Men. The 1000 square-foot, two level luxury trailer is said to cost $8750 a week. This Anderson Mobile Estate has two bathrooms, a kitchen with granite counter tops, a wireless touch screen that controls heat, air conditioning, brightness and the blinds, a conference area and seven 60-inch 3-D plasma TVs. For a cool $2 million each, you can understand how the second floor hydraulically emerges from the main body of the vehicle.  In terms of proper terminology, the word “trailer” think a towable (non-motorized) Recreational Vehicle or RV. “Mobile Home” think pre-HUD Code housing built before June 15,1976. Manufactured Homes are built to the HUD Code that went into effect June 15, 1976, with code updates since. Modular and prefabricated (prefab) construction is built to a local, state or other building code, such as the IRC.

Editors Note: For those who want to educate their local media on the proper use of Manufactured Housing terminology, please download and send them the free “Fact Sheet for Reporters” or email your local media this link.  We have to do our part to make sure that the media ‘gets the facts’ for them to properly do their jobs.

(Image credit: EOnline, Anderson Mobile Estate and Getty)