Appendix Q Tiny House – How It Applies To You In 2021

Appendix Q tiny house is one of the most complete laws guiding the use of single dwelling units. Except expressly stated in Appendix Q, all tiny houses must comply with the International Residential Code.

That said, knowing all the provisions in Appendix Q will save you a lot of hassles in the future, so pay attention while you’re thinking of embracing the tiny home dream. While it’s okay to be hyped about living your minimalist dream, you want to ensure that your tiny home is built according to the required standards. Thankfully, Appendix Q is available to ensure you do the right thing.

What are the unique provisions of Appendix Q?

Knowing all of the important requirements, as enshrined in Appendix Q, will save you a lot of headaches in the future. So, before you build or buy your dream tiny home, here are some of the important provisions of Appendix Q you should familiarise yourself with.

How big should your tiny home be?

Regardless of the design of your tiny home, most states, counties, and cities have unique requirements as per the size of your tiny home. While most cities have a 400 square feet minimum footage, others have extended theirs to 500 square feet. And just so you know, there are some states that have smaller square footage between 200 or 300 sq ft.

Exclusive definitions of terms used

  • Egress roof access window: Tiny houses shall include a skylight roof or window designed for emergency exits. Not just that, this provision is intended to meet rescue opening requirements as prescribed in Section R310.2 of the international residential code.
  • Landing Platform: Every tiny home must have a landing platform that measures two treads deep as well as two risers tall. It should be included as the top step of a staircase.
  • Loft: Any floor level that sits above the primary floor with a ceiling height between 6 and 8 feet must be designed so that it complies with the area it is located and the guard requirements of Section AV104.
  • Tiny houses: These homes must have a square footage of 400 or less as per floor area. Keep in mind that this doesn’t include lofts.

AQ103.1: Minimum ceiling height- What you should know

Dwelling space and hallways featured in tiny houses are expected to have a ceiling height between 6 feet 8 inches. Similarly, bathrooms, kitchen, and toilet rooms must have ceiling height not less than 6 feet 4 inches. Make sure there are no obstructions that extend anywhere below the minimum ceiling height. These obstructions include lighting, girders, ducts, beams, and others.

What is the minimum dimension for rooms?

  • Habitable rooms within your tiny homes must have a floor area of about 70 SQ feet. That said, this doesn’t apply to kitchens.
  • Habitable rooms within your tiny house must not be less than 7 feet in any direction. This also doesn’t apply to the kitchens. Nevertheless, ensure that your kitchen has provision for a sink.
  • Bathrooms: Ensure that your lavatory, water closet, bathtub meet the minimum requirement as provided by R307.1. In terms of requirements, there should be a 15-inch clearance from the center of the water closet as well as 21″ in front of the water closet. Shower should measure 30″x30″ and have a minimum clearance of 24″ in front. Your tiny home lavatory should have at least 21″ clearance in front.

How should lofts be designed?

  • AQ104.1 Minimum loft area: If you are looking to include a loft in your home, especially for living or sleeping space, you must ensure it meets the minimum requirements per area and dimensions prescribed by Sections AV104.1.1 through AV104.1.3.
  • AQ104.1.1 Minimum area: Lofts included in tiny homes must have floor area that is not less than 35 SQ feet.
  • AQ104.1.2 Minimum dimensions: In terms of dimensions, lofts included in tiny homes must measure between 5 feet or more in any direction.
  • AQ104.1.3 Height effect on loft area: Some portions of lofts fitted in tiny homes with a sloping ceiling measuring between 3 feet extending all the way to the completed floor will not be included in the minimum required area of the loft.
  • AQ104.2 Loft access: The access to and from the primary egress away from the loft will not be any type described in Sections AV104.2.1 through AV104.2.4
  • AQ104.2.1 Stairways: Every tiny home must have stairways that meet all the requirements stipulated by Sections AV104.2.1.1 through AV104.2.1.5

Stairways design requirements

  • AQ104.2.1.1 Width: The stairways fitted in tiny homes for accessing lofts must measure nothing less than 17 inches at all points. More so, the minimum width beneath the handrail must measure between 20 inches or more.
  • AQ104.2.1.2 Headroom: Tiny homes must make provisions for headroom in the staircase used to access the loft. And it shouldn’t be less than 6 feet 2 inches.
  • AQ.104.2.1.3 Treads and Risers: Risers featured in the stairs used to access the loft shall not be less than 7 inches, with the maximum set at 12 inches.

Handrail and guard design

  • AQ104.2.1.4 Handrails: Handrails in tiny homes must meet the requirements contained in Section R311.7.8.
  • AQ104.2.1.5 Stairway guards: Guards fitted at the sides of stairways must meet the requirements prescribed in Section R312.1.

Ladder design requirements

AQ104.2.2 Ladders: Ladders designed for accessing loft must meet requirements enshrined in Sections AV104.2.2.1 and AV104.2.2.2

AQ104.2.2.1 Size and capacity: Ladders used for accessing loft must have a minimum of 12 inches rung width and 10 to 14 inches spacing between rungs. Also, the ladder must be able to support at least 200 pounds of load on any rung.

AQ104.2.2.2 Incline: In terms of positioning and angling, ladders must be fitted between 70 to 80 degrees from horizontal.

Frequently asked questions

What is the widest size your tiny house can be?

In most US states, the widest tiny homes measure between 13.5 feet tall, 8.5 feet wide, and 40 feet long.

What are the requirements for emergency escape?

As per Appendix Q, emergency escapes must meet the requirements stipulated by Section R310.

Is Appendix Q really important?

Even though there are still many grey areas when it comes to building tiny homes, following the requirements prescribed in Appendix Q will save you a lot of headaches with the authorities. So yes, it is pretty important.