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Ram Trucks Films Commercial Featuring B&B Tiny Houses

Photos: Ram Trucks https://www.ramtrucks.com/ram-life/outdoors/tinyhouse.html

Ram Trucks has just released a commercial featuring how easily their trucks can hitch and tow tiny houses.  In the commercial, a woman and her husband visit the B&B Micro Manufacturing factory where our craftspeople build a tiny house on wheels for them.  Later, they pick up their tiny house with their Ram truck and tow it to a campground where they relax under the stars.

Filming the commercial on-location at our tiny house factory in Adams, Massachusetts took two days (plus more time filming in the other locations) with a crew of about 30 people.  We are thrilled to have our factory, builders, and houses showcased by Ram.

To see more content from Ram Trucks on this commercial, visit https://www.ramtrucks.com/ram-life/outdoors/tinyhouse.html.

Watch the video here:

Here’s How To Find Out If Your City or Town Allows Tiny Houses in 3 Steps

Here’s how to find out if your city or town allows tiny houses.

1. Look up zoning codes.

Zoning codes for many municipalities can be found on your town’s website or on ecode360.com.

Here are some helpful search terms:

If you’re hoping to put a tiny house ON WHEELS either on its own property or on a property with other buildings:

  • Tiny House
  • RV, Recreational Vehicle, or Recreation Vehicle
  • Park Model (if your tiny house is greater than 8.5′ in width)

If you’re hoping to build a backyard cottage ON A FOUNDATION:

  • ADU or Accessory Dwelling Unit
  • Detached ADU
  • Accessory Apartment

If you’re hoping to build a small house ON A FOUNDATION on its own piece of land:

  • Minimum Square Footage, Minimum SF, Minimum Sq Ft, or Minimum Sq. Ft.
  • Frontage (some towns don’t have a minimum square footage but they have rules on how big the road-facing portion of the house is based on the percentage of road frontage the property has)

Appendix Q for tiny houses on foundations:

If you’re hoping for a tiny or small house ON A FOUNDATION, look into whether your state has adopted Appendix Q for tiny houses into its building code.  Appendix Q is a set of safety standards for houses on foundations that are 400 sq. ft. and under, basically providing standards for how lofts and ladders are built.  More info on Appendix Q for Tiny Houses here.  If your state hasn’t adopted Appendix Q, that doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t build small: it just means you’ll have to follow your state’s existing building code for lofts and ladders, and the other details in the Tiny House Appendix.

On January 1, 2020, Massachusetts and California simultaneously will join Maine, Idaho, Oregon and Georgia as the first six states to adopt the Tiny House Appendix into their building code.  Many other states are in the process of adopting the Tiny House Appendix.  The Tiny Home Industry Association has updates on Appendix Q across the United States.

Please note: there may be more lenient rules depending on whether your tiny house will be used seasonally, as a “guest house”, “camper”, or “cabin” rather than as a full-time, permanent residence.  If you’ll only be using your tiny house sometimes, residential zoning laws and building codes may not apply.  Check in with your municipality if this is the case.

Photo: Arcadia Tiny House on Wheels.  This tiny house can travel, and it’s certified as an RV.  It’s currently being used as a guest house at Woodlife Ranch; it isn’t someone’s permanent home.

2. In the (likely) event there are no tiny-house-specific zoning codes, shoot your town zoning board an email.

If you can’t find any info on tiny houses in the town’s zoning but would like to know whether a tiny house on wheels or on a foundation would be legal to live in full-time, send a quick email to your town’s building inspector or zoning board (you can find their contact info on your town’s website).

Be sure to include the following information:

  • What kind of tiny house you’re inquiring about (on a foundation or on wheels?)
  • What code the house would be built to (if it’s on a foundation, does it comply with Massachusetts residential building code? If it’s a tiny house on wheels, is it certified by the RVIA or another third-party inspector?)
  • A description of where you’d like to put it (in a backyard, on its own lot, or in a community) and the address so your zone can be confirmed.  If you don’t have an address in the town but would like to move there, let them know that as well.

They’ll be able to tell you whether tiny houses are legal.

Photo: Green River Small House.  This house was built on-site, piece by piece, and it is compliant with local zoning bylaws and state building code.  It’s being used as a permanent, year-round home.

3.  If there aren’t any tiny house zoning bylaws yet, you can request your town changes their standards (and you don’t have to be an expert to ask!)

If tiny houses are not currently included in the zoning bylaws, your zoning board will be able to advise you whether it’s worth pursuing a change to the zoning bylaws.  Generally this process takes a while, and the zoning board will guide you through it.  You don’t have to be an expert to request a zoning change, just an interested citizen!  Be prepared with knowledge of how having tiny houses would help your town or city. Here are some examples, which you can tailor to the specific needs of your municipality:

  • If your town center has historic buildings but downtown housing prices are excluding a large chunk of the population from living there, adding tiny houses (either on wheels or on foundations) to backyards as ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units) can densify and diversify neighborhoods without destroying their architectural character.  Don’t tear down those beautiful old buildings to add more households: add backyard cottages instead!
  • Tiny houses on wheels can provide flexible temporary living spaces for those who may need a live-in caregiver for a few years.  This setup is great for those who are aging in place and need a caregiver close by, a disabled adult living in the ADU in the backyard of their family, or an ill person who cannot live on their own but needs the privacy of their own living space.  If necessary, tiny houses can be built wheelchair-friendly (check out the Wheel Pad).
  • Tiny houses on wheels are also great for people in traveling professions, like military personnel, travel nurses, or agricultural workers.  However, these people need places to stay.  Allowing landowners to rent out a space for travelers helps them earn extra income while adding spaces for traveling workers to live that cause a low impact on the environment.
  • A pocket community of tiny houses on wheels or small homes on foundations can add much-needed housing stock (let’s be honest, there’s a housing shortage almost everywhere in the US) that is more affordable than the large homes that most developers are building now.

It’s best to do this before you have your tiny house built.  This way, you can be flexible in your design, making sure it conforms with the standards the town creates.

kinderhook tiny house in snow park model

Photo: Kinderhook Park Model Tiny House.  It’s a park model because it’s on wheels, but at 10′ wide, it’s too wide to go on the roads without an oversize load permit.  For this reason, these houses usually stay put after delivery. 
Bonus for MA residents:
We’re creating a list of each town in Massachusetts and whether it allows tiny houses.  If you’ve done this in Massachusetts, please let us know so we can add it to the list!

Silver Lake Tiny House in New Book

Last year, Monsa Publications out of Barcelona asked us if they could feature our Silver Lake Tiny House in their new book: Tiny Mobile Homes: Small Space – Big Freedom. Of course, we said yes!

Today we received the book, and it’s beautiful.  Thank you, Monsa!

Here’s a link to more info on the book.

What’s the Best Size Tiny House for Travel?

Tiny Houses on Wheels are sized for the road.

An 8 1/2 foot width is standard in tiny houses because that’s the maximum width that can safely travel down roads without an oversize permit.  We also build some tiny houses on wheels 10+ feet wide as Park Model RVs and procure oversize permits in every state they’ll travel through to get to their destination.  10+ foot wide houses, of course, aren’t recommended as houses that will travel more than once.

While the length of tiny houses is variable (we’ve built everything from 16 feet to 32 feet) the height is also restricted by the road.  13 1/2 feet tall is the maximum, which means the ceiling can be just over 10 feet from the floor inside the tiny house.  That’s why we can’t build a sleeping loft you can stand up in– unless you’re only two feet tall.

What size vehicle do you need to own to tow your tiny house?

You should have a vehicle with a towing capacity that exceeds the weight of your tiny house.  This article will help you determine what towing capacity you’ll need based on the estimated weight of your tiny house.

It can be helpful to take lessons first.

If you don’t have experience towing, see if there are classes offered in your area before you set out on the road with your tiny house in tow.  If you don’t want to take an entire course, have someone you know who’s experienced in towing give you a few pointers.  Having someone watch what you’re doing in-person is more helpful than YouTube videos, because they can tell you what you’re doing wrong and right.

Shorter tiny houses are lighter.

We recommend a house up to 24 feet long for towing.  Anything larger (or heavier) gets unwieldy for travel.  (We can still build a bigger house if you’re not planning on traveling with it!)

If you don’t want to tow your house, hire a professional.

There are companies that do this all day, every day so you don’t have to.  If you’re only moving your house once, it may be best to leave the towing to the pros.  If you’re on the east coast, email us at info@bbtinyhouses.com for a towing company recommendation.

 

What’s The Difference Between a Modular Home and a Tiny House on Wheels?

Resideo Tiny House, Resideo Tiny Smart Home

Left: A Tiny House on Wheels- the wheels are obscured by shrubbery.  Right: A Modular Home: no wheels, slab foundation (coming soon!)

 

 

 


Tiny Houses on Wheels

Tiny houses on wheels are permanently on the chassis.  The tires can be removed but the house will always be on the trailer. If you want a tiny house on wheels but don’t plan to travel with it, we can also permanently anchor a tiny house on wheels to the ground, remove its tires, and skirt it.  Road-legal limits of 8 1/2′ wide and 13 1/2′ high constrain the size of tiny houses on wheels. We are certified to build tiny houses on wheels by the RVIA, so our tiny houses on wheels are legally considered RVs.  Tiny houses on wheels don’t require a building permit, but you’ll need to make sure RVs are allowed in your zone of your town.

Modular Homes

Modular homes are constructed in pieces in a factory and then transported to the home site to be assembled and attached to the foundation.  They look just like traditional houses– you can’t tell the difference between a modular home from a traditional home just by looking at it– and can be any shape and size as long as each module is small enough to travel from the factory to the build site.  After a modular home is built and inspected inside the factory, it is transported to the site and then permanently attached to a foundation (basement, slab, or pin foundation) where it is inspected again.  B&B Micro Manufacturing is certified to build Industrialized/Modular Homes by the State of Massachusetts.  Modular homes are financed using traditional home financing and there’s no difference in zoning for a modular home versus a traditional site-built home.  B&B Modular designs will be released soon.

Both types of homes are built inside our factory in Massachusetts.  The advantages of factory-building include a quicker build time (we don’t have to stop working in extreme weather) and a less expensive build, especially when the home is built alongside other homes of the same design.

A Look Inside B&B’s Resideo Tiny Smart Home with Honeywell Home Tech

We’ve built a Tiny Smart Home using tech from ResideoHoneywell‘s new spinoff which goes public today.

The Tiny Smart Home is right outside the New York Stock Exchange where Resideo rang the bell this morning, showing off Resideo’s smart home technology.

“As Resideo rings in a new era as an independent company and begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange, the company is hosting a pop-up experience outside the iconic Financial District landmark to display its top-notch, easy-to-use solutions. The mobile technology showcase is the brain child of Resideo and news-outlet Cheddar, who are joining forces to highlight the intersection between smart home technology and simple living. The Resideo Tiny Home, built by B + B Tiny Houses, serves as the backdrop of a new Cheddar show, which will launch later in 2018 and highlight Honeywell Home’s end-to-end, integrated home solutions on the exterior, on the wall, in the wall and in the cloud.

The 125 square-foot home features Honeywell Home’s professionally installed options, which were slightly modified for the small space, and are available through professional HVAC contractors and home automation and security dealers (through Resideo’s ADI Global Distribution business). The home also includes DIY solutions found at major retailers and www.Honeywellhome.com. The solutions are controlled via simple voice commands or Honeywell Home apps, make the home smarter, cozier, safer, and more efficient.” –resideo.com

If you’re near Wall Street check out our Tiny Smart Home with Resideo technology!  If you’re not near Wall Street, this tiny house will soon be traveling the nation– keep up to date on its whereabouts on Residso’s Twitter or Facebook!

Click the images to enlarge:

Learn More about “The Tiny Home On Wall Street” in this article by Resideo. 

Watch the video of B&B co-founder Jason’s interview about Building The Smart Tiny Home on Cheddar TV.

Choosing the Right Towing Vehicle for Your Tiny House

Choosing the Right Truck for your Tiny House

All of our tiny houses on wheels are able to be towed; however, if you will be moving around regularly, we recommend purchasing a tiny house under 24 feet long.

The weight of B&B Tiny Houses depends on the size and materials used.  A vinyl-sided 20′ Hoosic weighs around 9400 pounds, while a solid wood clapboard-sided 20′ Hoosic weighs around 10,000 pounds.  The 20′ Brodie Office/Studio with T-111 siding weighs the least of everything we’ve weighed so far, at 8,000 pounds, and the 30′ Stony Ledge with solid wood clapboard siding comes in at around 14,000 pounds.

As a general rule, our tiny houses weigh between 400-500 pounds per foot, so to determine the weight multiply the number of feet by 400 and 500 to give you an estimate.

new tiny house construction

Pictured: The Arcadia Tiny House

Our tiny houses can be delivered anywhere in the United States, so if you plan on staying in only one spot, then you do not need to ever worry about towing your tiny house.

We tow our tiny houses that are under 24 feet with a Chevy Silverado 2500. For larger tiny houses, we hire a professional shipping company. As always, our customers are welcome to pick up their tiny house at out manufacturing plant. If you are looking for trucks with large towing capacities, then check out this article on the trucks with the highest towing capacity.

Smaller Tiny Houses for Those on the Move

All of the houses below allow you to customize the interior and exterior finishes to your choosing.

The 20′ Brodie

Perfect For: a mobile office, art studio, backyard guest house, mobile clinic

Features: The Brodie can be used as an office, guest house, and much more. The Brodie features an electric in-wall heating system, half-bath with a dry-flush toilet and sink, storage and countertop space, and a freshwater tank and water heater.

The Hudson 20′

Perfect For: a weekend getaway for 1-2 people, guest house, rental property

Features: Enter the Hudson into a small sitting area.  A queen size bed with nightstands is to the left on the same level. To the right is a kitchen, with a sink, mini-fridge, cabinets, shelving, and a two-burner cooktop.  Through the kitchen is a full bathroom, with a macerating toilet, sink, and shower.

The Arcadia

Perfect For: full time luxury living for two, sleeps an additional two guests on a sofa bed

Features: The kitchen has premium fixtures and appliances, including poured-in-place sealed concrete countertops, a three-burner propane stove and oven, a range hood, and under-counter refrigerator and freezer drawers. The sofa slides out on rails to convert into a full-size guest bed, allowing the house to sleep four. The bathroom has a rain shower head, subway tiles in the full-size shower, a macerating toilet, and a porcelain hand washing sink.  The loft fits a queen-sized bed with a little extra floor space.  The loft has 360 degree views with windows on all sides, plus skylights. An optional built-in Bluetooth audio system connects to your smartphone.

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Why aren’t lofts included in a tiny home’s square footage?

Determining the Square Footage in Tiny Homes

We are often asked about how we calculate square feet in our tiny homes. This is a great question as there is no regulation regarding calculating square feet–this is true even in traditional homes. Rather, there is an accepted code that the industry follows. Other competitors do not always follow the same code that we at B&B use when calculating square feet, which can make comparing tiny homes confusing.

Pictured: the Hoosic Tiny House

The Technicalities

Let’s dive into some of the different criteria for what spaces must meet.  We use the International Building Code, specifically Building Code Appendix Q, which describes the code for tiny houses on foundations.  Although much of what B&B Tiny Houses builds are tiny houses on wheels, we use the international building code as a guide for calculating square footage.

From IBC Appendix Q:

Minimum ceiling height: habitable space must be over 6 feet and 8 inches with the exception of bathrooms and kitchens which must be over 6 feet and 4 inches

Loft: located at least 30 inches above the main floor, is open to the main floor, and used as a living or sleeping space

Pictured: The Arcadia Tiny House

Calculating Square Feet in Tiny Homes

Tiny houses on wheels, in order to be road-legal, must be 13 1/2′ off the ground in order to fit under bridges.  Therefore, it would be impossible or a tiny house to have a loft one can stand up in.  Because lofts in tiny houses on wheels do not meet the minimum ceiling height to be considered “habitable” space in the building code, they should not be included in a tiny home’s square footage.

To calculate the square footage, multiply the inside width and length of the tiny house. Almost all of B&B’s tiny houses on wheels are the road-legal maximum width of 8 1/2′; their length varies.  The exterior walls of our tiny homes (unless otherwise specified) are 6 inches thick on each side and end. To calculate the square footage of the Stony Ledge which has outside dimensions of 8 1/2′ x 30′, we multiply 7 1/2′ x 29′ to get 217 1/2 square feet.  The Arcadia, which has a loft, has a square footage of 142 1/2 plus a 45 square foot loft.

When shopping for tiny homes, you should always check how the square feet has been calculated. Otherwise, it can be like comparing apples and oranges. If you are interested in learning more about the square feet in tiny homes, read this post about why tiny homes cost more per square feet than traditional homes.

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