Guy doing an inspection of a tiny house on wheels

Do Tiny Houses Have To Be Inspected?

In Tiny Houses (on wheels) by Kate HolmesLeave a Comment

There are a lot of uncertainties that come along with owning a tiny house.  Some of the top questions potential homeowners have are related to inspections.

Do Tiny Houses Have To Be Inspected?  Yes, your tiny home will need to pass inspection.  However, the inspection process is different than with traditional homes. An inspection will typically check these issues:

  • Safety
  • Power
  • Water
  • Power
  • Insulation

There are several different factors that go into inspecting a tiny house.  This will all depend on where you live and the type of tiny house you will occupy.

Don’t let this process discourage you, however.

There are many ways to ensure that your tiny house will pass inspection.

Here is everything you need to know about the inspection process for your tiny house so that you can pass with flying colors.

How Can You Get Your Tiny House Inspected?

Guy doing an inspection of a tiny house on wheels

There are different routes and reasons for getting your tiny house inspected.  If you are planning on purchasing a tiny house, an inspection will be necessary for financing that home.

You will also find that you need an inspection of the property before beginning construction on your tiny home as well.

You may also need an inspection for other reasons besides purchasing.  Inspections are key when it comes to ensuring your home.  Also, if you plan on adding an extension to your tiny home or building upwards, you will need special permits and inspections too.

There are some certification centers that work specifically with tiny houses in order to make sure that is up to code.  Organizations like NOAH will be a great asset to you.

A while back, we had a chance to do an interview with Andrew Bennett from NOAH:

However, it is important to note that the style of tiny house you own or are looking to purchase will affect the way your home gets inspected.

Most notably, your inspection will depend on whether or not your tiny home is on wheels or a trailer.  So before setting out to find an inspector for you, make sure you know what type of home you will be occupying.

What Is The Process For A Tiny Home Inspection?

Now that you know where to go to get your tiny house inspected, it’s time to learn about the process.  Each inspector will have their own set of procedures.

However, the process will almost always be similar.  Here are some things to expect when setting up an inspection for your tiny house:

  • Safety

The number one thing that an inspector will be looking for is weaknesses when it comes to the safety of your home.  First, there will be a full inspection of the foundation that your tiny house sits on.

This completely depends on whether or not your home is built to move.  So, if your home is on a trailer or fitted with wheels the process may be slightly different.

If your tiny home is in a more permanent place, the structural integrity of the home needs to be up to code.  This will also depend on where you live and what the law’s of your land is.  The tiny home will have to pass these inspections before it can be certified as safe.

  • Power and Water

In order for your tiny house to pass most inspections, you will need to make sure there is access to power and running water.

If you are still trying to figure out the best way to power your tiny home, check out this article for tips and information.  While you more than likely will be using a combination of electricity, solar energy, and propane gas to power your home, it is good to know your options.

Ensuring that your tiny home has running water, however, is a different story.  You will not only need a source for hot water but running water as well.  This will also depend on the town you live in and whether they have well or tank water.

Consider using a pump and fill system.  These systems work with both village and water collections to move water throughout your house.

  • Insulation and Heating

The next thing that will need to pass inspection on your tiny home is your installation.

Keeping heat indoors is easier in a smaller house.   More traditional homes require the heat to fill up more space.  However, it is important that the tiny house is free of major leaks.

The first thing you should do is look at the type of insulation in your home.  One good thing to note is that when it comes to insulating your home, you have options!  Here are the most popular insulation choices for your tiny house:

  • Fiberglass insulation
  • Wool insulation
  • Foam boards
  • Open cell insulation
  • Denim insulation
  • Organic cotton insulation 

Each type of insulation comes with their own set of pros and cons.

It is also important to note that pricing for greener insulation will be higher.  However, going with insulation that is eco-friendly come with certain tax breaks.

Can You Do an Independent Inspection?

If your tiny house does not qualify for a professional inspection, you will be able to do an independent inspection.  However, this will require the homeowner to do most of the legwork.

Preparing for an independent inspection doesn’t mean that you have to go it alone.  There is a large community of homeowners that have already been through the trial and error of an inspection.  These people are more than willing to pass on their knowledge to newcomers.

Resources like THOW will be essential to ensuring that the job gets done right the first time.  The most important thing to know about independent inspections is that they are mainly for DIY tiny houses.  This includes tiny houses that are built to move.

The Process for Independent Inspection

The process of running an independent inspection will require attention to detail from the start to the end of your building process.  To keep yourself on track, keep extensive records of everything you do.  Starting with the design plans for your tiny home and ending with the final walk through.

Each and every step should be clearly documented and filed for quick and easy access.

This way you can avoid any and all uncertainties when it comes to passing inspection.  This is especially important when it comes to safety standards surrounding your electrical work.  Before hooking your tiny house up to an electrical grid, you want to make sure that it is done correctly.  This means seeking outside help from certified electricians.

This will be even better if you can find electricians that have experience working with tiny houses.

While keeping your paper trail clear is important, there are ways to take organization one step further.  Take pictures documenting each stage of the building process.  This way you have visual evidence of the work that has been completed.  You will no longer need to second guess your work when you can see how it unfolded through photographs.

The last thing you will want to do to prepare for an independent inspection is to keep your finances in order.

Keep every receipt and bill you receive during the building process.

Even something as small as a can of paint should be documented through receipts.  The more prepared you are and the more information you have, the better off you will be.

Details Are Everything!

The last thing you want to do is the second guess the workmanship of your tiny house.  Tiny houses are meant to be lived in.  Therefore, it is imperative that they are structurally sound.  Along with the safety points of inspection, there are a few other smaller details to keep in mind.  Here are some smaller things that will need to be inspected:

  • Separate bedroom spaces
  • Window spaces
  • Loft height
  • Proper sleeping arrangements 
  • Working toilets 
  • Properly installed plumbing
  • Designated areas for water and fuel tanks

While this may seem like a lot of work and hoop jumping, it will be worth it in the long run.  Your home is more than just some wood and nails.

It is the place to build memories with your family and enjoy your life.  Keeping your home safe and up to code is the first step to living comfortably.

Good luck.

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