By Hannah Spasov

Are you interested in owning a Tiny Home in 2022? Did you know that the Ontario Building Code (OBC) has recently been amended to relate more to Tiny Home construction? This update specifically focuses on what to do in a scenario where a Tiny Home is built in one location and then placed on a site somewhere else. Here is what you need to know!

What is a Tiny Home?

The OBC has officially defined Tiny Homes as houses that:

(a)  have no more than one dwelling unit,

(b)  are 37 m² or less in building area, and

(c)  are to be,

(i)  partially constructed in one municipality and moved to be installed at a location in another municipality without having been previously occupied, or

(ii)  partially constructed at one location and moved to be installed at a location that is not yet known without having been previously occupied.

(Ontario Regulation 867/21

Tiny Home construction has become more and more popular within the last fifteen years and the OBC had not yet mentioned this building type in the code until now. It is very exciting to see Tiny Homes being recognized as a distinct form of housing. Further, the amendments resolve gray areas in the code, for example who is responsible for the building permits and inspections of a Tiny Home that is built off-site and then transported to a different municipality.

Tiny Home Amendments

The amendments to the OBC describe the new two-permit system for Tiny Homes. Specifically Tiny Homes that are built in one municipality and occupied in another. The purpose of having the dual permit system is to allow for the building to be inspected once before being moved onto a site, and again after installation. This is incredibly helpful in the scenario where it is unsure where the Tiny Home will be located.  

If the Tiny Home is constructed in a different location, an “off-site” inspection will be conducted by the building official where the home is built – not by the municipality where it is to be located.  This opens the door for factory-built and non-factory-built Tiny Homes to obtain a permit without necessary CSA certifications which allows for more custom and flexible designs.

The second building permit is specific to the municipality where the Tiny Home will be installed. The purpose of the second permit is to confirm that the house will be safely connected to the site. Bylaws such as setbacks and lot coverage still need to be followed, along with site-specific conditions like acceptable foundations and anchoring. Some may think that a second building permit is bothersome, however it is necessary to ensure responsibility is maintained for health and safety. 

The amendments clearly lay out the obligations of both municipalities involved, whether they will be inspecting the first building permit or the second. Also the additions to the code set out mandatory timelines for this dual permit system. In practice, this transparency in the code will make it easier for building officials to approve these kinds of permits and keep your project deadline on track. 

What this means for you!

The new permit system is supportive to the Tiny Home community and promotes its growth by making it more accessible to build. These changes to the OBC makes it easier for you to buy pre-made Tiny Homes with confidence! If you do want to purchase a pre-made home, ideally the seller would already have submitted the first building permit. Or at least have the permit drawings ready for the application. 

If this is the case, the permit submission to municipalities will be straightforward and may take less time to review since a primary focus for their review is the site installation and sewage system design. Keep in mind, you cannot install a tiny home on a site without it having acquired both permits. 

We hope that you found this article helpful to understand the recent changes to the OBC. If you’d like to read our original article regarding all the proposed amendments concerning Tiny Homes, click HERE

Interested in building a Tiny Home? Book a consultation with us! Also for more information on Backyard Homes, including Laneway and Garden Suites – sign-up for our webinar!

GAGA’, 2021, Award Winner Kitchener ADU Competition

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