I had a lot of questions about my tiny house and the legality of it. Is it a house? Is it an RV? How do I get insurance? If everyone starts building these things and someone’s falls apart driving down the road and kills someone, will the government step in and make them all illegal? I don’t want to build something I can’t use!
With all of these questions and more floating through my head, I decided to visit the Tiny House Roadshow in Cookeville, TN. I am so glad I went! There I met Andrew Bennett of Trekker Trailers, who was there to represent a tiny house certification program. It’s called NOAH (National Organization of Alternative Housing) Certification.
NOAH is actively working with the government to ensure the legality of properly inspected homes. They are also working with insurance companies to provide insurance for this new category of home/trailer.
When you become a member of NOAH, you pay a large fee. Let me just say that up front. It is almost $2000 now for a DIYer, which is what I am. (Thankfully, it was slightly cheaper when I joined.) However, in my book, that is totally worth it to have someone going to bat for me if the legality of my house becomes a problem.
A building professional (which I am not) performs inspections on your house through a live stream video app, and they record and document the inspections for you. That way if anything is ever called into question, you do not have to tear up your house to prove that you wired or plumbed something correctly.
Andrew Bennett performed most of my inspections for me and was amazing. He found things that needed to be fixed (in the parts that I paid a professional to do for me, even), checked up on me, and answered my questions. He’s a very personable and helpful guy. The customer service has been amazing.
I know that they are actively trying to improve and update their website http://noahcertified.org/and provide videos to help DIYers like me. I will admit that that part of it has been a little slow in coming along, but anyone with a startup business understands that.
They are not paying me to say any of this, by the way. As with most startup things, there is a possibility that I am throwing away my money. Who knows? I just know that I feel better. I talked to local building inspectors about my project before I went to the Roadshow, and they weren’t quite sure what to do with me either. I felt like I would be throwing away my money paying them, too. What if my local building inspector approved it, but then I take my house to another state. Where does that leave me? In my mind, NOAH is a better choice.