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Efficiency Dwellings vs Tiny Houses

Definitions according to the International Building Code (IBC):

DWELLING UNIT. A single unit providing complete, independent living facilities for one or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking and sanitation.

EFFICIENCY DWELLING UNIT. Means any room having cooking facilities used for combined living, dining, and sleeping purposes meeting the requirements of section 1208.4 of this code.

Alternative Designs (non-traditional):
[note: the below is a reference to the fact that the IBC allows local jurisdictions and agencies to permit "alternative" designs and methods so long as the "quality, strength, effectiveness, fire resistance, durability, and safety" are at least the equivalent to that which is required by the IBC. In other words, they allow local agencies to permit almost anything so long as they accept responsibility.]

International Building Code (IBC) 104.11

104.11 Alternative materials, design and methods of construction and equipment. The provisions of this code are not intended to prevent the installation of any material or to prohibit any design or method of construction not specifically prescribed by this code, provided that any such alternative has been approved. An alternative material, design or method of construction shall be approved where the building official finds that the proposed design is satisfactory and complies with the intent of the provisions of this code, and that the material, method or work offered is, for the purpose intended, at least the equivalent of that prescribed in this code in quality, strength, effectiveness, fire resistance, durability and safety.

IBC 104.11 (as amended by the County of Maui below)

104.11 Alternative materials, design and methods of construction. This code is not intended to prevent the use of any material, or to prohibit any design or method of construction not specifically prescribed by this code, provided that any such alternative has been approved and its use authorized by the building official.
The building official may approve an alternative material, design or method of construction where the building official finds that the proposed design is satisfactory and complies with the intent of the provisions of this code, and that the material, method or work offered is, for the purpose intended, at least the equivalent of that prescribed in this code in quality, strength, effectiveness, fire resistance, durability, and safety.

SECTION 1208 INTERIOR SPACE DIMENSIONS

1208.1 Minimum room widths.
Habitable spaces, other than a kitchen, shall be not less than 7 feet (2134 mm) in any plan dimension. Kitchens shall have a clear passageway of not less than 3 feet (914 mm) between counter fronts and appliances or counter fronts and walls.

1208.2 Minimum ceiling heights.
Occupiable spaces, habitable spaces and corridors shall have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet 6 inches (2286 mm). Bathrooms, toilet rooms, kitchens, storage rooms and laundry rooms shall be permitted to have a ceiling height of not less than 7 feet (2134 mm).

Exceptions:

1. In one- and two-family dwellings, beams or girders spaced not less than 4 feet (1219 mm) on center shall be permitted to project not more than 6 inches (152 mm) below the required ceiling height.
2. If any room in a building has a sloped ceiling, the prescribed ceiling height for the room is required in one-half the area thereof. Any portion of the room measuring less than 5 feet (1524 mm) from the finished floor to the ceiling shall not be included in any computation of the minimum area thereof.
3. The height of mezzanines and spaces below mezzanines shall be in accordance with Section 505.1.
1208.2.1 Furred ceiling.
Any room with a furred ceiling shall be required to have the minimum ceiling height in two-thirds of the area thereof, but in no case shall the height of the furred ceiling be less than 7 feet (2134 mm).
1208.3 Room area.
Every dwelling unit shall have no fewer than one room that shall have not less than 120 square feet (13.9 m2) of net floor area. Other habitable rooms shall have a net floor area of not less than 70 square feet (6.5 m2).

Exception: Kitchens are not required to be of a minimum floor area.

1208.4 Efficiency dwelling units.
An efficiency living unit shall conform to the requirements of the code except as modified herein:

1. The unit shall have a living room of not less than 220 square feet (20.4 m2) of floor area. An additional 100 square feet (9.3 m2) of floor area shall be provided for each occupant of such unit in excess of two.
2. The unit shall be provided with a separate closet.
3. The unit shall be provided with a kitchen sink, cooking appliance and refrigeration facilities, each having a clear working space of not less than 30 inches (762 mm) in front. Light and ventilation conforming to this code shall be provided.
4. The unit shall be provided with a separate bathroom containing a water closet, lavatory and bathtub or shower.

[Note: this is for reference only. These codes only pertain to structures affixed to the ground or otherwise not meeting the definition of a "House Trailer" in the State of Hawaii.]

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