Need help with Tiny house on wheels

I was wondering can your height be 13ft from your floor up other words from the top of your foundation.

I expect you can make it just about any height within reason.

Check your State DOT Regulations regarding maximum vehicle dimensions.

The height limit is regulated by the local Department of Transportation, as @Geo pointed out. It is the limit based on the need to drive under bridges and power lines. In most locations this is 13’ or 13’6"

Also, the height is measured from the ground (where your tires touch the pavement) to the highest point on your “trailer”

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You can make the height from the floor any height you want!

However: If you want to be able to move it without an “overheight” permit from your local department of transportation, then you need to keep the overall dimensions within the standard dimensions for your jurisdiction. It is commonly accepted that it is “safe” to build to a height of 13’6" or less, but as @TheOnlyAaron pointed out, this is the height about ground, not the height above the floor.

Assuming that you want to build for the 13’6" height limit, then I doubt it’s possible to build 13’ from the floor - as that would apply that the floor is only 6" about the road - and the floor support would have to fit within that. Even if you could have a zero height floor, you’d end up with only 6" road clearance which (assuming that is even legal) would cause immense problems towing it through any but the smoothest vertical transitions!

So what is the tallest you CAN build - floor to roof peak - and still fit within easy towing restrictions?

I’ve looked at a LOT of trailers, and the lowest trailer deck I’ve seen is 14" above ground with 24" being more common, 30" for “deck over wheels” (where the wheel wells don’t impinge on the floor). So you could theoretically build to 12’4", but your resulting road clearance will still give you problems towing - and even finding the correct trailer would take a fair amount of research.

Most of the Tiny Home on Wheels (THOW) designs I’ve seen start with a trailer deck height of 24".

Yes I plan on not moving it it will stay on our land when we get If you see them I doing mine on the new Iron Eagle trailers.

If you’re planning on never moving it off land you own, then road height restrictions are moot, the sky’s the limit (subject to other, non-DOT, restrictions.) As are width restrictions, so if you want 24" eaves, you can have them without impacting interior dimensions.

Be careful! There are proposed additions to building codes that will cause “tiny” houses to be subject to standard codes. As of now, they are not “houses” because they are on trailers, however, to be considered a trailer, it need to conform to DOT requirements. So, even if you don’t plan on moving it, it still needs to be designed as a compliant trailer.

If your richest relative buys a new home and he asks you to come over and help him take the wheels off of it - you might be a redneck. Jeff Foxworthy

All kidding aside…

It seems a waste to make an expensive highway trailer an integral part of the house for just one trip.
In the end, it becomes a floor system adorned with a lot of unnecessary expensive parts.

You might find building the house such that it can be transported on an ordinary farm wagon running gear advantageous in terms of flexibility, load capacity and cost.

Once the house is in place, block it up and take the wagon gear out from underneath.
With that, you have a house with a more appropriate and less costly floor system plus your investment in transportation free for other use.

Kory Running Gears

Knowles Running Gears (no relation to yours truly)

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I believe that the issue really becomes a legal one. You can get a certificate of occupancy for a house (which needs to be more than 700 square feet, I believe) or you can live in a trailer. A trailer must be capable of traveling down the highway which means it needs to be on a full size frame with wheels capable of traveling at highway speed and must be shorter than 13’

The wheels part seems silly, but it’s the only way to make a livable “house” that is that small.

(I’ve been learning a LOT about how these code requirements are circumvented for tiny houses, lately).

Given the US has no nationwide uniform dwelling code, I take it you’re speaking about Colorado code.

I was a newbie carpenter foreman in '73.
Our Wisconsin Building Code and County Zoning Codes certainly have changed a lot since then.
These days, it seems one needs to retain an attorney before they engage an architect!


700 square feet is likely a local requirement (where local can be up to statewide). There is no explicit minimum for a “dwelling unit” in the International Building Code (IBC). The IBC serves as the “foundation” for (almost?) all of the state and local building codes in the US.

What the IBC does contain is a specification of a few functional areas which must be included in order to be a dwelling unit. Some of these have minimum sizes. Taken together, under IBC2012 in order to qualify requires a minimum of just over 200 square feet. IBC2015 eliminates one of these functional areas, reducing the IBC2015 compliant dwelling unit to somewhere between 120 and 150 square feet (opinions differ and, as far as I know, nobody in the US has yet tried to build that small and have their structure qualify as a dwelling unit.)

But this smaller dwelling unit isn’t yet embodied in US codes! Why? ALL jurisdictions build in a delay of from 2-6 years between adoption of a new IBC and local adoption of the new IBC as the basis for the local building code - to which most jurisdictions customize with amendments.

[begin politics]
I expect that most of the local customizations will include an explicit minimum, which negates the advantages (to the tiny home enthusiast) of the reduced functional minimum allowed by IBC2015. Getting rid of these local explicit minimums is essential to the long term success of the tiny home movement.
[end politics]

700 is actually a zoning requirement for a primary residence, many places. Building codes will require houses to be “tiny” (the IRC had a minimum SF for houses and another for rooms, but they removed them recently, I believe). Many residential zoning laws require buildings to be larger than most tiny homes (I think that was where I remember the number 700 from).

While there is a group lobbying to get verbiage specific to tiny houses added to the UBC right now (which would make part of the whole process of “getting tiny” so much easier), trailers will still be a necessity until zoning bodies allow tiny permanent structures.