Janet Thome is deeply involved in the tiny house movement, leading the Tiny House Alliance USA and serving as the membership secretary of the ASTM International Tiny House Subcommittee. In this episode, Janet will share insights into the current state of the tiny house market, the impact of recent economic shifts, and the ongoing efforts to develop standards that ensure safety, affordability, and compliance in the industry. She’ll also discuss the importance of certification for owner-builders and the essential role of inclusive regulations. Join us as we dive deep into these topics and explore the future potential of tiny house living with Janet Thome.

In This Episode:

  • 🌍 Global Standardization: Janet discusses efforts with ASTM International to create a worldwide tiny house standard, streamlining safety, affordability, and compliance across different countries.
  • 👷 Safety and Compliance: Emphasis on the importance of adopting ASTM standards to ensure that tiny houses are built safely and adhere to recognized industry benchmarks.
  • 🏠 Affordable Housing: Keeping the tiny house industry affordable is a primary concern, facilitating support for small manufacturers and DIY builders.
  • 🚚 Local vs. Transport Costs: The cost benefits of selecting local builders to prevent high transportation costs of materials and completed homes.
  • 📋 Certification Needs: Highlighting the importance of certification to streamline and ensure consistency in the building and approval processes across states.
  • 🛑 Fraud Alert: Warnings about the prevalence of scams within the tiny house industry, urging potential buyers to thoroughly research and verify builders' credentials.
  • 🤝 Industry Collaboration: Collaboration with various stakeholders like manufacturers, engineers, and architects to create comprehensive and inclusive standards.
  • 🔍 Future Trends: Emerging trends, including a push towards creating new classifications of housing to keep up with societal and economic changes.


Links and Resources:

Guest Bio:

Janet Thome

Janet Thome

Janet Thome is the Founder, President, and the Treasurer of Tiny House Alliance USA. Janet Thome led the tiny houses initiative leading to the final approval of a new ASTM International Tiny Houses Sub Committee E06.26 within the E06 Performance Of Buildings Committee. The Tiny Houses subcommittee will develop and maintain standards specific to the tiny house industry indefinitely. Janet Thome is the membership secretary of the E06.26 Tiny Houses Sub Committee.


Janet Thome [00:00:00]: One really amazing thing about a standard is, let's say, there's not nothing that really can support. There's no code or standard out there that says, hey, how to do something. We have consensus on something we could actually have that approved in the standard because it's a consensus document.

Ethan Waldman [00:00:19]: Welcome to the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast the show where you learn to plan, build, and live the tiny lifestyle. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and this is episode 296 with Janet Thome. Janet is deeply involved in the tiny house movement, leading the Tiny House Alliance USA and serving as the membership secretary of the ASTM International Tiny House subcommittee. In this episode, Janet will share insights into the current state of the tiny house market, the impact of recent economic shifts and the ongoing efforts to develop standards that ensure safety, affordability, and compliance in the industry. She'll also discuss the importance of certification for owner builders and the essential role of inclusive regulations. Join us as we dive deep into these topics and explore the future potential of tiny house living with Janet Thome. But before we get started, did you know that I personally send tiny house newsletter every week on Tuesdays? It's called Tiny Tuesdays, and it's a weekly email with tiny house news, interviews, photos, and resources. It's free to subscribe, and I even share sneak peeks of things that are coming up, ask for feedback about upcoming podcast guests, and more. It's really the best place to keep a pulse on what I'm doing in the tiny house space and also stay informed of what's going on in the tiny house movement.

Ethan Waldman [00:01:36]: To sign up, go to thetinyhouse.net/newsletter, where you can sign up for the Tiny Tuesday's newsletter. And, of course, you can unsubscribe at any time. I will never send you spam. And if you ever don't wanna receive emails, it's easy to unsubscribe. So again, that's thetinyhouse.net/newsletter. Thanks, and I hope you enjoy next week's Tiny Tuesday's newsletter. Alright. I am here with Janet Thome.

Ethan Waldman [00:02:19]: Janet is the founder, president, and treasurer of Tiny House Alliance USA. Janet has led the tiny houses initiative leading to the final approval of a new ASTM, International Tiny House Sub Committee, E06.26, within the e 06 performance of buildings committee. The tiny house subcommittee will develop and maintain standards specific to the tiny house industry indefinitely. Janet Thome is the membership secretary of the E06.26 tiny house subcommittee as well. Janet, welcome to welcome back to the show.

Janet Thome [00:02:55]: Hi, Ethan. Thanks for the opportunity to speak about an update for ASTM. Appreciate it.

Ethan Waldman [00:03:00]: Yeah. And I definitely want to get into those updates. But, you know, it's been a couple of years since since you've been on the show. So I thought we could just start off by kind of reviewing catching me up. For anyone who's maybe hearing this for the first time, you know, what is ASTM? And what is the, you know, what is this tiny house subcommittee all about?

Janet Thome [00:03:23]: In the simplest of terms, ASTM International is one of the stand largest standard developers in the world. And what they do is basically they give industries a way to come together with their technical experts and forge a direction that the industry sees fit for their industry that doesn't have standardization. And to begin, I think it's important to know what standardization is. If you look around you, things that work out and work well is they're standardized, how we do an email, how we fax somebody, how we download a movie, just as simple as things, how car is built, an RV is built. So, we are coming together with our technical experts. And we create consensus documents, which basically means we agree upon a way that it can be done. And what ASTM's role is, is they're the publisher of the standard. They don't interfere interfere with our development and say, No, that's not a fit.

Janet Thome [00:04:26]: Because they're not the experts in our field we are. And so we're recruiting engineers and architects and consumers and insurance providers and anybody that has just touches this industry and will affect their lives because of the documents that we publish. It's very important that they get involved on some level to be a part of our, you know, this exciting opportunity. Did you have a question? Yeah, I

Ethan Waldman [00:04:54]: was gonna I was just gonna say something that you pointed out to me when we when we spoke earlier, it's just that, you know, the ASTM develops standards for the entire world rather than just for one country or another country. I think

Janet Thome [00:05:07]: that's very interesting. Yeah, they're called ASTM International. And so that means there's 150 countries that have the possibility, I think it's actually gone up to 155, but have the opportunity to contribute to be a part of our standard development. What's also very helpful to know is once a standard is published, it can be amended. So, for instance, if the country doesn't like something in it, they can amend it to adapt to their country as well.

Ethan Waldman [00:05:35]: Okay.

Janet Thome [00:05:36]: We had a very exciting meeting with the editors of E06. And we learned a lot more about how to do definitions and how to reference other standards because we can reference, we're not going to reinvent the wheel here. All over the world, you know, the standards already exist, how you build houses, how do we come together and make it simplified? What we want to do is make it simplified enough to the builders actually want to build to it. You know, I mean, we've always had this dream of doing what is called perhaps an ANSI plus, you know, the builders all build to that ANSI 119.5 standard. But because it's an RV standard, it's not really sufficient for housing. And all the builders, they exceed that standard. But because it's closed construction, and no one's really, truly knows behind the walls. That's one thing why we need the standards.

Janet Thome [00:06:28]: So people know, get everyone on the same page, basically standardization gets everybody on the same page, the billing official, the 3rd party agency, the manufacturer, the consumer. We're all on the same page. It's okay. This is how we do it. You know, we want to do the minimum requirements. And, of course, the builders, they want to exceed their requirements. That's that's up to them as well. What's exciting about ASTM is they do standards on every imaginable industry that you could think of commercial space, like cannabis, 3 d printing, 3 d printing houses.

Janet Thome [00:07:05]: There's a lot of sustainability standards for like hemp. Yep. Air Crete. There's straw bell, any type of green building, toys for kids.

Ethan Waldman [00:07:18]: Got it. Right. So they they regulate or they create standards for a lot of different industries, not just buildings, and they're kind of sounds like they're the neutral arbiter, where they bring stakeholders who are experts together to create the standards. Right. And they kind of maintain and publish them. I'm curious.

Janet Thome [00:07:35]: Oh, well, what ASTM's job is to do is to make sure they we follow the ANSI essential requirements for due process. There, which that means is there's a lack of dominance by 1 industry, 1 person, or, you know, someone who shows superior strength or knowledge that could actually come over and take over the direction of it. It's a very fair process where everyone has a vote and every voice matters. Interesting. And their mission is to make it a safer world. Nice. And so besides lack of dominance, there's it's, you know, it's open to the public, Ethan, no one can be denied to be on the committee or to be involved. I like that part.

Janet Thome [00:08:17]: And it makes it very important because, you know, people sometimes, you know, we have a world around us a lot of times and things are happening, and we're not paying attention. And then suddenly we like, oh, wow, we have laws we don't like we don't, there's things that are around us that because we didn't participate. There you go. And you have to go by that. So this is a unique opportunity, a very exciting opportunity, that we're going to make history to develop standards that actually benefit our industry and to keep it affordable. Keeping it affordable. Affordable is one of the key, key focuses that we have because I want to support small manufacturers, the owner builders, and that is key. How do we address that? And that's very, very important to me and to a lot of people that are involved.

Ethan Waldman [00:09:03]: So when we last spoke, you were deeply involved in in starting to develop these new global building standards. I believe the committee had been approved. But can you can you update us on the progress you've made since then?

Janet Thome [00:09:17]: We actually have a subcommittee. We have a subcommittee, not a committee. We did have a committee, but we ended up getting a subcommittee, but we're under the the Committee of the Performance of Building. And that committee has been around for 75 years, and they have all the expertise and every building material that you can imagine that goes into a building. And what we're doing is, it's none of us have done this before. It's brand new to all of us. And we are gathering the engineers, we're gathering the architects, we just spent $10,000 for structural engineer, we raised the money for him, this incredible architect to develop tables for the dead and live loads for a chassis. And it's very important, different sizes.

Janet Thome [00:10:02]: And we're very pleased with that. So we've been recruiting the great stakeholders, the technical writers, we are in draft mode. Once we have a draft, they will create the task groups where everyone can come in and and say, I'd like to add this or that doesn't work and have a conversation about, okay, this doesn't work for me, or could you add this and get some consensus before it goes to ballot. So we are developing standards on tiny house on wheels. Mhmm. We have a standard that is, micro good utilities, how tiny houses could be cooked up, utilities and a cottage development. We have a standard develop that's under for tiny house communities.

Janet Thome [00:10:46]: We have certification, certification is so important. And also to keep it affordable. We have got some great net technical writers that are that are in the 3rd party industry. They're helping us with that. Robin Butler with Noah, he's going to do a whole section on remote view, you know, and certifying the owner builders, it's very important that the owner builders find a way, you know, to have a label on their tiny home.

Janet Thome [00:11:12]: A couple

Janet Thome [00:11:13]: of the standards I'm very excited about, I think probably will maybe the first one that will come out first is it's covering the all the structural attachment.

Ethan Waldman [00:11:22]: Yes.

Janet Thome [00:11:23]: All of it from the the walls, the presses, the roof, the rafters, and how that is attached to the chassis. And the floor systems, we're going to try to do like 4 or 5 different methods. We're talking to all the builders, because we don't want a builder to feel stuck. Oh, that's how I have to. We don't want that. We realized that a lot of different builders build the floor system in a different manner. And we're trying to acknowledge that. So we've created figures, and we're talking to all the builder, the manufacturers, because sometimes we have to go to them.

Janet Thome [00:11:55]: Everyone's so busy, they don't have a lot of time to participate. So we often just go to there, go to them and hey, how do you do it, we want to make sure that we include your method in the standard, we are going to address chassis systems as well, to the level we'll stop at the level and probably do commentary. That will include NHTSA. NHTSA is the equivalent of NHTSA. That's the road regulations for trailers. The chassis Ethan the trailer part is considered a vehicle. So, in the US, you have to build them to the Federal Motor Vehicle Standards. And so we want to do commentary.

Janet Thome [00:12:31]: Commentaries basically, you know, with the put that as an appendix. So, commentary is discussion basically, about the standard and some references to guide people.

Ethan Waldman [00:12:41]: Okay.

Janet Thome [00:12:42]: If you're a trailer manufacturer, a great organization to join is in NATM, which is the National American Trailer Manufacturer. No. Yes. If you if you want to manufacture trailers, great, great, great organization to to join. Because they teach you how to get your, world manufacturer ID number and to join, you know, join NHTSA and just follow them. Yeah, it's very, very important for builders to to to know this path. And so we're gonna include Ethan. And Canada has an equivalent.

Janet Thome [00:13:11]: Australia has an equivalent. So we'll be including that.

Janet Thome [00:13:15]: And then we're also gonna create a section for the anchoring systems, you know, at the minimum level, and a foundation. So, why I love this standard is because it's kind of the missing part that you could actually build a tiny house to Appendix Q as well, and any building codes in the world. So it's the missing it's when the building officials want to see plans for tiny houses, what what they always wanna know is how is it attached? How how is that safely attached? Because when that tiny house on the wheels is driving down the road, you're in hurricane winds. And there's methods already in place. We don't have to reinvent the wheel here. The HUD code addresses a lot of ways that some manufacturers say manufactured home is safe. And so we're not reinventing the wheel. We're just gathering the information that's already that already exist.

Janet Thome [00:14:08]: But one really amazing thing about a standard is, let's say, there's not nothing that really can support. There's no code or standard out there that says, hey, how to do something. We have consensus on something we could actually have it approved in the standard because we've it's a consensus document. I think, obviously, we have to if that's something that's that could be used as something that didn't mean to like, if there was something that wasn't safe, for instance, obviously, we're gonna have to address safety, fire safety, structure safety with codes and standards that already exist. I mean, a lot of people don't know this, but the HUD code is 88 reference standards. So we have a lot to glean from. And we obviously want to meet and exceed the HUD code, what IRC references.

Janet Thome [00:14:57]: So this can be a standard that everyone respects and that they can use. And this is a standard that also has the tables from the structure near strut the structural engineer. So I think this.

Ethan Waldman [00:15:08]: So once those once those like, are you mentioned the the structural engineer creating the tables for live load is that is that available now for just somebody who wants to kind of use that in their build? Or, or will that be available at some point for you know, an individual person who wants to build?

Janet Thome [00:15:26]: I'll tell you a good I can't see it's going to be copyrighted. It's in a draft form. Like like I said, we spent $10,000 on it. And so once it's goes to the task group, and it's uploaded into the ASTM, right, It is it's not it's considered copyrighted by ASTM. So that is something that will be available through ASTM and, obviously, but what you could do is he based it on the 2022 ASCE SEI standard, you know, that's that's the loads for structural building. So that's he based on that. So that and there's also something that's free called the hazard tool.

Janet Thome [00:16:10]: It's free. Go go to it's called the hazard tool. And you can put in your address and learn all the all the requirements for all your loads right there. So it's pretty, pretty amazing tool. So there's a lot of free things out there. And we're going to be doing a lot of commentary on that in the standard as well to help support people. I think that is one of the most important things we're seeing is not enough axles on tiny houses that this whole base standards based on what we've seen in the industry that needs further regulation, further quality control. For instance, the floor system, there's people that build tiny houses, and they end up getting mold.

Janet Thome [00:16:49]: Well, there's methods to prevent that in the standard, and we're addressing that with our I'm very excited because the standard that we're working on, I've recruited Simpson Ties and everyone everyone builds Simpson and Simpson Ties is gonna help us with that and great company called Mytek. They both have they have amazing expertise. Another company I'm really excited about is the foundation system called Central Piers. And they have this, they're also helping us. And it's it is a it's a foundation system. It's very simple. And it's their steel piers that you put on a cement block, precast concrete block,

Janet Thome [00:17:28]: they have 3 drilled holes.

Ethan Waldman [00:17:30]: Okay.

Janet Thome [00:17:30]: And this is like in all the states. And so their technical people are gonna help us, which I'm very excited. Maybe give us some diagrams. That would be the starting like minimum level for foundation. Because one thing I think we're doing different too, is we're going to be addressing foundations that for permanent homes and for temporary. So why this is important, I feel to deal with foundations for temporary. The state of Colorado, I think, as you know, they have a new rulemaking for tiny homes on a chassis. And one of the requirements is a foundation.

Janet Thome [00:18:03]: And they do allow, you know, a temporary or permanent foundation. And it's very exciting and hooked up to utilities. And believe it or not, they're even there is going to be tax, to that they have to go through a process as real property. Usually any kind of movable, it can be because they have to go through like I said, they have to go through the tax process. But usually, any kind of chattel or movable unit is not ever considered real property. It's considered personal property. So I think we're gonna see a lot more requirements of simple foundations for tiny houses. I think something also like, the country can decide itself.

Janet Thome [00:18:43]: Is this a building, or is this going to be a vehicular unit. Which will have different regulations. If it's just, you know, like, for instance, a vehicular unit would have a title and a VIN number, where if it was a building, it would it would have a perhaps a insignia with a serial number from the 3rd party. So it's we're trying to make it open ended, we're trying to address the fact that some people might wanna live in Arizona half the year and half the year in Washington state, for instance. And so they they wanna travel, and they wanna be able to have it permanent. I do think that we're gonna see a lot more acceptance if we start getting away from the RV standards and building them to the building codes instead of just the RV standards. Though, I do feel, and I want to suggest to anybody that's an advocate, to advocate for all paths of acceptance because, like, for instance, a perfect example, the state of Colorado has been rule making for tiny houses on wheels, but not one manufacturer signed up for the program, not one. And it went into effect July 1st 2023, I believe.

Janet Thome [00:19:57]: And and so there was a dilemma in this one city in in Bayfield, Colorado. And so there was a community that was right in the middle of this issue, like, okay. So they have a PUD plan development and for tiny home village, and they were trying to get compliant with the state. But how can you get compliant when you already have a PUD that says says one thing. So, it makes very excited about the solution that they created there. They can either build to the state plan, or they allow a tiny home as a recreational vehicle, but they want you to address this. They have a snow load of 51 pounds. You have to have 3rd party certification and a electrical inspection and registration with your trailer, and get a CO from the, city, and you're good to go permanently. And that county, La Plata County, also has 2 methods for tiny houses.

Janet Thome [00:20:50]: With the RV route, if you're there past 90 days, you have to follow the land use code or, built to appendix Q and IRC. So I I think it's very important for all of us not to include or to leave out acceptable methods. There is a city in Idaho that adopted the NOAA ANSI plus standard. And they they did what they basically did was they added the, what needed to be addressed for their climate. Mhmm. I think, you know, like ICC right now, they're developing standards that will be modular. That's one method.

Janet Thome [00:21:27]: I think at ASTM, I think that how it would turn out, I can't speak for all of us, because how it will turn out will be developed by all of us and agreed upon. But I I see that it could be a new classification of housing, something brand new, not a modular, not a manufactured home, not an RV. There's a HUD approved document that I just ran into that was HUD approved it, but they didn't write it. And what why I'm excited about it is it described tiny houses separate from modular, separate from manufactured homes, separate from RVs, separate from the old, mobile home definition. And why that's exciting to me and they they said it was 400 square feet or less, either on wheels or on foundation. But they did say that there's no universal acceptable, you know, one one definition for it. And so and why the document was created was to guide housing counselors to know the difference between housing. So when I saw that, I was very excited because, to me, it just gives us an opportunity to create something new.

Janet Thome [00:22:33]: Because if you think about it, I mean, modular manufactured homes, they've got established industries for decades. So you have to follow the laws in the states.

Ethan Waldman [00:22:44]: Right? Yeah. Why is it why is it important to you that that the tiny home standards are separate from modular?

Janet Thome [00:22:52]: I don't mind. I don't mind. I get this because because okay, not everyone has a different level of how they build. Some builders are small. They might build 1 to 3 to 6 a year. Some build to scale. They have a factory, and they build 15 at a time. So we we have all these different levels of how you build.

Janet Thome [00:23:12]: Yeah. If you look at how modular constructed, you have to have your factory certified 100%. What does that mean? Well, that means that you have to have that entire sometimes the first or the second one approved, and that could be costly. So so I'm not against model disruption. I'm for every single method that that fits the manufacturer.

Ethan Waldman [00:23:37]: Got it.

Janet Thome [00:23:38]: Because as you can, as you can imagine, there's all kinds of different levels of there's huge companies involved. There's huge companies and small companies. I really wanna protect the the heart, the heart of the industry to me are small manufacturers and owner builders. Yeah. But what I'm also seeing, even though I'm a part of bringing this to more of a regulated industry, I still want to embrace all methods of how we get there legally. And and I support all methods.

Ethan Waldman [00:24:11]: Yeah.

Janet Thome [00:24:12]: We will never gonna see tiny houses on wheels built to RV standards go away. I don't think that's always going to be a given. And I really feel like I still wanna support that because all the jurisdictions really have to do is say, okay, let's we'll accept that it's built to the RV standards, but address their climate issues, address their trust issues that they have their seismic issues. And it's like I was so pleased with the Bayfield, Colorado permit, I have to show it to you. Ethan, I think you'd be incredibly impressed by because it's simpler than I even thought it was going to be. And this was months months of discussion. In fact, they were trying to get someone to recertify a certified company, a company that was already certified and not give them a CO. And it was kind of all the wrong direction of how to get compliant with the state.

Janet Thome [00:24:58]: And, you know, we we kind of kept telling them, you know, how can you get compliant with the state with no manufacturer signed up for it? So it's very important that we really, really keep in mind, the different levels and the different financial capabilities that these manufacturers have. And I wanna support our our small manufacturers. Absolutely not against, modular construction.

Ethan Waldman [00:25:20]: Right.

Janet Thome [00:25:21]: But not everybody can attain. Not everybody has a factory. Right?

Ethan Waldman [00:25:24]: Right. Right. How does how do the ASTM standards or how would they help address affordability? Because that's something that you've mentioned a couple times too.

Janet Thome [00:25:33]: Well, I think certification needs to be at a certain level. I actually had a standard that reinstated called ASTM E 541 a few years ago. It's a standard that is it's for the compliance assurance agencies are actually third parties that certify a manufacturer type building. HUD has referenced it for 40 years. California ACD references that there's a 10 more states that reference it including Illinois, Virginia, Georgia, Minnesota, North Dakota, New Jersey, Rhode Island. And it's very important why is because okay, if there's more requirements for third parties, and they have to spend a lot of money for accreditation and get audited and accredited, that could be another $10 to $15,000 a year.

Janet Thome [00:26:24]: Now that cost gets passed down to the manufacturer, and that gets passed down to housing. And so that is I'm at the forefront of the keeping this affordable. And so the standard, the certification standard that we're working on, ASTM will start at the level of ASTM E 541, which is it's it's it's pretty exciting standard. I mean, the standard, it's it's got everything in it. When I had it reinstated, I talked to John Westfall at California ACT, and he said, Janet, it's got everything in it that you need so, but there's a push to me that I see, at the same time that we really need to address affordability, that there's more more requirements and more requirements that aren't necessary when ASTM E 541 already works.

Ethan Waldman [00:27:09]: Yeah.

Janet Thome [00:27:09]: And the other thing is very interesting is ASTM E 541 is a statutory requirement in many states. So it's in state law, but it's accepted. So, it was mistakenly withdrawn. And because the experts of that committee weren't there anymore, and I happened to notice it. And at the same time, I went to ASTM, I said that the standard has got to be reinstated. And so I gathered all the the great third parties of the industry, and we reinstated it. And I'm very excited because, like, Virginia is the the first state that's adopted the new ICC standard 1205 and 1200.

Ethan Waldman [00:27:45]: Yeah.

Janet Thome [00:27:45]: But the great news is, is they still accept the ASTM E 541 accreditation. And in fact, it supersedes any adopted codes and standards because it's in state regulation. So that is a great win for affordability in tiny houses. Nice. And once again, like, you're going to see if if modular construction often like the state programs, they require you have a factory. I mean, and a lot of strict not all states are strict like that. Not all states will, you know, micromanage the type of factory that you build in, but a lot of them do. And to me, of course, you're gonna have to have that factory certified.

Ethan Waldman [00:28:24]: Yeah.

Janet Thome [00:28:24]: And so that, to me is a cost. Now, believe it or not, it's harder to get a HUD factory certified. You can also, you know, build to the manufacturer's home center. I'm 100% for every single path there is, that addresses your need, your financial capabilities, and a way for us all to get housing. And I think it's very important that we all work together as an industry, And we're inclusive of all methods.

Ethan Waldman [00:28:49]: Yeah. So what's I mean, this is gonna sound like a cynical question that but I just popped in my head and I wanted to ask it, which is, you know, what's to stop like, the manufacturers who are who are getting involved in this process, from basically just helping to create standards that make sure that people use have to use their products?

Janet Thome [00:29:09]: Well, first of all, you cannot use product names in a standard.

Ethan Waldman [00:29:14]: Interesting. Okay.

Janet Thome [00:29:15]: I mean, recently I mentioned that. Yeah, you cannot you can't say, Oh, you must use some

Ethan Waldman [00:29:19]: Like central peers can't say like, Oh, well, the only safe way to, you know, attach your tiny house to the ground is with Central Piers.

Janet Thome [00:29:27]: No, you're not. Now, cannot. But I'm excited about his product because okay, it means his his foundation system will be okay, like $1600 as opposed to $5000 Well, I think for an owner, that is efficient savings. And as I mentioned

Ethan Waldman [00:29:44]: Would those work would those work for a tiny house on a trailer?

Janet Thome [00:29:48]: They will they would not be modular doesn't you allow augers Usually But but manufactured homes do. But because I feel like we're creating a brand new classification of housing that's not tied to modular, not tied to manufactured homes. I hope that this is going to be acceptable. I mean, the RV foundations are allowed in the Colorado rulemaking. You can have there's like 3 different types. So and I really appreciate that, that they're offering more than just one method. I think that's gonna help us a great deal to have more than one method.

Janet Thome [00:30:20]: So, no, we cannot even though I mentioned Simpson Ties, only reason I mentioned them is I think every single builder uses Simpson Ties. Right? But we can't say you must use Simpson ties. No, not at all. You're not allowed to mention any kind of brands in the actual standard itself.

Ethan Waldman [00:30:36]: Okay. Okay.

Janet Thome [00:30:37]: This is the material that you use, basically.

Ethan Waldman [00:30:40]: Got it. Got it.

Janet Thome [00:30:41]: Now we are allowed to include, for instance, commentary that would include a reference to perhaps Simpson ties a great white paper that they wrote because, I mean, I'm just excited about their expertise. In fact, they're gonna go visit one of our builders in Texas to see how they do it. You know? So no. No nobody this this is the beauty of ASTM. Okay. We have a 150 members. Everyone has a vote, but let's say 5 people from one company came in.

Janet Thome [00:31:12]: They had one voting interest. And they cannot they cannot come in and dominate. That's the beauty. That's what I really appreciate, ASTM. No one can come in and dominate. This is how it has to be and you have to use my product.

Ethan Waldman [00:31:26]: Right. Right.

Janet Thome [00:31:27]: That's absolutely true.

Ethan Waldman [00:31:29]: Yeah. So for you know, I'm, I have the sense that the majority of my listeners are individuals who are either looking to buy a tiny house at some point, or maybe they're considering building their own tiny house, but they're they're individuals, they're not companies. You know, what? What is your hope for people listening to this interview who are kind of individuals who aren't necessarily experts in tiny homes aren't going to necessarily join the committee? You know, what's your hope for for those listeners from from this conversation?

Janet Thome [00:32:01]: You know, they can also, you know, reach out and have a conversation with us, you know, and and tell us their concerns. Because one thing I'm extremely concerned about that I'd like to mention is all the fraud that's on Facebook right now with the fake builders Yeah. Using other people's photos. And I want to tell the listeners to if you see a rent to own run, and we are seeing and do not send a wire transfer to anybody. Yeah. A lot of the people come to me that have been ripped off, and they, and people one important way to find out that is this a legitimate builder? Is you do an image you save the image. You go to the the, camera icon with Google, and you find the original source, and you'll find out where that picture came from. Yeah.

Janet Thome [00:32:46]: What we're what we're seeing I know the builders like my heart because, I mean, I know the they're I know their their looks. Right? There's builders out there that are they're fake builders. They're not even builders, and they're not even building anything. They don't even have a factory. There's pretending that there's something. It is it is so bad. I'm sure you've seen it, Ethan. But it's taking over Facebook right now.

Janet Thome [00:33:04]: There's the groups are the ad the scammers are the admins. They're starting this group, especially if you see okay, tiny houses under $30,000 tiny houses under $25,000 Yep. So I would say for a tiny house person, once they want to have a tiny house, verify, verify, verify, verify. And there's so many pioneers in this industry that have been around tried and true. And don't be fooled by websites either. Unfortunately, they are cloning the websites as well. Wow. This one, this one scammer is actually trying to rent the first tiny house Wind River Wind River Belt and for $1500, and it was sold how many years ago? You know, and they don't even stop doing you can it is terrible out there.

Janet Thome [00:33:53]: So wow, I think that everyone needs to take a deep breath before they buy anything. It's a buyer's market right now.

Ethan Waldman [00:34:00]: Is it?

Janet Thome [00:34:01]: It really is. I mean, I don't know if you know this or not. But last year was really tough. You know, because when it when COVID was around,

Ethan Waldman [00:34:08]: Yeah, last I knew that I last I knew the demand was just off the charts for tiny houses and you you know, you couldn't get one.

Janet Thome [00:34:15]: It's okay. That was during COVID. Oh. But what happened is when inflation went sky high, and bank one bank we had that Liberty Bank, they went from a 20% down down payment to a 40% down. And then the builders are dealing with material costs that's gone sky high. And so, last year, or a lot of orders came to a screeching halt.

Ethan Waldman [00:34:38]: Wow.

Janet Thome [00:34:39]: And in certain and because it was kinda but now I'm seeing now I'm seeing a new trend. Okay. I think they see this as a new norm, and they're starting to buy again. It but there was some manufacturer, unfortunately, that closed their factories and went to site build because, you know, they stopped no matter what they did. And if if you notice too, Ethan, the prices have increased, increased, increased, increased, increased. And of course, if you if you if you look at that increase and you balance it with those cheap ones that the scammers are selling, it looks very balanced. But because, I mean, how many years ago you could $50,000 was was high for a tiny house, and now we're talking we're we're we're at 120, 150, 2, you know, 200. You know? What what how can the consumer do that? They're you know? So I'm hoping that we'll see a trend to smaller ones, but even the manufacturer that did smaller ones were having trouble.

Janet Thome [00:35:30]: But like I said, I feel like there's a trend right now where with it, this is a new norm. Okay. they know the interest rates are high. And, you know, they're it's kinda like when we go to the grocery store right now. Right? Okay. So meat's $5 more, and you deal with it, and you just do it anyway. But, I think the consumer that is wanting to buy a tiny house, slow down, and really protect yourself, really know who your builder is. Ask others.

Ethan Waldman [00:35:56]: Yep.

Janet Thome [00:35:57]: Don't just because there's no nothing on Better Business Bureau means that means nothing. Got it. Just because there's nothing on yelp. That means nothing. You want to you want to you want to you want somebody and oh, and if you are on Facebook and someone says DM me, a true builder will say this is my website. Yeah. This is my building facility. And you can come see me.

Janet Thome [00:36:19]: This is all this can be verified and verify, verify, verify. And like I said, do not send a wire transfer. They are not protected.

Ethan Waldman [00:36:27]: Got it.

Janet Thome [00:36:27]: I know someone who sent a scammer $10,000 and it was the same bank. It was Chase 2 Chase. They did not guarantee it the man said it. Yeah. She never got it back. They don't and I know someone else there. We're seeing a lot of cloning of websites. And I know someone who got scammed out of $25,000 So, Ouch.

Janet Thome [00:36:46]: It is a buyer's market and also consumers buy where we are close to. I mean, transport is going to be a

Ethan Waldman [00:36:54]: huge factor. It's a huge cost. It's very expensive. Yeah, it's transported.

Janet Thome [00:36:58]: It really is. So you're really wise to pick a local builder, you can go visit and verify who they are. And, the transport cost will be like my when I got one of my tiny it was 120 miles. So it was fantastic. I think my delivery was like 3.. less than $500 So exciting.

Ethan Waldman [00:37:16]: Yeah.

Janet Thome [00:37:16]: But we're talking about some if you go across the country, I mean, it's gonna be $20,000 Very smart to make your builder local, or you can verify him local, him or her locally. That's important to me. One,

Ethan Waldman [00:37:30]: one last question for you, you know, what do you envision for the future of the tiny house movement kind of in light of, of the ASTM work that you're doing?

Janet Thome [00:37:42]: I feel like it's gonna change the world. I really do. And even though there's a there's a standard development going on with, ICC, which I support is fine. Mhmm. I feel like it's just it's modular construction. It's one type of construction. I feel like we're going to create, a new classification of housing. That's my that's my end goal.

Janet Thome [00:38:01]: That's my hope. And, we need more people involved that have expertise. If you're a consumer, tell us what you want. Mhmm. They can join and be a voting member. Yeah. You know, it's open to anybody. And we're just trying to create a safer product.

Janet Thome [00:38:19]: But the last thing I'd like to say is, you know, if you're involved in this and you're an advocate, please include and be inclusive of every method that is out there. Because I think that's the last thing I'd like to say because I I let Yeah. It's it's very important for us all to acknowledge the work of others and not work against the work of others and acknowledge all all levels.

Ethan Waldman [00:38:39]: Nice. Well, Janet Thome, thank you so much for being a guest for coming back on the show. I appreciate the update. And I'm excited to get this one out there.

Janet Thome [00:38:47]: Okay. Thank you so much, Ethan. Really appreciate it.

Ethan Waldman [00:38:51]: Thank you so much to Janet Thome for being a guest on the show today. You can find the show notes for this episode, including a complete transcript and links and resources over at thetinyhouse.net/296. Again, that's thetinyhouse.net/296. Don't forget to follow the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast for more insights and conversations like this. By following the show, you'll receive each new episode every Friday when it drops. And if this episode resonated with you, please share it with friends, family or anyone who might find value in the world of tiny houses. Well, that's all for this week. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and I'll be back next week with another episode of the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast.

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