Building Codes and SIPS

Hi, my name is Jack Dinkelspiel, and I am on the Civil Team for SCU's rEvolve Tiny House. The Civil Team is currently starting to analyze what needs to be done to make our tiny house structurally safe. Because the rEvolve House will be constructed on a mobile trailer frame, many different aspects need to be taken into account that would not be considered when constructing a traditional residential house. In fact, most of our structural calculations will be done in accordance with ANSI 119.5, rather than the more commonly used 2013 California Building Code. The ANSI 119.5 specifies the construction requirements for recreational vehicles meant to be transported, such as our tiny house.

We have decided to construct the tiny house with structural insulated panels (SIPs) in order to simplify the construction process. SIPs are prefabricated walls that make constructing the tiny house similar to
putting together a gingerbread house. This eases the construction process and eliminates the time required by traditional timber-studded framing. Our greatest challenge at the moment is finding the best way to connect the SIPs to the steel frame of the trailer. We realize that while being transported, the tiny house will be subjected to many unpredictable forces such as vibrations due to potholes in the road and wind gusts do to traffic speeds and weather conditions. For this reason, we must be conservative in our calculations in order to prevent our tiny house from damage prior to the competition.

The real life circumstances surrounding the design of a tiny house are what make the process so exciting. Contrary to most of the engineering classes we take, there is not a final answer that we are aiming for when faced with a problem. We must take our experiences and utilize the resources available to us to create a tiny house that any type of person can live in!