Tiny houses are a reaction against over-consumption, rapid resource depletion, financial volatility, and social isolation. But more importantly, tiny houses are a proactive step towards simplicity, flexibility, financial responsibility, community, sustainability, and freedom.
Tiny House Businesses provide a variety of goods and services in support of the Tiny House Movement. We share a commitment to helping our clients and customers pursue healthier, happier lives in small-scale structures. Therefore, we affirm the following principles:
- Conduct Businesses Ethically & Responsibly
As small business owners, we recognize that our financial security, our reputation, and the well-being and happiness of our clients and customers is dependent upon our integrity. Therefore, we conduct our business respectfully and responsibly, taking care to maintain a healthy triple-bottom-line, which balances people, planet, and profit.
- Design Simple, Elegant Structures, Using Space, Energy, & Resources Efficiently
We design beautiful, adaptable, efficient, high-quality buildings using design strategies to maximize the usefulness of small spaces. Whenever possible we integrate beauty into our buildings so that they will be well loved and cared for.
- Build Safe, Comfortable Structures to Meet Basic Needs & Desires
We utilize building materials, including natural and salvaged materials, in climate appropriate ways that suit the needs of tiny house dwellers. We follow best practices for safe construction, and may refer to applicable code for Recreational Vehicles, Manufactured Housing, or Accessory Dwelling Units.
- Sell High-Quality, Honest Products & Services
We recommend and promote products and services that we stand by because we've tried them and we trust them. We are transparent and straightforward about our products, services, and fiscal practices.
- Support Opportunities for Education, Information & Advocacy
We provide opportunities for people curious about tiny houses to collect information and make educated decisions. Whether we are presenting information to city council or leading a tiny house build workshop, we utilize best practices to inform and educate. We advocate for amendments to regulations that are antiquated or irresponsible.
We offer this set of guidelines for Tiny House Businesses so that the uncertain future of America's housing policy does not paralyze the Tiny House Movement today. We choose to move forward with the best practices of the past, the best guesses for the future, and the best intentions for creating a better world, one tiny house at a time.
Tiny House Alliance Code of Ethics
- 1. Client Service. I will serve my clients with honesty, integrity, candor, and objectivity. I will provide my services with competence, using reasonable care, skill and diligence consistent with the interests of my client and the applicable standard of care.
- 2. Representation of Qualifications and Availability. I will only accept assignments for which I am qualified by my education, training, professional experience and technical competence, and I will assign staff to projects in accordance with their qualifications and commensurate with the services to be provided, and I will only make representations concerning my qualifications and availability which are truthful and accurate.
- 3. Standards of Practice. If a builder, I will furnish my tiny house construction services in a manner consistent with building standards as defined by the Alliance (when standards have been completed and adopted by its members).
- 4. Fair Competition. I will represent my project experience accurately to my prospective clients and offer services and staff that I am capable of delivering. I will develop my professional reputation on the basis of my direct experience and service provided, and I will only engage in fair competition for assignments.
- 5. Conflicts of Interest. I will endeavor to avoid conflicts of interest; and will disclose conflicts which in my opinion may impair my objectivity or integrity.
- 6. Fair Compensation. I will negotiate fairly and openly with my clients in establishing a basis for compensation, and I will charge fees and expenses that are reasonable and commensurate with the services to be provided and the responsibilities and risks to be assumed.
- 7. Release of Information. I will only make statements that are truthful, and I will keep information and records confidential when appropriate and protect the proprietary interests of my clients and professional colleagues.
- 8. Public Welfare. I will not discriminate in the performance of my Services on the basis of race, religion, national origin, age, disability, gender or sexual orientation.
- 9. Work Place Safety. I will comply with all applicable health and safety laws and regulations to create a safe working environment for all project workers, whether these workers are directly employed by me, or by other firms working with me.
- 10. Professional Development. I will develop my professional knowledge and competency as Construction Manager, and I will contribute to the advancement of the construction and program management practice as a profession by fostering research and education and through the encouragement of fellow practitioners.
- 11. Integrity of the Profession. I will avoid actions which promote my own self-interest at the expense of the profession, and I will uphold the standards of the construction management profession with honor and dignity.
- 12. Integrity of Practice. I will avoid such actions that maliciously or recklessly injure or attempt to injure, whether directly or indirectly, the professional reputation of others.
- 13. Environmental Commitment. I will commit to developing communities, and to building and renovating homes, in an environmentally responsible manner through utilizing appropriate technologies, materials, building practices and techniques.
- 14. Community Involvement and Investment. I will interact with my community and clients in a way that improves the social, economic and environmental health of the community through socially and environmentally responsible business practices.
History and Current Status
The Alliance was formed in 2013 at the Tiny House Fair in Vermont, at the suggestion of Jay Shafer, to promote safe building practices and advocate ethical business practices. Lina Menard wrote our Guiding Principles and Elizabeth Roberts wrote our Code of Ethics. We met fairly regulary for over a year, but a need was felt to organize in a more formal way as a nonprofit corporation. Please see the American Tiny House Association.
- Elaine Walker, Tiny House Community founder
- Elizabeth Roberts, Esq., Atlanta Code Enforcement
- Environmental Shelter Design - ESheD, Joseph Exelbirt
- Four Lights Houses, Jay Shafer
- Headwaters Garden & Learning Center, Gwendolyn Hallsmith
- Humble Homes, Niall Burke
- JPW (Jetson Wood Composites), Jane Jetson
- Niche Design Build, Lina Menard
- Oregon Cottage Company, Todd Miller
- Portland Alternative Dwellings, Dee Williams and Joan Grimm
- Seattle Tiny Homes, Sharon Read
- Smalltopia, Logan Smith
- Shelter Wise, Derin Williams
- Tiny Diamond Homes, Cheryl Coates
- Tiny Green Cabins, Jim Wilkins
- Tiny Home Builders, Dan Louche
- Tiny House Design, Michael Janzen
- Tiny r(E)volution, Andrew Odom
- Zyl Vardos, Abel Zyl Zimmerman
- Yestermorrow Design/Build School, Kate Stephenson