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Recently, higher construction prices, greater demand for homes as people move out of apartments and the need for replacement homes due to weather-related disasters, have all put more pressure on home building.

As potential homeowners and renters are priced out of many markets and as municipalities look to provide more housing—especially more affordable housing—there are creative residential solutions that are available. We thought we’d take a look at some of these choices. In Part 1 below we cover tiny homes, barndominiums and shouses. In Part 2 we will cover Quonset huts, modular homes as secondary units and shipping container homes.

Tiny Homes

Tiny homes are manufactured or mobile home units usually under 400 sq. ft. Some define them as being under 600 square feet. Although it is often considered a recreational vehicle, it attaches to local utilities for home-style fixtures and appliances.

In Maine, starting this fall these homes may be built anywhere single-family homes are allowed. They must be built on a standard foundation or a wheeled platform that can be towed by a vehicle. These may be located as primary or secondary residences on a property.

Salt Lake City, UT is offering prizes for students or professionals for tiny house ideas and designs.  The purpose is to provide a ready source of designs that can be used for building projects in the city. The driving factor is the need for more affordable housing.

These homes are eco-friendly as they do not use as many resources or energy as traditional homes. They can be secured in one place or moved around as the owner chooses. Their drawbacks can include finding a suitable site to put them and limited space for large families and/or large gatherings. Also special attention is needed to insulate and vent them so that they are comfortable in hot and in cold weather. Repairs can be more costly due to the need for specialized skills and custom material/parts sizes, among other issues.

However, they have a growing following as people downsize or purchase their first home. They are more affordable, require less upkeep because of their smaller size, and can contain many of the same features as full-size homes: gas fireplaces, skylights, a bar and flat-screen TV, sliding barn doors, and more.

The article Affordable Alternative or Passing Fad? A Study of the ‘Tiny Home’ Market in 2021 compares costs, sizes and other information about these homes.

Barndominiums and Shouses

Some call them barndominiums and some call them shouses (a combination of shop and house). Both are pole frame buildings with either wood posts or all metal frames, and metal exteriors and metal roofs. They contain living space, often along with an attached shop, garage or storage area.

One of the advantages of pole frame construction is that it is typically easier, quicker and less expensive to build than wood frame homes. In addition, all-metal pole-frame structures tend to hold up against harsh weather better than wood frame structures with non-metal siding and roofing. The tall story height and wide spans allow for greater flexibility in designing the interior of the home.

However, insulation can be important for these homes—especially for the roof to reduce any noise during a rainstorm. Insulating the house is important to avoid heat/cooling loss through the shop from the house.

What is a Barndominium? covers the history and the who, what and where about barndominiums.

e2Value is ready for these, and most any other changes or unique construction techniques, with current options in the estimator. If you need to complete a replacement cost estimate for a tiny home, kit home, shipping container home or something unusual, just let us know and we can help, sales@e2value.com.

Creative Residential Solutions that Supplement Traditional Housing Part 2.