The Tiny House movement has arrived in NZ.
Why has the movement gained so much traction and caused excitement lately?
Many people now realise that they do not need/want a large home. Large houses are more expensive to build, more to furnish, heat and take longer to clean! A tiny house, however, can be affordable, easy to maintain and provide a truly sustainable approach to living.
Some of the common reasons for wanting to build a tiny house are:
• For a granny flat or sleep-out to accommodate older relatives or teenagers;
• To use as a home office;
• To rent out to earn extra income;
• For a holiday home or bach; and
• As a starter home on a lifestyle block.
We have some very clever house designs available ideally suited to all of these uses. All of our homes are built on a steel chassis if you need to relocate your dwelling to another site in the future. (We can also build on a trailer). Then your granny flat could become a bach later down the track.
Working in with Local Council Requirements
A floor area of just under 65m2 complies with the district plan requirements of many local Councils for minor dwellings.
As requirements vary around New Zealand, your local Council will be able to advise you of the specific requirements that apply in your area, or we are happy to assist you with this research and help you develop a floor plan to suit.
The placing of a tiny house on a trailer is a current trend that people are using to get past “Council consents”, however, be very wary of this as it is not a guaranteed way around the law. Council’s view is that once the “Vehicle” (tiny house on wheels) is lived in on a permanent basis, it then becomes a “structure” and must comply with the building code.
We are also finding that the mobile tiny houses are extremely costly to produce. Often for the same price or slightly more you can have a fully consented Tiny house. (This also gives you much greater options if you require financing).
Trailer Tiny House FAQ
Q. What is a tiny house?
A. A tiny house is a house built to fit within the NZTA light trailer (TB class) specifications.
Q. How wide can my tiny house be?
A. 2.5m is the limit for light trailers. 2.4m is a practical maximum width for building specifications, ply sheets for flooring, etc. and this allows 50mm outside of the wall-frame for cladding and any other exterior fittings. (You can go wider but will need a pilot vehicle when it is in transit)
Q. How long can my tiny house be?
A. NZTA light trailer specifications says tiny house trailer can be 12.5m long.
It is not practical to do so because:
– The maximum length from axle’s centre to the rear is 4m, therefore, at more than 8m of body length the trailer cannot be balanced and the drawbar weight increases.
– Keeping your tiny house within the maximum allowable GVM of 3500kg will be difficult to achieve at 7.8m. As the chassis gets longer, it also gets heavier, leaving even less margin to build your tiny house within.
– NZ roads have many small roundabouts, tight intersections and lumpy, bumpy roads. The clearance angles reduce as length increases. We recommend a maximum frame length of 7.8m (7.2 is better) with a 1.5m drawbar.
Q. How high can my tiny house be?
A. The maximum height allowable on New Zealand roads is 4.25m.
Q. How heavy is a tiny house trailer?
A. Depending upon the length and individual specifications, you can expect your tiny house trailer to be between 700 and 750kg as a bare rolling chassis.
Q. Will my tiny house trailer need to be registered? A. Your tiny house, as a TB class vehicle, is required by law to display a current licence (registration) and current Warrant of Fitness when on public roads.
Q. Can I tow my tiny house?
A. Yes, Your standard class 1 New Zealand driver’s licence currently allows for 6000kg GVM. If your tiny house is 3500kg, a vehicle that is rated to tow it* and any load within will be more than 2500kg.
Q. Will my tiny house need brakes?
A. Yes. As a TB class vehicle greater than 2500kg, it requires 1. Direct acting service brakes. That is controlled by the driver, not the overrun of the trailer. 2. A breakaway system to engage brakes automatically upon breakaway. 3. A parking brake
Other things to consider when planning your tiny house.
– How often will my tiny house be moved?
– How many people will live in my house?
– What building materials and how much will they weigh?
– How well is your design balanced front to rear?
– How will my house control heat and ventilation?
– Will my house be off grid,
– Will my tiny house catch and store water?
– How will my house deal with wastewater & sewage?
– How will I finance my tiny house