WILL I NEED TO BUY A BIGGER CAR?
Not unless you plan to tow your tiny house frequently. If your plan is to live in a caravan park or a back yard or on your own property long-term, it's much cheaper to just hire a big vehicle to move the tiny house on the few occasions you move it.
DOES IT HAVE TO BE ON WHEELS?
Actually, no. The Building Code of Australia has removed minimum size requirements for houses, though some councils have their own restrictions and some developments have covenants that restrict building sizes. If you want a tiny house on a slab, that meets BCA requirements and is solar passive and easy to maintain, but doesn't cost a fortune – talk to us. If you're not in the Canberra region we may not be able to build for you, but we can point you in the right direction.
CAN A TINY HOUSE BE REGISTERED?
They certainly can. There are two options, depending on your intended use. If you plan to travel with your house from time to time, it's best to get the whole structure registered as a caravan. If you plan to leave it in one place for long periods and move it only every couple of years, there is more flexibility in registering only the trailer initially, and treating the tiny house as a 'load'.
DO YOU HAVE WORKSHOPS?
Not yet, but it's part of the forward plan. Please put your details in the contact form and indicate that you're interested in a workshop so we can let you know when we start running them.
WHERE CAN I LIVE IN A TINY HOUSE?
This really is the big question. And it has a lot of different answers.
In the ACT, no approval is currently needed to have a tiny house on wheels in a backyard, whether you want to use it for your own family or rent it out to singles or couples looking for affordable accommodation. The exception to that is for those renting ACT Housing properties, for which this restriction applies:
The ACT government is not fond of long stay caravan parks or manufactured home estates, and it's currently not possible to rent space long term in a caravan park in the ACT, unless you've been there for years. We are working to get this situation changed.
In NSW, long stay van parks are quite common, especially near the coast, so tiny houses will be treated like long stay caravans. However, in NSW it's illegal to stay in a caravan on public or private land for more than 60 days per year, 2 days at a time without council approval unless you are a member of the household of the landowner. And the councils I've spoken to don't give approval. Despite this, many people do actually live in vans on friend's properties. See this document referring to the LG Regulation 2005:
Tasmania is taking a better approach. It's possible to get a permit to stay on private land for up to 2 years (cost of the permit is $50). See this link
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BUILD?
From the day the quote is finalised and a deposit is paid, allow 3 months to completion. The first step is ordering the trailer, which takes up to 5 weeks to be delivered. During this time the frames and other materials are ordered and cabinetry is constructed. Once the trailer arrives at the factory, construction to lock-up is completed in less than two weeks.
We allow 6 weeks to fit-out the interior, though it may take less time, depending on your requirements.
CAN I FINISH THE INSIDE MYSELF?
Absolutely! We can provide a beautifully finished shell to your specifications, on a registered trailer, so you have the freedom to customise the interior to suit you. And you won't have to worry about building in the rain, or finding a great big shed to work in... that part will be done.
CAN I CUSTOMISE THE DESIGN?
Yes! That's one of the reasons a tiny house is so much better than a caravan. You can make it unique, add your own flavour. There are some limitations... each new structural design needs to be certified by an engineer, so to keep costs down it's best to go with the basic shape and just change window/door sizes and locations, customise the cladding (orientation of boards, colour, use some Colorbond etc). And the internal layout can change to suit, but needs to fit within weight distribution limitations.
Depending on how much you want to customise, the price may change only a little, or a lot.
WHAT MATERIALS AND FINISHES DO YOU USE?
Simply Tiny Houses are fully insulated, timber-framed structures on painted steel trailers (galvanising optional). They are built to be durable, but are not intended to be transported frequently like a much lighter weight caravan. Nevertheless, they travel well (as the original BumbleBee proved!)
Tiny Houses are generally clad with timber, because it's strong, lightweight and more flexible than some other materials. Not to mention very good looking! At Simply Tiny Homes we use thermally modified pine and ash cladding from Thermory, and protect it with Cutek oil, which gives a range of colour options. We use timber windows with low-e laminated glass. Double glazing is an optional extra.
Internal lining is timber, with a choice of grooved pine panels, plywood or individual lining boards. Cabinets are either pre-made, from Ikea (the Knoxhult range is the basic kitchen in the BumbleBee), or custom-made from high quality plywood. Pre-made cabinets are cheaper, but custom-made cabinets are designed to maximise usage of the small space in a tiny house.