Tiny house in oz

Building a tiny house in oz

Is it legal? Caravan regulations


We continue our road trip down regulation road. Next stop caravan regulations. This part is fairly big so I’ll separate  it into two parts. Tomorrow federal trailer regulations for caravans but today the caravan itself .
Although the state determines trailer registration, it is federal laws which govern everything else I.e safety, lights, door placement, grey water systems etc
But firstly a definition. You may have noticed I use caravan instead of tiny house.  According to federal laws, a caravan is “an enclosed trailer, which is intended for use as a mobile home or living quarters when parked.  So legally, a tiny house is a caravan.
To me this was great news. It meant that tiny houses, as long as they comply with technical requirements, are legal.
So what are the requirements for a caravan. There are a few regulations.
Bathroom (excuse the subject matter)
Every vehicle which is equipped with any lavatory basin, closet, urinal or sink must comply with the following standards.
Except in the case of a caravan, the contents must be emptied into a tank carried by the vehicle. Such tank must be effectively ventilated by means of a outside pipe.
Regardless of whether a tank is used, the emptied contents must contain
 ” non-inflammable and non irritant chemicals of such character and in such quantity as to form at all times an efficient deodorant and germicide in respect of the contents of the tank, closet or urinal as the case may be ” (Australian design rules 42/00)
 Finally no basin or sink can drain into any tank which closet or urinal empties. I.e separate tanks and/or plumbing  for for sinks and toilets.
Doors: must be either outward swinging or sliding doors.  One has to be on the left hand side or at the rear.
Fire extinguishers:   the caravan must have a fire extinguisher in accordance with Australian standards.
Windows: At least half of the windows must be capable of being opened or the caravan must have an alternative method of ventilation.
I believe that’s all for federal regulations regarding caravans. Next time the caravan trailer itself. But as always please obtain your own legal advice if you are considering building your own tiny house.

8 thoughts on “Is it legal? Caravan regulations

  1. I am wondering why the door must be outward opening?

  2. No idea! It may have something to do with fire safety. Easier to get out if fire does start in an confined enclosed space. But I’m just speculating, regulation is called ‘ Australian design rules’ it is a federal government regulation concerning vehicle safety. On the dept on infrastructure website.

  3. Thanks Beth. I suppose down the track I will need to see if this rule has some flubber in it…. and maybe what compromises need to be made so that the door can be inward opening.

    • Government??!! Flexible??!! Nah!! Here is the link to the regulation! No22.1 under general caravan requirements.


      What’s your reasoning behind wanting inward opening doors?? It mentions sliding doors maybe that’s your compromise. But Seeing as how this house has to be inspected like a caravan and may have to be registered every year I’m not going to risk breaking the “rules”. Maybe you are more courageous than me!! Trying to save money, time and stress later on by sticking to the laws.

      • Hi Beth – wow, you have done some research, and thanks for that. I suppose the thing about the door is, the currently, I like the Tumbleweed type of house with a porch on the back, and an outward opening door would totally block use of that unless it was closed all the time. As it is here in the great land of Oz, we would probably have to install a screen door, and if that has to go with an outward opening door, then the screen door would have to be on the inside, open inward, and generally get in the way of using the real door. The only outward opening doors I have seen on US tiny houses are doors on the side, normally metal (which I don’t like). But I totally understand your desire to make it as stress free as possible. I am some time away from building yet, so my wishes may change along the journey.

  4. Just wanted to say thank you once again for all your efforts Beth. You have a lot of support from all of us over on Facebook and can’t wait to see your Tiny House dream come to reality… D.

  5. Does that mean you can’t use a composting toilet?

    • I don’t know yet. Haven’t looked that far into black water systems. My plan was to use an incinerator toilet. Burns everything into ash but looks like a normal toilet!

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