Tiny house in oz

Building a tiny house in oz

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A follow up from last week

Just had an early morning FaceTime with Angela and Paul at tumbleweed. Re the $500 extra, workshop and other stuff

1. The $500 fee
They used the standard line that it takes their architects 30 hours to convert the plans and aren’t prepared to waive it. The good news is that they WERE prepared to waive the fee for the fencl and the wigby since it is already done. But weren’t prepared to tell me how to get the metric plans online without getting the $500 added on.

They were prepared for an Australian architect to do it. So if anyone knows one please let me know and maybe we can throw them some work! . They were also prepared to split the fees if more than one person bought the fees. They also had a few questions about Australian design regulations so an architect would help with that side as well. Get in touch with them or me if you are and would like to help! Maybe if someone does we can get the fee removed!

2. Workshop
We didn’t talk lots about the workshop but he did tell me that it is presented by a an Aussie and a NZ’der. Didn’t tell me who though! We had a laugh, he didn’t know about great Tasman rivalry! I must have made a face when he said NZ!! Dangers of FaceTime!

Still unsure about which plans to go with. What attracted me to tumbleweed was that fact that it looked more like a house, rather then a box on wheels. Pondering over the next week. In the mean time it is back to rules and regulations!!

Till next tiny time


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A break from the law: a week of yay’s and nah’s

A bit of a curveball this week meant that regulations had to be put on hold.

The week started with much excitement. Tumbleweed ( the company that owns the plans I am building off) announced that they are doing an October workshop In australia!! to say i was excited is an understatement!! These workshops help you design and build your own tiny house! This was great news for me!! This road of tiny house planning is a long lonely one and I was excited at the prospect of meeting other tiny housers in oz in person as well as hearing what tips etc tumbleweed has to say. some of us discuss tiny houses on a Facebook page (thank you tiny houses Australia – you save my sanity at times) but it will be great to meet in person!! Looking forward to it!!

The next day, while researching these workshops, I found out that tumbleweed has added a few extra fees on top of the price of their plans. One of these fees includes a $500 fee to convert into metric measurements!! Yes $500!!! , considering the plans are already going to cost me $900 Upwards. I thought this was an unreasonable fee especially when you take into account that they have already done this for several of their clients ( for free I might add) and that the USA is one of three countries that use the old measurements!! The workshop itself is over $250 even with the early bird discount!Once it is done it shouldn’t need to be done over and over again with every plan that is sold!! Am I right ?? Or am I just over thinking it?? The amount seems especially high. $100 I might reconsider, but $500??!! That’s nearly half the cost of the plans!! Other things I could spend that money on in my house!!

So, unsure of weather I will stick with the tumbleweed plans. there are a number of options. Including buying the plans in imperial ( saving money but costing building time ) buying another tape measure in imperial measurements ( is that possible here in oz??) paying someone to do it all for me ( costing money but saving time). Another downside of converting it is when other people are involved, not just. Aussie  plumbers, electricians, carpenters etc all work in metres/cm. Lot of fuss and work for something that should be free already come with the plans!! Can you tell I’m annoyed!! Appealed to tumbleweed to change the fees. So, to be continued…

Thanks to the Facebook page.  I was alerted to a similar design for a tiny house for $10 , yes $10!! Originally went with tumbleweed because they were offering me a deal that can’t be missed ( as the house I am intending to build is one of the first in oz) but they have reconsidered that offer as well. This design is very very similar to the fencl, but with a more flexible approach. The inside is entirely your own design. I am not design/arty minded in any way whatsoever so designing my own from scratch was out of the question. But this may be a better compromise. These plans seem less detailed than tumbleweed ones though. To modify/change the tumbleweed plans would be an added fee!

Oh the decisions…

A big tiny house shout out to tiny houses Australia Facebook page for all of their ideas , conversations and for lending me their listening ears this week  during my rant sessions!! This journey toward tiny house living is made so much better for all of you. i will try and put the link below, if you are on Facebook , come join us. I promise it’s not all me ranting!! If you search tiny houses Australia you should get it!! If the link doesn’t work!!


Till next time…

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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.

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Is it legal? NSW Road rules towing trailers

After two days of research, and a few rants on Facebook ( thanks tiny Houses Australia) I came to the following conclusions. Seeing as how caravans are very similar I looked at caravan regulations on the road and as well towing other trailers. Before I started wrote down what questions i needed to answer to be satisfied that i was following the law. I assumed nothing so you may have to excuse some questions may seem a little simplistic

Is it legal to tow a tiny house on nsw state roads?

The short answer is yes. I found no restrictions that say that I can’t tow I tiny house. After all there are several vehicles on NSW roads which are bigger than a tiny house. Buses, trucks, most caravans etc are all bigger than a 2.5 tonne tiny house.

Do I need registration
No, in NSW, the trailer including all caravans are covered by the towing vehicle. In other words, the green slip/ registration that you gain for your car towing the house also covers the trailer.

Do I need to attain anything else instead?
In NSW, any vehicles including trailers over 5 years old need a e safety check ( formally called a pink Slip). That is, Provided I buy a new trailer, it will not need to be inspected until 5 years later. Older than 5 years it will need a yearly safety inspection.

How much weight can I tow?
The towing vehicle determines the weight you are allowed to tow. According to the rta

‘ Throughout Australia, the allowable maximum mass for the trailer is either the capacity of the tow vehicle’s towing attachment or the towing limit specified by the vehicle manufacturer for the towing vehicle, whichever is the least’

So your car manual should have information about gross towing mass for your car. If your car manufacturers manual doesn’t have this information the general rule is one and a half times unladen mass.

is there anything else my trailer needs?
Trailers that tow over 750kg GTM Must be fitted with brakes and lights
At least one safety chain ( under 2500kg) two chains must be applied if over 2500kg
Load must not be over 150 mm over trailers width or be more than 2.5m which ever is less
The tow bar should be marked with maximum capacity and manufacturers name and or trademark.

Anything else I would need to know?

lastly a disclaimer, the regulations in this series reflect information current at the time and place specific to myself. If you are considering building your own tiny house, please do your own research and if needed seek professional legal counsel. Use this information as a guide only.

Next stop on this tiny house tour of regulation road: Caravan regulations

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Making a move with miss m

A few weeks ago, I made a deal with a close friend. She attends a festival every year during the Easter break. She was telling me about it and it sounded great!! We both have massive goals to reach, so we made a deal. If she achieved her goal, I would take her to this festival in my tiny house!! So now i have a deadline of a year!! Most people in a similar situation I.e no building experience and working on it part time, have done this is approximately that time frame. So I am confident that I can do it in that period. At the end of the year it should be liveable. Able to be lived in while I keep making improvements!!

I figure I could spend years dreaming and planning, pinning ideas on pin interest, googling tiny house etc, taking about building it, hours and hours of dreaming but no action. I am a queen of procrastination. So time to ‘defy gravity’ , as one of my favourite songs says just do it. Planning is great and an important part of building. But there is a time for action. Specific research, plans and actions that will get this done!!

So expect a change, more information as you dear reader keep me accountable.

Next: is it legal? Looking at various regulations which may or may not affect tiny house building and living.

Tumbleweed fencl

It has occurred to me I have never show you dear blog world what exactly I’m planning to build. So here it is. It Is a house from tumbleweed, an American company that specialises in tiny houses. A free small modifications are required because of Australian laws, but there it is In the link above if you are interested!!

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An opps and a blog for Thursday!

Oops! With end of term craziness, Christmas, new year and holidays time just flies by. But with all that over I’m ready to get back to work. No new update on the house, still stuck in regulation frustrations. Is it possible I’m being too legalistic?! 


There are so many resources out there so I thought I would share a few every week. So a blog for a Thursday. Ella is a musician/artist living in California USA. In her words ‘The more I perused Craigslist housing for an area I fancied living in and the more I thought about the work that goes into surviving with $1000 rent, the less my floaty, creative, work-to-live ways seemed likely to tick the necessary boxes”. This is me exactly, different country, but still very similar to my beginning story. You can read her tiny house story at her blog below!!