What is a tiny house? The ultimate guide to our smallest homes

Tiny houses have seen a huge rise in popularity over the last few years, not just because of their minimal footprint but because of their cost efficiency in a climate where house prices continue to rise and available land continues to decrease, particularly in and around urban centres. 

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team
0FC8CFBD-C43F-4180-85D1-CF38FD5869A7Created with sketchtool.
E160A899-8C92-47FF-BB31-6DB22BCEB5D9Created with sketchtool.

What is a tiny house?

Tiny houses are generally separated into two categories: tiny houses on wheels and tiny houses. The former, according to the New Zealand Tiny House Association (NZTHA), is a structure that has the character and functionality of a permanent house, is fixed to the land and is of similar scale to a large caravan or recreational vehicle. The latter, in comparison, has the character and functionality of a permanent house, is built on a trailer, is not fixed to the land and is comparable to a large caravan or recreational vehicle. 

How big can a tiny house be in New Zealand?

The maximum dimensions a transportable tiny home can be built to on a trailer without the need for a special permit is 2.5m wide by 4.25m from the ground and 12.5 metres long. The weight must not exceed 3.5 tonnes.

A fixed tiny home is not restricted in terms of size, but the maximum dimensions will be guided by local and regional requirements, along with consideration of site specific information, all of which differ throughout the country and from site to site.

What is the average size of a tiny house?

The term ‘tiny’ in relation to houses, either fixed or transportable, generally refers to dwellings that are 37.16m² or less. 

Do tiny houses have to be on wheels?

Tiny houses do not have to be on wheels, with many tiny homes built as permanent, fixed dwellings with foundations. However, in order to ensure compliance with various regulations in New Zealand, many tiny home owners opt for transportable dwellings. 

Pakowhai Road Tiny House by Architecture & Interiors
Pakowhai Road Tiny House by Architecture & Interiors

Do you need a building consent to build a tiny house in New Zealand?

In New Zealand, there are no specific regulations relating to tiny houses as such. Rather, as tiny houses are generally on wheels, the rules for caravans and tiny houses are often seen as interchangeable. Therefore, if a tiny house is built as a transportable dwelling it may be exempt from the requirements of the Building Code and may not require a building consent. 

Under the Building Act, a load on a trailer that is classed as mobile is not deemed to be a building and is therefore exempt from the requirements of the Building Code. 

However, these rules are not consistent across the country, with some councils classifying transportable tiny homes as caravans, and others classifying them as buildings. For example, the Tasman District Council classifies a (transportable) tiny house as a building if it will be or is used as long-term accommodation (for two calendar months or more in any year). If it used for less than two calendar months in any one year, Tasman District Council classifies a tiny house as a caravan.

What are the legal requirements for a tiny house in New Zealand?

As there are no set regulations for transportable tiny homes in New Zealand, with some councils classifying the small dwellings as buildings, which means they must comply with the Building Code, and others as caravans, the legal requirements can vary greatly from region to region.

How much does it cost to build a tiny house in New Zealand?

Perhaps the most alluring element of tiny homes is their significantly lower cost to build than traditional houses, as well as the ability to tailor a budget based on a wide range of individual circumstances. A tiny home can cost anywhere from around $20,000 upwards, depending on the size, materials and design scope. However, building a tiny house to meet the requirements of the Building Code is likely to cost closer to $100,000.

Tiny house interior: Pakowai Road House by Architecture and Interiors.
Tiny house interior: Pakowai Road House by Architecture and Interiors.

Can I put a tiny house on my property or in my backyard?

Tiny houses, either transportable or fixed, will be subject to regulations depending upon the region in which they are located. It always pays to check with the local council to ensure a tiny house complies with all relevant regulations and that it can be legally parked or built in the location it is intended for. 

Where can I park a tiny house?

There are no nationwide rules about where a transportable tiny house can be parked. These rules are set at a local level and differ throughout the country. The best way to find out more about the rules for a specific area is to contact the relevant council. As there are no specific regulations for transportable tiny houses, it is best to ask about the rules for caravans as these can generally be seen as interchangeable. 

Designing a tiny house: which design professionals specialise in this space?

Tiny houses, like any homes or buildings, are often collaborative projects in which various design and building professionals are involved. Find out more about tiny house architects, designers, and design and build specialists.  

Banner image: Great Barrier tiny house by IQ Container Homes.

Get in touch with
ArchiPro

Request pricing/info
Visit website
Done tagging

What is a tiny house? The ultimate guide to our smallest homes

Tiny houses have seen a huge rise in popularity over the last few years, not just because of their minimal footprint but because of their cost efficiency in a climate where house prices continue to rise and available land continues to decrease, particularly in and around urban centres. 

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team
0FC8CFBD-C43F-4180-85D1-CF38FD5869A7Created with sketchtool.
E160A899-8C92-47FF-BB31-6DB22BCEB5D9Created with sketchtool.

What is a tiny house?

Tiny houses are generally separated into two categories: tiny houses on wheels and tiny houses. The former, according to the New Zealand Tiny House Association (NZTHA), is a structure that has the character and functionality of a permanent house, is fixed to the land and is of similar scale to a large caravan or recreational vehicle. The latter, in comparison, has the character and functionality of a permanent house, is built on a trailer, is not fixed to the land and is comparable to a large caravan or recreational vehicle. 

How big can a tiny house be in New Zealand?

The maximum dimensions a transportable tiny home can be built to on a trailer without the need for a special permit is 2.5m wide by 4.25m from the ground and 12.5 metres long. The weight must not exceed 3.5 tonnes.

A fixed tiny home is not restricted in terms of size, but the maximum dimensions will be guided by local and regional requirements, along with consideration of site specific information, all of which differ throughout the country and from site to site.

What is the average size of a tiny house?

The term ‘tiny’ in relation to houses, either fixed or transportable, generally refers to dwellings that are 37.16m² or less. 

Do tiny houses have to be on wheels?

Tiny houses do not have to be on wheels, with many tiny homes built as permanent, fixed dwellings with foundations. However, in order to ensure compliance with various regulations in New Zealand, many tiny home owners opt for transportable dwellings. 

Pakowhai Road Tiny House by Architecture & Interiors
Pakowhai Road Tiny House by Architecture & Interiors

Do you need a building consent to build a tiny house in New Zealand?

In New Zealand, there are no specific regulations relating to tiny houses as such. Rather, as tiny houses are generally on wheels, the rules for caravans and tiny houses are often seen as interchangeable. Therefore, if a tiny house is built as a transportable dwelling it may be exempt from the requirements of the Building Code and may not require a building consent. 

Under the Building Act, a load on a trailer that is classed as mobile is not deemed to be a building and is therefore exempt from the requirements of the Building Code. 

However, these rules are not consistent across the country, with some councils classifying transportable tiny homes as caravans, and others classifying them as buildings. For example, the Tasman District Council classifies a (transportable) tiny house as a building if it will be or is used as long-term accommodation (for two calendar months or more in any year). If it used for less than two calendar months in any one year, Tasman District Council classifies a tiny house as a caravan.

What are the legal requirements for a tiny house in New Zealand?

As there are no set regulations for transportable tiny homes in New Zealand, with some councils classifying the small dwellings as buildings, which means they must comply with the Building Code, and others as caravans, the legal requirements can vary greatly from region to region.

How much does it cost to build a tiny house in New Zealand?

Perhaps the most alluring element of tiny homes is their significantly lower cost to build than traditional houses, as well as the ability to tailor a budget based on a wide range of individual circumstances. A tiny home can cost anywhere from around $20,000 upwards, depending on the size, materials and design scope. However, building a tiny house to meet the requirements of the Building Code is likely to cost closer to $100,000.

Tiny house interior: Pakowai Road House by Architecture and Interiors.
Tiny house interior: Pakowai Road House by Architecture and Interiors.

Can I put a tiny house on my property or in my backyard?

Tiny houses, either transportable or fixed, will be subject to regulations depending upon the region in which they are located. It always pays to check with the local council to ensure a tiny house complies with all relevant regulations and that it can be legally parked or built in the location it is intended for. 

Where can I park a tiny house?

There are no nationwide rules about where a transportable tiny house can be parked. These rules are set at a local level and differ throughout the country. The best way to find out more about the rules for a specific area is to contact the relevant council. As there are no specific regulations for transportable tiny houses, it is best to ask about the rules for caravans as these can generally be seen as interchangeable. 

Designing a tiny house: which design professionals specialise in this space?

Tiny houses, like any homes or buildings, are often collaborative projects in which various design and building professionals are involved. Find out more about tiny house architects, designers, and design and build specialists.  

Banner image: Great Barrier tiny house by IQ Container Homes.

Get in touch with
ArchiPro

Request pricing/info
Visit website
Done tagging

What is a tiny house? The ultimate guide to our smallest homes

Tiny houses have seen a huge rise in popularity over the last few years, not just because of their minimal footprint but because of their cost efficiency in a climate where house prices continue to rise and available land continues to decrease, particularly in and around urban centres. 

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team
0FC8CFBD-C43F-4180-85D1-CF38FD5869A7Created with sketchtool.
E160A899-8C92-47FF-BB31-6DB22BCEB5D9Created with sketchtool.

What is a tiny house?

Tiny houses are generally separated into two categories: tiny houses on wheels and tiny houses. The former, according to the New Zealand Tiny House Association (NZTHA), is a structure that has the character and functionality of a permanent house, is fixed to the land and is of similar scale to a large caravan or recreational vehicle. The latter, in comparison, has the character and functionality of a permanent house, is built on a trailer, is not fixed to the land and is comparable to a large caravan or recreational vehicle. 

How big can a tiny house be in New Zealand?

The maximum dimensions a transportable tiny home can be built to on a trailer without the need for a special permit is 2.5m wide by 4.25m from the ground and 12.5 metres long. The weight must not exceed 3.5 tonnes.

A fixed tiny home is not restricted in terms of size, but the maximum dimensions will be guided by local and regional requirements, along with consideration of site specific information, all of which differ throughout the country and from site to site.

What is the average size of a tiny house?

The term ‘tiny’ in relation to houses, either fixed or transportable, generally refers to dwellings that are 37.16m² or less. 

Do tiny houses have to be on wheels?

Tiny houses do not have to be on wheels, with many tiny homes built as permanent, fixed dwellings with foundations. However, in order to ensure compliance with various regulations in New Zealand, many tiny home owners opt for transportable dwellings. 

Pakowhai Road Tiny House by Architecture & Interiors
Pakowhai Road Tiny House by Architecture & Interiors

Do you need a building consent to build a tiny house in New Zealand?

In New Zealand, there are no specific regulations relating to tiny houses as such. Rather, as tiny houses are generally on wheels, the rules for caravans and tiny houses are often seen as interchangeable. Therefore, if a tiny house is built as a transportable dwelling it may be exempt from the requirements of the Building Code and may not require a building consent. 

Under the Building Act, a load on a trailer that is classed as mobile is not deemed to be a building and is therefore exempt from the requirements of the Building Code. 

However, these rules are not consistent across the country, with some councils classifying transportable tiny homes as caravans, and others classifying them as buildings. For example, the Tasman District Council classifies a (transportable) tiny house as a building if it will be or is used as long-term accommodation (for two calendar months or more in any year). If it used for less than two calendar months in any one year, Tasman District Council classifies a tiny house as a caravan.

What are the legal requirements for a tiny house in New Zealand?

As there are no set regulations for transportable tiny homes in New Zealand, with some councils classifying the small dwellings as buildings, which means they must comply with the Building Code, and others as caravans, the legal requirements can vary greatly from region to region.

How much does it cost to build a tiny house in New Zealand?

Perhaps the most alluring element of tiny homes is their significantly lower cost to build than traditional houses, as well as the ability to tailor a budget based on a wide range of individual circumstances. A tiny home can cost anywhere from around $20,000 upwards, depending on the size, materials and design scope. However, building a tiny house to meet the requirements of the Building Code is likely to cost closer to $100,000.

Tiny house interior: Pakowai Road House by Architecture and Interiors.
Tiny house interior: Pakowai Road House by Architecture and Interiors.

Can I put a tiny house on my property or in my backyard?

Tiny houses, either transportable or fixed, will be subject to regulations depending upon the region in which they are located. It always pays to check with the local council to ensure a tiny house complies with all relevant regulations and that it can be legally parked or built in the location it is intended for. 

Where can I park a tiny house?

There are no nationwide rules about where a transportable tiny house can be parked. These rules are set at a local level and differ throughout the country. The best way to find out more about the rules for a specific area is to contact the relevant council. As there are no specific regulations for transportable tiny houses, it is best to ask about the rules for caravans as these can generally be seen as interchangeable. 

Designing a tiny house: which design professionals specialise in this space?

Tiny houses, like any homes or buildings, are often collaborative projects in which various design and building professionals are involved. Find out more about tiny house architects, designers, and design and build specialists.  

Banner image: Great Barrier tiny house by IQ Container Homes.

Get in touch with
ArchiPro

Request pricing/info
Visit website
Done tagging
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