FAQ’s about our Tiny Homes
In the interest of helping you learn more about our tiny homes as well as tiny home living in general, we’re proud to present this collection of FAQs. Is your question not covered here? Fill out the form on this page and we’d be happy to get back to you with an answer.
Tiny Home Movement & Utilization
I see some rapid growth in Australia of recent with the use of tiny homes in various applications, what has driven this movement?
This is a combination of many factors including but not limited to the lack of available housing, increased cost of rent, older generations wanting to downsize, more demand for minimalistic living, greater demand for different tourist-like experiences. With the current construction costs, it’s far more difficult for the younger generation to own their own home, this is an ideal solution.
Is the Tiny Home concept more common for general living, or short-term tourist rental?
Both, longer term living requirements is becoming very popular for all ages, along with the demands for visiting locations remotely for short term stays away from the city hustle.
With this tiny home movement and the impact, it could have on local councils, could authorities at local, state, or federal level change the regulations to make it easier in how the tiny homes are utilized?
Yes, with the increased demand for more suitable living, changes are happening, and we can expect to see more changes making it easier for more tiny homes to be used, however it’s important to note that the demands for quality tiny building will escalate. Be extremely careful with imported goods and cheaper builds as this investment could be very costly in the long run. Always explore the creditability & processes used by the tiny home builder before purchasing as it’s only a matter of time before this will be heavily scrutinized by government. The health & safety for all is no more critical than mainstream housing which is regulated in Australia.
Can tiny homes be used as granny flats?
Yes, they can. Tiny homes are becoming a popular option for people looking for a granny flat as they don’t always require council approval. Our models can be customised to better suit the needs of your relatives and to cater to different levels of mobility. For example, our larger sized homes can have the bed, living area and kitchen all located on the one level rather than having the bed up on a loft which means there’s no need to climb up stairs or a ladder. We can make further customisations such as including wider door frames, no lips at doors for door tracks and a ramp up to the external door to accommodate wheelchairs/mobility aids.
What is my investment risk in a tiny home with an unregulated industry?
No risk, if the planning and execution of the build is carried out by the correct manufacture. The need for housing in Australia is rapidly growing, therefore a well-built compliant tiny home will always be a secure investment. Unlike a fixed dwelling, the parking of your THOW or THYbrid™ can be repositioned on other suitable properties providing added flexibility with your investment. A THYbrid™ will always carry with it more secure compliance for the future. Its vital to be thorough in exploring the capabilities of the tiny home manufacturer before finalising the build contract.
Planning & Building Regulations/Certification
Is there a current regulator for tiny homes within Australia?
This will depend on how your tiny home is classified. If a tiny home is positioned on wheels/trailer, this would be regarded as a THOW and would not currently be regulated. Given the tiny home is not currently regulated, it is often classified as a caravan. If your tiny home is needed to become a dwelling fixed as a permanent structure, most local councils would regard this as a fixed structure that would fall under the BCA and would require a building application.
What is the BCA?
An abbreviation for Building Code of Australia, the BCA is used as the basis for building regulations and codes in each state and territory of Australia. While it provides a common framework, individual states and territories may adopt and amend it to suit local conditions and needs.
Is a builder’s license required to build a tiny home on wheels?
This can depend on your intended future use of the home. But under the current regulations, NO, a builder’s license is not required for a standard THOW where building approval is not required. Under current regulations, the construction of a tiny home on wheels (THOW) would be more likely to fall under the caravan code, however this could depend on the intended use, be it temporary or semi-permanent. Alphaline Tiny Homes are licensed builders and will always explore methods to construct as close as possible within the national building code if in fact the tiny home may need to be certified later in a more permanent location. As a licensed builder, we will consider your plans and provide options that can give you added value considering for the future.
THOW – Tiny Home on Wheels. Is this a registered vin plated trailer and considered as a caravan under the department of transport in each state of Australia?
If a tiny home on wheels is an approved trailer, roadworthy and VIN plated, this would be deemed by the department of transport as a caravan. Until any other regulation is formed for tiny homes, a caravan would be the best term to define a tiny home when communicating with councils or other people in government authorities.
THOS – Tiny Home on Skids. How do these differ from a THOW and can this be transported on wheels?
A tiny home on skids would typically be a larger, heavier building that would not be towed on the road. Typically, these would be craned into position or may have axles & wheels on them and be utilized to assist in maneuvering when loading or unloading them on and off trailers/trucks. A THOS could most likely need an approved building permit for it to be fixed to a footing.
THYbrid - Tiny Hybrid Home on wheels. What extra value does this offer over a standard THOW?
I want to invest in a THOW, use as a temporary dwelling and then use it as a more permanent secondary dwelling, can I safeguard my investment?
Yes, this is quite possible, however your tiny design could be limited to ensure compliance is fully achieved, as an example, any elevated lofts, low ceiling heights, wet area waterproofing is just a few areas that will need to comply. The Alphaline THYbrid™ has been designed for this reason, giving you that extra layer of certification so if and when building approval could be required, you have the flexibility to utilize the THYbrid™ documentation to assist in seeking building approval through your local council.
What other town planning definitions can be used for a tiny home as a secondary dwelling on a property?
There is a range of definitions used as secondary dwellings, however it’s important to establish a clear understanding of what the application would consist of and a possible understanding of the current use of the property including the zoning especially if it’s used to operate a business from. Some businesses require a caretaker, and or some may have agricultural, or ecotourism linked to it, which can give provision for multiple secondary dwelling needs. Alphaline Tiny Homes recommends the need for an experienced planner specialist to be involved to provide clarity surrounding the options. Alphaline Tiny Homes are passionate about complying with local council, however its important to note that a planning specialist in this field will provide far more detailed clarity regarding your local council than speaking directly with your local council. Its vital to be very clear in what your new intended portable building on wheels is called before contacting your council. Its very simple to outline your specific application in writing to Alphaline and with a 15 min phone call, we could arrive at a solution to put forward to your council.
Do I need to obtain development approval to build a tiny home? And do I need a council permit to place a tiny home on my own land?
Tiny homes on trailers are technically considered to be ‘caravans’ in Australia. This is because they are not permanent fixtures and do not require a slab. Therefore, Development Approval is not required to build one. In regards to where you can place your tiny home or whether you need some type of permit, different councils have different rules. In the case of many councils, you can have one tiny home on your property. But to have more than two, you need special permission. It’s important to check with your local council about their specific regulations before purchasing a tiny home. Increasingly, councils are embracing tiny houses as a viable way for people to live. The team at Alphaline Homes can help point you in the right direction, so speak to us first about your specific needs as the terminology for your application could be very unique.
When do I need to engage with the council on the placement of a tiny home on my property and can you help with that?
Yes, we can assist with what your steps would be after we have brainstormed your application. Firstly ensure you are clear of the land you have available, we will need the detailed address, intended use so we can discuss the options.
Can you design and build to a particular cyclone rating?
Yes, as standard we build to N3, however not uncommon to design your tiny home to meet C3 for heavy cyclonic areas. This is one of the areas that is explored in the design needs annalysis.
Can you ensure the design of my tiny home meets requirements for bush fire ratings?
Yes, this is also another critical part of the design needs analysis (DNA) and we have access to different products to ensure compliance is achieved, regardless of your tiny home being a THOW, THYbrid or THOS.
Can I have a Tiny Home without the wheels?
Yes absolutely, this would then be considered as a THOS, (tiny home on skids) however the first vital question is, do you need a building permit or does it need to be regarded as a caravan type of building to exclude the need for council building approval. If you are unsure of these options, Alphaline Tiny Homes can assist with the brainstorming of your options.
What’s the difference between a tiny home and a container home?
A tiny home can be customized in size rather than a standard 20ft or 40ft shipping container, which is normally only 2.4m wide. With the correct design, a tiny home on wheels can exceed 2.4m providing you with more space internally.
Can I place a tiny home on a slab or stumps instead of a trailer so it’s more permanent?
Yes this is possible, however do understand that the building then needs to comply with the BCA, rather than be regarded as a caravan. Although a Tiny Home on wheels is built to have homely characteristics, not small and closed in like a caravan, it does not need to comply with the current building code as it’s base consists of a registerable trailer.
I would really need written clarity from a practicing consultant in what my legal options are for the placement for a Tiny Home on wheels or skids, be it semi-permanent, structurally fixed on my property, who is the best consultant to provide this clarity?
Yes, this is critical and given the complexities, and the changing of some local councils rulings, it’s vital to engage with the right planning consultants. Alphaline do work closely with these firms and due to the volume of applications, we can provide a competitive edge. Ask us about obtaining a THROWS report providing clarity for your specific land.
Can I tow your tiny home (THOW) with my own vehicle?
Yes, providing you have a registered vehicle with the correct towing capacity to tow the specific THOW built for you. Most THOW’s can weigh between 3500 & 4500kg. It’s vital that extra towing capacity is allowed for so you have extra capacity for high wind conditions. We DO NOT recommend that a vehicle with a towing capacity of 4.5 ton tow a tiny home that may weigh 4.5ton as you have no safety factor.
What is Rover trailer certification?
Under the new legislation, manufacturers, and importers of light trailers (with an aggregate trailer mass of 4.5ton on less) needs approval before they can provide a trailer to the Australian market. Alphaline are Rover approved & custom manufacture trailers to best suit a tiny home. We have approval for the standard 2.4m wide and the wider trailers.
Can your (THOW) be placed onto a trailer/truck bed and be transported to my site?
Yes, this is not uncommon, it would depend on the size, weight of your home. Alphaline Tiny Homes will always consider every application and make recommendations to provide the most cost effective and safe outcome for your new tiny home.
Are there restrictions to the length and height & width of a THOW for transporting on the road within Australia?
Yes, a registerable THOW should not exceed 4.3m in height, the trailer should not exceed 2.4m in width & 12 meters in length, however the home on top of the trailer if bolted can exceed some of these measurements. It is best to rely on a professional tiny home manufacturer to provide you with the correct advice, but normally you would want to avoid a tiny home that exceeds beyond 12 meters in length x 3.5m in width and 4.3 m in height as oversize permits do come into play exceeding these measurements.
Some advise me a tiny home cannot exceed wider than 2.5m, how can a larger width tiny home on wheels be achieved?
It’s rather simple, under most state transport departments, a fixed load on a roadworthy registered trailer should not exceed more than 2.5m, however there is no restriction in how the tiny house as a load can be bolted to the trailer providing the correct engineering design has been carried out. Alphaline Tiny Homes can assist in finer detail when analyzing the design needs.
Can you build me a custom designed tiny home?
Absolutely. We can custom design something for you from scratch. Or you can make alterations to any of our existing models to better suit your needs. Just get in touch with us today to arrange a DNA consultation.
Can you provide ceramic tiling options in bathroom areas?
Yes this is possible, and very much needed for a THYbrid™ and THOS tiny home product.
Can I choose between a skillion and gable roof style?
Generally, both options are possible unless there are some height restrictions, however this can be selected on a case by case basis with not too much difference in cost.
Can we choose our own cladding type?
Yes, we have a few cladding options to select. Consideration is always needed for weight, bush fire attack & proximity to any saltwater applications. We have solutions for all applications to give a variety of choice.
What about colours externally, are there options?
Yes, we have most colours available and where energy saving is critical, in keeping the external colours lighter will assist in keeping the inside of the house cooler.
Can you provide any form of energy certification?
Windows in your standard tiny home design seem to be larger than other tiny homes, giving more natural light, how can this be achieved from an engineering point of view?
Yes, this is an important part of the design, making sure there is sufficient opportunity for natural light and also making sure there is still suitable bracing required to meet wind classifications with regard to the structural integrity.
Can skylights be added to provide more natural light?
Do you offer double glazing in the windows?
Yes absolutely, this is very common giving you the luxury of living anywhere within Australia and maintaining quality temperatures internally. A must for some environments and is often selected as part of the customization selection phase of the design process. The other option is to use E glass being able to control weight and still provide some energy savings. We are passionate about energy saving and making living comfortable & can assist in these areas.
Are your tiny homes insulated and to what level of rating?
Keeping your homes warm in winter and cool in summer is critical. As standard, with a THOW the external walls and ceiling is insulated and with a 90mm frame, this is easily achieved providing sufficient space for extra air. For any THYbrid™ or THOS product, we need to meet the national code on the energy requirements. For a THOS home needing a council building permit, orientation can be supplied, and this would be considered so its unique to the exact building. With a THYbrid™ home, we make sure each orientation meets code from an energy point of view, meaning that it can be positioned facing North, South, West, or East ensuring it will meet the current obligations.
Off Grid Options
Can your tiny homes be utilised in an off-grid application using solar?
Yes, commonly done, utilising solar panels with battery storage.
Can you provide compost or incinerator toilets as an option?
Yes, this is commonly provided with all our models.
Can my roof water be captured & stored in a tank for general water use?
Yes, this is commonly done. Round down pipe droppers are provided on one end of the tiny home as standard in the gutter for down pipes to be connected and directed into a rainwater tank once the tiny home is set up on site.
Site Preparation, Delivery & Connection
Do we need to level my site for the positioning of a tiny home prior to delivery?
Ideally, a level site will make it much easier, this could be done prior with a small excavator, making the site set up less complicated. If the pad needs to be cut, special consideration needs to be given to any drainage requirements. Ensure to cover this at the time of our design needs analysis.
Who would normally connect the plumbing & electrical to your tiny new home when delivered?
We try to make the standard THOW a plug and play where possible, however a licensed local plumber may be needed and an electrician if you are wanting to connect the electrical in a more permanent basis.
How should I prepare for the delivery of my new tiny home?
We’ll discuss this with you in detail prior to the assembly of your tiny home to ensure there will be no access issues on delivery day. However, a few things to keep in mind is to ensure that the area where your tiny home will be placed is level and that access isn’t going to be impeded in any way by tree branches, a narrow driveway etc. If solar is a must have, ensure that you will not place the panels into shaded areas as this could affect the performance of your solar system.
Do you deliver Australia-wide?
Yes, we can arrange transport into every part of Australia.
Do we need to register our Tiny Home with the relevant transport state authority?
This will depend on how often you plan to move your tiny home. A roadworthy approved trailer with a VIN is critical, however if its intended to only move it once to your property and you utilize the services of a specialist towing company, it may not be needed as a trade plate can be used by the towing contractor. This can be looked at in more detail when ordering your tiny home.
How do I connect my tiny home to sewage?
Our tiny homes come complete with standard flushing toilets which are ready for your local plumber to connect to an existing mains or septic sewer system. If you wish to use a composting toilet, these can be added as an upgrade to give more flexibility rather than connecting to a sewer system.
How do I connect my tiny home to water?
Much like your average caravan, our tiny homes can connect to a water source via a garden hose. If you’d like to take your tiny home off the grid, rain water tanks can be purchased to harvest the roof water.
How do I connect my tiny home to electricity?
Much like your average caravan, our tiny homes can connect to a power source via an electrical lead. Mains power is 15amps which is suitable for running appliances – fridge, TV etc. If you’d like to take your tiny home off the grid, solar panels and battery packages can be added.
Where are your tiny homes manufactured and what is a typical build time?
We have a factory in Brendale, North side of Brisbane where all our tiny homes are manufactured from the trailer through to completion. The manufacturing process following the planning from start to finish can be approximately 5 weeks. With our current processes, we are able to provide a definite time for delivery providing you with an accurate date of arrival or collection.
Can a factory tour be arranged?
Yes, this is possible during working hours M-F. An appointment is necessary before attending the factory at Brendale.
How much of the Tiny home is manufactured in a controlled environment in the factory?
We employ over 60 people and manufacture every part of the home under roof cover. This includes the trailer base, framing and cabinetry, ensuring we can control the overall quality of your completed tiny home.
Why is steel framing used for all your tiny homes?
The steel used is 100% recyclable and with the modern technology used in-house to manufacture the frames, wastage is virtually non-existent, which makes it the most sustainable option. In addition, the lightweight steel frames do provide efficient bracing and tie-down capability especially for cyclonic environments.
Do you provide fly screens with all windows?
This is an optional extra, however if compliance is required to ensure the home can be used in a bush fire area, fly screens will be an essential requirement.
How much does it cost to purchase a tiny home?
As a rough ballpark figure, we can design, construct, and deliver a tiny home from $89,000. We can also help make your tiny home dreams come true with a range of flexible buying options. Get in touch with us today to learn more about the design needs analysis.
Ready to go tiny?
To learn more about our tiny homes, or to request a no obligation consultation, simply fill out the form below. One of our friendly team members will get back to you as soon as possible to answer your enquiry.