Over the years, new buildings across Australia have remained bigger in square metres, on average, than elsewhere in the world. However, this love of huge homes is gradually being watered down by the increasing cost of designing and building homes, which results in rising house prices. This rising cost of living has begun forcing owners to begin trading their master suites with extra bedrooms in exchange for tiny houses—something a little smaller but affordable.
So, what factors affect the size of your tiny house?
Tiny houses range in size, between 120 and 500 square feet, depending on the tiny house owner’s particular lifestyle and needs, according to McCarthy Homes, a house builder in Brisbane. Another factor that may affect the size of your tiny house is the regulatory framework that covers the design and construction details, which dictates the minimum size of tiny houses in any specific locale.
Tiny houses and council planning requirements
Council planning regulates how property should be used, which determines the property’s size, type of building, and the materials with which a property should be constructed. Council planning schemes also include zoning regulations, which require a minimum size for and number of residential dwellings; however, a few variances are permitted on application.
Alternatives for and against restrictive zoning regulations
1. Ancillary dwellings
Ancillary dwellings, also referred to as granny flats, are usually a preferred alternative to tiny houses, as ancillary dwellings are not affected by minimum size restraints, but only by maximum size restrictions. These granny flats ought to, however, be subordinate to a main residential dwelling. Therefore, if you classify your tiny house as an ancillary dwelling, you will avoid having to build it on an empty lot.
2. Tiny houses on wheels
Building your tiny house on wheels will allow you to escape the jurisdiction of planning law, as the tiny house will not be regulated as a permanent building but a caravan, whose Australian Design Rules for their construction are stipulated in the Motor Vehicle Standards Act.
While the law, in many respects, is yet to catch up with the demands of the tiny house movement, legal issues remain a major regulatory factor in the development of tiny houses. It is, however, advisable that you engage your local council’s planning department in determining the specific regulations that apply to your property demands.