Frequently asked questions
How much do your tiny homes cost?
We can design tiny homes to suit varying budgets. Our designs are available as complete builds, or in 2 different stages of completion, allowing DIYers to build upon a solid foundation. As our builds are bespoke, there is not set pricing (as it is based on your specifications) but an average 8m tiny house will cost around $150,000-$170,000. We provide a quote for customs builds and have fixed price contracts - here is the process for custom design builds.
Will I need building or resource consent?
Building Consent: A
court case decision from February 2020 ruled that Tiny homes are no different from caravans - our Tiny Homes are built as road-registered and warranted vehicles, and vehicles are exempt from the Building Act. But whether or not they’re considered a vehicle or a structure under the building act can change, depending on what you yourself do with it once you have it parked up...
“A vehicle such as a caravan or mobile home would only be considered a building if it were both immovable and occupied permanently or on a long-term basis.”
So if you plan to occupy it permanently, you need to ensure that the tiny house remains movable to ensure it remains exempt from the Building Act. You can find more info about this in a document called
“when is a structure a vehicle or building?”.
There is also
an interesting MBIE determination (2015/004) on this topic with a useful decision tree in the appendix that you can use to determine if the building act applies to your tiny house build.
Resource consent isn't so clear cut, rules regarding living in vehicles can be found at a district council level, and vary greatly from council to council. It depends on things like... what your intended use for the tiny house is, how your property is zoned, what's already on the property, where within your property you plan to park, for what period of time, and what services you plan to connect to, and how you plan to connect. So as such, it’s not possible to make blanket statements about what’s allowed throughout New Zealand.
While some district councils are actively welcoming tiny homes on wheels, this is not the case with all councils. We recommend you contact your district council and discuss it with them. Some councils are starting to provise resources specific to tiny homes these are:
- Western BOP
this discussion paper written by the Western Bay of Plenty District Council, covers definitions, and discusses many useful topics from a council perspective.
- Christchurch City Council: they wrote
this helpful guide in conjunction with the Canterbury Tiny House Society.
his guide by the Waimakariri District Council provides some clarity for those in this region
- And the
Hutt City Council has written this resource.
If you would like to see more clarity about how various regulations do and do not apply to tiny homes on wheels across the country we recommend that you become a member of the
NZ Tiny House Association. The Association has been formed to represent members of the Tiny House community, with the aim to foster innovation, promote the growth of the tiny house movement in New Zealand, and empower people with information and resources to assist them while they are working with councils to apply for consent to live legally in tiny houses. Build Tiny Ltd are proud to be a founding member of the NZTHA.
Where can I park a tiny house?
Drop flyers in letterboxes in your community, you never know who might have the ideal spot!
Check with campgrounds in your area if they accommodate for long term tiny house parking.
Do you offer delivery?
You can collect from Katikati or we can arrange delivery. Our tiny homes can be towed without a pilot vehicle, however, you will need to be experienced at towing and have a vehicle capable of towing 3500kg, if the GMV of your vehicle and the tiny house is greater than 6000kg you will require a class 2 license.
The following prices are estimates - we would need to individually price for delivery to your location at the time of transportation.
By Road from Katikati
Palmerston North $1695.00+GST
By Sea from Port of Tauranga $2600+GST
Delivery to the ports of Lyttleton, Nelson or Wellington. Drop off and collection drivers at will need to be inducted onto the port. Please note this cost doesn't include the cost to transport the tiny house from the Build Tiny workshop in Katikati to the port of Tauranga, or from the port (Lyttleton, Nelson, or Wellington) to your site, it is simply the shipping cost from port to port.
Do you do custom tiny house builds?
Yes! that's our specialty, here's some
more information about this process.
We've actually never built two tiny homes exactly the same, there is almost always some level of customisation involved in every tiny house we build. By using a previous build as a starting point, we can customise any of our tiny house designs to meet your specific needs, or even start from scratch. We have a 2 designers in-house (Gina and Karen) who will create plans and 3D models of your dream tiny house together in collaboration with you. That said, if you fall in love with one of our previous builds, we'd be more than happy to produce a replica for you.
How long does it take to build?
We'll do our best to work to your time frame. We can turn a tiny house build around in roughly 4 months time. You'll get a specific completion date specified in your build contract, and this will take into consideration the availability of major build elements such as the trailer and frames, as well as what other work we have in the pipeline. If you're going for a custom build, you'll need to allow some time for the design and quote process to take place first, here is a bit more information about that process.
Is it possible to get financing for a tiny house?
Bank Financing: Firstly, because a tiny house is a vehicle, it's unlikely to qualify for a home loan through a bank. However, they may offer you a personal loan, or if you have an existing home loan, you may be able to add the cost of the tiny house to this. Alternatively, if you don't have an existing home loan to leverage, some banks have issued home loans for tiny homes provided there is a guarantor to secure the loan. Contact your bank to discuss the options available to you.
Kiwisaver: We often get asked if you can use your Kiwisaver to purchase a tiny house on wheels, unfortunately a tiny house is considered a vehicle and you can not withdraw your Kiwisaver to purchase a vehicle.
Alternative financing: There are independent financing companies and brokers who offer financing for tiny homes, here are a couple that we know of...
We are not affiliated with, nor do we endorse these companies. We recommend that you seek independent financial advice before you enter into any financial agreement.
Do you also build tiny houses that are not on wheels?
No, at this stage we're focusing our efforts on building the best tiny homes on wheels in New Zealand.
Do you offer a warranty?
Yes, this is covered in our terms of trade document. There are also clauses in our contract regarding the warranty period. To summarise these clauses, Build Tiny will supply the client with a handover pack containing product and appliance warranties. Build Tiny offers a one year warranty on workmanship. This warranty does not include damage from the result of an accident, the tiny house being misused, repaired or altered by anyone other than Build Tiny Ltd. The warranty only applies if the trailer has been maintained and not exceed its towing weight limits as instructed in the handover pack.
What are my options for water tanks?
We don't recommend on-board water tanks unless you are building a super portable, small tiny home that is designed for travel. If like most people you are going to be parked up on a piece of land for an extended period, we recommend that you either use mains water available on site, or use a large standard water tank that you place near the tiny house, and pump water from there to your tiny house. This is much cheaper than custom onboard tanks and will reduce the weight on your trailer.
Can I come and visit the workshop and see a tiny home?
Yes, we'd love to meet you, you can
make an appointment here, we're available on Tuesdays, Thursdays and every second Saturday. We are a busy workshop, so have set times for visits. You must be wearing closed-in shoes in the workshop, no jandals or sandals, this is a health & safety requirement. We prefer not to have children in the workshop, but if you are not able to arrange alternative childcare during your visit, then children must be strictly supervised by you at all times inside the workshop. If you can't find us, or are running late, please call us on 07 549 2864
You're also welcome to
book a nights stay in one of our Airbnb Tiny homes, that way you can truly test out tiny living.
What are my options for solar power?
As a customisation / upgrade, solar panels can be installed on the roof of your Tiny House at an additional cost, making you fully off-grid. We’ll tailor a solar package to your power usage/requirements, but a typical tiny house set up costs $17,850 and the basic specifications are as follows:
Inverter: Victron Easysolar 24/3000/70-50, Panels: 6 x Trina 270w Honey Poly Module, Batteries: 4 x C&D 12V 192Ah c20 FT Lead Carbon Cyclic Battery. Battery Monitor: BMV700 (Battery monitoring module) & 1 x Victron VE Direct Bluetooth Smart Dongle. Please allow for a generator for use on multiple days of limited sunshine.
How are waste and grey water treated?
Our homes come standard with a fresh-water inlet and a grey-water outlet with a piece of hose. You'll need to set up a greywater collection/treatment system on site, here is a great starting point/resource on this topic. Environmentally friendly composting toilets eliminate black water, meaning that there is only grey-water requiring treatment/disposal - contact your district council to discuss the requirements in your area.
What are your payment terms?
We work on a progress payments system, and request a 30% deposit on signing of the contract. We then have 2 further progress payments of 30% to be paid at set milestone points based on the progress of your build. There is then a final 10% payment to be paid upon completion before pickup/delivery.
Do you sell plans for your tiny house designs
No, our plans are not available for sale in NZ or overseas.
Do you do international Shipping
At this stage we're not offering international shipping and are unlikely to do so in the future. Our homes are built for NZ weather conditions, to NZ Road Transport Legislation, and to NZ building code requirements (in-so-far as is possible and practical for a vehicle). You're welcome to purchase one of our tiny homes and arrange your own international shipping. We can assist with delivery to the nearest international port and you can then take charge of your own shipping form that point onwards at your own risk. You will need to find your own shipping line and source pricing for this yourself. You will also need to do your own due diligence around any relevant vehicle or building code legislation in your home country as well as payment of any necessary insurances, import duty and taxes.
What kind of toilets do you use?
Our default toilet is the Bambooloo composting toilet, handcrafted right here in New Zealand. We love it so much we did a video testimonial. That said, you're certainly welcome to specify a different toilet in your custom tiny house. To see a range of other composting toilets suitable for tiny homes click here. We can also install chemical toilets, incinerating toilets, and flush toilets depending on your situation.
Can I visit the build tiny workshop to review the progress of my build?
Yes, we welcome arranged visits from our customers to check up on the progress of their builds. We encourage people come and take a look at the completion of each building stage.
How big can a tiny house be?
Our tiny homes are licenced and registered vehicles and therefore they have to meet a certain criteria for weight and size, this is set by NZTA and more information can seen here. The biggest we've been able to build and meet the 3500kg weight limit is 8m long x 2.4m wide x 4.3m high. There are lots of "ifs-ands-and buts" to go with that, so here's a full blog post on this topic.