Tiny Houses on Wheels (THOW) and Skids (THOS) do not fit neatly into any regulations at the National, State or Local level. Here we provide information on the regulations for consideration and explain what ATHA is doing to help reduce the regulatory barriers for the living legally in tiny houses.
The trailers that THOWs are constructed on need to comply with the Vehicle Standards Bulletin VSB1 Revision 5.
National Construction Code (NCC) – Building Code of Australia (BCA) Volume 2 2019
The NCC provides nationally consistent set of performance requirements and standards that the building and construction industry must construct to. The BCA Volume 2 deals with housing and there are State variations that are allowed, and these may include but are not limited to: climatic differences, definitions, accessibility, administering agencies and other regulations.
Tiny houses on wheels are not currently required to be built to the BCA, as they do not fit the building classified in the BCA for being a permanent structure. Complying with the BCA, assumes that the building would apply for and obtain a building permit for the particular building class, however the tiny house builders and do it yourself builders could still use the BCA for construction guidance, without applying for a building permit.
Where a tiny house on wheels is issued with a building permit this will substantially increase the acceptance of tiny houses across Australia. However, in saying that there are some elements within the BCA Vol 2, which are challenging for tiny houses to address, particularly: sleeping lofts, stair access to lofts, minimum ceiling heights in sleeping lofts, minimum ceiling heights in bathrooms and kitchens, balustrading, and laundry washing facilities. In addition, where a tiny house is moved from site to site a new building permit would be required each time. However, in some states there maybe the opportunity for partial compliance provisions of the regulations, which allow existing conditions to remain subject to certain criteria being met. Thereby reducing the regulatory hurdles each time.