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What’s the maximum size for a Tiny House on wheels in NZ 4?

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This updated guidance comes after the release of the Tiny House Guidance for the Building Act 2004 by MBIE in November 2021


Maximum sizes

When it comes to tiny homes, there are two categories:

01 lightweight / road legal tiny homes (can be towed easily on the road, maximum width of 2.55m to be a registered vehicle)

We recommend a maximum size of 8m long x 2.4m wide, and 4.3m high

02 Oversize / overweight tiny homes (not road legal, must be transported by truck, maximum width of 3.1m for transport purposes)

We have a maximum size of 10 x 3m


Considerations

When choosing the size of your tiny house there are a few considerations.

  • How do you want to transport it? If you want to be able to tow your tiny house on public roads using the trailer provided, then you will need to keep it under 3500kg. Practically speaking, that means a maximum size of not larger than 8m long x 2.4m wide, and 4.3m high, and it will need to be built out of lightweight materials. Keep in mind that it this size, you will need to remove some appliances and cabinetry items to reduce the weight for transport. Alternatively, if you do not want to be able to tow your tiny home on public roads then you can build bigger and heavier, but you will need to transport your tiny house by truck. In that case, weight limits are not such an issue, and a practical maximum size for a tiny house being transported this way is 10 x 3m.
  • What is your budget for delivery? Having a tiny house that is road legal that can be towed on its own trailer on public roads does mean more affordable delivery costs, especially if you are travelling inter-island with your tiny home.
  • What’s your overall budget? – Just with any construction project, the bigger it is, the more materials required the bigger the cost, so to keep the cost of your tiny house down, select the smallest size that you feel can adequately meet your needs.
  • How big is your parking area and access route? – be practical about the space that will be needed to position your tiny house, and how much space is needed along the access route in order to get it in place on delivery day.
  • How many people do you need to accommodate? To state the obvious, the more people you’re accommodating, the bigger the tiny house needs to be. Our advice is that 6×2.4 is adequate for 1 person, 7.2 or 8m x 2.4 is adequate for 2-3 people, and any more than 3 people we’d recommend something bigger and likely wider, say 9×2.4m or 9x3m

Alternatives

Don’t forget that you might be able to extend your living space in the future with a covered deck, or a cabin (check out the ‘Schedule 1’ exemptions to the Building Act for 10 and 30sqm buildings, see section 7.2 – page 16 – of the Tiny House Guidance for the Building Act 2004 by MBIE).

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