We are officially out of the ground! Today the concrete got poured for our house and we're pretty darn excited. Anyone that has built before knows getting out of the ground is one of the longest, slowest parts of the build. And what with crappy winter weather we've had recently it feels like we've been waiting for this day for a while. But it's happened & we're so excited to see it all progressing.
I thought now would be a good time to share why we went with a tiny house on foundations rather than the very popular tiny house on wheels.... When we really started talking seriously about downsizing, we first looked at the idea of tiny houses on wheels (THOW). This is the most common type of tiny house and examples of incredible THOW's can be found all over Youtube and social media now. Many people choose THOW's because of the ease of being able to move their home if they need to. The pricepoint of a THOW is often more attractive because you don't have to own the land. And of course being on wheels means you fall under transport regulations, not building regulations (although this is a grey area & is likely to change). Not having to build to specific code & go through the rigmarole of council consent is obviously attractive (having just gone through this process ourselves we can certainly see why people try to avoid it & the costs involved!). The reason we decided a THOW wasn't for us is because the mobility of the house wasn't a priority for us, we still wanted to own some land and being on wheels has it's design restrictions because your home has to stay within set road-legal dimensions.
We briefly looked into container homes, another form of a tiny house. This is where we kicked our ideas up a gear and got in touch with our builder to quiz him about the logistics of building with containers. We quickly realised from talking to him and doing some more research that while it may seem cheaper to use a container versus conventional building materials there are drawbacks and factors that need to be added into consideration. You're also limited by the dimensions of the container/s which reduces flexibility for the design.
In the end we decided on a more conventional to-building-code house on foundations - just a really small build compared to the average NZ home (which is now over 200sqm!). This way we could design a floor plan that worked perfectly for us without making compromises, we'd have a home that was easily insurable, equitable and built to NZ building standards. We'd still be 'in the system' as such (owning land, connected to services etc) but we'd get a home that would last us our lifetime and we'd be able to achieve financial freedom much faster than had we stayed in our big house.
Building a tiny house on foundations definitely has it's drawbacks too though and won't suit everybody going down the path of going tiny. Because it falls under building regulations you have all those costs to add in. Having to adhere to those regulations also means you might have to forego some amazing tiny house design ideas (such as a simple ladder up to a loft would instead have to be a compliant staircase). Going off-grid with your services (such as a composting toilet & greywater systems) isn't going to be as easy when having to be signed off by council. And it could be tricky to find land that you can build tiny on because of minimum size restrictions in certain regions.
That's the beautiful thing about tiny houses - they're specifically unique to the people living in them. What works for some, won't work for others. We are so excited to live in the space we've designed uniquely for us. And today we are one step closer.