Skyrocketing Interest

Alright, it’s been about five months or so since I even heard of tiny houses and the whole “tiny home movement” thing. As soon as I saw them on television, I knew they would take off because, one, they are low-cost, two, they are low-maintenance, and three, they are better all-around for the environment. What I didn’t expect, is how fast they would take off!

I mentioned in an earlier post on The Tiny Home Facebook page that after spending time at an open house put on by Steve Zaleschuk of Finished Right Contracting, I saw the potential and the interest from people who attended. At that point he had built two tinys and was working on his third. Since then we have got orders for six more! SIX MORE…and it’s only been like three months since the open house. That’s insane! At that pace I may be able to quit my full-time job and just design tiny houses for a living soon.

The Laws & Bylaws

Now, because I know one of the biggest questions regarding buying or building a tiny home is “where am I allowed to park it?”, I am trying to contact as many municipalities as possible to find out where they stand regarding tiny homes in their jurisdiction. I will try to get a list going on here and try as much as possible to keep it updated, although we always recommend doing your due diligence and homework before you move forward.

Send Me Your Feedback

More people are starting to discover this blog and The Tiny Home Page on Facebook and I love it. What I would love more is your feedback! Give me some comments on each post, send me messages, send me an email, send me photos of your tiny house, send me your ideas, stories, etc. I plan to start a Gallery page where I will display photos sent in by you guys. I also plan to start a Stories page where I will display your tiny home stories and an Ideas page where I will display great space-saving ideas, design ideas, etc. so stay tuned for those.

For right now, I am busy designing so talk to you all later.



Finished Right

I am currently working with Steve Zaleschuk of Finished Right Contracting near Edmonton, Alberta. I approached Steve a while back to see if I could do some design work for him to build up my design portfolio and also to get into the Tiny House revolution.

Steve has been great to work with. He is very knowledgeable and does really great work. The best thing about Steve is he has been building tiny homes that meet or exceed building codes right from the very first one he built.

Here are some photos from his very first build which was featured on the HGTV show Tiny House Hunters.


What is a Tiny Home?

One of the biggest questions I get asked most often from people is, “What is a Tiny Home?” It’s a fair question, and I am going to try to explain as much as I can from what I have learned from research and hearsay from ‘the experts’.

How Big is a Tiny Home?

A tiny home is a self-contained structure that is typically under 500 square feet (46.5 square meters).

Now the dimensions are where we get into some regulations. I am sure the restrictions and bylaws are different everywhere you go, and this also depends on whether or not you intend to transport your tiny home, but here is what I have noticed mostly everywhere in Canada and the United States.

Anything under 8′-6″ wide and 13′-6″ high from ground to peak can be transported without a permit. The allowable lengths differ from province to province and state to state. Here is a handy AAA reference. Anything between 8′-6″ wide and 12′-0″ wide requires a permit to transport, which vary in cost anywhere from $20 to $200 (check with your local municipality). Anything over 12′-0″ requires a pilot truck, and I am pretty sure those probably are not cheap.

Now, those dimensions are for tinys that require transport. If you are planning to build on site and not transport your tiny anywhere, local bylaws apply and I urge you to check them BEFORE you build. I have seen structures torn down because they did not adhere to local bylaws.

Where Can I Park a Tiny Home?

The best answer I can give to this question is you should be able to legally park a tiny home anywhere you can legally park a flat-deck trailer or RV. As with the building to code, location is another very grey area right now. I am finding that most times on the good old television shows like Tiny House Big Living, people are parking them on private owned land. On other shows like Tiny House Hunters, I see a lot of people parking them at RV parks.

Perhaps the best answer is to do your homework and due diligence and check with your local bylaw enforcement agency.

Does a Tiny Home Have to be Built to Building Code?

While we are discussing grey areas, now would be a great time to get really grey. The really grey area is the National Building Code (or provincial Building Code in my case for Alberta). Part 9 of The Alberta Building Code states that it applies to structures 3 storeys or less with a building area not exceeding 600 square meters (6,458.4 square feet). It also states that it does not apply to an accessory building not greater than 10 square meters (107.6 square feet).

The grey area is this, tinys can be on wheels (mobile) or built on skids  which makes them non-permanent structures which the building code does not apply to. But at the same time, once you are ‘living’ in a structure, it must meet certain safety requirements. Athough the code doesn’t specifically list ‘Tiny Homes’ or ‘Tiny Houses’, it does say words like ‘structures’ and ‘dwellings’ so technically I would say it applies. This is not an issue as there are some tiny home builders out there that already build to meet or exceed building code such as Finished Right Contracting.

The bottom line is, ALWAYS check with local municipalities regarding bylaws and use a builder that ensures your tiny is code-compliant whether it is required or not because they will be better structures in the end.