Building Compliance for Living Little in a Tiny Home

One of the early thoughts most people have when thinking about all the benefit that can be gained from Living Little is: “Do I need a building consent for a Tiny Home?” It’s a great question and one we’ll answer for you here. We will go through the two options for building compliance in a Tiny Home.

Before getting into the technicalities and compliance it’s important to appreciate that here in New Zealand, there is a deep understanding of the need for secure, long term, affordable and better housing options for all kiwis and visitors. Land is available for a huge amount of small dwelling opportunities and as a rule, our authorities are right behind you in moving into your own home however you decide to achieve this. Owning a Tiny Home has become the best option for lots of New Zealanders. Building compliance is critical and of course, those important processes benefit from an expert eye and strong, capable support along the way. That’s where we can really add value.

There are two directions you can take. Your local Council could interpret the Tiny Home guidelines to confirm that your Little Home meets the criteria for a moveable vehicle and therefore not requiring consent. Alternatively you can choose or be directed to get a code of compliance certificate through the formal building consent process.

Tiny home building compliance through meeting the MBIE Criteria for a Vehicle

The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) released guidelines on Tiny Homes in recognition of a fast growing lifestyle choice for New Zealanders. These guidelines:

… clarify any ambiguity on which rules apply to which tiny houses, particularly for tiny houses on wheels…
This guidance provides detail on these definitions along with considerations to help determine if a tiny house is a
building or a vehicle, or both a building and a vehicle, and which relevant laws they need to comply with”.

Basically, this provides your local council with a mechanism to make it simple and quick to be in a new home with full compliance through the guidelines. Most councils appreciate this however we have come across some councils that have so far, chosen to interpret these guidelines in a way that will divert you to a process of requiring building consent.

A great first step if you’re thinking about Living Little in a structure that is a Tiny Home, is to ask your local authority how they interpret this Tiny House Guidance for the building Act 2004 to give it its’ formal title. Have that conversation or, if you’re a little nervous to, do have a look at the guidance and feel free to give us a call for some advice.

When it comes to Engineering and Design we have a specific niche solution for our Little Homes that complies with the building code and also goes even further to also capture and comply with the new H1 Energy Efficiency clause around insulation and moisture requirements (May 2023). This requires:

“… enclosed spaces where temperature or humidity are modified to provide adequate thermal resistance and to limit
uncontrollable airflow in certain buildings. It also sets out physical conditions likely to affect energy performance, and
requirements for hot water systems, artificial lighting and HVAC systems.”

Keeping up to date with the building code amendments ensures that both the MBIE Guidelines and Building Consent options remain open to you. And important part of developing and delivering small affordable homes is that we continue to provide a valuable option that remains affordable throughout New Zealand.

Compliance Through a Building Consent for your Tiny Home

Where interpretation of the guidelines recommends a building consent and this is the choice that you have made personally, we can obtain that for you quickly and affordably.

In addition to the time and cost advantages, a building consent with Living Little expertise and engineering will result in a permanent 50 year consent. Unlike many other tiny homes, our consent is the same as if you were building a regular house with bricks and mortar.

The process requires building consent for the little home at our end and also at the destination end for the foundation and services. We can organise the destination end consent for you also very economically to make the experience and process as easy as possible .

All you’ll need to do is get a local contractor to hook it up to drains and electricity.

District Planning

Whether you choose compliance through the guidelines or a building consent, all councils do align on their position of seeing little homes and tiny houses as dwellings. This means that you will need to comply with their local district planning rules whether you’re a vehicle or have a building consent.

In contrast to building performance, these planning rules are generally about location of the home on a site i.e. distance from boundaries and what you can and cannot put on site etc. So you do need to be aware of complying with those too.

In our experience most locations can have a minor dwelling site so it’s certainly worth checking to remove any doubt.

About us

Living Little is a small home fabricator manufacturing your spacious little transportable and tiny homes with innovative premium materials. By including a full size kitchen, bathroom and bedroom(s) in a well designed little home you won’t find yourself needing to squeeze in or climb up. Every space feels generous and comfortable.

Give Sophie a call to find out more and discover how to Live Little.
022 652 8475


Not Sure Where To Start?

Enquire below and we will be in contact to help you start the journey of finding the perfect little home for you.

Get in touch

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.