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March 14th 2018

March14,2018  -  MAV Offices, 60 Collins Street, Melbourne CBD

HowCare Interest Group met with more than 30 people representing councils and interested bodies, to discuss the issues around housing affordability, tiny houses, and current initiatives.


The meeting opened with introductions, and confirmation that all delegates had a copy of the Tiny House Planning Resource 2017 - A Place For Tiny Houses - prepared by six groups based in Queensland - ESC Consulting, The Tiny House Company, Plannery Co, Shelter, Griffith University, and Tiny Consulting.  Followed a discussion of the Tiny House movement, the concept of Tiny House on Wheels, and various projects described in the resource document  - the overall program and links to relevant sites and data are here:

                MARCH 14th, 2018

10.30 am 1.    Welcome/introductions

10.50 am
2.    Context/scope (Tom Danby  0425711935 )

Directory -
Tiny Houses - - Bryce Langston
THoW builders - - Grant Emens ( NSW ) - Fred Schultz - Ric Butler - Ferne King - Elle Paton

- - Heather Shearer  Griffith University
Small Houses -

 - Sally Wills. - - Tafe design competition

11.10 am
3.   Council Experiences
            - Judy Clarke ( Mitchell Shire -Transition Town Wallan project )
            - Footscray/VicRoads - Launch Housing project - Steven Lionakis
            - Jan Stewart ( Mt Alexander project and Tiny Homes Foundation project )

11.30 am
4.    Public Experience ( to date and in 2018 )  

  [ these next two sessions to underline the huge public interest and demand ]
Jan Stewart - May CBD special exhibition of Tiny Houses
Jodi Rashbrook - proposed ATA Sept THoW expo

Kulja Coulson - Sanctuary Magazine f
Darren Hughes - Tiny House Australia

  speaker on Australia at 2018 US THoW annual convention. 14,000 member facebook group convenor, tiny house builder.

Lunch Break 12.00 - 1.00 pm

1.00 pm
5.     Tiny House - Council Liaison and Consulting    

Janine Strachan  -   Green Design Solutions

Pubic Consulting - - Kate Trivic

1.20 pm
6.         Australian Tiny House Association ( maturing of the industry )
            -  Jan Stewart - Tiny Non Profit -  

-  Briefing on the
            -  introduction to NOAH ( virtual certification ) -

1.40 pm
7.    How Can Councils Address Housing Affordability through Tiny Houses?
            - 1. unlock low and medium density suburbs through tiny secondary dwellings, 
and cluster housing -  - QShelter

            - 2. unlock vacant land through bylaws changes .e.g.: Tiny House as Caretaker proposal -

2.00 pm
8.    Trial Councils: - councils prepared to trial THoW models and how they will address this ( rent , caretaker, etc )

2.20 pm
9.    Next Steps - call for more pilots, discussion, .....

In Summary, this meeting was an expansion of the first short meeting, more information was presented and it was particularly of note to hear about - 

  • the scale of work, and the degree of community consultation required in the Launch Housing project;
  • the stages in planning and council involvement in the Wallan project;
  • the scale of the Alternative Technology Association’s involvement in energy and sustainability innovation, and depth of interest their members have in housing issues;
  • the size, and degree of activity, of the various tiny house public interest groups, particularly their use of social media, and their growing participation in council supported information nights and events;

After the lunch break, Janine Strachan gave an detailed professional presentation of her tiny house on wheels building project, which included her data on its ability to meet energy efficiency and bushfire zone design regulations. This prompted discussion of the Victorian building codes, caravan regulations, and of the bushfire safety issue.

The second last session recapped the original tiny house as caretaker proposal and triggered more discussion on the current caravan bylaws, and the diverse approaches to affordable housing being tried in councils. 

The last session saw the formation of a small interest group prepared to examine ways to trial using Tiny House on Wheels on vacant land as a housing alternative - shown above.

My personal conclusions:

Review of Regulations

From this meeting, the first session, and from other correspondence, it is clear that councils are engaged with the issues around affordable housing; are quite well informed about alternatives like a Tiny House on Wheels; and are supportive of innovation - but have as their primary responsibility the implementation of existing by-laws, planning and building regulations, and relevant community safety rules and recommendations.

Suggested Action Point : as no major issues have arisen in these meetings, and as a working group has been formed, it may be the time to approach politicians and public policy groups with the aim of gathering support for changes to the regulations.

Caravan Classifications

A recurring point of discussion was how Tiny Houses were different from caravans, with emphasis on construction materials used, internal volumes and air flow, house like fittings and breadth of services and sanitation. In parallel, there were discussions on the justification of caravans attracting short stay limits, with the lack of long term livability being a frequent comment.

Suggested Action Point : could a second tier be added to the caravan regulations such that Tiny Houses that meet specific design and construction regs, are recognised as long-term living residences, and then would be allowed renewable 12 month stay permits? 

My thanks to all who have attended and contributed to these meetings and discussions

Tom Danby


February 12 2018

February 10th - Fred’s Tiny Houses, Castlemaine.

February 11th - Sustainable Living Festival Melbourne

Busy weekend - On Saturday, I attended Fred Schultz’s launch of his latest tiny house on wheels - a tailored build for a woman moving into her elderly parents property as a temporary carer accommodation.

Jan Stewart was also there and introduced me to Chris Wenban - Tiny Footprint, builders near Whittlesea - They are one of the builders interested in the Noah certification program and process. 

I also met a couple of people from the Geelong Men’s Shed who are exploring ways they can be involved in Tiny House projects. ( They would love to be full builders but they are also considering starting a special component makers - insulated small windows, and space efficient under bench cupboards to suit full build designs.

On Sunday I attended the Sustainable Living Festival as a volunteer on the ATA stand - - and also visited other exhibitors and met up with Darren and Lisa from Tiny Houses Australia - Darren was a guest speaker

I also met Janine Strachan - - who has been in contact with John Hennessy - and are branching into SIPS panel based THoW, and 

Anthony Buck, a freelance visualisation expert. He takes plans and creates images and 3D walk arounds, plus prepares planning submission documents, and has worked for a number of businesses in the PreFabAustralia guild. He is very keen to prepare visualisations for any Tiny House projects to help get them through the council planning process, or acquire support and/or funding.

Jodi Rashbrook - events manager for the ATA - is very keen on Tiny Houses. They are planning a feature in the next edition of Sanctuary Magazine,  and she is going to talk to the editor about us, and to the various groups of the previous newsletter.  Jodi is also keen to have a Tiny House Exhibition on the Saturday prior to their major Open House Sunday 16th September -  She was thinking of the Coburg Velodrome Park - Charles Street Nth Coburg, which is being used now for music and community events. 

Her plan is to bring example Tiny House on Wheels to one location, as a meet and inform event ( She also manages the ATA Speed Date an Expert events )

Idea of Trade Day followed by Exhibition - Sept 2018 ??

Talking to these people, I raised the idea of an industry conference - suggesting that Friday 14th September be set aside for a non-public conference of as many Tiny House businesses, associations, support systems ( like insurance ) and social enterprises as possible get together for a trade day, with pre-conference papers and contact listings, to discuss the industry and ensure we move beyond silo enthusiasts and micro businesses, towards a broader self regulating ( build quality and certification standards ) industry - the idea is to have an industry day, followed by the ATA exhibition event to reward builders and designers through a sales opportunity, and encourage them to come to Melbourne.

More as I get feedback,  Tom

February 7 2018

February 7, 2017  -  Hub Southern Cross - 2-696 Bourke Street, Melbourne

Tom Danby met with Jan Stewart and Elle Paton, both members of the newly formed Australian Tiny House Association Inc. to share information on their projects, the HowCare proposal, and the many Tiny House and affordable housing programs and projects that we are aware of.

Background Information: 

NOAH - - is a self regulated, National Organization of Alternative Housing, based in the USA. It is intended as a national trade association of builders, manufacturers and DIY tiny house builders.

A key part of their program is The Noah Standard, a nationally recognised certificate that shows a build as meeting recognised safety, construction and energy efficiency standards. They do this by requiring videos of the build at specific phases of constructionto demostrate compliance - foundation or trailor, framing and attachmenrs, each phase of trade installation ( plumbing, electrics, gas, and insulation ).

It is a form of virtual building inspection, and the results are archived so that purchasers of commercial builds, re-buyers of secondhand builds, and insurances agencies can view and confirm certification. (cf: current BCA inspections & certificates! )

Local Groups and Projects

Jan and Elle are also involved with Tiny Homes Non Profit - - a collective using their web site to provide an overview, access to resources, and feedback, to tiny house builders to encourage further development. 

Of particular note is their comprehensive google spreadsheet based databases of current council regulations,and overseas initiatives, with summaries and deep links, and the link to Tiny House Hub - a directory of builders, events, blogs and feedback, print and DVD resources, and photo archive submitted by Australian members.

Two Melbourne based Tiny House designers and builders - Tiny Footprints 

  • and TinyHouse2Go -  with ESC Consulting - ( contributors to A Place for Tiny Houses report 2017  ) are collaborating with Tiny Homes Non Profit to build sample Tiny House on Wheels to the Noah Standard, and display them at public locations in inner suburban Melbourne, in conjunction with Melbourne Knowledge Week ( May 7-14, 2018 ) as part of a program to demonstrate alternative housing options for both the elderly and those needing emergency accommodation.

Jan Stewart was connected via Kellie to the Gosford Tiny Homes Foundation project, which launched this week - - and is currently involved in a Housing Project at Castlemaine, Victoria, along with Fred & Shannon Schultz  -

Jan and Elle took copies of the HowCare proposal and will talk to their respective groups about using the caretaker model as part of the argument for improved council support for Tiny House accommodation.

Last - we have a provisional booking for the next full day council seminar 

                        MAV - Wednesday March 14th 

December 12 2017

December 12, 2017  -  MAV Offices, 60 Collins Street, Melbourne CBD

HowCare Interest Group met with 18 people representing councils and interested bodies, to discuss the issues around housing affordability, tiny houses, and current initiatives.

The meeting opened with introductions, and confirmation that all delegates had a copy of the Tiny House Planning Resource 2017 - A Place For Tiny Houses - prepared by six groups based in Queensland - ESC Consulting, The Tiny House Company, Plannery Co, Shelter, Griffith University, and Tiny Consulting.

There followed a discussion of the Tiny House movement, the concept of Tiny House on Wheels, and various projects described in the resource document.

The meeting then opened to hear from the delegates. While there was consensus on the need for more affordable housing, the range of issues blocking this was quite diverse.

Amanda Power - Moyne Shire ( centered around Warrnambool ) highlighted the existing council requirement that housing blocks have septic tanks, and how this was a problem in the micro hamlets in her area, as the cost made development of these already small, titled allotments prohibitive.

Lucas Gardiner - Mornington Peninsula has the same requirement, that an unsewered block must have a full treatment plant installed at any point of change of ownership, or when a redevelopment or build is planned.

Fiona Stephens and Jo Wilson - Mitchell Shire ( Wallan and Broadford ) discussed a large multiple tiny dwelling project, with central support services buildings, underway for youth rehabilitation and drug support service. This is a five year plan with a budget of around $1 million. This was compared to the Launch Housing project in Footscray using VicRoads surplus land with budget of $5 million ( described in the resource document )

Julian Peck and Louise - Mt Alexander Shire talked about their ongoing discussions with Fred Schultz ( Fred’s Tiny Houses ) and the Castlemaine Housing Project group on house options and impediments.

The general outcome of the meeting was the recognition of common problems in addressing affordable housing; the mix of older bylaws and planning regulations that hinder development projects; the opportunity for sharing experiences at both councillor and planning officer levels; and the potential of tiny house projects ( mobile, micro house, and relocatable ) to support council initiatives.

This meeting was only 2 hours, and there was requests from delegates present, and from those unable to attend, that a full day be scheduled in early 2018 for a follow up and more detailed discussion


© Talah 2018