What is a tiny house?
As the name suggests, a tiny house is small.
- come in various sizes and shapes because they are usually custom built
- can be moveable, or they can be constructed for a particular site
- can include vehicles such as buses or caravans that are occupied on a permanent basis
- are often seen as the affordable answer to increasing house prices.
Is a tiny house a vehicle or a building?
A tiny house can be considered as a building, a vehicle, or both.
Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has information about whether a structure is a vehicle or a building under the Building Act.
In some circumstances, you might need a building consent even if the tiny house has wheels.
Building Act 2004
If a tiny house is a considered as both a building and a vehicle, the Building Act and New Zealand Building Code (NZBC) will apply.
The NZBC is a performance-based document. It states how a building must perform in its intended use rather than describing exactly how the building must be designed and constructed.
This means, the acceptable standards or solutions in the code (eg. NZS3604) are only one way of meeting the performance requirements of the NZBC.
Because tiny houses are often custom designed, it's useful to consider an alternative solution pathway for compliance. This needs to include technical information from appropriate experts that shows how the project will comply with the NZBC.
Connection to services
If you want to connect a tiny house that isn’t a building to services like water and sewer, you will need a building consent.
District Plan or Resource Management Act
Under the Resource Management Act (RMA) and Council’s District Plan, a tiny house is treated like any other building. If it has cooking and bathroom facilities, it would be considered as an additional dwelling on the site.
A tiny house could be a permitted activity, depending on the site chosen to locate it and where on the site it will be located.
We recommend you meet with one of our planners to talk about your specific site and proposed tiny house. They can let you know if a resource consent is required and advise on how to apply.
Tiny homes may be subject to development contribution fees.
This fee is a one-off charge by Council to contribute to the cost of public infrastructure that is needed to meet the additional demand from housing growth.
Eco Design Advisor service
Council has an Eco Design Advisor who can provide advice on energy efficient design options for new houses, including tiny houses.
Contact us to arrange a pre-application meeting
Because tiny houses are custom, we recommend arranging arrange a pre-application meeting with us and your design team to discuss the specifics of your
To arrange a meeting, call us on 04 570 6666 and ask to speak to our Duty Planner or Building Officer.