Edging Away From Theory Towards Reality

Edging Away From Theory Towards Reality
With the plans in hand my first job was to learn how to read them! I spent a few days learning architectural acronyms and notations in order to make sense of what was in front of me. Once I had figured out the basics I started ‘building’ a 3D model of the house in SketchUp so I could get a grip of the elements of house building I needed to learn. Every step seems to spawn a whole set of questions, so this really put into perspective just how much I have to learn. I am not learning one trade, I am trying to learn all trades required to build a house. I certainly have my work cut out for me, as I learn how to wear many different hats. My copy of Building Construction Illustrated has seen a lot of use already!
Modelling the house in 3D has been an invaluable excersise

Modelling the house in 3D has been an invaluable exercise

While I was working on the model I also started getting quotes for the custom trailer that the plans called for. Calling and chasing trailer companies for quotes was quite a frustrating experience. When I did hear back, quotes from companies based in my province of British Columbia were thousands of dollars more than I was expecting. For the same amount of money I worked out I could purchase the crème de la crème of tiny house trailers made in Oregon, US. That is even factoring in the cost of fuel to go and pick it up and all of the fees to import the trailer into Canada. So that is exactly what I am going to do. I figured instead of dealing with the unknown and trusting a trailer manufacturer to build my trailer (most of the companies I had spoken with had little or no experiencing building trailers for tiny houses) I was better off going to experts. Doing this also meant the trailer would be ready in three weeks, and not the four months I was being quoted elsewhere. I have placed my order with Iron Eagle and Carly and I are planning a trip to Oregon to collect it next month. Check out this video if you are interested in the trailer I ordered and why. Originally I had planned on starting the build in the spring once the weather started to improve, however since working on the project I soon realised that I didn’t want to wait this long. This is partly because I was excited to get started, but also because I am continually realising just how much of a task I have ahead of me. I therefore decided to get the trailer ordered with a view to starting the build in January. That way I can get a head start on the project and have plenty of time to complete it before next winter, and maybe even get some much needed rest days. Starting in winter means I need to find somewhere to build the house out of the elements, at least while it isn’t water tight. I have already started the search for a barn where I can start the build, and have even looked at a few options.
I am surrounded be people with barns, but how to contact them? I tried a multi pronged approach.

I am surrounded be people with barns, but how to contact them? I went for a multi pronged approach: online, flyers and asking everyone I meet!

I have also started researching, purchasing and Amazon-wishlisting tools and gear for the project, which is a whole other realm! Hopefully I can borrow some tools from friends (you know who you are) so I don’t have to spend too much all at once.
An unexpected sale purchase or two meant we have to get creative getting them home.

An unexpected sale purchase meant we have to get creative getting them home.

I also spent an afternoon helping out with a local mobile workshop build, which was both interesting and informative. I asked the guys lots of questions, eyed up their workmanship and even did a little work.

A workshop on wheels being built just around the corner

This project just started getting very real!
I will also be maintaing a list of tiny living resources that I have found helpful during my research and build. I really would not have been able to dream that I could take on such a project if it wasn’t for all of the information kindly shared online. I hope that by documenting my build I can contribute in my own way.

2 thoughts on "Edging Away From Theory Towards Reality"

  1. MOG says:

    Just caught up with your quick-fire posts
    It’s going to be a long and complex journey but I’m so glad to hear that you really are going for it. YAY!!
    Re: the permissions thing…
    A lot of building regs are there to protect the people who might buy a building from the builder when they sell up and move on. I assume this isn’t ever going to happen, so maybe you could put this to the authorities?
    I’d also hope that the other tiny housers (?) you speak to will be able to help – this can’t be a new problem.


    1. Joe says:

      Thanks Dad. I agree that the building codes are there to protect people, but after speaking with the authorities there really isn’t any flexibility there. They have their paperwork there in black and black and white, with no room for small dwellings. Hopefully one day, like is happening in some parts of the US right now this will change.

      It seems that my only option is to fly below the radar, but yes I am hoping to meet some other tiny housers along the way that can give me some tips.