My name is Neil Garrett. I live in the state of Victoria, Australia in Violet Town a small town of 750 persons located two hours from Melbourne. I’m retired and spent my working life as a Town Planner/Urban Designer/Project Manager working for Councils/Regional Planning Authorities and private clients as a consultant, and served as a Vietnam veteran with the Australian Army.
Whilst I have worked in the area of regulation and permits I believe that we are overregulated and over controlled by public authorities.
I am also a Serial owner builder having renovated a number of houses and designed and constructed 5 quality low energy sustainable houses using my own labour using materials such as mud brick, timber, stone and hemp.
My last build was one of the first Hemp houses in Australia, which took 3 years. I currently run hemp building workshops and give advice and source materials for new builds and DIY projects.
I have an 4×4 off road caravan which we use for extended travelling throughout Australia as a stealth campers (do not stay in RV parks) it is 22 ft long with toilet, shower, washing machine, diesel heater, solar power, satellite, TV (when used), gas electric and battery power, AC etc. It weighs 2.5 ton (2500KG or 5581lb) and is towed by a Nissan Patrol 4WD rated to tow 3 ton or 3000Kg or 6613 lb the longest period I have lived in the caravan is 7 months.
I have followed the tiny house movement for about 5 years and believe that tiny houses with or without wheels will play an important role in solving the social housing issues in Australia. Australia boasts the most expensive and largest houses in the world with floor area of new builds and free standing houses of AU, 2594 sq ft US, 2389 sq ft Canada, 1948 sq ft Denmark, 1474 sq ft.
I am currently constructing a 20ft x 8ft 6in tiny house having completed the trailer construction myself with the help of a welder friend. The trailer is rated at 4.2 ton (9259lb) registered and rated at 3.5 ton ( 7716 lb ) with a steel frame and cedar external cladding for weight control.
It is built as a prototype with future use as a holiday cabin, B&B or emergency housing, but primarily as an example of what can be built by a DIY.
My dream would be to be involved in the establishment of a tiny house holiday park/motel, which would be used as a public education and promotional purposes with workshops and space for building.
I have knowledge of:
- Siting of THOW, permits and approvals under planning, building and health regulations.
- Trailer regulations.
- Australian housing summary.
- The current and future demand for tiny houses.
- The Owner building movement.