Excitement amongst tiny home builders as Govt proposes changes to granny flat consents

By Nick James for RNZ

Excitement is building among tiny home builders and enthusiasts after the announcement of a potential overhaul of the rules for granny flats.

On Monday, the government announced a discussion document which looks to shake up the rules around building small structures.

The proposal includes changes to the Building Act which would remove the need for building or resource consents on granny flat style buildings in certain areas.

Bryce Langston is a New Zealander who has amassed more than 4.5 million YouTube subscribers on his channel which looks at diverse ways people are building tiny houses around the world.

He got interested in this type of housing in his late 20s.

"I was watching the idea of home ownership move further and further away from me, and when I discovered tiny houses, it was like this light bulb went off in my head and it was this amazing thing whereby downsizing my home it became obtainable."

Langston said the changes were a step in the right direction.

"This is a tremendously exciting development that I would love to see happen.

"It is going to clear up a lot of unnecessary red tape and make it a lot easier to increase the housing supply which we desperately need to do."

He believed 60 square metres - the size which some councils would be required to allow without consent - was plenty of room to work with.

"You could have a comfortable home with a good-sized kitchen, a nice sized lounge, a nice sized bedroom, potentially even two bedrooms bathroom, without really needing to get too creative."

Site Scope builds a range of modular transportable homes which range from 17 to 50 square metres in size.

Project facilitator Coen Wilson said they supported moves to make building these types of homes easier, if compliance standards were upheld.

"Going down this route, we need to ensure that all the design and consenting has to be done by the like of LBPs [licensed building practitioners]."

Often, Site Scope could offer the client a home at an achievable price, but extra costs like resource consents "blows the project out of the water" for them, Wilson said.

House Me is another tiny home builder which provides housing across New Zealand.

Co-owner Bryce Glover said they had 17 homes waiting for delivery to people.

"They are sitting there begging to take possession of their unit, but they are waiting for the council process to get a wriggle on at the site end.

"So, if you can unlock that, if you can speed that process up then businesses like ours, who have the capacity to build 1000 homes a year, we could actually play our part in solving this housing crisis."