Wanting to build a "Tiny House"

77 posts in this topic

Just in case anybody is interested, this documentary is several years out of date but gives the basic ideas of the tiny house movement.

 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just look around you and see what needs Electricity...

 

You will need heating/warm water... You say a wood burner?? great, but you would have to wait at least an hour to get enough warm water to have a bath!

You are looking at approx 7 thousand euro to get a suitable solar system with storage... and even then you would need to be frugal as you never know when the sun will shine down to recharge the batteries...

 

waste water/waste products... You have to do this properly or you will polute the surrounding areas.

 

Then there is household waste etc... ( dont argue with me on this one... trust me!)

 

Personally, I would get the land, Have a concrete base poured with all utillites, then put the fretig shed on it... then build in 10 yrs or so time... This means that the Fertig shed has cost you less than 80 euro a month..

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the suggestion. Can these be kept permanently on a property? Do they need a Baugenehmigung? Also, I think that the materials they are made of aren't fit for long term use. It might be a low-cost transitional solution, though. Buy land, live in something like this while building the utility systems and then eventually build the house itself. That would limit the need for loans by spreading the work out over many more years. Hmmm.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've been following tiny houses in the U.S. for years. They are fantastic! Many websites with plans and kits to build yourself or you can have them built. If I were single, I would definitely go this route at least for a while. I would want mine away from other neighbors or like houses which is possible in the U.S. while being cost prohibitive in Germany. I would also require a separate storage building.

 

Tumbleweed has some cute ones. There are many more on offer with decent baths, etc.

 

I have often wondered how this would be possible in Germany.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've read that the super small Tumbleweed style ones have trouble because of the formula used to determine energy efficiency. It has to do with the ratio of floor space to external surface area. Don't ask me how, though. I haven't figured it out.

 

I think we'd need a storage shed, too. Or an outbuilding to use as a workshop. As for being away from neighbours, I've read that there are places in Germany far enough from towns that they're not connected to utilities but it's still possible to live. Theoretically, it's also possible to apply for a change in how an area is zoned so as to allowing residential use. That's a little further down the rabbit hole, I think.

 

I really think it is possible in Germany. Where there's a will, as they say. There are also people in the US raising families of 2 or 3 kids in these houses, so it's not just for singles. If you were interested in pursuing it, I'd love to join forces in figuring it out!

 

Has anyone ever heard of a community of people who are doing this, or maybe someone who has already gone through the process and can offer tips?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the US anyway, the Tumbleweed houses are not houses. Not sure is/how they are regulated in the US (trailer, mobile home?), but the building code definitely doesn't apply because they have wheels and are not permanent. That would be the question in DE too; they look like they would fall under the same category as Jeba's link above.

 

Edit to add: I would bet lots that energy efficiency standards for trailers in DE are a lot less strict than for buildings.

Some things to keep in mind when thinking about house cost anywhere:

 

-kitchen and baths are the most expensive parts of houses. Other than those space types, the cost difference between a 10 SM room and a 20 SM room is not especially significant, especially if you are just paying for labor.

 

-Professional fees are what they are. It's the same amount of work for an architect to design/get permitting for a 40 SM house as a 100 SM house.

 

-Multiple separate outbuildings might be more costly than a compact single structure that combines all.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've read that it's almost the opposite situation in Germany. To discourage people like travelers (gypsies, to be very un-p.c. Sorry.) there seem to be laws preventing parking and living in wheeled vehicles. Wagenburge are either an exception or they are merely tolerated, it seems. I've looked into Zirkuswagen, which are basically a traditional European ancestor of the Tumbleweed trailer idea. However, I've read some conflicting things about Baugenehmigungen for permanently parked wheeled dwellings, so if anyone has more precise info, it would be very helpful!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are campgrounds where you are officially not allowed to live, but some do. A friend has a camper in the Harz and on that site, there is at least one older couple who lives there full time.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where can I find out what the professional fees are in advance? I need some real advice on what fees I'll incur, when, from whom and what is absolutely necessary and what can be avoided.

 

The benefit of outbuildings is the ability to build them when the money is there in cash rather than all in one go, hence avoiding more credit.

Kitchens and baths can be drastically scaled back. We once installed an entire kitchen from scratch, all but the cooker and including the sink, for maybe a couple hundred euros, so that doesn't worry me. Ebaykleinanzeigen is a many wonderful thing. A bathroom would probably entail a high quality composting toilet, which would be costly but well worth it.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As much as I'd like to just live somewhere, I'd rather it be completely aboveboard. Thanks for the tip, though:-)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

It would be great to build our own sewage and water facilities. I've seen very impressive systems used by homesteaders in the US that are non-polluting and self-sufficient.

 

Sewage facilities in Brandenburg in particular are pretty well regulated. Here's a list for the city of Brandenburg/Havel, mostly citing the state rules.

 

The whole system has to be certified as suitable by a Federal Institute, so pretty much next to no chances of using some US system. Bottom of the system has to be (depending on the ground) at least 5-10 feet above ground water levels, and there may be no wells - including on other property - within 50 meters of the system. Among other things you'll also have to have annual sample testing and regular professional maintenance done, as well as official leakage testing every five years; sewage sludge has to be recovered by a certified company.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Thanks for the suggestion. Can these be kept permanently on a property? Do they need a Baugenehmigung?

 

I dont know, probably not. Why not simply ask the municipality? They will give you an answer for free. I guess, the problem will not be the Baugenehmigung, but rather the zoning regulations. And that will vary from area to area. A friend's father became a beekeeper just to get permission to build a little hut (in a non-residential area) to use as a weekend/holiday home. Officially it was declared as a shed necessary to look after his bees, store equipment, extracting honey etc.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Kato: Thank you. That's very helpful. Presumably every municipality has documents like this on all kinds of regulations?

 

If the sewage is purely waste and not mixed with grey water, which can be recycled and reused on the property rather than draining off, there is very little to have removed by a company, if any at all, depending on how you do it. This is just one random company that makes waterless, flushless composting toilets.

http://www.biolet.com/store/

 

 

Why not simply ask the municipality? They will give you an answer for free.

 

OK, maybe this is a little over-cautious, but I worry that if I ask without being properly prepared to discuss or negotiate with them that I might get a binding "no" to something that might otherwise go through. My experience has been that if you know what should be possible, you have a better chance of getting it. What I'd really like would be advice from someone impartial before I risking making a bad first impression on a bureaucrat.

 

Did he ever actually keep bees, or just build the shed?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just reporting back on my earlier post. Unfortunately my mate did not know a great deal more than me but it is not a Hauptwohnsitz and the friend only lives there during the Summer and at weekends when the weather is mild. Sorry that I could not provide any more encouraging news.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Clar, just found this thread because I'm googleling like mad to find information about basically just what you're trying to do.

If I could have my way I'd want to built a tiny house on wheels, park it on the grounds of a friends house and live in it full time.

It's really confusing and hard to get your head around laws and regulations here in Germany but like you I'm convinced it can be done.

I would love to hear how you're progressing cause I'm sure you are...

 

Wish you luck & don't lose faith!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

If I could have my way I'd want to built a tiny house on wheels, park it on the grounds of a friends house and live in it full time.

 

Save your money you can already purchase purpose built ones so you're most probably searching with the wrong key words, this might help.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sir Percy: A caravan is not a tiny house. A Zirkuswagen would be closer. Caravans aren't built to be lived in full time and don't have the feel of a real house. The idea behind a tiny house is that you get all the comfort, feeling and stability of a real house but in affordable dimensions. Some people do live in caravans. I know a couple in Berlin who are very happy in theirs, but after a couple of years it's starting to show real wear and tear since the materials weren't intended to take full time use. Also, a caravan can't be lived in on the street. You have to move it every 2 days according to the law. Otherwise, you have to rent a space on a camp ground, which is usually by the day and quite expensive. Alternatively, there are Dauercamping places where people do actually live in their caravans full time without having to move them every other day and pay very little to use water and power hook ups. This does save wear and tear as they don't move. These don't tend to be in great locations, though, mostly outside the city and/or very close to train lines (as in directly next to them) and there are generally very few of such places that I can find. The only one I know of inside Berlin is along the track of the S2 in Lichtenrade.

 

Elsbesen: I've not gotten much further in the last couple of months. I have learned that with certain types and sizes of structures on wheels, you don't need a building permit. I wrote to one company that makes container homes and asked them. Of course, it has a lot to with your municipality and who person is who is the bureaucratic king of that particular hill, I think. Also, it depends of whether you have neighbors who aren't going to raise a stink. In German they say "Wo kein Kläger, da kein Richter."

 

My biggest quandary has been the transition. we live in a flat and pay rent on it. Since we don't have any friends who'd let us park and live on their property, we'd need a bit of land, even to have a place to do the building and store the materials. So we'd have to buy the land in advance, which means paying for it on top of the rent, even if it were something small and cheap far outside the city or in an undesirable place. Making the land livable is also a necessary and expensive step. Running utilities onto a piece of property costs upward of €8,000. As much as I'd like to ultimately live off-grid, I've found that there are laws that say you can't have a residence on land that doesn't have running water or proper sewage connections. That law has been cited by police to clear away Wagenburge. Then there's the cost of the materials to build the tiny house. Of course, we'd have to build the house and rent the space while still paying for the flat. In any case, making the transition seems like it would expensive, disruptive, uncomfortable and generally very difficult to achieve while working a full time job.

 

I'm beginning to think that the most achievable and sustainable way to go about this would be to do something that has a long and proud tradition in this country and that's forming a community to do it together. So if several people got together and put a sort of tiny village on a piece of land, the costs could be split. I've had my fill of the Hausprojekt scene and I never want to go back to the world of the 8 hour plenum, the self-righteous political rant or the beer-soaked soli-party. I could only imagine doing something like that with serious, professional people who are, unto themselves, self-sufficient.

 

So that's where I am with my thought process. In the meantime, our landlord lets us use our Hinterhof to garden and we're planning on growing a fair amount of our own food for the summer. We've got strawberries to start with and various herbs and I'm excited to try my hand at vertical gardening around the windows with miniature melons and pumpkins. My husband is interested in playing with various indoor urban farming techniques like this...

 

It would be very nice to have someone to talk to and bounce ideas around with. It's so easy to get lost in all the many variables when you're alone with your thoughts. Elsbesen, would you be interested in getting a coffee sometime?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now