While movable tiny home aren’t quite legal in Victoria, the demand for smaller homes is alive and well in the midst of the housing crisis here in B.C.
A Tiny House Design and Construction course, May 4 and 5 at the Cordova Bay 55 Plus Association, will provide students with the nuts and bolts of designing a tiny home, constructing one, the legalities surrounding them and ways to save time and money.
The teacher, Ben Garratt of Tiny Healthy Homes, has been building movable tiny homes for the past six years and has constructed over two dozen within that time. He specializes in building the homes with non-toxic, low electromagnetic frequency, repurposed and salvaged materials, which he says are usually cost prohibited but pretty easy to do on a smaller scale.
According to Garratt the course can be overwhelming but offers a solid foundation of knowledge that people should understand before delving into their own projects.
“We’re covering like 16 different trades, an architecture degree and a project management degree so it’s a huge amount of information for a weekend,” says Garratt. “But it puts people on the right track so they’re not wondering what YouTube video to watch next.”
Garratt says that despite the hoards of videos online, the real beauty behind the course is connecting with like minded people, building a community and being able to ask questions in real time.
“Tiny house people, they’re not totally a breed among themselves — but they’re people who are trying to find a solution,” he says.
Tobi Elliott, owner of Tiny House Building Courses B.C., says these courses are the first step to alleviating some of the impact being felt due to the housing crisis. According to Elliott the students are a real mix of people from young families to seniors trying to find a home.
“I know somebody coming from Salt Spring … he’s a father or two and has had to move repeatedly because they can’t get a good stable rental,” says Elliott. “He’s a working member of the community and he can not find a place to live.”
Elliott is hopeful for the future of tiny homes in B.C. after Washington State Congress passed a bill last week that proposes cities not discriminate against people living in tiny homes and promotes the use of appendix Q in the International Building Code, which defines the parameters of a tiny home.
“What we’ve struggled with in Canada is we don’t have a legal definition of what a tiny house is so they’re not adopted into the building code and therefore deemed illegal,” she says. “We’re just looking for a break somewhere in B.C. or in Canada — who is going to be the city to really make this legal so people can advance their living situations.”
For more information on the Tiny House Design and Construction course visit tinyhousecourses.com.
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