Council warns against buying up “non-compliant” tiny homes

Jarrod Brown
By Jarrod Brown
4 Min Read

Homeowners in parts of Queensland are being warned to think twice when buying up ‘tiny homes’ for a bargain.

Residents of South Burnett, a region west of the state’s Sunshine Coast, have reportedly been flocking to smaller, lower-cost housing options like modified containers and panel-type homes in an attempt to overcome the pricey property market. 

But with the cheaper pre-fab containers being assembled overseas by companies looking to cash in on the housing crisis, the council is warning that many don’t match up to Australia’s stringent building and plumbing codes.

“Recently Council plumbing inspectors viewed an expandable container configuration that had been imported from overseas,” said Mayor Kathy Duff.

“The plumbing reticulation system was non-compliant with Australian standards and could not be used. Council officers also identified that gas installations would need upgrading to meet Australian Standards in or on the building.

“Our Councillors and Staff are concerned that residents are being caught out and left out of pocket by not undertaking their due diligence.”

Container and factory homes are subject to the same regulations as any built on-site homes in Australia and must meet the standards set in the National Construction Code Building Code of Australia and development codes. 

Despite the homes being marketed as compliant in Queensland, inspectors found that incorrect drainage pipework, water pipes and other fittings commonly fall short of the Australian standards and watermark requirements on most builds. 

According to the Council’s CEO, Mark Pitt PSM, homeowners caught out with non-compliant components have been forced to fork out tens of thousands of dollars to completely replace the plumbing and drainage system. 

“Councils are obliged to ensure all developments meet Australian plumbing and buildings standards to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of occupants,” he said.

“Residents are urged to consult with qualified professionals, such as architects, building designers, licenced building certifiers within Council or the private sector and Council plumbing and drainage inspectors to ensure compliance can be achieved.”

Thinking about buying a tiny home?

If you’re thinking about expanding your property portfolio with low-cost housing options, it’s up to you to make sure it’s compliant, or you risk blowing those savings on costly repairs. 

If you are looking to order the build from an overseas company, check whether the suppliers are undertaking works that fully meet building, plumbing and drainage requirements to Australian Standards.

Insist that suppliers provide you with paperwork proving that all construction and fittings meet building, plumbing and drainage standards suitable for use in Australia.

Keep in mind that some housing options like ‘tiny homes’ on a trailer have also been a bit of a legal grey area since they arrived on the scene, with laws differing across state lines, so check with your local Council Planning Schemes to see what is approved in your area.

Above all else, remember – if it’s cheaper and sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Share This Article
Jarrod Brown combines his background in journalism, copywriting and digital marketing with a lifelong passion for storytelling. He has a strong passion for new and emerging consumer technology within the building sector. He lives on the Sunshine Coast - usually found glued to the deck of a surfboard.