The spacious single-family dwelling with several children’s rooms is certainly justified, but the trend towards small-scale construction is unmistakable. Singles and couples need less space than the classic family, the need for more individuality is also growing. Small houses can be built on a relatively small construction area, they can also be built in a small space in the middle of the city and even moveable. The “Tiny Houses” trend from the USA has long captured Europe and is driving a multitude of innovative blossoms.
“Tiny House Movement”: What’s behind it?
The “Tiny House Movement “, the movement for mini-houses, comes from the USA and enjoys a comparatively large contingent there. The Europeans have long since been inspired by this trend and build their own small houses according to personal taste. The construction process is usually documented in a public blog in writing and visually, who visits such sites, can get lots of suggestions and tips.
A basic idea behind the construction of these small houses is to build and live as environmentally friendly as possible. Often the builders mainly use ecological building materials and pay attention to a positive CO2 balance as well as a low energy requirement. This is partly to energy-efficient living, which is certainly easier to realize with a small living space than with a large building. Of course, costs are also the focus of the interest, because in the case of a mini-house, the classic single-family house offers a great potential for savings: “Downsizing” is the magic word.
The building permit for your own mini-house
Even small houses need a building permit in Germany, especially if they are built to live permanently in it. Your first route should take you to your local authority, where you apply for the appropriate permit. Here, you will also find a personal contact that will answer all your questions and give you a corresponding leaflet and the corresponding forms. For your building application, please submit the following documents:
- the blueprints for your new cottage
- a written description of the building
- the static calculations
- proof of ownership
- the map of your planned house
- the energy certificate and other supplementary documents
- completed application forms
As a rule, the building application must be signed not only by you, but also by the responsible architect or the executive carpenter. Sometimes, the authority agrees to a more precise inspection of a local date.
Our tip: The officially prescribed application forms are also available in the bookstore and are available for download on the websites of the respective state ministries.
Consent of the neighbors can be decisive
Also, contact your neighbors and introduce them to the project. Your agreement may be decisive for the building permit, and in some federal states even a construction contract may be held, which will give every person involved an opportunity to assert their own interests.
In the case of a small house, there will probably be less concern than in a large building: Not only will there be considerably less building noise, but the visibility of the neighbors will hardly be reduced, and the shade will be much reduced.
Mobile and self-sufficient: small houses that have it all!
A small house does not have to be a modestly sized image of a large single-family house. On the contrary, there are new possibilities which are worth mentioning. If your house is designed in such a way that you do not need any connection to the municipal sewage supply and power supply, we speak of an autonomous building, which has all the necessary installations in order to be operated independent of the location.
Solar cells on the roof, a highly efficient thermal insulation and a fillable water storage on board. Whoever plans a small house in such a way, does not necessarily need an official building plot to make his dream come true. It is also likely that an inexpensive first-class leisure area or a gardening area is sufficient to build there or a mobile house. However, in such a case, the periods of residence may be regulated so that only a use as a second home or holiday residence is possible.
Just put your little house on wheels as many people have done in the US. Of course, in this case, you will again set some administrative barriers, but an attempt is worth it. This gives you the opportunity to move from one place to another just the way it suits you. As a place for your own home are mainly campsites, which may even be permanently habitable.
Our tip: A first home address on the campsite is not always good, especially if it appears in an application letter. If you are in a professional life and would like to convince your employer, it is better to consult the campsite as a second home and to choose another official address for official mail.
The most beautiful house projects as inspiration
The living cubicle with the roof terrace cut in is probably the simplest building variant, which is also suitable for very small houses. Due to the cubic shape, a compact area can be used, even a garage can be fitted into the lower floor. An ideal solution for urban resting places, such houses are usually built of concrete.
- The straw ball house is erected in a pedestal construction and consists entirely of ecologically valuable building materials. The straw bales used for wall mounting consist of highly compressed material, which proves to be surprisingly fire-resistant. On top of that there is a layer of clay as plaster.
- For your tree house you need a stable, healthy, suitably grown tree as a basis; you must also be able to climb safely to reach your domicile safely. Tree houses, of course, are made of wood, no question – and they are rarely considered an official place of residence. There are even spherical tree houses!
- The mobile wooden house with terrace enjoys great popularity, especially in the USA, where it is probably easier to get an appropriate permit for road use. With a saddle roof and a front terrace, the small houses on wheels are really inviting.
Even rusty steel containers placed on steel posts can be used as a living space, as the architect Rick Joy shows in the American Sonora desert. The metal cubes have panoramic windows and are covered on the inside with hardwood panels. This project shows that there are hardly any limits to the imagination.
A mini house for all occasions
You see, there are many different ways and materials to conceive a small house and live in it. Not every mini-house has to be the same permanent residence, sometimes it is used only as a residential space or as a holiday home. But for most Tiny-House owners the simple motto is: Small, but mine. And so they are very satisfied.