One key to solving housing issues in New Zealand

With regards to solving the housing shortages –

This article is about ‘small buildings’, a topic which I have been learning about for more than seven years now. I have studied timber framed housing methods, & how to create low budget buildings that support existing dwellings; adding functionality in a stylised ways at low cost.

This is a 3D drawing of a setup I created in Invercargill, which involved adding two sleepouts & a large deck to an existing house. This was a low budget but attractive way to add warm, modern, private, stylish bedrooms without incurring massive costs.

Small Buildings usually have floors as large as 30 square metres & can be as small as you want to make them (usually with floors no smaller than 9 square metres). In New Zealand, Small buildings can be constructed & anchored to the ground under Schedule 1 of the Building Code – as work that does not require a building consent.

DEFINITION: Small Building

A well insulated structure with big windows; designed to catch the sun, hold heat, & provide shelter, accomodation, space for creativity or work.

Our challenge in the South is to find ways to expand on existing housing to make living affordable, approachable, & truly sustainable.


Many people who build end up going deeply into debt to create facilities. But this is not likely to suit in the medium term, considering economic forecasts, & the great need for expanded facilities with a limited budget.

Lots of people have substituted long-term building solutions for homes on wheels. Houses on wheels are awesome – but what I encourage is to establish security for people; & show them that there are ways to expand with long-term solutions at minimal cost! Even if the buildings created are small & only serve to provide extra rooms to a house.


There are all kinds of possibilities

Figure out what you really want; deep inside your heart
Start by believing
Visualise the possibilities
Question traditional building methods
Investigate & plan your ideas
Talk to knowledgable people
Ask for advice on how things can be done
Develop your idea
Reach out to others for help

I would like to see $5 million dollars invested into small building projects that make efficient use of funds. Completed buildings can be installed on any property which already has a dwelling on it (under Schedule One of the Building Code without needing permits).

Five million can be invested into building 400 sleepouts, or 200 small units (without plumbing in them) which can support existing living setups. These buildings can then be privately sold, or provided to with ‘lease to own arrangements’ in the community. As the funds from building & sales slow expand, small building project work can be repeated..