Australia’s first flat-packed, off-grid home could help solve housing affordability problem

Source: Domain, Oct 1 2016

Authors: Kate Burke, Nicole Frost

Australians could soon be able to build their own home in just a few days thanks to a flat-packed, off-grid house that could be the solution to housing sustainability and affordability.

The tiny home, which measures 13.75 square metres, arrives on the back of a trailer and can be put together by inexperienced builders using just a hammer and a drill.

Founder and architect Alexander Symes said the portable property, which he has described as “Ikea on steroids”, could act as a transitional housing product that bridges the gap between renting and home ownership.

Australia’s first flat-packed, off-grid tiny home is affordable and rethinks the way people live.

“We’re looking at a transitionary housing product to essentially take people who would always be left renting and give them an affordable property to stay in while saving for their first deposit,” he said.

The modular home, which is priced at $65,000, comes completely fitted out with a living room, bed, running water and bathroom and is completely self-sufficient, with solar panels providing electricity and running water sourced from inbuilt rainwater tanks.

Symes said the biggest challenge in creating a DIY flat-pack home was making sure the panels were light enough for a person to lift, but still structurally sound and weatherproof.

Big World Homes founder and architect Alexander Symes.

The Big World Homes, which are made of plywood and polycarbonate plastic, are designed to be placed on unused development sites or vacant land, where home owners or tenants can come together to create communities.

“We want to engage with councils and property developers to make better use of unused land that might not be going to be developed for years,” Symes said.

“The idea is that we could potentially engage with those land owners to create a temporary caravan park of sorts so that there is governance and procedures and effectively someone might rent a plot within that pop-up community for their tiny home.”

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