Building A Healthy Tiny House With Ben Garratt

What are some of the challenges in building a tiny home?

The challenges are the same as for building a regular home because it still has all of the same utilities and service. This means you still need electricians, plumbers, gas-fitters, roofers, tilesetters etc etc.. The added challenges to this would be the access to power and water have to be thought about in a different way, whether it be off-grid, or connecting to an RV site. On top of those two challenges, is added the fact that it’s sitting on a trailer which brings in a whole other class of restrictions around wheel-to-axle ratio, height, width and length restrictions whether through transport Canada or ICBC.

Can I just hire any builder?

Can you hire any builder to build a straw bale house? Can you hire any builder to build a high-rise, a hospital, or a school? A tiny house has complexities that normal builders may not understand, but it is certainly achievable as long as the builder is willing to do the research.

Where is a good affordable place to source materials from?

An affordable place to source materials could be Habitat for Humanity, or Craigslist. This can be tricky if you’re not already familiar with what a good or bad building material is. For example I have seen people buy a second-hand rigid foam that is actually waterlogged and therefore will not insulate.

This also depends on what your aesthetic and requirements for comfort level might be. Another consideration is what the health of the building needs to be: do you need double pane windows, or have any of the building materials you’re buying been in contact with asbestos?


Led by Tiny Healthy Homes’ design expert Ben Garrett, this 6-day, hands-on build course guides you through the experience of building a Tiny House shell.

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What exactly is a “healthy home”

A Healthy home for me is a home whose indoor air quality is as good or better than the outside air quality. A home where zero VOC (volatile organic compounds) paints or adhesives have been used; a home with enough windows to give natural light, and a home that has a reduced risk of EMF (electromagnetic radiation) from the electrical wiring around the bedrooms.

Are tiny home more expensive to build per square foot than a regular home?

The short answer is yes. The foundation, being the trailer, is expensive and all of the systems of a regular home need to be crammed into a tiny space. Calculating the price per square foot of a tiny home is comparing apples to oranges when put next to a regular-sized home.

Course Dates & Locations

Location & Dates:

Gabriola Island

May 6 ~ 11
9:00 am ~ 5:00 pm

This course is limited to 10 participants. A non-refundable deposit ($399) is required to hold your place but you will have until May 6 to pay for the remainder of the course.

Just 2 Spaces Remaining!

Hands On Build Workshop


A non-refundable deposit ($399) is required to hold your place but you will have until May 6 to pay for the remainder of the course. Total cost: $990.

A week-long, intense, fun-packed learning opportunity to get your hand dirty and learn about the safe use of carpentry tools, reading site plans, managing trades and more.