Preparing our tiny house trailer with a damp proof course

We’re really happy that our tiny house trailer has made it through inspection and is now finally registered. Tiny house trailer inspection day was such a crazy day! I’m glad we don’t have to do it again, haha.

The tiny house build begins

With the tiny house trailer inspection out of the way, we can finally focus on building our tiny house! This is so exciting. The moment we’ve been waiting and preparing for months has finally arrived.

After watching hundreds and hundreds of videos about tiny houses and how to build them, it’s time to start building our very own tiny house. Eeek. Our tiny house build will happen in seven big steps: floor, frame, exterior cladding, roof, interior cladding, interior.

Adding a damp proof layer between trailer and floorboards 

damp proof course

Before we start putting our floorboards down we will prepare the trailer by adding DPC to the trailer. DPC stands for ‘damp proof course’ and is supposed to prevent moisture from going into the floorboards and also into the trailer. This DPC basically works as a membrane between the metal trailer and wooden floor.

DPC is a common building material and available in every warehouse. However, we were really lucky because we found our DPC at our local tip shop. Can you believe it? It cost us next to nothing and works just as well. On top of that, we used recycled materials for our tiny house build which would have otherwise ended up in a landfill.

Preparing the trailer for our wooden floor with a damp proof layer

Equipped with heaps of DPC sheets from the tip all left to do for us was cutting it into strips. A lot of strips. And glueing them to the trailer joist and frame. This took us a few days, mostly because of the intense sun but our tiny house trailer is now fully covered with a membrane which hopefully does its’ job!

Tiny house trailer inspection and registration

Tiny house trailer inspection day has finally arrived! We’re taking the next step in building a tiny house. A lot of research and calling around has gone into this day and we’ve certainly learned a lot. But let’s start from the beginning.

Necessary steps in order to register our tiny house trailer

In order to register our tiny house trailer, we have to get a blue slip first since it’s a brand new trailer. Don’t mix this up with a pink slip because it only applies to existing trailers. You also need a VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) for the trailer. Luckily our friend who built the trailer sorted that bit out for us. Thank god, because there’s, even more, the paperwork involved in getting a VIN in NSW.

So in order to get a blue slip we have to get our tiny house trailer inspected first. We went to a few different service stations in the area but received very mixed feedback. They all seemed to be lost with inspecting a trailer as big as ours. Eventually, we were told that we had to go to a truck service station since our tiny house trailer is very long and also has electric brakes. Finally, one competent piece of advice! Luckily we found a truck service station just around the corner from us.

Moving the tiny house trailer from A to B

The next thing we had to sort out was renting a vehicle appropriate for towing our tiny house trailer. So we were looking for a dual cab ute / 4WD. But in order to test the electric brakes of our trailer, the car also needed to be equipped with an electric brake system. It was harder than we thought to find a vehicle like this but eventually, we got lucky on the Gold Coast. What a relief.

Tiny house trailer inspection day madness

Getting to this point alone took weeks of research and gathering information. So when inspection frenzy day finally arrived we were really excited. This would be a busy day that truly deserves to be called “frenzy”.

We got up really early because we had a tight schedule ahead of us. Picking up the car, having the trailer weighed, having the trailer inspected and finally returning the car. But of course, we forgot about daylight savings in Queensland and ended up being too early. Hahaha, classic mistake!

Tiny house trailer inspection

Eventually, we picked up the car and back at our place we connected our tiny house trailer to the pintle hook tow bar. Everything looked great but then we realised that they gave us the wrong adapter for the electric brakes at the car rental place. So we jumped back in the car and went to Byron to find a matching adapter. Luckily the first petrol station we tried had the correct one. So we raced back to our place, connected the trailer AND the brakes and everything was working fine.

Weighing the tiny house trailer

With a delay of an hour or so we made our way through narrow windy country roads to the weighing station with a big as trailer in tow.

Tiny house trailer inspection

Weighing the trailer is a necessary step in the process of having it inspected. Our friend who built the trailer had it weighed in Queensland already but NSW doesn’t accept that. So we had to do it again. Very annoying. We know now that our trailer weighs a solid 1.48t. She’s a heavy beast!

Tiny house trailer inspection

With the weighing done our final destination was the truck service station. At this point, we were already almost two hours behind schedule and hoping that the inspection guy would wait for us. But everything worked out. A good hour later we finally held the blue slip in our hands. Success!!!

Tiny house trailer inspection

Registering our tiny house trailer

Little did we know at this point that the guy’s made a mistake in filling out the blue slip-form. When we went to the Roads and Maritime Service office to register the trailer the next day the lady behind the counter told us that important information was missing on the form and that she couldn’t process it.

Haha, it’s so tragic that it’s almost funny. I was holding the number plate in my hands already and then she took it away from us. So we had to meet up with the inspection guy again a few days later. This time he filled out everything correctly and we were finally able to register our trailer. Woohoo, let’s never do this again!

Things to consider and to learn from this

So what can we learn from this? It was a bit of a mission for us to register our tiny house trailer because it is a “home-build”. Also, the trailer was made in Queensland and regulations differ from state to state. If you want to avoid dealing with different regulations and inspection frenzy I suggest ordering a trailer from a trailer company or even a tiny house company in your state. The trailer will still need to be inspected but usually, the trailer companies should be able to assist you with it.

If you do the inspection our way, keep lengths and weight of the tiny house trailer in mind when hiring a vehicle to tow it. Also, make sure you have the correct tow bar to tow your tiny house trailer. There are regulations in NSW around this as well!

Have all your paperwork ready for inspection. This includes a receipt for the trailer, specs of the trailer and other relevant documents.

If you have to apply for a VIN you will also have to provide receipts for materials used for building the trailer.

Requirements will also be different depending on the kind of slip you’re applying for. The blue slip is for brand new trailers that were never registered before. Pink slips are for trailers that were registered before.

As always, check regulations for your state because they most certainly vary.

Our tiny house trailer has arrived!!

We’re super excited because our tiny house trailer “arrived” today! We have waited months for this day and now it’s finally happening. Soon we can start building our tiny house. Exciting times are ahead of us.

The dimensions of our tiny house trailer

Our trailer is made of steel with 15 joist and 3 axles for more stability and to balance out the weight. The trailer is 9.6 m long including A-frame and 8 m long without it and it is 2.4 m wide.

This means that our bathroom, kitchen and lounge space will be spread out over a length of 8 m. Width-wise we could have maxed it out to 2.5 m but we kept in mind that we have to add cladding to the house. So in order to keep it within the specs for trailers within NSW regulations we only went with a width of 2.4 m.

Unfortunately, our tiny house trailer is not galvanised but only painted. This is especially problematic in our area because we’re located on the coast.

I have spotted quite a few rusty bits already and frantically started painting and spraying them. Since the trailer is new the rust is only on the surface, so it’s not too dramatic at the moment. But we will have to maintain the trailer regularly to avoid corrosion.

In an additional effort to keep rust out, we will put stainless steel panels on the bottom of the trailer once the insulation for the floor is in place. This should prevent moisture from getting into floor too and ultimately slow down the corrosion process. Fingers crossed…

Next step

Finally having our trailer on-site is fantastic! That means that we just got a little bit closer to building our tiny house. Before we can start though we have to register this beast of a trailer.