Daniel Ott Cover

Daniel Ott is one of the first tiny home builders in Ontario, working to change the housing market by designing and building legal tiny homes (which is no small feat under the Ontario Building Code, one of the strictest codes in North America). Using his unique UpSizeDown Method, Daniel and his team at True North Tiny Homes not only design your tiny dream home, they help you get prepared to thrive in it.

In This Episode:

  • The impact that tiny living has on you, your community, and the world.
  • Which building codes make tiny houses difficult to build in Ontario?
  • Helical piers are a cost-effective way to skip the trailer
  • Dan's jack saddle design allows for a movable tiny home not built on a trailer
  • The solution to cold feet during the winter in your tiny house
  • Ontario's first tiny home village, the Blue Water Village

Links and Resources:

Guest Bio:

Daniel Ott

Daniel Ott

Daniel Ott is one of the first tiny home builders in Ontario, working to change the housing market by designing and building legal tiny homes (which is no small feat under the Ontario Building Code, one of the strictest codes in North America). Using his unique UpSizeDown Method, Daniel and his team at True North Tiny Homes not only design your tiny dream home, they help you get prepared to thrive in it.

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More Photos:

  
Bedding storage is right inside the couch!
Awning-style windows keep the rain out and the air flowing
There are few cabinets in the kitchen to keep costs down
 
The large closet gives you a lot of storage
The 50-inch tv is the right size for the wall
The couch folds out into a queen-sized bed
 
The Nest's kitchen is 10 feet long
TrueNorth uses the biggest windows possible
The bathroom contains a regular flush-toilet that hooks up to utilities
 
 
The shower is fancy
The bathroom also boasts a large window for air-flow and the mechanical room, complete with washer/dryer combo
The Nest sits on a foundation, not a trailer, but is movable
 
It's easy to raise up these houses to get them onto a trailer
Custom-engineered steel brackets hook to stabilizer jacks

The barn door is shou sugi ban, just like the siding outside

 

Daniel Ott 0:00

And that's the question I always start with people. I just say, "How often are you actually going to move this?" Like if it's only once every two years even then hire a tow truck company or us to come back for you to move it around and it's their problem to try to maneuver it.

Ethan Waldman 0:21

Welcome to the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast, the show where you learn how to plan, build and live the tiny lifestyle. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and this is episode 145 with Daniel Ott. I recently saw a video tour on Exploring Alternatives for a tiny house called "the nest", which is a tiny home that can be easily transported on a custom trailer, and then removed from the trailer and installed on a permanent foundation. There were so many uniquely well thought out elements to the design, build and execution that I immediately invited the designer Daniel Ott of True North Tiny Homes onto the show. In this interview, Daniel and I nerd out about trailer systems, foundations, in-floor hydronic heating for cold climates, and more. Plus Daniel tells us why it's so hard to build a legal tiny house in Ontario, Canada. Stick around.

If you enjoy the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast, one of the best ways you can help the show is by sharing it with others. Post on social media, send an email, or even grab your friend's phone and subscribe them to the show. Whether they're interested in tiny houses, skoolies, vanlife, sailboats, or even living off-grid in a yurt in the woods, the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast has something for everyone. So again, if you enjoy the show, please share it with others and help us grow and reach more tiny house hopefuls, tiny house dwellers, and DIY builders. And if you're listening on the web, don't forget to hit subscribe in your favorite podcast app, where you'll get a new episode of theTiny House Lifestyle Podcast every Friday morning. All right, let's get on with the show. And thanks.

All right, I am here with Dan Ott. Dan is one of the first tiny home builders in Ontario working to change the housing market by designing and building legal Tiny Homes, which is no small feat under the Ontario building code one of the strictest codes in North America. Using his unique UpSizeDown Method, Daniel and his team at truenorth Tiny Homes not only design your dream home, but they help you get prepared to thrive in it. Dan, Daniel, Dan Ott, welcome to the show.

Daniel Ott 3:01

Thanks, Ethan.

Ethan Waldman 3:04

I actually was just curious, what is the UpSizeDown Method?

Daniel Ott 3:09

Oh, the UpSizeDown Method. So that is our what we call our signature method. And that's how we help our clients prepare their mindset to be able to not only survive, but thrive, living tiny, and then go through the design process and the mental preparation of education before actually building. Building is only a small part of our method because we believe the mental preparedness and the impact on yourself and the world around you on both ends of the build are far more important. So our method is five steps. And we minimalize or simplify, we educate, we design, build, and then impact.

Ethan Waldman 3:56

Cool. And so impact is like you move in?

Daniel Ott 4:00

Well, it's more than that. It's impact to yourself. And I like to say well, it impacts your finances because you can live so much more cost effectively. But you also impact just your whole the whole mentality of the world out there today is to live so quick. And so everything on top of itself over and over and right in rapid succession but when you live in a tiny home. One great example is it only takes you an hour to do a really deep clean so you end up with all this extra time on your hands and you end up with this extra money on your hands - that impacts your lifestyle yourself because you can spend that but it also helps you to impact the world around you. So we say even if you don't want to impact the world around you, you're just going to by default because you're using less materials and less energy to run your house. But it also gives you the opportunity with this extra time and money to impact your local community by helping out at the local food bank or volunteering at the library or something that impacts people around you.

Ethan Waldman 5:06

Nice. What's so difficult about the Ontario building codes for tiny homes - specifically, but also in general?

Daniel Ott 5:18

In general, everything. So I have, I also have a design company. And I've been designing regular houses for years. And even there, we run into problems where, because everything with the internet has gone so global. When we do our designs, we get people to save stuff on Pinterest and other such things like that. And we look through what their designs are. And we would see like spiral staircases and cable railings, I mean, those are two things that have been huge throughout the rest of the world. Those are two things are illegal in Ontario, you can't have horizontal members in a railing because you might climb it and fall over. You can have spiral staircases through more than 90 degrees, and the rules just keep coming at you. And it seems it seems ridiculous. But when we get into tiny homes, specifically, some of the things that really impact us in our are that Ontario is the only place in North America that has minimum room sizes and ceiling heights. So ceiling height for livable space must be a minimum of six foot 11.

Ethan Waldman 6:26

Difficult under the loft.

Unknown Speaker 6:27

Yes, very well, yeah, or it is doable, but your loft becomes very small. However, your loft, must also have 6ft 11in. So now to be classified as living space or a bedroom, because that's living space, you need to have six foot 11. So now we can't live in our lofts. So there's always - I've in my career, I've gone through finding ways around the rules to use them, to work within them, but kind of like on the very edges. So I like to say, we can design you a storage loft. And if you happen to store a mattress and a spare body up there in your time, that's up to you. And then some of the other things are the minimum room sizes. So you mentioned you found us by by seeing a video on the nest, and that is Ontario's smallest legal house and it's 230 square feet. I cannot build a house smaller than that and be legal. Maybe 220 I can get away with because the bathroom doesn't have a size, it only has a ceiling height. But the main living area has to be (it's actually in meters, because that's how Canada is), but it's 13.5 square meters, which gives me an outside wall dimension of 10 by 20. And that it has to be the combination space of cooking, eating, living and sleeping. And then I have a bathroom on the side of it. And so that's how we get the 220 or 230 square feet. So I like to say to people, oh, then there's one more thing. It's illegal to live in Ontario, in anything that has wheels. So I like to say to people, everything you've seen on the internet about tiny homes would never pass the code in Ontario. But we can still design houses within the code. And it's more of there's a lot of lobbyists out there who say, "Hey, I'm all for tiny homes, we have to change the rules." And do you know how long it takes to get the government to change rules? Decades! It's ridiculous. So I'd rather say, "Hey, we have the rules. I'm an expert on figuring out how to work within them." The most of our ability and then, you know, like I said, kind of dwelling on the outer edges of those rules. And then what you have to do though, is bend your mind of bend that idea a little bit in your mind of what you think a tiny home is, and we can make it work.

Ethan Waldman 9:00

Right. So sounds like building people what they might have in their head as the picture of a tiny home, which is, you know, a little house on a trailer might not be legal in Ontario. I'm sure that doesn't stop people from doing it, though.

Daniel Ott 9:19

Oh, no, we build those, too.

Ethan Waldman 9:20

Yeah. But you just kind of say I mean, it's just like it's the same in the States. It's not legal to live in a tiny house in most places. And a lot of people manage to do it. But the the nest is a legal home.

Daniel Ott 9:35

Yes. So that is, like I said 230 square feet, and we bring it around on a trailer and then take it off the trailer to put on a foundation. And that's what makes it legal. And one of the other things that we have in the code is the amount of insulation, which is far more than is necessary for such a small space. But we have to do some of those things just to meet the code.

Ethan Waldman 10:01

Right And yeah, there are so many things that I want to talk about in the nest. The first thing is using the helical piers, which I've been not like obsessed with. But I've been, you know, I lived in my tiny house for years here in Vermont, I'm not I'm not in it full-time anymore. But I just parked that thing right on the ground. And it was never level ever again. You know, because we get major freeze/thaw cycles here, especially like, March, April, when you can't - when it's still winter, and then you get a warm day. And it just the frost line, as I'm sure it's similar for you is, is like six feet. So so really digging a foundation to put my tiny house on would be kind of overkill. So I started, you know, reading about these ground screws, and, and started thinking about what if I could build, just, you know, get some of these ground screws, put, like jack the tiny house up really tall and then put like a steel, I beam between them and then bring the tiny house just back down. And so it's so cool to see you using them on the nest. And actually, I'm a bad podcast host because I should have asked you first to explain what they are before I started just talking about them.

Daniel Ott 11:25

But no one you haven't explained. So unless all of your listeners already know what they are, but essentially, it's an auger. So I explained to people, it's like drilling an auger into the ground. But rather than using the auger and pulling it back up, take the dirt out, you just keep drilling in, and that the fins on the bottom of the auger act as the footing. And the two and a half to three inch steel pipe that sticks out of the top acts as they call one more the pier that we can rest structure on. And the coolest thing is that we usually end up between seven and 10 feet to get proper bearing capacity. But if we don't, they just weld another pipe on and keep screwing. So it's awesome. The first time I used the helical piers was almost 20 years ago. And we dug out this is before tiny homes. So we dug out a basement for a house because up here probably in Vermont too. They do basements anyways, because you got a big Blue Cross, right? We dug out for this basement edition on a house. And there was no bearing capacity was not there to put this house on. And so they dug a test pilot hole another 10 feet down. So now we're 17 feet below grade before they hit anything possible. And we're saying Well, how do you dig out a hole 17 feet deep and then fill it all the gravel again. So you can build a house on top of it seems ridiculous. And so that's when we discovered helical piers, we drilled 17 of those struts, where the footing would go, and then laid a beam on top of it as a grade beam and then built a concrete foundation walls on top of just amazing stuff. And we've been using them for all kinds of things up until now. And so when we started building tiny homes, I said this, this is the answer. This is how we do it. Because just for a quick cost analysis, the average trailer right now to put a tiny home on it cost me about 10 grand Canadian. And the average foundation system in heels piers is like 3000. So I can put a foundation for your house and three different locations and move it around for you for cheaper than you buy a trailer.

Ethan Waldman 13:39

Yeah, it's compelling. Now, the nest, the system is that the house is not built on its own trailer it's built is it kind of built on skids? What's the foundation system on the house itself?

Daniel Ott 13:57

So the actual house itself just as a 2x6 floor system. And we and then it has a beam inside the floor system on either end. And we have this is all kind of proprietary. I've designed this all myself to make it work and then had engineers stamp at all. We have what I've deemed to be a jack saddle. So just like a saddle, like you would that you would put in a concrete pier that would hold a beam. We have one of those in the four corners wrapped around the beam and then bolted through the beam. And what that gives us is a piece of steel without having to have built the whole skid out of steel that we can weld pieces to and we weld a pipe onto the side of it that a jack can connect to with a with a drop pin and a cotter pin. And then we can we have a 5000 pound jack on each corner so you can lift 20,000 pounds like that which is far more than what the next Actually weighs. So on a bigger house, it might have six jacks. And then you just jack it up, drive the trailer underneath and jack it down until the house sits on the trailer. And when when you get to site and you drive over top of where those gears are, you jack the house up, you drive the trailer out. Andthen when there's no trailer in the way you put a beam on top of the piers and drop your house on top.

Ethan Waldman 15:28

And how long does that whole process take?

Daniel Ott 15:31

The first time or now? Now? Now we can we can do it in about an hour. And I've been working on like, so if anyone if any of your listeners have actually seen the video of the master, if you link it on the podcast, that'd be great. But yeah, I've, I've been working on the design of the trailer. And so every trailer that we build gets a little bit better and a little bit better. So the trailer that you see in the video does make that transition kind of difficult. But I've gotten to the point where I am building almost every one of our houses whether they go on a trailer or not, before I get the trailer. And the reason being one of the things that is taking so long in this COVID-ridden world is that axles are taking a really long time to get. So I can have the whole house built before I have the axle that I was waiting for. So we've been building the whole house and then driving the trailer underneath afterwards. And then even if it's going to be permanently on there bolting it together afterwards. So I've gotten pretty good at this trailer system. And now we can do it in like less than 30 minutes.

Ethan Waldman 16:41

Are these trailers - that's fascinating, by the way - are the trailers that you're driving under these tiny house on wheels, do they have wheel wells are these deck over trailers?

Daniel Ott 16:52

I have created a deck over trailer that's 27 inches tall. So and that's exactly it. Because if you have the trailer afterwards, this is one of the first thing problems I came up with was how do you build around a wheel well, before you can wheel well to build around? Because it makes for a very disjointed structurally unsound building if you don't have the wheel wheel there already. So I have devised a way to get a deck over trailer that really isn't anywhere close to the same height as with a regular deck over trailer is I mean,

Ethan Waldman 17:30

I guess you're using drop axles.

Daniel Ott 17:34

And technically, when you do a deck over, it doesn't matter if it's a drop axle or not, because it's the top of the tire that we're worried about. Right? So we've actually gone to four axles, okay, as a standard, just because we can use much smaller tires that take less weight and distribute it out farther. Okay, so smaller. And then though there's still a wheel well, in the actual trailer, it just doesn't stick up higher than the trailer itself. Cool. So a traditional deck over would have the whole frame of the trailer be higher than the top of the tire. Right? Where we have the we have the top of the frame level with the top of the rubber.

Ethan Waldman 18:15

Right. Don't you lose some maneuverability when you add axles?

Daniel Ott 18:19

Absolutely. Yeah. But how often, like even people who live in tiny homes that are permanently on wheels, how often do they really move? Right? And that's the question. I always start with people, right when they think they want to build on wheels. Just say how often are you actually going to move this? Like, if it's only once every two years even? Then it's it's Who cares? Hire a tow truck company or us to come back for you to move it around. And it's their problem to try to maneuver it.

Ethan Waldman 18:52

I like it. And so you you do that. You kind of are a - I don't want to say full service - but you will move tiny homes for for clients.

Daniel Ott 19:02

As long as they're close enough.

Ethan Waldman 19:04

Yeah, I was gonna say, "Do you want to come to Vermont and move mine?"

Daniel Ott 19:11

It'll be a hefty bill.

Ethan Waldman 19:12

Yeah. I took us on this sidetrack, but the the jacking system with the D rings for for, you know, attaching the the nest down to the trailer is is very clever. And I'll embed the video on the show notes page for this episode, which I'll you know, at the end of the show, I kind of read that out. And so people can go and I encourage people to go and check out the video because it's pretty sweet. So have you adapted that trailer list system to other models? Because I know you mentioned in the video that you develop the nest for... with kids who are exiting the foster care system in mind.

Daniel Ott 19:59

Yes, but it was more, that was the layout and the color scheme of the of the home that we talked about developing that for. The technology to take it on and off the trailer was being developed for a broader purpose. Because a lot of our homes have to be on a foundation to be legal. Although they are talking about changing that a little bit in some areas, but because most of them do have to be off the wheels to be legal, we wanted to figure out a system where we could reuse our trailer over and over and over again. And it started actually with being able to detach the axles as a separate piece, and then the tongue as a separate piece, and just leave the actual trailer system as a floor system. And that idea flopped and didn't work very well. So you know, we've modified it since then. But yeah, this is definitely something that we're using all over the board. We're actually getting calls now because of the popularity of that video. And I'm willing to do it for people who are just looking for this kind of technology to build them a trailer like this. And a floor system that already has everything part of it, and then they'll build the rest of the tiny home themselves. Nice. Yeah.

Ethan Waldman 21:25

That's a really compelling idea, you know, of buying that, instead of just a DIY build trailer, because they're getting the trailer and the floor system, then it's it's movable in this unique way.

Daniel Ott 21:43

Yeah.

Ethan Waldman 21:46

Very cool. How many of these are out there using this system?

Daniel Ott 21:52

Right now? Not many, but there's a bunch of them in the works.

Ethan Waldman 21:56

Nice.

Daniel Ott 21:57

So I think I think we had three emails this week, or more? or more of the trailers.

Ethan Waldman 22:03

Yeah. No. And it's, it sounds like you kind of are, are all the houses you build on trailers that you've also designed and fabricated?

Daniel Ott 22:13

Yes. Yeah. Now, to be clear, I don't actually fabricate the trailer in-house. I have a guy who's not far away, who builds tiny home trailers for a bunch of the companies on the Eastern seaboard. And so he was actually really excited when we opened up here, because all the other tiny home trailers he'd been building, he sends away and never hears from the people again. And here he is somewhere where he can come over here and see how the house attached to it. And we can talk together and make these changes on the fly or develop it for how we're going to do the next one based on how this one performed. So it's been a very good relationship.

Ethan Waldman 22:49

That's awesome. And then one other thing about the nest that I that I appreciated is, is using the in floor hydronic heating, which, you know, is certainly a complaint that I have about tiny house living in the winter, which is that the floors are damn cold.

Daniel Ott 23:06

Yeah.

Ethan Waldman 23:07

So have you found that that system is able to put out enough btus to heat the house completely in a Canadian winter?

Daniel Ott 23:16

Oh, yeah. Absolutely. And I'm assuming the the winters right here are very close to what you have in the area that you are in Vermont, but that was the first thing to the first tiny home that we built, we built for ourselves. And we kept it as an Airbnb unit for 18 months to collect data because it's really great when you have a client who's only around for three days, and they can complain about something and you don't have to fix it because they're not there anymore. So it was really great to collect data that way. But we did the same thing as what, you know, I saw everyone else doing in Tiny Homes, and that's the ductless mini split. And it really didn't like it. Because your feet were cold, the ambient temperature in the air was great. But the your feet were cold. So if you're a person who wants to wear slippers all the time, maybe you can get away with it. But I really wanted to change the way that works. So our standard now is to do the floor hydronic heating. And it's far better. The boiler that we're using is good enough, because we have to do things that meet the code. The boiler that we're using would actually heat a 1200 square foot house. They just don't make something smaller. So I could use a smaller, like tankless water heater, but because those are not specifically made for hydronic heating it won't pass the code and my engineers, so we have to use this combination boiler and hence the smallest one they make is way too big.

Ethan Waldman 24:50

Yeah, and I'm curious, and this is completely anecdotally, I know a handful of people who have put in some kind of in-floor heating. Macy Miller, who's kind of a famous tiny Hauser did like electric, radiant mats and the floor. And she didn't she didn't recommend them because they she, she's in Boise, Idaho, so that wasn't able to heat the house fully. And then I know another couple in Colorado that did, like an open direct in-floor hydronic system. So where it was one little hot water on demand eater that heated, the you know, there was a basically a loop in the floor. But that also was the same water that would eventually then come out of their tap, I think. But they also found that it wasn't quite able to, like, really heat the house up fully. And I wonder if it's like either the fact that your house is so well insulated, or you've probably just properly sized the boiler and you're putting out enough btus to do it.

Daniel Ott 25:56

It is definitely something because the technology that I'm using, I've used in regular sized houses for years. So taking the same thing and applying it into a tiny home. It has no chance but to work better, right?

Ethan Waldman 26:11

Well, I guess the issue in the tiny home is that you are floating above the ground, you're not, you know, and there's also not as much mass, you're not running the pipes through a concrete slab.

Daniel Ott 26:22

There there is that for sure. Yeah.

Ethan Waldman 26:25

But it's awesome that, that it's working out. And yeah, that's one thing that it's very difficult, or maybe impossible to go back and add later. So anybody listening, you're thinking about in floor heating, if you're going to be in a cold climate, I think it's probably the most luxurious, you can go with in a tiny house.

Daniel Ott 26:45

Yeah, it is very nice. But it's also because it's called radiant heating and heats up your furniture that sits on it, too. Right? Yeah. So when you and that's what creates your mass a little bit more. So yes, you're not heating the concrete slab for sure. But um, you are eating more of the elements in the home rather than just the air that's inside it.

Ethan Waldman 27:05

Got it.

Daniel Ott 27:05

o it is far better. And and you're absolutely right. I tell people that all the time. There's certain things that are a lot harder to change later. And they happen to all be in the floor. Yes. So whether it's the flooring itself, or as the heating underneath, something you definitely want to at least rough in now because the downfall to putting the influence of hydronic heating in is that as a minimum, you don't have air conditioning. When you do a ductless mini split, you get both. But a ductless mini split is something you can always add later to just do the air conditioning.

Ethan Waldman 27:39

Right. Yeah, I mean, I think that it really comes down to the climate that you're living in. I think that, you know, for somebody who's in a more temperate climate where, you know, maybe isn't getting below freezing all that often. You know, the floors will be cold, but not like chilled your bones called and then you you're gonna benefit from that AC.

Daniel Ott 28:00

Yeah, exactly. When it's minus 30 degrees Celsius, which is actually close to minus 30. Fahrenheit your floors are cold.

Ethan Waldman 28:12

So I'm just seems like you're doing so many cool things. And you just made a big announcement about Blue Water village. Is that is that the Yes. All right. All right. Well, tell us about it.

Daniel Ott 28:28

I have been looking for several years to create a tiny home village, in Ontario here and with different partners over time, as the financial backers or the people who know the financial backers, or whatever we've actually had, this is the third property that we've actually had under contract in as many years. And it's the first one that actually might go somewhere, or actually will go somewhere. Let's use that language.

Ethan Waldman 29:03

I mean, it's got a tab on your website. It's gotta go somewhere.

Daniel Ott 29:06

Exactly. So one of the hardest things about Tiny Homes in Ontario, as per the rest of North America even is a lot of the tiny home builders are registering their units as RVs. And that's how you can get away around the financing issue. And that's how you can get away with some of the zoning issues but an interior you're not allowed to live in an RV. So you can camp in an RV but you can't live in one. So if you buy a trailer park, by definition is a campground in Ontario, and that is seasonal, so you can live in an RV there so that'd be great. But if you find a place that was a year round campground, you can't put an RV there. You're just not allowed. So we had to find another way to get around that sort of thing. And then you have mobile home parks. So typically those are year round, but some of them are even only seasonal as well. But finding the year round ones up here is extremely difficult, because a lot of the big corporations are buying these things up because they see that they are moneymakers for themselves. And then once they are bought up, they're tied in with a particular mobile home builder. And usually one of the bigger builders. And so when people build a tiny home and think, Oh, I can just bring it to a mobile home park. They can't because they will only accept homes that were built by that builder. And so that gets a little frustrating for clients. I'm sure you've talked to a lot of people about but the the other issue is that we've looked for properties and had them under contract and wanted to turn them into a mobile home park. Because legally speaking the way the zoning works, that's exactly what we want to do with a tiny home village. We may not be doing actually what most people would do in a mobile home park, but we're kind of that's where we're, you know, dealing on the outskirts of the rules, right, where we're using the rules in a way that benefits us. The problem is that I have not found a municipality in Ontario that wants to change any properties into year long mobile home parks, I believe it's because they have a bad reputation. So the zonings exist, because they mobile home parks already there. But no one will allow you to buy vacant property and turn it into one. So in a very roundabout fortuitous way, I was part of a or my office used to be in a shared office space. And the guys who owned the building, were property developers who were always doing commercial and industrial stuff. And then they learned about Tiny Homes because I had an office in one of the buildings. And they got to thinking, wow, this is a cool idea. So they called me last summer. Yeah, so only like six months ago or so and said, Look, we want to go buy property and invest. We've got a bunch of our investors on board, we want to put aside several million dollars to invest in tiny homes. Are you in? I said absolutely. Where do I sign? So they found this property, they got it under contract on a great deal. And it's already an existing mobile home park that is already year round. So we don't have to try to change things. There's another place in Ontario here that has been just got their change happening. And it took them 13 years to get year round designation. I don't want to wait that long, but neither do my clients. So this place already is year round. And it already has 78 sites. But half of them are seasonal trailers, even though the zoning allows for it to be year round. So we're going to give those people an opportunity to change their specific plot of land to be year round. But if they have a seasonal trailer, they're going to have to upgrade. And if they don't want to upgrade, then they're just going to bring their seasonal trailer somewhere else. And that gives us a spot to sell a tiny home to someone and they have a spot to go. And then this year we're working on the expansion of another 20 lots. And then there's a whole other area of the property that's about 17 acres where we figure we can put another 140 lots in.

Ethan Waldman 31:56

Wow. Big

Daniel Ott 33:33

Yeah, so we're looking at expanding 160 tiny homes to be able to go on here.

Ethan Waldman 33:40

Now will people be able to like bring their own BYOTH? Bring your ow tiny home?

Daniel Ott 33:47

No, because everything that goes on here is going to have to be certified to be a mobile home, or a park model trailer. Okay, so we're under, we're in the midst of obtaining our CSA certifications for park model trailers. So we'll still be building a tiny home just like we'd be building another tiny home. It's just that the certification process that we apply to it as we build it in our factory will be as a park model trailer. And that will allow it by zoning and the planning department there to actually go on the property.

Ethan Waldman 34:21

Cool. That's exciting. What's the timeline for all this? And is this the first of its kind in Ontario?

Daniel Ott 34:29

It's for everything that we're trying to do? Yes, but we are combining a bunch of different ideas that have already happened in different capacities in different areas. And we're trying to combine them all into one spot, and then prove to all the other municipalities in Ontario to say hey, look, this is what we actually want to do. Open your minds a little bit and allow us to even if you want us to use mobile home park, zoning designations allow us to buy vacant land. Repeat this over and over again. Cool. The final thing that we're actually going to do to this property is we're going to allow a typical trailer park or mobile home park, you lease the land forever. We are going to apply condo titles to the properties and allow people to buy the land that their house sits on.

Ethan Waldman 35:23

That's great.

Daniel Ott 35:23

I'm super, super excited.

Ethan Waldman 35:26

Yeah, that's, that's awesome. Very exciting. And, and sorry, I combined two questions in one timeline on on these expansions. And, yeah

Daniel Ott 35:36

Oh, yes. So we should have the approvals for the 20 lat expansion by a year from now. So 12 months, okay. But the biggest thing is we don't get the final approvals until the entire septic systems have been upgraded. So that's about a three quarters of a million dollar project. And so we hope to have that done by the end of the summer. And then the other expansion is going to probably take another year to develop the land with all the servicing, and then another year to get all the houses in. So we're looking at about three years, though, three to five years.

Ethan Waldman 36:10

All right, well, where do people go to, to get on the waitlist?

Daniel Ott 36:22

Yeah, the waitlist is already for the next phase, because the first phase waitlist is full. That's only been two weeks. So that's kind of awesome. Go to our website, www.truenorthtinyhomes.ca. And like you said, there's a whole tab there with all the information about that property.

Ethan Waldman 36:38

Awesome. Well, one thing that I like to ask all my guests is what are two or three resources that have helped you on your tiny house journey, this could be related to design, it doesn't have to be related to tiny house specifics, but any design or building resources, books, movies, anything like that, that you'd like to recommend to our listeners?

Daniel Ott 37:00

Oh, so one of the big ones for Ontario, especially, is that the Ontario government actually put out a pamphlet about a year ago about how to design and build a tiny home and meet Ontario codes. So that's a huge resource around here for people to look into. And because Ontario's district displace in North America to build, if you follow that you can meet it anywhere. So that's a big one. And then, of course, I'm gonna like to say our YouTube channel is, is a great resource for finding stuff specific, especially to Ontario, for sure. But same thing applies if it works here, it's going to work anywhere. And then after that, man, it's all it's the school of hard knocks, it's figuring out what works and doesn't work. And that's just sometimes a lot of trial and error and banging your head against the wall.

Ethan Waldman 38:00

Awesome. Daniel, thank you so much. If you can stick around for another minute or two, I have two kinds of Bonus questions related back to the nest that I wanted to ask.

Daniel Ott 38:12

Okay. Cool.

Ethan Waldman 38:15

Is it possible to do the nest with a loft and still be you know, within road height and have it be livable/comfortable.

Daniel Ott 38:27

Absolutely. your loft tight ends up being three and a half feet on the one side, and then two and a half on the other? And, but it does give you a storage loft. That like we said, If you store a mattress and a body up there later, that's completely up to you. No one's gonna come chase you and throw you in prison for doing something like that. But we do have designs for that same size in multiple different arrangements that do have lofts in them. Yes.

Ethan Waldman 39:00

Nice. And then my second bonus question is, is related to the helical piles, which is, you know, many tiny house owner owners don't own the land. And that is, you know, part of the appeal of, you know, you can own a tiny house without having to own the land. And so there you know, we're oftentimes striking agreements with with people to put tiny homes in their backyards. Yeah, how, how high impact are the helical piles, like can they be removed easily?

Daniel Ott 39:28

You can just take the same machine back in again, and they can unscrew it in the other direction and take everything out.

Ethan Waldman 39:35

And then can they be reused even?

Daniel Ott 39:38

They could? I don't, I mean, it Oh, that'd be up to their engineers on whether they accept it for sure. But the other thing I've said to people is a worst case scenario is you dig out the shaft of the pier, so six, eight inches below grade and then just cut it off with a grinder and fill the hole back in.

Ethan Waldman 39:58

Just leave it in the ground.

Daniel Ott 40:00

Yeah.

Ethan Waldman 40:03

Well, Daniel Ott, Dan Ott, I know I'm gonna call you Daniel because that's what it says on your website. And when people get your name Daniel Ott thank you so much for being a guest on the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast. It was it was great to have you on.

Daniel Ott 40:17

Yeah, thanks for having me, Ethan. It was, it was great. I love to talk about this stuff.

Ethan Waldman 40:23

Thank you so much to Daniel Ott for being a guest on the show today. You can find the show notes from today's episode, including links to TrueNorthTiny Homes, a transcript of the episode (that's a new feature), and photos of some of their amazing homes at thetinyhouse.net/145. Again, that's thetinyhouse.net/145. Well, that's all for this week. I'm your host, Ethan Waldman, and I'll be back next week with another episode of the Tiny House Lifestyle Podcast.

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