Homes-for-the-Homeless was a project of the Plateau Group.                        
                  This was the winning design for a full-featured small home              
            suited also for emergency accomodation and granny flats.            


  First   |   Second   |   Third   |   Fourth   |   Fifth   |   Sixth   |   Seventh   |   Eighth   |   Nineth  


If you have the time to help research or writing for this project, we are always looking for volunteers. Please email the editor (See below)







Homes-4-Homeless Index   [Some recent additions and upgrades, January 2022.]

This is just a temporary index; I've just been hacked.

Overview of H4H

This is the winning entry in a 2014 competition to create a small full-featured home, suitable for single-person occupancy. We have combined all the plans and explanatory material here into four pdf files for convenience. These plans are made available by the Plateau Group for non-commercial purposes without charge.

The contact for discussion, revision, improvements, etc is

The aim of the competition was for a unit to be:

  • Made from six flat panels which can be easily stored and transported, and be assembled on site, without needing tradesmen to connect water, sewerage, or electricity
  • Able to be located either outside in the weather, or under any building on a concrete floor (where sewerage run-off might be a problem).
  • Real homes, not shelters. They have cooking, toilet, hot-shower and clothes washing facilities.
  • Stay in the cost-range suitable for funding by individual or corporate donors (about $3-4,000 each)
  • To be flat-packed using standard components: suited for storage and easy-cheap transport.
  • Able to survive rough handling over many years of assembly/trucking/reassembly.

In order to satisfy these requirements the units need to be easily fabricated by volunteers with only basic skills. They also required a convenient "factory" (covered area, such as a car-park)to allow assembly-line operations, which would be supplied with only basic tools.

For all of the above reasons:

  • Formwork ply is probably the best material for both lining and cladding. It is used full-size to save on wastage since it is the most expensive component of these units.
  • The design allows all timbers to be pre-cut and delivered to the factory site ready for screwing and glue/nailing ply.
    • The main frames are 30x30 rough timber which is to be screwed together (not nailed).
    • The roof is made from full 4 metre lengths of galvanised iron, and rolled at the edges to create its own eaves and lock-down.
    • The roof is completely flat (no slope) so that all studs are of equal length.
    • The roof run off can be harvested in dry conditions, and it can carry solar cells if located off-grid.
  • Power is normally to be provided via an off-the-shelf builder's power cable with multiple points and earth-leaked safety switch
  • Light provided would be a single builder's safety hand-lamp which can be hung anywhere.
  • Water to be provided via a standard garden hose.

The volunteers need only an electric drill, cruxiform screwdriver, nail/tack-hammer, for 95% of the fabrication process. Two components would need a higher level of skills: the Water Closet and the Hot Water Tank.

Since plumbing costs are a major problem, the proposed tank, toilet, shower and wash-basin uses mainly standard brass garden hose fittings.


It clearly has many applications outside the homeless area:

  • As emergency accommodation after bushfires or other catastrophes.
  • As moveable accommodation for the back-packer teams who are picking fruit in various districts.
  • as a granny-flat.

This is the latest revision of the plans. We believe it is the last; and we doubt that much more improvement -- or cost saving -- is possible.

Small homes.

  • Homes-4-Homeless Overview This is a pdf file giving you an outline of the proposal and the reasons why certain changes to normal techniques have been made.
  • Plans for the main frame There is nothing difficult here, and we have provided a gauge for mark-up distances.
      However note that we use 70x30 rough timbers in many areas where strength and insulation thickness is necessary, while the vertical panels use 30x30 studs, etc (no noggins) for both cheapness and lightness.
      We also strengthen the walls by hinging on the bed and longitudinal shelving.
  • Water Closet This unit is ultimately very simplxe, and ideal for this purpose. It will take a marginally higher level of skill to manufacture, and it will certainly require a good circular saw to be used.
  • Exploded Views This is just an early diagram with some explanations, which will help volunteers visualise what they are making.