Plans & Red Tape

Joanna holding the house plans

Every house needs a plan. Thanks to Jay Shafer, we’ve got ours! As for Ontario laws, we are still figuring out what regulations we need to adhere to. I know we will need to meet Ontario building codes, but I don’t know how to register a mobile/trailer home with plates, bla bla bla. Once it’s registered for Ontario, our home is legal in all other provinces and states! As for the building, the next step is to purchase a flatbed trailer which will cost about $3,000. We are kind of hesitant to do this before getting the red tape sorted out. Well, in for a penny; in for a pound. If anyone has any advice, feel free to leave comments. Thank you.


  1. kate mez says:

    this is the best little blog i have ever seen. i lllluuuurrrrvvvvveeeee iiiitttt!

  2. Bruce Vanden Berg says:

    I can’t wait to see the finished project! : ) You two are AWESOME!!

  3. Kirsten says:

    I’ve been looking at building a Tumbleweed Sebastarosa in Ontario… so I’m eager to hear any advice you have on meeting building codes in Ontario!

    • A small house, that is great. I am sorry but I never did find what I was looking for in-terms of regulations, apart from those related to vehicle sizes. So, I won’t be much use to you in that department. I don’t know why it is so difficult to even find out what it is you need to comply with. Since you are looking at building a house on the ground you should be able to check will your local building and planning department. For us it is at the city hall.
      All the best,


  4. Jela Vasalo says:

    I love his tiny houses! And admire anyone who can live with so little ‘stuff’. I have too much stuff!

  5. I am getting set up to build this same one myself. I would love to stay in touch with you. Just shoot me an email if you don’t mind. I really want to know the pro and cons of what you have been through. Keep up the good work and Look forward to new posts. I am hooked!

    • So you are going to build a Fencl, that is great. It is very rewarding. You were looking for some feedback on my experience.

      My wife and I purchased some consultation time with Jay Shafer. So after purchasing the plans and pulling them apart in my head and getting my materials list together I put together a list of question to ask before we started. That was helpful.

      Lol. One big thing I learned was about screw types. I felt like a bit of an idiot when I found out that I had used drywall screws to put the plywood on the frame and hold together the rafter brackets. So I did some replacing. Rafter hanging nails and 8 boar wood screws.

      One area where there was a lot of mental work for me was the framing. This was because the plans need to be adjusted based on where the wheel well is on the trailer you have. Also, I noticed when that put on the ply wood on the walls (which was glued as well ) that the joists didn’t sit on the 4ft centers. So meant more cutting. I am not finished building so I may discover a reason yet for the positioning of the joists.

      A good one for me was learning how to read and use the pitch markings on a speed square. Especially for the hips on the front.

      So there is some things I learned. You may already now more about building than me. I am learning a lot in this process. We would like to build a larger home at some point (an earthship actually – check sidebar links) and thought the Fencl would be a good tool for learning all that goes into the process. Not to mention owning our own home by our mid twenties.
      Hope that this is helpful for you.

      Take care William,


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  6. Evan & Gabby says:

    Hello Collin & Joanna!

    My wife and I are joining you guys, William, and the many others out there who are embarking on this tiny journey. We have purchased our Fencl plans and will be purchasing our trailer today! I stumbled upon your YouTube videos last night while reviewing some other folks’ Tumbleweed builds and feel yours are extremely helpful! The videos pointed us to your blog, and we are even more inspired now!

    Thank you for documenting your experience for others to enjoy/learn from. It would be a blast to connect with you guys via email as we embark on the same journey, as well it would be most helpful to learn from your experience.

    As William said: We are HOOKED!

    All the best with your project!

    Be well,
    Evan & Gabby

  7. Jonathan Moore says:

    Hello there,

    I’m looking at building a Fencl myself, too, and I have a question about the plans. Apparently the plans sold for the Fencl now are PDF only. Did you have to print out your plans yourself? That seems like a raw deal for 900 dollar plans.



    • Collin & Joanna says:

      Hi Jonathan, we got sent a paper copy buy no pdf. Then they brought out a revised version shortly after and they sent us the pdf of that. So we got those printed.

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