Measuring tape isn’t the most popular tool for architects.

But it’s the norm for one tiny home builder.

Benjamin Garrett is marking out a student’s dream home on a blueprint on the ground of a rec room.

It’s a tiny home that’s roughly two and a half by seven metres.

“I think the draw is because they can design their own house,” says Garrett, design expert from Tiny Healthy Homes.

“They can legitimately afford it without going into this mortgage cycle.”

Over several days, Garrett is leading out a workshop to help students learn how to build their own tiny home.

“When you have a smaller house, in a smaller space you have only the things you really need,” says participant Craig Farish.

“By not buying all that extra stuff, your money can be spent towards where you want it to go.”

It’s a trend that’s started catching on, especially since Victoria’s vacancy rate is at near-record lows and the housing market is one of the most expensive in the country.

“Downsizers are looking to move from their huge homes, like empty nesters looking for a smaller home,” says Tony Zarsadias, CEO of the Condo Group Real Estate Ltd.

“Also, there’s new buyers looking to get into the market and due to the nature of price points, they can’t afford the large homes.”

While it’s an eye-catching idea, movable tiny homes aren’t allowed to be lived in full time due to city bylaws.

But according to the City of Victoria, that could soon change.

Tiny homes are in this year’s strategic housing plan, with the potential to begin building by 2020.

And Garrett can’t wait.

He’ll be heading off to Gabriola Island soon — to continue the tiny home workshop, building on this growing trend.

“It’s another way we can use land to give people the kind of housing they want,” he says.

“Not everyone wants to live in an apartment building.”

Aaron Guillen