Road act 1
19 / 08 / 2015
Road traffic legislation in Finland sets quite clear limits to the size of a mobile home. The basic regulations are easily accessible on the internet and this post is a compilation of the ones that need to be taken into consideration in the planning process – including license for towing, weight, measurements and registration.
Since I’m not planning to buy a rig, the drivers license determines pretty much the weight of the home. There are four classes of trailers (O1-O4), which of only the second will be of interest for us.
|CLASS||TRAILER AND LOAD WEIGHT||LICENSE TO TOW|
|O1||Under 750 kg||B|
|O2||750 – 3500 kg||B96 / BE|
|O3||3500 – 10 000 kg||C1E|
|O4||Over 10 000 kg||CE|
With a basic drivers license B you can tow only trailers of class O1. With B96 you can tow an O2 trailer, but the combined weight of vehicle and trailer can’t exceed 4,25 tons. BE (so called little E) allows towing of class 02 with a maximum combination weight of 7 tons (3,5 tons for each), which should be enough for my tiny home. Little E is inexpensive to upgrade and doesn’t even require taking driving lessons (which I will be needing though), only the test. Since O2 trailers usually weigh near a ton on their own, the maximum weight of the home and belongings inside would be around 2,5 tons.
If I’d want to up the weight from there, I would need at least a C1E licence, which would mean to upgrade first to C1 or C and after that to C1E. It’s a lot of time and money for a few extra kilograms so the low weight stays as a priority.
Maximum measurements of the trailer are regulated according to the vehicle, which in this case will be the O2 trailer. The regulation is simple, there is a maximum width of 2,6m, length of 12,5m and height of 4,4m.
|MAX WIDTH||MAX HEIGHT||MAX LENGTH|
|2.6 m||4.4 m||12.5 m|
For towing bigger O2 trailers you need a special transportation permit which needs to be applied seperately for every time you move the house on a public road. If the width is exceeded, the transport has to have warning vehicles driving before and/or after it (count dependent of the width of transport), which of course costs a ton. Since most of the bridges in Finland are built for maximum height of 4,4 meters, there’s not much point crossing the regulation there either – even with 4,4 meters of maximum height there’s still left around 3 meters of room height.
I’ve sent inquiries to various vehicle inspection offices (with zero response rate) regarding whether to register the home as a recreational trailer, a trailer with a modified transportation unit or not to make any changes on the registration and simply make the construction detachable. Recreational trailers naturally have their own regulations and enclosed trailers need to be at least change inspected if not tested as well, so I thought it might be simpler to make the home detachable and leave the trailer itself as it is.
It turns out that unlike class O1 (no inspections after the first one), trailers of class O2 need to be inspected every two years. So I’d need to detach a couple of tons of house every time for the inspection – not cool. I’m guessing that in the long run it might be a smaller pain in the ass to follow the regulations of a caravan or “a tow-able device” (yes, such a type actually exists) and change the registration, instead of trying to limbo in the area in between “a basic trailer transporting a building” and an actual tow-able construction. Sorting out the trailers registration is the next step in the process and since the inspection offices aren’t apparently that good answering emails it’s going to take a little footwork. At least it will probably ease up or even eliminate the fight with building legislation entirely 🙂