It appears the answer is yes… habitable sheds are popping up in the UK.
“A fascinating business proposition in Oxford is moving the shedworking/tiny houses story forward.
As reported by the BBC Oxford businessman Robin Swailes is marketing £25,000 shedlike pods (3m x 2.5m) with electricity, kitchen, bed, toilet, shower, underfloor heating and running water as small homes for those struggling to get onto the property ladder in the city.”
Laura breaks downs recent costs of Tiny House Ontario.
“So far in 2012 I have (with help) built the in-house with composting toilet, added some (not great) LED battery lighting, put steel on the exterior, added gravel dust for the patio (to allow this to settle for next year’s project), updated (not completed) the kitchen and purchased the items for the off grid solar installation including fixtures. Below is what I spent on this phase.”
Here’s an example or extreme prefab… pre-build the whole house and fly it in.
“In remote lake-and-hill country within Switzerland, building on site is often not an option – some spots are, at best, accessible only by motorcycle, small car or boat. This house was dropped off and installed in record speed.”
While I had to mute this video myself (sorry Dragonforce) I did enjoy watching the time lapse construction of this tiny earthbag house.
“Watch us build an Earthbag House in Fairbanks, AK! Music by Dragonforce! This time lapse covers two months of building with 2 people.”
As you can see the dirt in the middle was bagged and added to each course of bags. Not always is the onsite dirt ideal for earthbags but sometimes you get lucky. Between each course barbed wire is added and temporarily held down with rocks. The level of each course of bags is measured regularly as well as the window and door rough bucks. This is common in all masonry construction.
I assume the owner-builders extended the walls at the corners to add strength. Strait earthen walls like this typically require some perpendicular supports at regular intervals. I assume the region this earthbag home was built gets a lot of snow, so it makes sense to add some extra support. I also imagine the owner-builders will be adding a pitched roof to this little cabin to help support a high snow load.
My last thought/observation is that a high thermal mass cabin in a cold climate might be a bit of a mistake only because they take time to warm up. Once warm they hold their temperature well, especially if the exterior is insulated. For a short-visit cabin I think a well-insulated wood frame building might work better.