Owners can convert tractor trailers by adding electrical components and furniture; trailers that have wheels attached are often regulated as vehicles or mobile homes, and they don't generally have specific building requirements. Removing the wheels might cause the trailer to be classified as a home.
Tractor trailers have poor insulation, so people who live in areas that get especially hot or cold may want to add spray-on insulation and a second wall layer. People looking to use their trailers at mobile home parks or elsewhere might want to add a way to connect electrical power; those looking to use solar power need to add appropriate connections and power converters, which may require expert help.
Plumbing can be difficult on converted trailers, and many people who live in small homes sometimes use composting toilets. People looking for a more traditional option may want to use low-flush toilets by adding a water tank and a storage receptacle, which needs to be drained on occasion by professionals.
When they're kept on wheels, trailers are regulated as vehicles or mobile homes, and areas have differing laws related to how long people can live in them. Mobile home parks might be willing to accept a converted trailer, but they may charge extra due to their large size.
Two architects in Mexico used a tractor trailer to create a habitable addition to a more conventional home. The architects, Alejandro D'Acosta and Claudia Turrent, hired a contractor to use a backhoe, ropes and a pulley to turn the trailer on its end. Workers eventually attached the trailer to an existing one-room cinder block building.
After uprighting the trailer, workers placed it on a concrete foundation and welded it into place. It contains a bathroom on the main floor with two bedrooms stacked vertically above. The two bedrooms are reached by ladders.