A new granny flat is a great investment property. But the planning stage, legal council requirements, and building process can get exhausting.

Building a granny flat can be quite rewarding if you wish to accommodate more family members on your property or create additional living space for guests. You can also house elderly family members and keep tenants, thus adding value to your land.

However, not everyone knows how to build a granny flat from scratch. Today, we’ve decided to share six of the most important things to examine before making a granny flat.

Six Things To Consider Before Building A Granny Flat

Outdoor Area Granny Flat Table

1. Know Your Purpose For Building A Granny Flat

Before you start building, getting the measurements and creating the design plans, get a clear idea about why you need a new granny flat in the first place. Maybe you need one for an older family member or in-laws who need to live close to you. Some might allow tenants who might be required to live there for a short period.

After you finalise why you need to build a granny flat, you will understand the house plan, design, and amenities it should include. It must accommodate its kitchen and bathroom if approved as a good accessory apartment.

Instead, if you don’t need these separate amenities, the building may get registered as a studio. However, if the council approves a studio apartment, you cannot set up a kitchen or laundry in that building.

Some states require the granny flat resident to be a close relative. If this is not the case in your state, you can keep tenants if your granny flats are self-sustained with a kitchen, bathroom, and laundry.

2. Determine If You Have Enough Space

Even though it is a given, the most important thing to note is whether you have enough space on your property to construct new structures. Depending on your state, the local council will impose different rules regarding the minimum land requirement.

So, the first step is measuring the land and comparing it with the guidelines available in your state. At the very least, you should have a land area of 450 square metres. Even if you build a tiny granny flat that takes up to 60 square metres, you will still need 100 square metres of space.

Usually, the extra area is required to make up for setbacks, and without the extra space, it will be difficult for you to start the construction project.

Clean Modern Granny Flat

3. Calculate The Cost Of Building A Granny Flat

Many Aussies are taking advantage of the value in their backyard as investment property prices soar around the country. But how much does a granny flat cost? Some of you may have noticed flatpacks that claim to build granny flats at low prices. A few of these advertisements will market the building at a mere $25,000, but the practical cost is never this cheap. There might also be hidden costs on top of that. Realistically, one can expect to spend about $100,000 (plus GST) for the most basic flat type.

You can get your design approved at this cost and construct an apartment with two bedrooms and one bathroom in one storey. Plan your finances wisely because other expenses can add up; depending on how many upgrades you need, the budget will stretch accordingly. You must discuss the process and planning stages with your builder to budget your finances.

Added costs or unexpected costs could come from upgrading electrical systems or the labour involved in the actual construction of the house. Also, experienced builders typically do not include site preparation costs in their quotes.

4. Getting A Council Approval

As we mentioned, most cases will need approval from the local council before building a granny flat. All states have different requirements for residents wanting to change, renovate, or build on private property or secondary dwellings. So, checking eligibility is a must before proceeding with the plan.

It’s not difficult if you know what to do - visit the local council office and let them know about your plans. During the approval process, you’ll submit a "Development Application" (DA), which the local councils can go through and come to a verdict.

Whether your application is approved or rejected, discuss your options with them to carry out further action. On average, getting approved shouldn’t take more than ten days, but sometimes the matter can stretch for weeks.

5. Understand the Size Restrictions

Getting a granny flat approved is easier if your property meets the minimum requirements to build a granny flat. Once you have had the chance to discuss plans for a granny flat with the council, they should give you some guidelines for the building and construction process. One of the more important aspects is the size restriction, and the rules will mention a minimum land size or block size before granting permission. Let’s see a few land size requirements for different states in Australia-

  • New South Wales - Minimum 450 square metres
  • Australian Capital Territory - Maximum floor area of 70 square metres ( healthcare exchange is required between the granny flat occupant and primary resident)
  • Western Australia - 70 square metres at the most
  • Queensland - 80 square metres maximum ( approval not required for family members living in a granny flat)
  • South Australia - 50 square metres maximum ( full kitchen and laundry area not allowed)
  • Victoria - Anything more than 300 square metres requires approval
  • Tasmania - 60 square metres at the most
  • Northern Territory - 50-80 square metres, depending on the type of property

Additionally, the State Environmental Planning Policy requires that you have already built the main house or existing house (main dwelling, primary dwelling or principal dwelling) on the same plot of land (not an individual lot in a strata plan or community title scheme) on which you are planning to construct a granny flat (second dwelling).

6. Plan Your Granny Flat Design

Consider hiring an architect to lay out the design plan for your granny flat. You can state the type of structure required with the number of bedrooms and bathrooms so that the expert can design your building plans accordingly.

We suggest having a rough idea or sketch in mind before setting a meeting with the project manager. You can also convey the budget beforehand so that the architect or designers can proceed accordingly.

Brick Granny Flat Paddock

Are You Ready To Construct Your Granny Flat?

Ultimately, if you are sure about getting a new granny flat, we’ll say go for it. Your family can use the extra space to accommodate guests and extended family or as a lounge area for get-togethers. Security-wise, more people will reside on your property if you allow tenants in the granny flat, so that’s another plus.

Just go through the requirements mentioned here, and you should be ready to become the proud owner of a brand-new granny flat!

Are you thinking of building a granny flat in Sydney? You can count on Final Touch for all your granny flat needs in Sydney. We have licensed Sydney builders with expertise in building granny flats and house renovations. So please call us today and speak with one of our friendly team members!

It’s a Match

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