Secondary Residences and Granny Flats
Lots of people are interested in putting a studio or a granny flat (GF) onto their property and we thought it would be helpful to run through some of the issues that need to be considered when doing this. Common reasons for a granny flat or smaller ‘secondary residence’ (ACT planning term for a granny flat) include; generating additional rental income, accommodation for aging parents or separation from teenage children. Building a secondary residence can be thought of as a sustainable exercise, as rather than purchasing additional land, you can utilize existing infrastructure and provide housing diversity by introducing new contemporary suburban houses. Sadly, many secondary dwellings don’t eventuate due to the expense involved in complying with sometimes onerous legislation, particularly in the ACT.
Secondary residences in the ACT
Secondary residences in the ACT must comply with the Residential Zones Development code and the Single Dwelling Housing Development Code.There are two ways to go about putting an additional residence on your block in the ACT; either as a dual occupancy or a secondary residence. A dual occupancy must comply with the Multi Unit Housing Development Code and is only possible on blocks bigger than 800m2 in RZ1 (Residential Zone 1)
A secondary residence (GF) can be built on any block larger than 500m2, may be less costly in terms of government fees and cannot be sold separately. A secondary residence must also be designed to be easily adaptable to comply with Australian Standard 4299-1995 (see link below) with more circulation room required in the main bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and corridors to be able to accommodate future wheelchairs. Doors must be wider for the same reasons. In the ACT, the minimum size for a GF is 40 square meters and the maximum is 90 square meters. The GF can be standalone or can join onto the existing building depending on the best use of the site and existing infrastructure. However, you are required to have a separate entry, separate POS (private open space), separate car parking and access. In ACT a GF must undergo the process of a full Development Approval.
Secondary residences in NSW / Queanbeyan specifically
In NSW there is no minimum size for a secondary residence but they are limited to a maximum of 60 square metres. The development approvals process is much more streamlined and can be fast tracked for approval within 20 days. The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has some very helpful fact sheets on granny flats and can be found at the link under NSW below.
We thought it would be interesting to show an example of a compact 2 bedroom house and the same design adjusted to meet the code for Adaptable Housing required for ACT secondary residences which adds around 10m2 at a cost of about $20,000. If you compare the PDFs below, you can see that the bathroom and entry are different and Bed 2 pops out into the verandah area in the Adaptable version on the right hand side below.
Additional Information for ACT:
Additional Information for NSW: