Garage Conversion- 6 Tips for Seamless Approval

Garage Conversion into a Granny Flat for Sydney & Rural NSW- 6 Very Important Tips.

If you’re considering converting your existing garage (Garage Conversion Approval) into a granny flat, here are 6 useful tips on the thought processes involved and whether it’s worth doing:

1. Setbacks (900mm or more): If the walls of the garage are less than 0.9m from the side or rear boundaries, you’ll need a fire-rated-wall on that part of the structure. Please also note, the fascia and eaves (if any) must also be fire-rated. as well. This is a Building Code regulation. There are other regulations regarding setbacks &  fire-rated-walls which you can check out HERE.

2. Minimum Internal Wall Height (2.4 m): The internal wall height of the living room, dining room and bedrooms must be a at least 2.4 metres. If it’s a cathedral or skillion-roofed ceiling, the average wall height must be used. This means measuring the maximum wall-height, then adding it to the minimum wall-height and finally dividing it by two (getting the average). This will tell you if the ceiling height is adequate for granny flat approval.

3. Floor Drains: The bath (or shower) and the floor of the bathroom must have a floor-drain for waste-water. This means concrete-saw-cutting the slab OR installing a raised concrete floor in the bathroom, so that you can run the 50mm drain pipes outside. This can be legally achieved since the Building Code says that the bathroom (and kitchen) do not need a 2.4m high wall- they get away with being only 2.1 metres high. Good news!

garage conversion guide

 

4. The Frame & Slab: An Engineer will need to certify the Frame and Slab as being compliant with the Building Code of Australia (BCA). We can arrange this for you as part of your granny flat conversion approval and our experienced Engineer will visit your site to inspect these critical elements for compliance with the BCA. he will then issue your Certificate for structural integrity.

5. BASIX (Energy Efficiency): The new granny flat conversion will need to have a BASIX Certificate. This means an energy efficient Hot Water System (HWS), a Rainwater Tank for storm-water drainage, adequate ventilation in the bathroom and adequate glazing (windows).

6. Termite-Proofing and Water-Proofing: The existing slab must be checked for termite-resistance and certified by an accredited termite expert. The bathroom must also be leak-checked and certified by a qualified Waterproofer. if you need help with this, just ask us. We have people who do this for us on a regular basis and they know what needs to be done, plus their prices are very competitive.

 

So if you follow the tips above, in conjunction with the other rules listed in our Granny Flat Conversion page HERE, you’ll be well on your way to having a seamless garage to granny flat conversion designed, approved and built.

Warm Regards,

Serge Panayi – Granny Flats Sydney (NSW) Pty Ltd


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Comments


118 replies on Garage Conversion- 6 Tips for Seamless Approval

  • Kitae Lee says:

    hi, i plan to build granny flat in my back yard but i can’t build due to a sewer line running across. so, i’d like to convert garage in the ground floor. but i found the height is 2.3m. Isn’t any way to solve this problem? Is it not possible to dig out the foundation to make the required height?

    Regards

  • Serge Panayi says:

    Hi Kitae,
    The only way is to either:
    1. Turn the roof into a cathedral ceiling. This means exposed rafters. This can be difficult if the trusses are not simpe trusses.

    2. Lift the roof up. This involves taking the roof off and adding a 200mm top plate to the walls and then refitting the roof.

    You can’t ‘dig’ the floor down. I mean I cant imagine how you could do that and meet the Building Code with respect to drainage etc.

    I hope that helps.

    Serge

  • Ken Finn says:

    Hi I have just purchased a house on a 937 square metre block .It has a 7 metre by 10 metre garage with 2.4 metre ceiling .It is only 60 centimetres from the side boundary .Can you help me convert it to a granny flat.

  • Serge Panayi says:

    Hi Ken,

    The 70 sq m will have to be reduced to 60 sq m, usually by adding a separating wall and the extra 10 sq m can be designated as a shed. The wall height is good for granny flat conversion which certainly helps! The wall that’s 60 cm from a boundary will have to be fire-rated as per the BCA unless it’s brick or other masonry with no windows on that side. If the eaves and fascia extends to within 45 cm of the boundary, that will also need to be non-flammable.

    This is why we need to carry out Stage-1 of your approval. Just give me a call on (02) 9785 2781 and I’ll take a look your garage conversion.

    Cheers,
    Serge Panayi

  • Julianne Serhan says:

    Hi Serge
    Can i build a GF on top of my existing double garage . Everything complies except the rear boundary setback ,which is only 900mm . It is a CORNER block that is rather flat . The 562m2 property is in Mascot and zoned R2 under Botany Bay Council. I am willing to put a DA in to get it passed. Also the rear of the house backs on to my side neighbours drive way.

    Thanks Regards

  • Serge Panayi says:

    Hi Julianne,

    Yoiu’d need to meet the setback requirements for that height as follows:

    Granny flat height from natural ground to the peak must be 3m rear setback + 3x additional height above 3.8m.

    I doubt Botany Council would support this as a DA but you can certainly ask. Take photos and draw a concept plan to show them.

    Let us know what they say!

    Serge Panayi.

    • Eric says:

      I would like to convert current home plan for double storey home with an upstairs granny flat with its own stairs. How can the granny flat which is upstairs be fire protected?

      • Serge Panayi says:

        Hi Eric,

        There are various methods used to protect the two, separate dwellings. A couple of manufacturers market products (panelling) which provides the minimum fire protection. These must be installed as per their technical manuals and one must ensure the structural elements and window openings etc are also protected from the transfer of heat. Openings for example must be a minimum of 1.8 metres from each other, otherwise a fire-proof nib-wall or awning must be used to separate them. It must project out by 900 mm.

        Serge

  • Tim W says:

    Hi Serge,

    I live in the Warringah Council area. I’ve checked their website and it says :

    “Secondary dwelling is Prohibited in LEP – Land zoned R2 Low Density Residential (R2). This development is prohibited on the land you have selected.”

    Im confused because there are other people with the same zoning who are currently building secondary dwellings.

    What am I missing ?

    Thanks

    Rgds
    Tim

  • John Matthews says:

    Are there are secondary dwelling implications if you convert your garage into a granny flat. Can I expect 2 council rates notices and/or two water bills?

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi John,

      No , you won’t incur additional Council Rates. You will probably want additional bins though and these are charged along with your rates. It’s usually around $300 annually I believe.

      If you install a separate water meter, you’ll be charged for it’s rental. For this reason, we encourae our landlors to juts run water off the same Main’s Meter and install a private meter for your granny flat tenants.

      Regards,

      Serge

  • Wayne says:

    Assuming the garage conversion meets all 6 tip above. What is the requirement for front setback of the garage that needs to be converted?
    If the garage is detached from the front house but has same setback from front boundary as the main house, can this garage be converted?

    Cheers, Wayne

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Wayne,

      There is no requirement for any setbacks (side, rear and front) if the garage is existing.
      So, if the structure is existing, no matter what it’s existing setbacks to boundaries, it can be converted to a granny flat.
      There are of course Building Code requiremnents for fire-rating the structure if it’s less then 900 mm from boundaries to another property.
      The fire rating requirements do not apply to a boundary which adjoins a public reserve. This means, road reserves, parks, laneways and public pathways.

      If the garage is less than 900 mm from the main dwelling, any wall within that zone must also be fire rated.
      This can be achieved with brick, masonry and any certified cladding. Boral and James hardie have fire (and acoustic) cladding solutions on their websites.

      Finale note, any eaves or fascia within 450mm to a boundary or another eaves/fascia (main dwelling’s eaves/facia) must be fire rated too. Fascia can be fibre-cement-sheeting and the fascia can be Colorbond Steel in order to meet this BCA (Building Code of Australia) requirement.

      I hope this helps.
      Serge Panayi

  • Chris says:

    Hi Serge

    I have an existing large back shed – about 6.5m X 3.5m. It sits close the the rear boundary. I would like to convert into a small studio flat. Do you think this is doable ? Is it worth you taking a closer look ?

    Cheers

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Chris,

      It’s possible to convert it, yes.

      A conversion must be made to comply with two primary areas:

      1. The Building Code of Australia (Fire Separation Regulations, Minimum Wall Heights etc.) and BASIX Regulations (Energy-Efficiency)
      2. The NSW State SEPP Legislation which we check and report to you on.

      Feel free to give me a call so we can asses the approval for you. All of our approvals come with a 100% Money-Back Guarantee (offered by no other firm), so that you can proceed without fear nor risk.
      We firstly carry out Stage-1 (Site Survey, Measure and Compliance Checks). Please see pricing and process here: http://www.grannyflatapprovals.com.au/garage-conversions

      If we say we can get it approved but fail to do so, we refund you the Stage-2 and Stage-3 fees in full!

      Serge Panayi.

  • Mary says:

    Hi, Im looking at converting a 3.6 x 7.3m single garage to granny flat in Sutherland shire. There is a drain water easement running 1m along the side of the garage. Will this affect the conversion? Also, wondering if the total property size (531sqm) will affect the approval, as I have heard that minimum block size needs to be a minimum of 600sqm? I have tried to contact council to clarify this but still waiting for them to get back to me.

    Regards
    Mary

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Mary,

      As long as the structure is not situated directly over the Drainage easement, you’re ok.
      With regard to minimum land size, it is 450 sq m and not 600 sq m. The confusion is often what is prescribed within the NSW State SEPP Legislation versus the various Council’s internal policy(s), termed their DCP; or Development Control Policy.
      There are other minimum requirements as written in this blog, plus our other Conversion Guides here: http://www.grannyflatapprovals.com.au/garage-conversion-guides.

      Also, be sure to check that the structure isn’t lying over nor adjacent to the Sewer Mains as explained in this article: http://www.grannyflatapprovals.com.au/granny-flat-sewer-help. If it is, you’ll need to show proof that the original structure has been previously approved as a garage or shed. This can be done through two ways:
      1. By checking Sydney Water’s SSD (Sewerage Service Diagram). This can be purchased at any ‘Quick-Check’ Agent in NSW or call us and we’ll check it for you. This costs around $18
      2. If the above diagram doesn’t show the previously approved structure on-site, you can apply to your Local Council for all previous approvals & plans to be furnished to you via the freedom of information act. This usually has a fee attached- around $100 I think, but it does vary from Council to Council.

      I hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Serge Panayi

  • Sharna says:

    Hi, I’m looking at buying a property which already has a granny flat on it, however it is not council approved. The floor to ceiling only measures approx. 2.1 metres. Is there anything we can do to fix this cheaply? And if we don’t fix it, do you know if it’s legal to still rent it out being unapproved. Thanks for any advice 🙂

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Sharna,

      Unfortunately, the internal wall height MUST be at 2.4 metres or more. The only rooms which don’t need to be at 2.4 m are the kitchen, bathroom , laundry and any hallways – these can be at 2.1 m wall height.\
      Apart from lifting the roof or exposing the roof rafters, there’s no other way to meet this critical Building Code requirement for approval as a granny flat.

      To answer your other question, is it legal to rent out an unapproved structure – NO. It is illegal to occupy or rent out a structure unless it is approved. I don’t mean to be an alarmist but should someone be injured on the property as a result of living-in or even visiting the occupants, the land owner IS LIABLE. There was a recent case where two tenants in Wollongong were burned due to a gas fire inside an unapproved granny flat. The landlord is now facing criminal charges. An insurance company will also not honour any policy you have on the property if there is damage to the granny flat or the main dwelling. You are also not covered by public liability. I would steer clear of it unless it can be assessed (prior to signing a Contract) as ‘approvable’. We can do this for a fee or you can read our Conversion Guides for further investigation.

      Consequently, if a real-estate agent is advertising the property as on the market with a “granny flat” and it’s unapproved I’d report the agent to NSW Fair Trading.
      There are surely many unapproved garages used by landlords all over Sydney but they’re playing Russian Roulette with people’s lives.

      Better to be safe than sorry, no?

      Serge Panayi.

  • Greggy says:

    Hi Serge,
    We live in a battle axe lot.. We are the owner at the front and another at the back. The lot was subdivided and create a strata plan. Our lot is 479 sqm but because it is a strata title.. would it be possible to build a granny flat? Can we convert our garage which is about 27 sqm meter into a granny flat by pulling it down since it’s falling apart? Could we make it bigger ?

    Thanks,
    Greggy

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Greggy,

      Good question. Unless I’m mistaken, a strata title means the 2x dwellings share 1 common property with separate strata titles. A granny flat can only be built (or converted into) IF the property has only 1x Dwelling on it. Please correct me if I’m wrong!

  • rhonda says:

    I am interested in converting a garage to granny flat. I know that I will need to make the side close to the boundary fire rated and was thinking I would just do an extension to the existing structure for the kitchen, bathroom area. The existing structure would be used for the living and bedroom/s which is approx 3.8m x 8m though only has a roof height of 2.1m and the roof needs replacing anyway.. Would changing the roof frame to cathedral ceilings meet BCA requirements for ceiling height of 2.4m?

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Rhonda,

      Yes, changing the ceiling to cathedral will make it meet the Building Code with regards to minimum 2.4 m ceiling heights. As long as the average height within the habitable space (not kitchen, bathroom, laundry or hallways- they can be 2.1m high) is 2.4 m you are ok.

      The problem with cathedral ceilings is that often the existing roof frame wont allow it to be converted this way due to the existing horizontal beams and trusses/purlins being in the way!

      Serge.

  • Carol says:

    Hi Serge 🙂
    I recently found out my granny flat which was built in 1989 (my husband handled the approval process) was only passed through council as a ‘Garage’, therefore it is not a habitable dwelling. I’ve only ever had family live in there from time to time. Currently my son and his partner have been residing there to save for a deposit on a home. My house and so ‘Garage’ is located in the Western Sydney suburb of Blacktown. Blacktown City Council has sent me out a ‘Development Application’ to convert my ‘Garage’ into a ‘Granny Flat/Secondary Dwelling’, however I heard it is lot quicker and easier to get a Garage to Granny Flat conversion approval through a CDC using a private certifier that is. So is that possible? To convert my Garage into a Granny Flat by way of the CDC route or because it’s not a ‘New Build’ do I have to go through council using the lengthy DA process? Any advice regarding this predicament would be greatly appreciated! Thanks 🙂

  • Vlad Stanculescu says:

    Hi Serge,

    With regards to fire rating, I refer to Schedule 1 Development standards for secondary dwellings, 9 Setbacks from side boundaries and 10 Setbacks from rear boundaries: ‘Development for the purposes of a secondary dwelling must not result in a new building or a new part of an existing building or any new carport, garage, …’ of the SEPP Affordable Rental Housing 2009. In particular, the wording ‘or a new part of an existing building’.

    If an existing garage has a setback of 0.6m, then the SEPP will only allow the conversion of the garage into a secondary dwelling on the basis that the wall already complies with fire rating requirements. As soon as you upgrade the fire rating by installing a fire rated product instead of the existing fascia the SEPP recognises the change as a ‘new part of an existing building’ even though the actual distance hasn’t changed.

    I have spoken to several Private Certifiers that have the same interpretation and was wondering what your position is on the matter. Please feel free to contact me, I’ve left my details with your office also.

    Kind regards,
    Vlad

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Vlad,

      This is a good question and I will clarify below:

      If the footprint hasn’t changed then it’s not a ‘new part’ to the existing building. A change of cladding is not a ‘new part’ since a change of skin (cladding) is Exempt Development works as specified in the Codes SEPP. It’s no different to adding a TV Antenna which, whilst a new ‘thing’ added to the building, it’s not a ‘new part’.

      This is how we see it and this is 100% confirmed by Planning NSW through my own enquiries.

      I hope this helps.

      Serge Panayi

  • Frank says:

    Hi Serge,

    I have a 6m x 9m garage. All four walls are brick with zero side setbacks and the rear is 600mm to the rear lane. I intent to add a habitable 1st storey with 1.5m side set back (hopefully to qualify as secondary dwelling). This would give me a decent 6m x 6m room above.

    1. what is the different BCA requirements between a studio and a secondary dwelling ?
    2. Does the floor between the garage underneath and the room above need to be fire rated ?
    3. does the existing slab need Termite-Proofing and Water-Proofing and structurally certified ?

    Thanks

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Frank,

      The most important point to make on the subject of extending a structure for granny flat conversion is that you cannot extend a structure as part of a conversion (approval) into a granny flat.

      We can only approve an ALREADY EXISTING structure, not one that needs to be extended. So, you’ll need to get an approval to extend the existing (Class-10A) Garage/Shed firs, and then once it’s approved and constructed, you can then seek a GRANNY FLAT CONVESION APPROVAL.

      The reason for this, is that the NSW Granny Flat SEPP has specific setback rules for NEW GRANNY FLATS but these setbacks do not apply for an EXISTING STRUCTURE.

      To answer your other questions:

      1. STUDIO versus GRANNY FLAT: The BCA actually makes no distinction between a Studio, a Dwelling House or a Secondary Dwelling. These are all habitable structures. The BCA has minimum setback requirements for the following:
      (a) Class 1A (dwellings: houses, studios, granny flats) must be minimum 0.9m from boundaries and 1.8m from each other;
      (b) Class 10A (Outbuildings – Garages and Sheds) must be minimum 0.9m from boundaries and can be nil to a dwelling on the same lot
      (c) Class 10A (Outbuildings – carports, Awnings, patios and Pergolas which are open structures) must be minimum 0.5m from boundaries and can be nil to a dwelling on the same lot.

      Now, if these minimum BCA setbacks and distances between structures cannot be met, a fire-rated solution is needed. This can be achieved by using masonry or other fire-clad materials in the walls, eaves and fascia.

      Incidentally, eaves can be fibro and fascia can be Colorbond. This is needed if these two elements are les than 450mm from boundaries and less than 900mm between dwellings.

      2.TWO-STOREY SEPARATING DWELLING AND GARAGE or SHED: The only time you need a fire-rated solution between a lower and upper floor is if the two levels are separate (self-contained), dwellings on each floor. For example, if you have a house downstairs and another house (or granny flat) upstairs, you’ll need to fire-rate the ceiling/floor combo. There are absolutely no fire-separation requirements between a garage and a dwelling on a lot if they are part of the same household within that allotment.

      NOTE:
      (1) If you have a Garage situated between two dwellings, there must be a fire-rated wall solution on both dwellings.
      (2) If you have a Carport situated between two dwellings, you don’t need a fire-rated solution as long as the carport’s roof is built from non-combustible materials.
      (3) If you have an Open Structure (Not a Carport – like an Awning, Patio or the like) there must be a fire-rated wall solution on both dwellings.

      This is all part of the Building Code of Australia, Volume 2, Part 3.7.1
      I hope I’m explaining this well sir… to your last question now.

      3.
      TERMITE PROTECTION: In most cases, the existing slab will need to be treated chemically for termite resistance. We have people who do that for our clients all the time, so that’s no problem . It costs between $500 to $1,000 at the time of writing this (July 2014); the cost varies depending on access around the structure for the qualified termite consultant.

      WATER-PROOFING: A few things must be made true for the slab and wall-cavity as follows>
      (a) The slab must be minimum 150mm above surrounding turf/soil and the ground must also fall away from the structure.
      (b) The slab must be minimum 50mm above surrounding concrete/paving and the ground must also fall away from the structure.
      (c) If the slab does not have a damp-proof membrane, there are several solutions available on the market for achieving this including top-up membranes and other alternative solutions. The right solution depends on many factors which would require an essay to describe here. Actually Frank, you have just inspired me on what to write in my next blog article- thank you!
      (d) The wall-cavity must have adequate ventilation and, again, there are a few solutions to this depending on whether it’s a masonry wall system or stud-frame wall system.

      That should hopefully help for now. Feel free to call me if you need further assistance with all of this.

      Warm Regards,

      Serge Panayi.

  • Frank says:

    Hi Serge,

    Thanks for your response. It is rather strange that I couldn’t find any official documents differentiating detached studio and secondary dwelling from the council other than wet areas (other than a toilet) are not allowed in a studio.

    Guess i could do it as detached studio first then add bathroom and kitchenette as exempted development. There shouldn’t be any impediment for me to lease it out later since it is classified as class 1.

  • Warren says:

    Hi Serge,
    I’m hoping to convert our detached garage into a games room. The slab it was built on has waterproofing beneath it, but the slab is at ground level, whereas the house is built on a slab that is elevated by 1 or 2 courses of bricks. Does the floor need to be raised up above ground level in order to be approved?
    Also, if the ceiling has exposed joists which protrude below 2.4m, but the ceiling lining itself is 2.4m, will this qualify?

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Warren,

      To answer your Building Code of Australia questions:

      Slab Above surrounding External Ground: The slab must be at least 50mm above surrounding concrete/paving and it must be at least 150mm above surrounding turf/soil. This can be achieved by cutting the surrounding ground or raising (topping) the slab to achieve this. The outside levels must also fall away from the structure.

      Minimum Ceiling Heights: Firstly, the kitchen, bathroom/laundry and any hallway(s) can be at 2.1m wall height. For the rest of the granny flat, at least 2.4m average must be achieved. How you achieve this depends on the roof beams/battens and may (sometimes) be achieved via exposing the beams. Having roof battens inside the room space is ok as long as they don’t fill more than 70% of the ceiling area.

      I hope this helps!

      Serge Panayi
      Granny Flat Approvals Sydney Pty Ltd

  • Brett says:

    Hi Serge,
    I’m thinking of converting our colourbond garage (8.5m x 4.5m) to a granny flat but I don’t think the slab has a damp proof membrane under it. The frames are 2.4m high and gabled roof up to 3m high in the centre. The surrounding ground is flat, and I plan to concrete it sloping away to make the slab 50mm+ above it. What are the best options to make the slab damp proof to meet BCA requirements?
    cheers,
    Brett

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Brett,

      A ‘topping slab’ is usually required and this may impact on your internal wall-height in the sense that it will be under 2.4m which is the minimum wall height in living rooms and bedrooms.
      The much larger problem for garage ‘portal-framed’ steel structures is getting the frame certified for habitable use. These structures are not designed nor built to be habitable and upgrading them is often impossible or more trouble than the cost of these ‘kit-form’ portal frames.

      Serge

  • Paul Morgan says:

    Hi Serge

    Thanks so much for this helpful thread. Apologies if someone has already asked this, but if I build a granny flat above my existing garage, do I have to provide a fire rated means of egress for the occupant? I understand the need for a fire rated wall if within 900 of the boundary, but what about general egress? If the stairs up to the granny flat are within the existing garage do I need to create a fire compartment so the occupant can get out safely if, for example, there was a fire in the garage itself. And if the stairs are built to be external to the garage, would that constitute a new structure and therefore cause the other problems that you’ve already discussed?

    many thanks

    Paul

    • Serge Panayi says:

      hmmm Good question Paul,

      Stairs are not considered as ‘new building’ so that’s fine and we can approve a conversion as far as SEPP compliance goes.
      The issue is that you cannot breach the setback rules if you are extending a structure. That is, we can convert an ‘existing’ structure even if it breaches the minimum side (0.9m) and minimum rear (generally 3m) setbacks BUT the structure must be existing, not a new structure nor a new extension to an existing structure.

      Serge Panayi

      • Paul Morgan says:

        Thanks Serge

        Any thoughts on my other question about fire egress provision for someone living upstairs of a garage?

        Many thanks

        Paul

        • Serge Panayi says:

          The stairs can originate from either the outside world or the garage since the garage is not a habitable dwelling.
          Note: As long as the garage is a minimum of 1800mm from the main dwelling all of this^^ is correct.

          • Paul Morgan says:

            Thank you Serge. The more I’ve read since made me come to that conclusion anyway. I realised that the granny flat would be class 1a and so it would be like a normal home in that if you’re upstairs and there’s a fire downstairs then you’ve got an issue! Thanks for being so generous with your time and for providing such a helpful website

            cheers

            Paul

  • David says:

    Hi,
    I was wondering if it’s possible to build a house with an attached granny flat that has a completely separate access to the main house. This is in Mascot and the council have advised that the block needs to be at least 450m2 but my block is about 421.

    I don’t seem to see any other granny flats in my area that I know of but is my idea still feasible if I went ahead with it?
    Thanks
    Dave

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Dave,
      If the property is less than 450 sq.m, you can still get approval through the State SEPP legislation if the granny flat is attached to the primary dwelling house. This is detailed here:

      “A consent authority must not refuse consent to development to which this Division applies on either of the following grounds:
      (i) the secondary dwelling is located within, or is attached to, the principal dwelling”

      Whoever told you that you cannot get approval in this case is simply incorrect. You can read our approval guide to see that you can do an approval, if attached to the main house, right here: http://www.grannyflatapprovals.com.au/approval-guide

      Feel free to contact us if you’d like to get an approval and/or build done.

      Warm Regards,

      Serge Panayi

  • Wayne says:

    HI.

    I have a 5 bed room house with an extra rumpus room. I want to renovate and convert 2 bedrooms and the rumpus into a granny flat and sealing it up from the rest of the house (properly off course}. One bedroom would be converted into a bathroom/toilet and the rumpus into a small kitchen and lounge. Would I need to get an approval (Ipswich Qld) since it is all under the current roof line?
    I would think as long as the plumbing and electrical were completed by licensed tradies, should be okay???

    Cheers
    Wayne

  • Vicky says:

    I have a single brick double garage that I would like to convert to a granny flat. The garage is on the boundary on 2 sides. The measurements are 6000 x 5900 and was wondering if it’s possible to have a 2 storey granny flat. Happy for one level but have a few requirements – decent sized kitchen and extra storage. How do I start the process? Thanks

  • Christian says:

    Hi

    I have a 7m x 3.5m single garage attached to my house with a zero side setback (i.e. on the boundary). The side wall on the boundary is brick (not sure if single or double brick – but presume its fire-proof from previous posts). There is a slight incline such that at the back of the garage its <2.1m wall height (front +- 2.6m) – there is a flat zinc roof. Can this be converted to a GF (bedroom and bathroom?). The slab looks pretty good condition and garage dry. Presume plumbing, additional floor (topping slab) as not level and electrics need to be done, but what are options for roof height, waterproofing, and other approval issues etc?

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Christian,

      Fire Rating seems ok. Just make sure the common wall to the main house is also fire rated.
      Wall height may be an issue because average height seems to be under 2.4m
      It must have a kitchen and bathroom to be a granny flat; otherwise not in the scope of this approval topic.
      Options for plumbing, particularly floor-drains (in kitchen and bathroom) are to raise those floors 100mm (by timber or other material) to allow floor drains to go outside.
      Waterproofing is not typically a huge problem in wet-areas but the slab must be checked for an existing damp-proof-membrane, otherwise a new one (top-up) must be installed.
      Typical for garages, the ventilation will need to be checked and the slab must be above surrounding concrete driveways and paths by 50mm or more and 150mm above surrounding turf. Outside land must fall away from the granny flat for 2mtrs; so some cutting of concrete is not unusual.

      Not always a simple thing but all part of the Building Code requirements. We’ve managed to do many hundreds of Conversions at various levels of difficulty but as always, it’s best to look at the cost versus the benefit.

      Regards,

      Serge

  • Andre says:

    Hi, I would like to seek some advice regarding a house I recently purchased, 3 bed, 2 bath,1 garage which has been converted into 1bedroom teenage retreat (1living, 1 bed and 1 shower toilet (small sink in the living room with small rangehood but no stove). This teenage retreat has no council approval.
    It seems it fullfilled the standard requirment of the 2.4m height and the 900mm both side and back gap, the access to the garage is from the side of the property only (Corner block 544sqm). Questions:
    1.I understand that conductiong private certifier would be much easier, how can I get Private certifier? I meant what exactly business category this private certifier is in? And once they certify it, how can I use it to gain council’s approval?
    2. Should I get into council approval process, Would it be possible to convert it into 2 bed granny flat?
    3.. What’s the difference between teenage retreat and granny flat from council’s perspective? is the kitchen the difference between those two? My teenage retreat has shower and toilet, can it still be considered as teenage retreat? IF I keep it as a teenage retreat, Do I need to obtain council approval (As there are plumbing and drainage installed)?
    Thanks so much,

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi,

      If the attached ‘teenage retreat’ has no hardwired or hard-connected stove/cooking, it’s not a secondary dwelling. It probably didn’t need approval in the sense of being a separate domicile.
      You can find Private Certifiers listed on the Building Professionals Board website. We have one here as well if you hire us!
      To convert it into a granny flat (means it has hard-wired cooking), you’ll need fire-rated-walls to the roof (and possibly ceilings if it’s 2-storey), BASIX and other BCA requirements. I do encourage you to read our conversion guides because they answer all of these questions to be honest.

      Serge

  • Cate says:

    Hi Serge,

    I live in a very old strata apartment building that has separate 2 story garage on the title of one of the apartments. The structure is dilapidated and currently not used. I am interested in purchasing it from the title owner. I will carry out the legal procedures for separate title etc.

    My question is, can a conversion be made by completely rebuilding the garage, retaining the original dimensions? It would possibly even need a new slab. The garage has a toilet attached to it.

    Cheers,

    Cate

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Strata properties are disqualified form all forms of secondary dwelling (granny flat) approval. Sorry Cate

      • Cate says:

        I didn’t know that! Thanks so much for the information.

        Maybe from another perspective… Do you know if a stand alone garage could be converted to a *primary* dwelling (if there is approval from the Owners’ Corporation)? The two story garage has 50sm of floor space, so is a reasonable size for a small inner city unit. It wouldn’t be a granny flat attached to a house, so by this criteria maybe it wouldn’t be seen as a secondary dwelling?

        Thanks Serge,

        Cate

        • Serge Panayi says:

          Hi Cate,

          I understand your question but changes to a strata title are an entirely different development to a granny flat. I suggest you take up this entirely extraneous matter with either your local Council or a planning solicitor. Needless to say, I don’t believe the conversion of an apartment building from a strata title into it’s own Torrens Title has ever been accomplished anywhere in Australia. For starters, you would need to subdivide the land. This is impossible when people live above each other.

  • Scott Harley says:

    I have a existing single garage with attached shed approx 4m x 9 m that is 900mmm from rear boundary of a corner block. I want to extend the garage to a double garage including the rear shed.
    Can I put a granny flat above in one application or do I need to construct the garage first.then apply for the granny flat . I’m in pittwater council area

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Scott,

      You’ll have to get the garage extension approved and completed BEFORE you apply for the Granny Flat Conversion. Reason is the legislation only allows for the conversion of EXISTING structures. We can do the two together for you if you like.

  • Robert says:

    Hi.
    We have a 9m wide x 7 m deep x 2.7m high (walls) colorbond garage on 100mm slab with 2 roller doors and side entrance door in our backyard on 620 sq/m.
    Can you convert this to a granny flat ?.
    thanks

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Robert,

      Colorbond garage structures are almost impossible to approve, simply because the frame is/was designed to withstand low loads only. They’re a lightweight structure. An Engineer could inspect and advise on the ‘upgrade’ of the frame if needed.

      Serge.

  • Edwin says:

    Hi Serge,

    If my property has an existing granny flat, what must I do to add a kitchen legally? Do I need to apply for dual occupancy first?

    Thanks and regards.

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Edwin,

      Is the existing granny flat approved as such? If not, we simply prepare and submit the relevant plans, energy-efficiency approvals, specifications and Engineer’s Certification to our Private Certifier for fast approval.

  • shay says:

    Hi Serge,

    I’m in the hills in sydney area, converting my garage to a granny flat…. i comply with all bca requirements except i have no membrane under the existing slab… what is the solution to this problem?

    regards

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Shayan,

      There are a few solutions to this problem which need thorough explanation. There are epoxy and other ‘membrane’ applications available over the slab. In all cases, the internal wall-height will be reduced slightly (50 mm or so) and all existing floor coverings will need to be removed.

      Feel free to give us a call when you’re ready to seek approval and I’ll explain the options to you.

      Serge

  • Justine says:

    Hi Serge,

    Is it possible to build a new detached granny flat in front of an existing house rather than at the rear? The principal home has been built at the rear of the block so the only space for a granny flat is on the land at the front of the existing house. If so, what would the setbacks need to be from the street and to the principal home at the rear?

    Thank you.

  • Peter says:

    I’m looking at buying an undeveloped 900ish sqm RU5 block in a village in Goulburn Mulwaree Shire. I’d like to erect a garage, and then convert the garage to a dwelling, for personal use only.

    At what point does a garage become an existing structure?

    What selling points should I look for (or avoid) in garage kits?

    • Peter says:

      Also, does the FHOG pay out on such conversions?

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Peter,

      The garage becomes ‘existing’ the day you get an occupation Certificate or becomes completely finished assuming it’s ‘Exempt Development’.
      For garage kits, I’d avoid the steel-framed, Class 10A kits sold by many companies because they are only engineered for non-habitable purposes. In other words, get one that is Class 1A. You can also preempt some plumbing and other slab membrane and ventilation issues later on.

      Serge

  • Jo says:

    Hi
    Question, is that t possible to erect a garage and line it , to use as a studio office. No kitchen is or bathroom facilities, just adding windows and perhaps a sliding glass door in place of a roller door?without going thru council., providing I am 900ml from boundary fences etc? Campbelltown council

    Thanks

  • Angie says:

    Hi Serge, we are looking at converting one of our garages which is underneath our existing flats on an R3 zoned land. The roof height is more than adequate height and it would be less than the maximum 380meter square floor space.
    Do we need a DA still for this? We are Tweed shire.
    Thanks
    Angie

  • Kian says:

    HI Serge,
    We would like to convert an existing garage into a granny flat. Site area is less than 300sqm. Its North Sydney Council. Can this be done given that the area is less than 450sqm and the combined floor area is 10sqm more than the site coverage?

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Kian,

      No, not under the State SEPP legislation. The site must be minimum 450 sq m
      The chances through a DA are minimal at best @ North Sydney Council, sorry.
      If the conversion is WITHIN the existing dwelling’s habitable area you could do it.

      Serge

  • Maroine says:

    Hi Serge,
    I’m still on the research and planning stage of converting or utilizing my old garage into a granny flat. Please give me some advise on this regard. Thanks you very much.

    1. I have a 6mx7m garage with an attached 3m.x 2,5m room at the back. with separate door. I’m planning to knockdown the garage and build a granny flat using the existing slab.but at the same time retain the attached room. Will this be possible?
    2. I’m also planning to add extra space of around 6m2 on the side of the existing slab of the garage to increase the area of the new granny flat..
    3. As I have a 3kw solar panel on my main house. Can I install an additional electricity meter on the new granny flat that is connected to the main house electricity meter to utilize the solar panels if ever I decide to have it rented?

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Maroine,

      It’s important to firstly note that what you want to do is not a Conversion in the legislative sense. Its assessed as a new granny flat even though you want to keep some elements and partial structure.
      It’s only assessed as a Conversion if the existing structure’s footprint and elevation is unchanged. Hence the relevant Approval requirements/standards are here: http://www.grannyflatapprovals.com.au/approval-guide/

      With the hot water system, it’s fine to use the existing panels. I’d make sure the existing system can handle the additional capacity.

      Serge

  • pradeep says:

    Hi,
    I am purchasing a property which is a 3ded with double garage.
    The double garage which was part of the original dwelling. has been converted into a living space.
    The internal space of the double garage has been divided into 2 bedrooms, a lounge, kichen and shover+toilet. (plumbing included + gas connection to kitchen). All the partition walls are of plaster with metal frame.
    The whole area has a suspended plaster ceiling at 2.4 mtr height which is in addition to existing ceiling still intact.
    The original 2x sliding metal rolling shutter doors are still in place. 2x Sliding glass doors have been installed in addition to this.
    I understand there is no limit on the granny flat area as long as it was inside the existing dwelling.
    Do you see any issues in getting this council approved. Will there be any penalties as it already exists.

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Pradeep,

      The maximum size for a granny flat is always 60 sq m.
      You’ll need a fire-rated wall/roof for this.

      Please read our guides to see how this can be done or call me to discuss.

  • Peter K says:

    I am trying to convert my double garage into a 2 rooms and a bathroom. The roof height is 2.2m. Is it possible to lift the roof to 2.4m without a DA or CDC.

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Any habitable room must be minimum 2.4 metres in height. A change in height is ok as long as the structure is at least 3m from the rear boundary and 0.9m from the side boundary.

  • Marry says:

    Hi,
    I want to convert my Double Garage into Granny Flat. One builder told me that its not possible because the slab needs to be certified by structural engineer and there is no way to certify the existing slab.
    Is it true?

    Thanks

  • Tom says:

    Hi Serge,
    I’m in the process of appling for a construction certificate to turn our garage into a granny flat. Iv been told that I need a fire proof wall/window as our property is within 3 meters of the side boundary? Our property is 1270mm from the side boundary and I thought if it is over 900mm we would be ok? I was told that our building will be a class 2 and therefore I need a 3 metre set back?
    Thanks
    Tom

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Tom,

      I’m not in any way involved with your approval and you have elected to use a competitor thus I don’t think it’s a good idea for me to comment on the matter. It sounds like you may perhaps be dealing with a misinformed Certifier but again I can’t comment. Needless to say we have our own in-house Certifier here at Granny Flat Approvals who we consult with prior to spending any of our client’s money – this is all done before we begin the process. We also offer a 100% Money-Back Guarantee on our Granny Flat Approvals. Unfortunately we hear about this type of disaster more than need be. It just doesn’t occur here because of the thorough checks and guarantees we offer.

      Again, I’m sorry but since you used a competitor, it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to get involved.

      I will say that the BCA Class for Granny Flats is Class-iA and requires only a 900mm setback to a boundary, otherwise a fire-rated-wall if it’s less than this. To be a Class-2 dwelling it must share both a wall and floor/roof with another dwelling. That is, they must be physically connected above/below and adjacent.

      The only 3 mtr fire-rated wall requirement I know of is for Industrial/Commercial buildings.

      Serge.

  • satish makane says:

    Hi Serge
    I m purchasing a land which is battle axe block. 5 m combined drive way for three plots including me. my block area is about 500sq metres and need to build a detatched garage according to the plan. I need to know if we would be able to build granny flat on top of detatched garage?

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Satish,

      The first thing to consider is that the access handle (driveway) portion of your lot must be disregarded in calculating your Site Area, so be sure this still results in minimum 450 sq m after that portion is subtracted.

      The setback requirements are the critical elements in siting a granny flat above a garage but battle-ae allotments have some leeway.
      Setback requirements for battle-axe allotments are the same as a ‘normal’ allotment except that the boundary towards the street is considered to be a side-boundary, so you can build within 900 mm of that boundary.
      The rear setback requirement is the real (potential) issue when you get quite high as you intend to do with a granny flat above a garage. The rear setback requirement would be 3 mtrs PLUS an amount which is 3x the height above 3.8 mtrs; so if the overall height is 5.8 mtrs, the rear setback will need to be 9 mtrs (3 mtrs nominal + 3x 2 mtrs extra height above 3.8). Now, that’s a lot for most sites so it’s critical to mention that now. Consequently, making the rook skillion (flat) will help bring the height down and (in the case above) will bring the minimum rear setback requirements to around 8 metres or so. In this calculation I’m assuming wall heights of 2.4 mtrs for garage and granny flat plus 200mm for the roof. If the site is sloped, a greater penalty applies due to the way the height is derived – maximum height is measured from natural ground.

      We’ve often achieved success by building the granny flat next to or in front of the main dwelling. Please call us and we can help with this.

      Please note also that on a lot under 600 sq m, the maximum size permitted for a detached garage is only 45 sq m, so the granny flat (above) would be limited to that size – UNLESS we design an overhanging granny flat which we can do over a suitably erected ‘awning’ which extends from the garage 🙂

      I hope this helps.

      Serge Panayi.

  • rachel says:

    Hello,
    We are looking at buying a house in Kellyville that has a triple garage. One garage has already had a frame and plaster wall put up around iy as owners have used it as hair salon. It can be taken down without affecting anything. But we were wondering if the following was a possibility. The downstairs room is tiny and i wondered if we cld extend it into the garage about 1.5 metres and behind the 1.5 extension into the third garage we wondered if we could add an ensuite. There is already some plumbing there from hair salon.

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Rachel,

      To be approved as a granny flat (converting part of an existing detached garage into a granny flat) it must not be more than 60 sq m in size and it must be minimum of 900 mm from the side and rear boundaries. You can extend the existing enclosed area living area to make it bigger, yes.
      I hope this helps.

      Serge.

  • Ash says:

    Hi Serge,

    The previous owners of my house converted the garage into a granny flat and I’d like to know if I can make it a 2-storey granny flat – is it possible to make it a fully functioning 2-storey dwelling?

    Cheers,

    Ash

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Ash,

      Granny Flat Conversions cant be extended to, especially to a greater height.

      Regards,

      Serge

      • Ash says:

        Hi Serge,

        Thanks for your reply, just to clarify in case this changes anything – it was converted from a garage into a studio space (so just a big room, no plumbing etc), and I want to know if I can now make the studio into a proper granny flat?

        Thanks again,

        Ash

        • Serge Panayi says:

          You’re welcome Ash.

          OK so that’s a somewhat different question. So it’s been approved as a Studio, correct?

          We/you can indeed do a granny flat conversion from the studio but it cant be raised any higher or extended to unless it meets the SEPP for a new granny flat, as follows:
          – 900 mm side setbacks
          – 3m rear setback
          – no higher than 3.8 mtrs.

          If it breaches (or will breach) any of those controls it cant be extended – it can be approved as a granny flat as long as it isn’t being extended to.
          There are of course other requirements which I talk about in this and other Conversion blogs.

          I hope this info is helpful.

          Thanks Ash.

  • Rashmi says:

    Hi Serge
    Thanks for taking the time to develop such an informative website and answer questions.
    We are considering building a granny flat over an existing double garage that is attached to the single storey main dwelling. We are located in the Hills shire and council has said that it is possible to do this as long as requirements are met. We have also had a structural Engineer assess the existing garage to check if it can take the load and he had confirmed it should be fine. The block size is 900 metres. Is this something you can assist with.

    • Serge Panayi says:

      You’re very welcome Rashmi,

      This is something we can assist with.
      Please call on 1300 205 007 and we’ll explain the process and pricing for you.

      Regards,
      Serge

  • Mike says:

    Hi Serge

    I have a brick garage (1 level) at the back corner of my property. It is on the boundary line of the rear and side properties. Do you think I’d be able to build a second level granny flat on top of this garage, or would I have setback issues with council?

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Mike,

      The rules are very clear on the question of extending a structure as part of a ‘Conversion’ into a granny flat:
      You cannot extend a garage/shed beyond it’s existing size and height IF the resultant setbacks will breach the ‘NEW’ Granny Flat regulations. So, unless the structure is already a minimum of 0.9 mtrs from the side boundary and minimum 3 mtrs from the rear boundary, you cannot extend it. You can convert what you already have though.

      The only possibility (of extending it up or out), is if the structure as it is today (a garage), is extended first as a ‘garage extension’ (done at Council as a DA), and then you could later convert it into a granny flat. Some things to remember:
      1. There can be no windows or doors within 900 mm of a boundary for a granny flat conversion to be approved.
      2. The maximum floor space is still 60 sq m in total, both lower and upper storey’s combined
      3. I’m afraid we do not do garage approvals as a DA, so you’ll need to find a Planner for this. It can be painful to say the least.

      You don’t back onto a lane-way by any chance. Everything changes in your favour if you do?

      I hope this helps Mike.

      Serge Panayi – GFA

  • RIS says:

    HI Serge – we are renovating our house (with an attached garage) in NSW. For now, we are keeping the garage as is and are right up against the FSR limit for our land.

    We would like to plan ahead for potentially converting the garage into a rumpus room or similar (no plumbing, just electrical) in future years, but are unsure:
    1. if the FSR limit would prevent us from converting it
    2. of home & content insurance restrictions
    3. whether council approval is required

    Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi RIS,

      I’m sorry but we are only do Granny Flat Approvals.
      What you want to do is entirely different. Odd rules apply for a change of use from an attached garage into a rumpus and it all depends on your Local Council.
      Yes, you’ll definitely need a DA from Council and I suggest you talk to them about extending your dwelling into the garage as a rumpus/living space.
      In my experience, I think you’ll find they won’t support it since you’re removing covered parking and you don’t have provision to replace that via a new structure perhaps?

      Let me know how you go!

      Serge

  • Niloy Majumdar says:

    Hi There,

    I live in Quakers Hill, NSW. I would like to convert my Garage (6.45 m length and 3.1 m width) into a bedroom and en-suite. It has brick wall on the outer side and shares the inner side wall (not brick) with my living room. The laundry shares the wall at the back side of the garage.

    The garage is having a concrete floor and is around 10-15 cm lower than the floor in the living areas. Height should be 2.4 metres.

    Can you please suggest if the conversion looks feasible ?

    Secondly I would like to construct a one bedroom granny in the corner of my backyard. My land is around 550 sq m but its in a shape of a triangle (8.5 metres front and very wide on the back and sides). Also it looks a bit difficult to leave 3 metres from the back as the backyard is very wide but not much in depth, Can you please suggest what options I have on both the requirements.

    Regards,
    Niloy Majumdar

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Niloy,

      You’ve asked essentially two questions, so I’ll answer them as follows:

      1. CONVERSION: You’re attempting to convert an attached garage into a ‘living space’ (in this case a bedroom and bathroom) but it’s NOT a Granny Flat. A granny flat must be self-contained and have a separate kitchen, bathroom, laundry, living area and bedroom(s). We don’t do nor advise people on converting a dedicated garage into a living space because the rules are very restrictive and vary greatly between Councils. Notwithstanding this, you’ll need to approach Council directly for advice and they’ll usually require that you replace the existing garage with a new garage or other covered parking space on the property.

      2. NEW GRANNY FLAT: This is indeed possible but as you want less than a 3 m rear setback, you’ll need to submit the more complicated DA/CC as opposed to the easier and faster CDC (State SEPP) Application.
      We can do this for you but it is more expensive (around $3,000 more) if you want the reduced setback. The process is lot more detailed and requires Council’s approval as opposed to a Private Certifier. Council’s process is more demanding with regard to submitted material and the construction costs can be higher depending on what they ‘condition’ as part of their consent, especially with regards to Drainage and other compliances.

      I hope this helps.

      Serge.

  • Alex says:

    Hi Serge, I ‘m looking at a property with a garage converted granny flat., with 2 sides within 900mm to the boundaries. The previous owner didn’t get council approval for it and the BC was refused citing lighting, ventilation and fire safety reasons. There are sole reasons relating to open space and car parking.
    I was wondering if it is possible to get approval again given that it was refused already and if so, how much additional work will be required at roughly what cost. It’s only a small flat of <35sqm.
    Many thanks in advance.

  • John Rodios says:

    Hi Serge , Have you heard of Botany council charging $20k for Granny Flat D.A ? I was recently told this by a private certifier .

  • Lucy says:

    Hi Serge,

    I have had a read of all the posts you did, thank you so much for these useful information.

    I am now in a process of BC as well as DA and may get rejection of DA soon. Seems like the project manager is not experienced enough to handle this case. The DA rejection mainly due to the failing the ceiling height requirement. The current ceiling height is 2.3m but the attics is about 0.17m. After reading your ealier posts, I guess it is still possible to meet the requirement by removing the gyprock and exposing to the beams? Also the BC department mentioned there are some other building code issues as well. I do already have a BCA report.

    I have contacted your team back to early 2017 seeking for advise and was thinking about changing the project manager. But somehow there was no response.

    I was wondering if you could still work with me for this case.

    Thank you very much.
    Kind regards,
    Lulu

  • Paula says:

    Hi Serge,

    I have a garage that is attached to a storeroom (1 wall existing between) I want to be able to keep the garage and only convert the storeroom only into a self contained studio for my father. I have sent through the documents required. Is this something that can be done? The wall completely cuts off the garage and is a room on it’s own. Botany Bay Council

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Paula,

      The first point to make is that Studio legislation is different to granny flat legislation. Studios must be detached from the main dwelling and be a maximum of 36 sq m.

      A studio is not for living in so it cant have a kitchen.
      Perhaps a granny flat description is better here because he can have a kitchen and he can live in it.

      The wall separating the garage and granny flat (or studio) doesn’t have to be fire-rated as long as the entire structure is detached from the main dwelling.

      I hope that helps.

      Serge

  • Mark says:

    Hi,
    I have a quick question about land zoning. In regards to building a secondary dwelling under complying development, Division 2 clause 20 of the SEPP (affordable housing) 2009 states:
    This Division applies to land within any of the following land use zones or within a land use zone that is equivalent to any of those zones, but only if development for the purposes of a dwelling house is permissible on the land:

    (a) Zone R1 General Residential,
    (b) Zone R2 Low Density Residential,
    (c) Zone R3 Medium Density Residential,
    (d) Zone R4 High Density Residential,
    (e) Zone R5 Large Lot Residential.

    Despite this I have found references to people talking about doing this with RU5 zoned land. Can you build a granny flat on RU5 land without a DA?

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Mark,

      To my knowledge, land in RU5 Zones are not permitted to have secondary dwellings erected as it’s a Rural Zone.
      There is a push to have this removed but as we speak its not permissible under the SEPP.
      Some Rural/Country area Councils may allow it under their own Da or CDC provisions though – best to check with your particular Council.

      Regards,
      Serge

  • John Knight says:

    Hi Serge,
    Thank you for an excellent website. We would like to convert an attached brick garage to a GF under ARHSEPP. Limited side access does not allow for a replacement hard stand area or carport behind the building alignment. We haven’t been able to find answers to the following:
    Q1 – Whilst no parking is needed for a secondary dwelling, are we required to provide replacement parking for the principal dwelling ?
    If the answer is yes: The long term plan is to erect a carport starting 2 meters in front of the GF. The front of this carport would be on the front building alignment of one neighbour, the rear of the carport would be on the front alignment of the other neighbour.
    Q2 – Do we need a DA for the carport or is there a Complying SEPP solution ?
    Any guidance appreciated. John

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your question and here’s the answers which are the most accurate as I’m aware as we speak:

      Q1: No, you don’t need to provide new covered nor uncovered parking.

      Q2: A carport forward of the building line would need a DA. The main SEPP has provisions for Carports as CDC but it must be behind the front bldg line of the primary dwelling. The neighbours building lines only come into play for a newly built granny flat; not for Carports.

      I hope that answers it for you.

      Regards,
      Serge

  • Julia says:

    Serge, how flexible would a council be on block size? We have a 443 sqm block with a large garage 2 car already erected on it. I know you need 450 sqm to do without a DA, can you do it with a DA and a smaller block, or is this completely out of the question?
    thanks

    • Serge Panayi says:

      Hi Julia,

      If the garage is attached to the house, the block size doesn’t matter; it can be approved as the faster/cheaper and guaranteed Complying Development.

      If detached, you can ‘try’ for a DA but you’d need a replacement garage with most Councils. It’s a risk. There just isn’t any guarantees but possible with many variables depending on your Local Council and the dynamics of the allotment.

      Regards,
      Serge


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