Cheap Granny Flats- How to Build on a Budget!

Cheap Granny Flats- How to Build a Granny Flat on a Tight Budget

Here are some helpful tips on how to plan, design and build cheap granny flats in Sydney and NSW. Please note that this is not for everyone and it’s certainly not the best way to get a granny flat built on most properties. This article is intended to help hands-on people who are working on a strict budget.

What you’ll Need:

  1. Ample free time

  2. Organisational Skills

  3. A basic  knowledge of Building Practices

cheap granny flats

Free Time:

If you have a job, this means devoting every day after work to finding cheap materials, hiring trades and being hands-on to do some of the jobs yourself. If you live at the site, this can be achieved but if you’re an investor who doesn’t live at the property or nearby to the property, it’s going to be extremely difficult to do. Some of the work you can do includes:

  • Digging
  • Cleaning
  • Painting
  • General Labouring
  • Buying Kitchen, bathroom and other P.C. items
  • Installing curtains, wardrobes, bathroom racks, dishwasher, cabinets

Organisational Skills :

Being organised when it comes to building means making a  lot of phone-calls, arranging trades, ordering ,materials and equipment at the right time and just generally being a good record-keeper and being calm throughout the build. This means not stressing out when things start getting complicated, especially after lock-up stage. The truth is building is quite easy until the lock-up stage because its at this point when  a lot of different tradespeople need to be organised in a particular sequence. On top of this, you’ll need to take delivery of materials and store them safely. It also means being financially organised to ensure your budget objectives are maintained. There’s also the need to organise Council or Certifier inspections, maintaining a safe and orderly work-site plus keeping the building site secure.

Knowledge of Building Practices:

As an Owner-Builder you are responsible in ensuring your trades do their job in accordance with the Building Code of Australia. This means, for example, understanding how many brick-ties are needed between brick courses. It means knowing if a tradesperson is using the correct practices for work both external and external to the granny flat. The structural integrity of the building is critical during the lock-up phase of the development. Be sure to use a reputable water-proofer for your bathroom, for example, because a leaking shower is a nightmare to rectify later and considerable damage can occur which may not manifest itself for years.

To give you an idea of the knowledge required, lets take a look at how the main three trades who will come and go from your site.

Electrician– Run Conduit at Foundations Stage, Fit Electrical Meter Box and Run loom into granny flat, Connect Power Points, Lights, Dishwasher, Stove/Oven

Plumber– Run water supply piping and dig Drainage + Sewer lines at Foundations Stage, Fit gutters and downpipes, Run internal piping, Connect internal fittings, sinks, toilet and shower.

Carpenter– Erect Wall and Roof Frame after Foundation Stage (erect floor system if on piers), Fit external cladding (if weatherboard construction), Cut and fit architraves, skirting and trimming, Hang doors.

There are other trades of course such as concreter, roofers, tilers, carpet-layers, plasterers, cabinetmakers and painters who need to be organised and monitored for quality and timely service.

The Savings:

You can save around 25% to 35% if you opt to build as an Owner-Builder but it takes a lot of time, commitment and some basic knowledge of building to get it done. There are some great books out there which can help you as well. Two books by Allan Staines, ‘The Australian House Building Manual’ and ‘How to be a Successful Owner Builder & Renovator’ are excellent books tailored to Australian building standards and are full of great illustrations as well. I highly recommend them to any first time Owner-Builder.

We hope this article helps you understand, just a little more, what is involved in building cheap granny flats; or any building for that matter. It’s certainly an adventure and can be very worthwhile and rewarding if you have the time, the patience and the willingness to learn.

Warm Regards,

Serge Panayi – Granny Flats Sydney (NSW) Pty Ltd.

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4 replies on Cheap Granny Flats- How to Build on a Budget!

  • Thomas says:

    Well, I spent just over an hour reading your entire site and I just had to say thanks, great information all round.

  • Serge Panayi says:

    Thanks Thomas. Glad the site is a useful granny flat resource for Sydney-siders! Serge

  • angel says:

    I truly seem to go along with every little thing that was in fact put into writing in “Cheap Granny Flats- How to Build
    on a Budget! Granny Flats Sydney”. Thanks
    a lot for pretty much all the advice.Thanks for your time,Arlene

  • Susan says:

    Thanks for the helpful hints and valuable information.
    I live in Perth and wish there was someone here- reliable and with a turnkey price but there does not seem to be.
    Just organised our bathroom renovation – learnt a lot saved a bit but that’s easy compared to getting a new granny flat built in our backyard.

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