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All you need to know about designing & building granny flats

Are you one of those people who look into building granny flats in their backyards? If you are, then these are the things that you should know.
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The typical Australian family follows the nuclear model, where a couple and their kids live together until the children decide to leave home and live on their own. Unfortunately, the skyrocketing value of properties in the market made this impossible for many people. Adult children and their parents live longer together. And, if they want to live separately, one of them can live in granny flats.

A granny flat is a second dwelling in one property lot. This self-contained unit can be attached or detached from the first dwelling, depending on the homeowner’s lifestyle.

Are you one of those people who look into building granny flats in their backyards?

If you are, then these are the things that you should know:

Modern granny flats can accommodate a single person to a small family

Today’s architects treat granny flats as a mini home. It must be stylish, comfortable, and energy-efficient. Hence, designers equipped with the right insulation, glazing, and its own cooling and heating system. Depending on the design, your granny flat can support adults, seniors, or a small family. Regardless, it’s flexible and compact design keeps it affordable for the occupant.

Advantages of building and living in granny flats

The construction of a granny flat is financially great for both Gen X and Y’ers.

We’ve encountered middle-aged homeowners who build a secondary dwelling to capitalise on it. They put it up for long-term rent or for short stays such as Airbnb and Stayz. Alternatively, they downsize and live in the flat so families can rent the larger home.

Young people who want to enter the property market in the near future build granny flats in pursuit of increasing the home value. Unfortunately, an accessory apartment doesn’t always boost the property’s value. However, adults living in a unit next to their parent’s house helps them keep an eye on their parent's health and safety.

In rare cases, one party in a divorcing couple choose to live in the granny flat of their family home so he/she can enjoy more privacy. They can stay in this setup until they’ve sold the house.

Building granny flats require design and construction professionals

Granny flats must meet the Australian Building Codes at all times. Building it is controlled by the council, however, the rules vary depending on the state you live in. Always consult with your state planning authority and the local council. Work with a designer who is familiar with the building codes of your state. He or she must know the standard measurements of granny flats on a certain state.

In addition, some states have conditions when building accessory units. You should know that granny flats in Victoria are not allowed for rental. Only the dependents of the property owner have the right to stay in the granny flat. If no relative lives in the flat after they moved out, the structure will be removed.

The law prohibits building two or more granny flats in one lot

The council does approve plans which can turn out as an eyesore. Most building regulations in the country allow a maximum of two separate dwellings in one lot. If the lot is small, the council might not allow the construction of a detached granny flat. In this case, a self-contained extension is the best possible thing.

A granny flat on a separate title is not a granny flat anymore

A detached flat can be put on a different title but you need to seek the approval of the subdivision first. This is an expensive and tedious process, tho. If you successfully subdivided the lot, you can sell the flat separately. It’s a tiny home now, not a granny flat.

Costs of designing a granny flat

When you hire a pro to custom design your granny flat, the fees are between $800-$3000. Construction will take 9-12 weeks. External work such as landscaping and building a driveway to the granny flat will also stretch the project timeline and add up to the cost.

The best granny flats are custom-designed by a building designer but you can also opt for the help of a draftsman. Here in Superdraft, we have amazing granny flat designers. We've designed exceptional granny flats in the past. We can help you build your own.

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