The Initial Inquiry Stage
On average, 10 working days.
Before we can commence designing or building your secondary residence (granny flat) or detached addition, we need first to determine if we can legally and functionally build on your property.
We provide a planning assessment report for our clients. This report details the likelihood of government approval and the considerations that may impact on development or building approval.
We ask our clients to contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, phone 1300 979 658, or by completing our online enquiry form, to arrange an onsite inspection to enable us to create your report.
Why should we get this report?
The Planning Assessment Report will let you know if you can build a secondary residence or detached addition based on your project needs and objectives. We will use our expert planning tools and experience in planning, approval and building secondary residences in the ACT in formulating your written report.
What are the costs of the site inspection, product brochure and Planning Assessment Report?
The investment in the Planning Assessment Report is $289. We do provide a complimentary first report, at no expense to you. Subsequent Planning Assessment Reports, or reports which are required in short notice will be charged at full price. For property investors, we are able to bundle five Planning Assessment Reports for $685.
If you proceed with a custom design or project with Canberra Granny Flat Builders, we will fully refund this small initial investment.
Do we require a planning assessment report to build or seek approval with the government?
The Planning Assessment Report is exclusive to Canberra Granny Flat Builders and has been created to assist our customers fast-track the process and helps them understand the development process.
So no, you don't require it. However, a small investment in time and money could save you tens of thousands in planning and development costs.
The reason that we created the Planning Assessment Report is that we meet many customers that have tried with other companies to seek approval from the ACT Government and certifiers, however, the initial advice they received was incorrect and it ended up costing them ten of thousands of dollars, as they started the design before knowing the limitations of their property.
We want to solve this problem by focusing on what the customer wants and determining as quickly and efficiently as possible if the proposed project is possible and what the factors will impact the approvals process.
Can you just provide an indicative price for a design before we commit to a planning assessment?
We can provide a ballpark price for some of our 50 customer inspired designs. However, each property is different and there are different planning requirements per property. So the price that we provide for a concept may change when we factor in the requirements of building on your block.
We do recommend that you invest $139 and obtain your detailed Planning Assessment Report, which you can use with another builder.
Our primary objective with our price, time and quality written guarantees is to deliver what we say will. Our fixed price HIA agreement ensures that there are no hidden surprises, unlike many companies who don't account for the planning and approvals, site works and landscaping - or quality inclusions!
If you contact us and let us know the budget that you are hoping to work within; then we can let you know if is likely that you can plan, approve and build within your stated budget.
What if we don't want a secondary residence (granny flat), and just want a detached extension like a home office or studio?
We have a customised Planning Assessment Report that is tailor made for structures and projects that may not require development approval,such as Class 10 buildings, extensions and studios.
Please contact us and let us know what you are aiming to build and we can discuss which planning assessment report best suits your needs.
This can only be provided for properties located within the ACT.
Phone: 1300 979 658
How long will the appointment take and what will happen?
30-60 minutes, as we research as much as possible about the property including easements, boundaries and zoning before the property inspection.
If we are inspecting a property that is rented, for sale or unattended, or if you simply can't be there, then the total block inspection should take no longer than 30 minutes.
When the inspection is completed, we will finalise the report. If there are no significant elements that impact on approvals, we will email and/or post your Planning Assessment Report.
If there are factors that require explanation, then we will schedule a face to face appointment (with your approval and at no additional cost).
The Project Design Stage
On average 28 working days.
At this stage of the process, your options are to select a design from our design gallery (free of charge) or to collaborate with our builder, architects and draftspeople to create your own custom design.
The indicative investment in a custom design is generally between $1500 and $2000.
The designs that you can browse and search in our design gallery have been inspired by our Canberra based customers and are compliant with ACT requirements and regulations.
Both existing and custom designs can be provided with details of inclusions and materials, timelines and total project investment with no hidden costs.
How long will it take?
The process usually takes about four weeks from beginning to finish. There are no time caps on the design process and we are prepared to take as long as it takes to get the right design concept for you.
What will this cost?
The total investment can vary between $1500 and $2200. This depends on the design concept and documents that you request.
What happens in this process?
At the initial meeting with the designer and or the builder, we try to determine specifically what is that that would like to create. Using the Planning Assessment Report as a reference we will work with you to resolve the best positioning of the new project taking into account factors like solar orientation, planning requirements and interaction with the existing residence.
In the first meeting, we may also use several existing concept designs or reference plans that you have discovered to provide a starting point for a concept floor-plan.
Over the next weeks, we will meet with you onsite or in our offices to refine and review the floor plan, snapshot and elevations, until you are entirely happy with the layout and design that we have created.
Where will we meet?
The initial meeting is best held at the property where you arehoping to build the project. If you are based interstate, we can meet on Skype.
If the property is tenanted or you would prefer the initial meeting not be onsite, then we can meet in our office, which is located on London Circuit Civic, ACT.
Further collaboration meetings where we review and refine the design can be in our office or at your property.
What suite of documents and plans do we get?
1. Dimensional Floorplan.
2. Furniture Floorplan.
3. Snapshot or external render.
4. Elevations Plans.
5. Project proposal with full inclusion list, timelines, process and itemised prices. This proposal is accepted as planning documentation by most banks if you are seeking finance.
You will receive the entire suite of documents outlined above.
What if we like most of one of your concept designs, but we would like to make some minor changes?
For a small investment, we can make changes to an existing concept design.
If this is something that you are interested in exploring, please speak with us, once you know the reference design you want to work with and the details of the changes and we can provide you with the price estimate.
General prices are between $500 and $1000.
You will receive all the entire suite of documents outlined above.
Can we use the plans with another builder?
Yes, you can. However, we will apply a cost recovery fee if you build our design or a comparable design with an alternate builder or owner builder.
We subsidise our designs and don't charge our clients the full costs in this design process. Commonly we charge about half the direct costs.
If you don't proceed with the development or construction phase, there will be no additional fees. The cost recovery fee is only applied when our designs are used with an alternate builder.
The details of this agreement are outlined in the design appointment paperwork, which we provide and is entered into before any work is undertaken on your behalf.
What happens if we want to revise after sign-off?
This happens, and we are more than happy to accommodate your needs and concerns to get the right design. As long as the changes are reasonable then we won't apply any additional fees.
If you require a substantial or entirely different design, then we will reach agreement on the costs associated to achieve your revised design.
The Planning Approval and Project Finalisation Stage
On average 10 weeks.
On behalf of our clients, we will manage the entire planning and development process, which involves working with all of the relevant government agencies. During this process, we will also finalise all of the inclusions and customer design requirements.
What approvals are required so that we can legally commence building?
The type of approvals required for your project will depend on a number of different factors.
If you are planning to build a Secondary Residence (Granny Flat), Development and Building Approval will be required.
If your project is a studio, additional living areas or garage, and meets the rules in the planning codes, it may be approved through Building Approval alone.
What obstacles do we face in the planning approval process?
Common factors that affect the outcome of being able to legally build Secondary Residences (Granny Flats) and detached additions are: provision of sufficient parking spaces, access to and building clear of easements, complying with the rules for plot ratio and private open space and building within your property’s building envelope.
A Planning Assessment Report will highlight the considerations that need to be planned for and will save you time and money by providing an understanding of the obstacles from the very beginning of the project.
What changes can we make to the designs and inclusions during this stage?
Once you have agreed on your design’s position on the block, floor plan, elevations and exterior finishes and colours, Canberra Granny Flat Builders will submit the application for Building and/or Development Approval.
While the approvals are being assessed, decisions on the interior inclusions can be made. Inclusions including interior colours, tapware, floor coverings, interior doors and door handles, curtains and blinds and lighting options are chosen.
After plans and documents have been submitted, it may be difficult to change the position of the proposed building, windows and doors or the style of the roof for example. If you would like to make a change to the Development or Building Approval after it is submitted, an amendment will be required.
What can delay the approval process?
The majority of delays occur when a utility company that controls an asset within an easement on your property does not approve the development when it is referred to them for approval.
Easements are protected and clear and unobstructed access to easements must be retained.
For example, if the positioning of your project needs to be adjusted to meet the criteria of the planning legislation or to provide easement access, or an important service is deeper than usual.
Representations from the public may also delay approvals.
Who will be managing this process?
The Canberra Granny Flat Builders operations team manages and takes responsibility for the approvals for your project.
Along with our partners we will create the documents required to submit an application for Development and or Building Approval.
Partners include surveyors, building designers, architects, building energy assessors, engineers, and building certifiers.
What happens if our approvals are not granted?
Option 1: we work with you to overcome the planning objections until it gets approval. if there is a redesign, there will be minimal costs, which we will share with you.
Option 2: you discontinue the entire process, the only costs will be the planning costs, there will be no further costs, the only costs you are up for is the initial amount.
The Building Stage
On average 11 weeks.
As soon as your project has been given approval to start, our licensed builder can commence the building of your project. All work is undertaken on-site by our insured, local, qualified trade partners.
We will regularly meet with you to discuss the process and the progress of your project.
Do you offer any guarantees in this stage of the process?
Canberra Granny Flat Builders Guarantees include:
- Quality Assurance Guarantee - Ensuring you are totally satisfied with your project before the final payment is required. You will walk through the project with us and sign off on your satisfaction of the completed work.
- Completion Time Guarantee - Completing the project with an agreed timeline or we will refund you $500 for every week the project is late. To give assurance that you will be given the keys ready to move in as soon as possible.
- Structural Guarantee – A 7 year warranty provided on the structural elements of the building’s foundations, footings, floor structure, wall frames and roof frames.
- Communication Guarantee – We will communicate effectively and regularly about the progress of your project. A calendar for the onsite components will be provided to keep you up to date with progress and help you understand who will be on site and when.You will be invited to all building inspection stages the to provide transparency and a chance to ask questions to the building certifier and builder.
How soon after the commencement notice is issued can work start?
After a commencement notice is provided by the building certifier work can legally begin.
1 to 2 weeks are required from the time a commencement notice is issued to book the initial inspections for drainage (sewer) work. We will provide a drainage plan detailing the amendments to the drainage on your property.
Window, wall frame and roof frame suppliers also take take 4 to 6 weeks to deliver these components from the time of order. We will order these products as soon as a commencement notice is issued and plan around their delivery.
Some builders factory build (off-site) their flats, why don’t you?
Our customer’s aim is almost always to increase the value of their property and this is best achieved by designing, planning and building a permanent, custom designed and constructed project built on site.
Building on site means you have total control over the design, style and products used to best suit your needs.
Meeting requirements for mobility access means most of our buildings are constructed on an engineered concrete slab. Building on an engineered concrete slab also provides excellent energy efficiency over the life of the building, reducing heating and cooling bills.
We can also design and build with an insulated timber or steel floor frame to suit individual customer and block requirements.
How will we be kept informed about progress of the project?
A calendar will be provided to help keep you informed of dates specific activities will occur on the building site. These include stages such as excavation and services being dug, wall and roof frames being installed, painting and floor coverings being installed to name just a few.
We will meet with you before the onsite components take place to discuss site fencing and skip waste bin positions, parking requirements and any building work signage that may be required.
During the project, at what stage can we meet the builder on-site?
You are invited to each building inspection stage to stay informed of progress and any complications that arise during the project.
If you would like to meet the project management team onsite or at an alternative location at another stage, we can arrange a time to meet that suits everyone involved.
At this stage, what happens if we want to make a change to the project?
We will do our best to accommodate minor changes during the building stage. If you would like to add a component such as additional concreting, a deck or a pergola we may be able to include them as a variation. A variation includes a written description and agreed price to complete the work.
Adjustments to inclusions such as appliances, floor coverings, paint colours, door handles, power and light point positions and kitchen joinery cabinets will depend on the stage of the building work completed.
During the building stage, changes to major components such as windows and doors, wall positions or ceiling heights will not be possible.
This is the final stage of the project, where the building of your project is complete. At this stage, you will walk through the project with the builder to ensure your total satisfaction with the project and to ask any questions you may have. Only when you are fully satisfied will you have to make the final payment.
Who will provide the certificate of occupancy, when will it be provided and how do we get it?
Your Certificate of Occupancy is provided by the ACT government. The certificate will be issued after all of the plans, forms and certificates are completed and signed by the owners, builder and the building certifier.
Canberra Granny Flat Builders will manage all of the documents required to be lodged for the release of the Certificate of Occupancy. The Certificate will be sent by email and post.
What if there is something we are not happy with in the project?
If at any stage of the project you are not happy with progress or a particular component or item, we will do our best to rectify any work or services that are not compliant, do not meet building codes and standards or are different than you had expected.
If the work meets our high standards, and you are still not satisfied we will aim to work effectively together with you to reach a mutually positive outcome.
At the end of the project we will walk through the completed project together. The final progress payment invoice is not issued until you are satisfied.
How long is the building guaranteed for?
The building will have a seven year structural guarantee. The guarantee is provided on the structural elements of the building’s foundations, footings, floor structure, wall frames and roof frames.
The building will also have a two year non-structural guarantee. This guarantee is provided on components including, painting, interior and exterior doors and windows, tilling, flooring, appliances, kitchen cabinets, exterior wall options and heating and cooling.
Has anyone ever taken legal action or made a complaint with the ORS/Fair Trading relating to your building works?
No. Canberra Granny Flat Builders and the trading company Turnkey Creations Pty Ltd have a completely clean record with the ORS (Office of Regulatory Services) Fair Trading.
The directors of the company have not had legal action or complaints against them for any practice in the building and construction industry.