What is a secondary residence?
Commonly known as a granny flat, a secondary residency in the ACT is a self-contained residential structure built on a block of land which is in addition to an existing residence. The legislation provides that a secondary residence can be rented separately to an existing residence. This means that separate electrical, water and gas metering can be achieved for the majority of secondary residences.
What size can a secondary residence be?
A secondary residence should have a minimum size of 40m² floor area up to a maximum of 90m² floor area. In addition to your granny flat, you can build additional structures such as garages, carports, alfresco areas and pergolas. These additional structures do not count towards the total gross floor area of the secondary residence; however considerations may need to be taken account as these structures count towards the total plot ratio allowable on your block.
Can you provide a booklet with all your floorplans?
What is the minimum block size on which you can build a secondary residence?
A secondary residence can be considered on a minimum block size of 500m².
Do you require development approval to build a secondary residence?
Yes. A development approval application must be submitted to gain approval to build a secondary residence. Development approvals are submitted to and assessed by the ACT Planning and Land Authority (ACTPLA). A development approval application may be subject to the rules set out in the following legislation and standards:
Building Act 2004;
Heritage Act 2004;
Planning and Development Act 2007;
Planning and Development Regulation 2008;
Utilities Act 2000; and
Australian Standard AS 4299 Adaptable Housing.
Once development approval is granted do we also need to obtain building approval?
Yes. Once we have secured development approval we will need to obtain building approval through a private building certifier.
What does adaptable housing mean and how does it relate to our secondary residences?
Secondary residences are to be designed to be easily adaptable to meet the needs of people with a disability. This means that the dwelling should be designed to easily meet the Australian Standard AS 4299 (Adaptable Housing).
What building classification will the secondary residence need to be?
Secondary residences are classified as a Class 1a building. This is clearly defined in the Building Code of Australia. Structures like decks, garages, carports, stairs or ramps are classed as 10a buildings.
How many bedrooms can a granny flat have?
Canberra Granny Flat Builders generally build secondary residences that have one to four bedrooms, with one to two bathrooms, a number of living spaces and a kitchen and laundry.
Will a granny flat in my backyard increase my rates or land tax?
No (under the legislation in force at this time).
Can a granny flat be rented?
Yes, if all the correct planning approvals are obtained. These approvals are also required for insurance purposes.
Does Canberra Granny Flat Builders` manage the process to completion?
Yes. We manage every aspect of the build until it’s ready to be occupied. Our turnkey guarantee means that we take full management responsibility from start to finish.
How much will a granny flat cost me?
It depends on the design and function of your secondary residence (that is, whether it has a kitchen, the number of bathrooms etc).
Do you offer flexibility in the granny flat designs?
Yes. There are two options. We have created a range of designs you can choose from or we can provide a custom design service to suit your needs. We modify an existing design to better suit your needs for an investment of $750. You are also able to work with our designer to create a custom design for your property for an investment of $1750.
Do I get to choose the inclusions in my granny flat?
Yes, if you wish to. We also offer a concierge service, for a fee, where one of our team will meet you at the retail supplier, record your choices and provide them to our construction team.
Are the granny flats built on-site or are they pre-fabricated in a factory?
We build the granny flats on-site with locally based and licensed tradesmen, and ensure they are compliant with the applicable ACT laws.
Where are you located and why?
We share a small office in the city in the Melbourne Building just up from the corner London Circuit and Northborne Avenue. We do this to keep our costs down whilst trying to run an efficient and effective small business.
Communicating with us?
As we spend most of our time building and working with clients we can't always get to our mobile phones. If you call us on 1300 979 658 Monday to Friday between 9:00 am - 5:00 pm we will be able to take your contact details and the relevant team member will aim to get back to you within 24 hours. Our email firstname.lastname@example.org is checked daily during the week, but not on weekends.
Do you have any disability-friendly designs?
All of our designs are built according to the Australian Standard AS 4299 (Adaptable Housing).
If you require a purpose-designed residence we can work with an occupational therapist to ensure that you get the design that meets your needs.
What is your price guarantee?
The price written is the price that you pay. Unlike many builders whose business model is built around providing an opening price with the intent of dramatically increasing it with variations and initial project omissions, we aim to be transparent and provide a total, turnkey price up front.
The only time the project price will change from the original HIA agreement, is if the customer requests a substantial project change.
What is your time guarantee?
Canberra Granny Flat Builders will complete your project on time, every time.
Once we receive government approvals, we guarantee to finish your project within the timeline outlined in our signed HIA agreement. If we don't meet our time commitment we will pay you $250 per day, or pay for a 5-star room until the project is complete.
Our time guarantee is subject to:
- Changes to the project – if you alter the project in a way that impacts the timeline.
- Acts of God or unforeseen events – if the weather or an unforeseen event affects the project. If any of these events occur, we will notify you of the expected time delay.
- Access to the site – for example, if a tenant restricts our access to building your investment property.
- This is to be read in conjunction with your HIA Agreement.
What is your safety guarantee?
Safety of our staff, sub-contractors, customers and the general public is of the highest importance to our business. That’s why we will ensure that:
- All our staff, tradesmen and sub-contractors are fully insured and licensed.
- We would not and will not allow any work or business practices that endangers the wellbeing of anyone associated with our projects.
- All work actives will meet and/or exceed the Government Legislation and industry codes of practice (We are members of the HIA and MBA - ACT) as it relates to residential construction in the ACT.
- We build all our customer projects on-site with locally-based and licensed tradesmen, and ensure they are compliant with the applicable ACT laws.
- All components and inclusions are of the highest standard and meet the relevant Australian Standards.
What is your quality guarantee?
At Canberra Granny Flat Builders, it’s our mission to create a world class project that increases the value of your property above the investment in that project. To do that we must use the very best materials, inclusions and tradespeople.
We have developed our detailed inclusion list and style guide to provide our customers with choice and range from among the highest quality options. Our detailed written proposals outline exactly what is included in your project.
To ensure that you are totally satisfied with what we create and build for you, you will not be required to pay the final instalment until you have walked through the project with the builder and are entirely satisfied with the end result.
What is your communication guarantee?
We know that the cornerstone of a successful project is clear and transparent communication at every stage. When the building starts, you won’t be left in the dark regarding the progress.
- Any time we don’t meet our commitment, we will take $500 off the price of the project.
- Any changes made to your project will be in writing.
- Before the first sod is turned and your project begins, you will know exactly what the timeframes are for the completion of each stage. There will be times when things move fast, and there will be the inevitable delays, but you will always know what is going on and why.
- You can ask to meet with us at any stage of the project. As we spend most of our time building and working with clients, we can't always get to our mobile phones. If you call us on 1300 979 658 Monday to Friday between 9am - 5pm, we will take your contact details and the relevant team member will get back to you within 24-48 hours. Our email email@example.com is checked daily during the week, but not on weekends.
Can an extension or attached addition be separate metered in the ACT?
Secondary Electricity meters can be installed in 80 to 90 % of cases for $3,500 to $5,500 this is managed by our electrician/operations team including management and fees for the utility company (ACTEW Electricity) to provide any upgrades and switch the power supply on and off to complete the work.
An alternative is to install an electrical sub-meter that measures the consumption only the new building/addition. This considerably cheaper than having separate meters with separate bills from the utility company. This will cost between $500 and $700
Secondary gas meters can be installed in 80 to 90 % of cases for $2,000 to $4,000 this is managed by our plumber gasfitter/operations team including management and fees for the utility company (ACTEW AGL) and ZNX to provide any upgrades to complete the work.
Secondary water meters can only be installed properties where a secondary residence is being developed. We are currently researching the options for extensions and Additions.
Telecom/data lines can be connected to the addition. However, the owner of the property will need to arrange directly with providers.
An alternative is to install a water sub meter that measures water consumption only the new building/addition. This considerably cheaper than having separate meters with separate bills from the utility company. This will cost between $500 and $700.
Can you provide a ballpark cost to add a carport?
Based on our experience in managing development approvals as they relate to secondary residences providing adequate parking is a constant issue.
To assist our clients in their initial enquiries and provide a ballpark cost to add a complaint carport that meets and or exceeds building standards we have provided a price.
This price is broken-down into the three component costs for an 18sqm timber carport with a colorbond roof.
The structure approx: $5800
The concrete slab approx:$2000
The Planning and building approvals fees applied by ACTPLA: $700
All component costs include GST if applicable.
Can you provide the details of the site fencing supplier.
If you have read our guide to successfully managing secondary residences, then you would be aware of our recommendation to erect a compliant site fence if you are contemplating building a secondary where an existing tenancy exists.
The general costs to erect a site fence separating the backyard approx $450-$550. This is a one-off cost, and the site fence can remain in place for up to 12 months.
Please arrange directly with Angelo Turcin from ACT Fence Hire on 0411 433 499 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please mention that you are working with Canberra Granny Flats so he can apply our pricing.
What is a regulated/registered tree? How does it affect developments in the ACT?
A registered tree is a tree that has been listed on the ACT Tree Register.
The reason for this is that it may have natural or cultural heritage value, value to the surrounding landscape or its scientific value to the community.
A regulated tree, on the other hand, is a tree that meets the following criteria:
- 12 metres or more in height
- 1.5 meters or more in circumference at 1 metre above ground
- 12 metres or more on crown width.
Any of these trees that affect a proposed development in the ACT will require consultation with the Tree Protection Unit Under the Tree Protection Act 2005, a conservator (Tree Protection Unit) is required to approve the form of a Tree Management Plan for any work that will affect a registered or regulated tree.
This plan can be approved before DA lodgement or can be included as part of the planning approval process.
A Tree Damaging Activity application will need to be completed for a conservator to inspect and approve the removal of a tree or work within the protection zone of the tree.
An online application can be completed through TCCS website using this link: https://form.act.gov.au/smartforms/landing.htm?formCode=1198
More information about registered and regulated trees can be found on TCCS website via this link: