Granny flats are a wonderful addition to any existing property, particularly if you want extra room around the home, somewhere for your kids or folks to live, or an easy investment property. This fully self contained home extension is built on the same plot of land that your main home is and can share the backyard area or you can fence a section off in your yard. If you are thinking of adding this smaller home on your property, it is best to spend some time doing research to avoid some of the common pitfalls. Importantly, there are three things you must know before building a granny flat in your backyard, and the following tips will help you along your way.
1. Can I put one in my backyard?
This is a common question and there is not a lot of information out there that helps you understand what is involved. When building a granny flat you first need to check that you have enough space for the unit to fit in your backyard. Measure up the area you are intending on building, draw a sketch, measure from all the boundaries (fences, pools, house, trees) and mark this down. Although this seems like a complex process, it will make life a lot easier later on when choosing your flat design. Keep in mind too that councils have certain regulations when it comes to building a granny flat, which leads to our next tip.
2. Council Regulations
There are separate building and planning regulations when building a granny flat in your backyard. All councils in Victoria have different regulations as there are different overlays on everyone’s property so it is best if you call or visit your own council, you will need to speak with both the building department and planning department. Building departments are more about the structure (the unit needs to meet all building code and Australian Standards) and the positioning of the actual flat is why a building permit is required. The planning department is more about overlays (heritage, wildfire etc) and will issue a planning permit if required. As building permits are a requirement for all granny flats in Melbourne they should automatically have this service in the finish price of your flat, however town planning is not required for all, so this will not be included in the price but the company you go with should also be able to offer this service.
3. Choosing a Company
So you now know that you can start looking for someone to start building a granny flat in your backyard, but who? Start by looking at designs that suit your needs, some companies will let you design your own unit if you cannot find what you are after. When looking at plans, look for simple layouts, the simpler the design the more affordable it will be, make sure you have enough space in the rooms and work through the list to find that it includes everything that you need. You might even consider looking at building a smaller home yourself or find a company that also sells kit granny flats as these will be prefab and will save on cost. When it comes to prices make sure that the building permit, home warranty insurance, plans and specification as well as the unit and installation are all included in your granny flat price.
As you can see there are a few logistics that need to be sorted before you start building a granny flat, however if you bear in mind these three tips then the process should be rather easy. These self contained homes come in many different designs and can be interior decorated any way you like, giving you complete freedom to use whatever colours, finishes and materials you like. Whilst granny flats are well suited to ageing people (parents and grandparents), they are incredibly versatile as a home – whether it’s as a teenage retreat, which you can one day rent out and make extra income from, the opportunities are endless.