Can I Fit A Granny Flat In My Back Yard?

Granny flats are a great investment for your property and your future. If you live in NSW and are considering adding a detached granny flat to boost the value of your property or house your parents or your teenaged children, then you must be aware of the rules and regulations that come with building a suitable addition.

The NSW Government has no issue with homeowners building detached or secondary dwellings in their backyard provided it satisfies the necessary standards for assessment and approval. Thankfully, the assessment process is relatively straightforward.

Granny Flat Assessment Process

There are two approaches you can take when trying to secure approval for your self-contained housing build. The first is by way of a Complying Development Certificate, provided your development plans meet the necessary AHSEPP provisions. The second method is via a Development Application submitted to your local council.

1. Complying Development Certificate

If the granny flat ticks all of the development provisions listed in Schedule 1 of the AHSEPP, then your plan to build a granny flat will be approved within 20 days by either your council or an accredited certifier. The certifier will automatically notify your neighbours that an application has been submitted 14 days prior to approval.

You will receive a Complying Development Certificate immediately upon approval. Note that it is your responsibility to advise your neighbours that the building work is due to commence. This should be done at least seven days before the work is scheduled to start.

2. Development Application

If for some reason your proposed granny flat is not in accordance with the development provisions listed in the AHSEPP, then you may go ahead and proceed with the lodgement of a development application. Your application will need to be lodged directly with your local council who will then assess the application.

As long as it is located in one of the following residential zones or other equivalent zones, there should be no major issue:

  • General residential area (Zone R1)
  • Low-density residential area (Zone R2)
  • Medium density residential area (Zone R3)
  • High-density residential area (Zone R4)
  • Large lot residential area (Zone R5)

In all likelihood, extra onsite parking will not negatively affect your application in any way.

AHSEPP Development Standards

It is important you always refer back to the original AHSEPP document to ensure that no updates or amendments have been made. In order to be deemed a secondary dwelling, otherwise known as a granny flat, a principal dwelling must already be located on the property.

1. BCA Building Classification

Standalone granny flats are classified as class 1a under the BCA building classification.

2. Site Area

The site of your intended granny flat must meet the minimum standard of 450 square metres.

3. Total Floor Area

The maximum floor area of the granny flat must be 60 square metres.  If you are applying using the development application process with the local council, then the total floor area must be no greater than that allowed in your particular zone.

For more information on building and designing granny flats, you can visit the NSW Planning and Environment website or contact plan land to discuss our residential design options.