Building a granny flat in the Gold Coast: Rules and Regulations – CompactHomes

Building a granny flat in the Gold Coast: Rules and Regulations

If you want to build a granny flat on your property on the Gold Coast, you will likely have discovered that there are a large number of regulations and rules that you need to follow. 

But if you live in a residential zone, it might be easier than you think to build a secondary dwelling on your property. Below we’ve listed the key regulations for the Gold Coast. 

While Compact Homes staff is knowledgeable about the development requirements around granny flats and secondary dwellings, we’re not town planners. If you feel like you need planning advice, let us know and we can put you in touch with someone.

Check what zone your property is in 

The Gold Coast City Plan sets out the requirements for building granny flats in the Gold Coast. 

The below is based on the general guidelines from the City Plan. It’s important to check if there are any special designations on your land that may change the rules outlined below. 

You can find out what zone your property is in and any special designations on the interactive City Plan map. 

Do you need approval for a granny flat? 

The good news is that, providing you’re within a residential zone, building a granny flat or secondary dwelling is accepted providing you meet the requirements in the Secondary Dwelling Code. 

Secondary dwellings are additional dwellings associated with a main house and for use by a single household. If you want to rent the granny flat out, or there will be a different household living in it, you will need to look at the requirements for Dual Occupancy. 

Secondary dwellings are accepted providing they meet the following requirements. If your planned granny flat doesn’t meet these requirements, you may need a Development Approval (DA).

Size of dwelling allowed

The size of the granny flat you can build depends on what zone your property is in. 

For homes in medium density residential, high density residential, rural residential, and rural zones, the secondary dwelling needs to be noticeably smaller in size than the main house. 

Granny flats can’t exceed 80m2, not including balconies or decks.

Set back of dwelling

The new dwelling must be attached to the primary dwelling, or located within 10m of the main house. 

In rural zones and rural residential zones, the secondary dwelling can be up to 20m from the main house


If there’s going to be a direct view into the private spaces of the secondary dwelling from the main house, you’ll need to add privacy screens that are at least 50% transparent.

Neighborhood character

Secondary dwellings need to be constructed and designed in the same materials as the main house on the site.


The two houses need to share a driveway.

My granny flat doesn’t meet these requirements, what should I do?

Don’t worry! You may still be able to build your secondary dwelling, but you will need to lodge a planning application (DA).

I want to rent my granny flat out, what do I need to do?

If you want to rent your granny flat out, you instead need to consider the requirements for Dual Occupancy. 

You will need to check the Development Assessment Table for your zone (you can find what zone your property is in here). 

In some zones, Dual Occupancy is an accepted development providing you meet the Dual Occupancy Code. If you live in a zone where dual occupancy needs to be assessed, you will need to lodge a planning application (DA). 

For those zones where dual occupancy is accepted, the requirements you need to meet are:

Road frontage

Road frontages (the length of the property edge facing the road) must be at least 20m. 

On corner lots, each dwelling needs to be oriented to face a separate street frontage.

Parking requirements

The opening to covered car parking can’t be any larger than 5.4m for each dwelling. 

If the opening to the parking is on the same road frontage, there needs to be some attempt to reduce the visual prominence of the parking. This could be achieved by:

● having a space of at least 1m between the garages,

● feature walls/landscaping/porches between the garages, or

● garages set back below a front balcony by at least 1m.


The building needs to be detailed and articulated with design indentations and/or window openings - it can’t just be a plain wall!

Private open space

Each dwelling needs to have at least 5m x 5m of private open space, which can’t be on an extreme gradient.


If there’s a direct view between dwellings, you’ll need to include privacy screens that achieve at least 50% transparency.


At least one window of a habitable room needs to overlook the street, public space, or a rear lane.

I don’t meet these requirements, what should I do?

That’s okay! You will likely need to lodge a planning application (DA), but we recommend you speak to a planning professional. 

For most people looking to build a granny flat, the Gold Coast City Plan deems these ‘self-assessable’, or acceptable, providing they meet the relevant code in the Plan. This makes building a granny flat a much easier process, as you don’t need to lodge a planning application. 

Compact Homes focus is on delivering high quality, innovative and unique home designs to our clients. We work on large and smaller scale projects and help investors, individuals and families realise their property dreams. 

If you are looking for either a Granny Flat or a Cabin for your Rural property or you particularly like the style of our homes, please contact us here to have a chat.

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