Building a granny flat on the Sunshine Coast: Everything you need to k – CompactHomes

Building a granny flat on the Sunshine Coast: Everything you need to know

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

But it might be easier than you think to build a secondary dwelling on your property, without the need for Council approval. Below we’ve listed the key regulations for the Sunshine Coast.

Live somewhere else in Queensland? We have similar guides for the Gold Coast, Logan, and Brisbane. 

While we’re 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.

Find out what zone your property is in

Below we set out the requirements for building a granny flat on your property, but first, you need to check that the general advice below applies to your section. 

The easiest way to do this is to check the Council’s Interactive Mapping tools which will give you information about a specific property. 

Some key things to look out for: 

  • Heritage and character area overlay

  • Waterways and wetlands overlay

  • Biodiversity

  • Zoning

  • Height of buildings and structures overlay

  • Master planning approvals 

Not sure where to start, or have one of the above overlays on your property? We recommend getting in touch with a planning professional; we can put you in touch with someone. 

Do you need planning approval for a granny flat in the Sunshine Coast?

There are two types of development that granny flats fall into in the Sunshine Coast: secondary dwellings and dual occupancy dwellings. Which type of development your granny flat will be depends on how you’re planning to use it. 

Types of Granny Flat in the Sunshine Coast

Under the Sunshine Coast Planning Scheme 2014, granny flats are most likely to fall under one of two categories.

  1. Secondary dwellings, which are granny flats or dwellings that are clearly to be used in conjunction with, and subordinate to, a main house. This is likely to be what you are building if you’re looking to house a relative, carer, or elderly person.

  2. Dual Occupancy which is a second house built on a section that is not going to be used by the same household, so for instance a duplex that is being rented out privately or sold. 

Accepted development vs code assessable

When it comes to building a granny flat, there are two types of planning approval that you need to know about. 

Accepted development subject to requirements

Most secondary dwellings are accepted development. Also referred to as ‘Self Assessable’, this means that the development doesn’t need to get Council approval to go ahead providing it meets the requirements set out in the relevant guidance (summarised below). 

Code Assessable Development

Code assessable development means that planning approval from the Council is required, but the application will only be assessed against the relevant Codes (i.e. the Dwelling House Code). Most dual occupancy applications are code assessable. 

The alternative is development that is Impact Assessable, which is assessed based on its impact to the local area and neighbours. 

Code Assessable Development is generally much more straightforward to get approved, and most dual occupancy developments will be code assessable. 

Requirements for a secondary dwelling

If you’re building a granny flat for a member of your family or your household then you are probably building what’s known as a secondary dwelling. 

Secondary dwellings are accepted development subject to requirements. The Sunshine Coast requirements for a secondary dwelling are summarised below. 

Siting of granny flat

Secondary dwellings need to be on a traditional, regular shaped lot with an area of at least 600m2. 

Granny flats can be built under, attached to, or detached from the main house. 

There needs to be a clear connection between the granny flat and the main dwelling. If you opt for a detached/freestanding building, it must be within 20 metres of the main house (measured from the outermost point of each building). 

Utilities, access & parking

The granny flat must share common services and vehicle access with the main dwelling. They should share one water connection and metre, use the same letterbox and street number, and have the same driveway. 

The granny flat needs to have one additional parking space on the property. 

Size of the dwelling

Secondary dwellings need to be subordinate to the main dwelling, and there are restrictions on their size to achieve this. 

The maximum floor area you can build depends on where your property is located:

  • 60m2 in all areas except for the below

  • 90m2 in Rural Zone and Rural Residential Zone

  • 45m2 in Moffat Beach/Shelly Beach/Dicky Beach area 

In the Moffat Beach/Shelly Beach/Dicky Beach area the building also cannot exceed 4 metres in height. 

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

Don’t worry! You may still be able to build your granny flat, but you’ll likely need Council Approval before you can start building. 

Dual Occupancy

If you want to rent your granny flat, you’ll need to meet the requirements in the Dual Occupancy Code. 

Dual Occupancy allows you to rent your granny flat out to a separate household. 

If you live in a low density residential zone or medium density residential zone (you can check on the Council Zoning Map here) Dual Occupancy developments are Accepted Development subject to meeting the requirements in the Code. 

If you live outside of the above zones, Dual Occupancy development needs planning approval from the Council. The planning approval will be Code Assessable. 

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

You’ll likely need to lodge a full planning application with the Council, but we recommend you speak to a planning professional. 

For most people looking to build a granny flat in the Sunshine Coast, you’ll be able to build without planning approval providing you meet the requirements for Secondary Dwellings. If you’re hoping to rent your granny flat out, you might need to meet the requirements for Dual Occupancy. 

We here at Compact Homes are experts in all things tiny homes, Granny Flats and Secondary Dwellings in Queensland. If you’re thinking about building a granny flat, check out our products/services or contact us Here to discuss.

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