Building a Granny Flat - Part 2 - Construction

Well after months of thought, discussion with builders and draftsman, the construction on my granny flat has finally begun!!


The idea first started off as building a 2 storey house, which would have been ideal, but then a couple phone calls to the council put this idea in the bin for me - due to the fact the council had a minimum subdivision of 550sqm if the dwellings were detached, so the alternative was to knock down the existing property and build a duplex.

So I decided to go down the granny flat path given the recent changes in legislation.

Started off with a few drawings to work out how to maximise the floor space of 60sqm (and several weeks of posting different designs on Somersoft), i finally had what i thought was decent design.

With this in mind I approached Cid and Wally from Granny Flats Australia ( with my design and had them come out to do a site inspection.

The general consensus was that I shouldnt rush in with the first builder that gave me a quote, so i shopped around.

It was at that point I realised that builders cant give much of a quote without proper plans being drawn up. So i contacted Serge (member of this forum) and he helped me draw up the plans and gave pointers to what made a good design and took into account aspects i completely forgot about such as lighting from windows and general aesthetics as well as making sure the plans itself complied with the Complying development (ie private space, setbacks, etc)

The plans differed from what I had first drawn up at the beginning, but I couldnt be happier with the design. With this in mind I got in contact with more builders.

I had the option of going Owner Builder and attempt to coordinate trades, but if my employment has taught me one thing, its stick to what you do best, and coordinating tradies and acting like a foreman was not one of my skills.

So the options in front of me were
- Source the supplies from one group
- Have a builder then build it (and act as foreman and coordinate all trades)
- Make sure the granny flat was built as per Serge's specifications.

Although Serge did offer to help me through all this at no cost, at the end of the day I knew my inexperience would only burden Serge more than he could imagine (and you cant expect someone to work for free... its just not right!)

So i thought, if I went down the path where the builder, supplier, draftsman were unrelated, the possibility of having something go wrong, but no one willing to take responsibility increased substantially.

Given the costs from Granny Flats Australia were pretty much on par with using a supplier who would get me all the materials, then having someone else build it I decided to go back to Granny Flats Australia as they were a one stop shop - ie Drawing -> building approval -> Construction. And if anything went wrong, I only had to deal with one person who would be able to fix it.

So for someone who's property development skills went as far as dreaming but being unable to do any actual hands on work (because I have no idea what im doing), this suited me best.

Fast forward to now, I'd have to say, everything has progressed very smoothly.

After the first payment was made, plans were redrawn up within a few days, then submitted to a Private Certifier for approval. The only delay here was Australia Post who some how failed to deliver an expressed post envelope (which had the original forms signed) to a PO box. You'd think the postman would have got that one right seeing it didnt have to go from its distribution centre.

Anyway, work started on the 28 June and today the concrete was poured.

Carpenter is due to come out at the end of the week, so hopefully by the weekend the frame is up :)

I'll post some pictures up a little later and keep updating this thread as things progress.
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Subscribed - Look forward to how this pans out.

What is your projected ROI?

Do you mind sharing the costs involved as you go along?

I dont mind sharing details, but if you could be a bit more specific on what you are referring to so I can give you the answer you want as opposed to something else.
Estimated rent is between $350 - $400.

Building cost is $110-$120k.
Costs would have been lower except i had trees to remove, concrete to remove, ground to level and i also wanted 2.7m high ceilings.
Thankyou for creating this thread neK.

We are considering doing the same with our backyard. Way to small to build a normal house on and a 2 bedroom granny flat looks the way to go.

Look forward to seeing progress photos. :D


An update on what's happening.

Went by today to have a look on how its progressing and i started talking to the neighbour across the street. Seems that there are quite a few people who are bit upset about me building a granny flat.

From what I was told, the complaints were mainly from the elderly people who have lived in the neighbourhood for 40+ years.

Here are some of the complaints so far:

  • They werent notified by the council (they dont have to be notified for complying developments, but the builder did do a letter box drop to the neighbours anyway out of courtesy prior to construction)
  • The existing tenant lost their clothes line (something me and the tenant addressed and agreed upon before building commencement).
  • The new granny flat may attract undesirable tenants
  • Truck engine making too much noise before 7am

Apparently there was even a Senior Citizen's gathering (according to the neighbour across the street) outside the building site to "inspect" the granny flat.

Guess its lucky i dont live there :)
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Anyway some more pics.

Note: These are the dates i took the pics, not the date the work was done.

26 Jun 2010 - Temporary fence up.

28 Jun 2010 - Demolition / Site Preparation

30 Jun 2010 - Site Levelling
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04 Jul 2010 - Pipes are in

07 July 2010 - Frame is up

The stuff on the frame is the plywood backing i requested. Mainly because the vinyl cladding they use is meant to be flexible to absorb hits, having the the plywood backing gives it a more solid feel to it.

A 2.7m high ceiling makes a massive difference! Everything just feels bigger... even though its not.

So from a start date of 28 June until 9 July, a total of 10 working days, ive gone from having a backyard to a having a frame for the granny flat.

Thats some pretty impressive stuff from Granny Flats Australia!
Granny flat


Impressive stuff Nek! Your granny flat looks huge!

Don't worry about the neighbours' complaints; with 3 elderly neighbours living all around me (all single ladies); i find that old people (i'm talking more than 75 years old) are all apprehensive about change...let things settle down after all's done and dusted and they'll usually accept it...especially if you find a nice lady tenant! (which was what i did for my granny flat).
Don't worry about the NIMBY's neK. We find that you can always attract high quality tenants at top of the market rent with a brand new product.

Good to see the progress. Well done. They are great returns for the money invested. Look forward to seeing the finished product.
Good stuff neK,

Looks great.

Couple of queries:

1. How do you divide the common property up for the title?
2. Was anything needing to be done to the original title of the land?


1. How do you divide the common property up for the title?
There is no common property as you'd get in a strata title.
You can arbitrarily put a fence up somewhere, but it does not mean anything in relation to title.

2. Was anything needing to be done to the original title of the land?
No, original title is unchanged. The granny flat cannot be 'sold off'. It is all on the one title.
Fudge, think of it as an "extension" to the house... just that its not attached to the original house in any way.
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Inclusions on a rental property

I went to Harvey Normal Commercial to check out the stuff that the guys from Granny Flats Australia were putting into the granny flat and I saw a few things i liked that cost extra.

Now i know the rule is to never to buy things you would want personally, buy things that do the job.

However i guess since everything being installed is new, I have the opportunity to simply get something better if it works out.

So im after opinions on what I should do (or should not do).

1. Toilet - Im really wasting my money here arent i? What is the likelihood a smaller toilet is going to be a deal breaker on whether it gets rented quicker?

2. Bathtub (its a shower over bath thing) - 1675mm. I wanted something bigger like 1800mm, but again, is anyone going to notice the difference? As long as its got enough standing room right?

3. Gas Cooktop - Get one that has a bigger cast iron tray? Worthwhile for longevity or simply a waste of money?

4. Plain white laminex doors, or polyurethane glossy doors. - Ive got some polyurethane ones installed in the current IP from 6 years ago and they still look good. The plain laminex ones look like cheapo stuff from bunnings.

5. Benchtop - Laminex ones or 20mm ceasarstone? Is it worth the extra money?

Looks is one thing, but longevity of the item is far more important. I'd rather spend a bit more so i dont have to get a handyman to come in to fix stuff for as long as possible.
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neK, the granny flat looks great, congratulations for getting this underway and thank you for sharing the story.

my comments on your questions above would be:

1. I don't believe a bigger toilet would make a difference

2. I don't believe a bigger bathtub would be important

3. we have a non-cast iron top to our stove and it lasts very well

4. if you choose a good colour for your laminex doors rather than white then this would look great - eg we opted for "chamoix" with a white stone bench top, looks great esp with stainless steel appliances; polyurethane is a great finish, but not sure it's worth the extra cost for an IP.

5. casarstone is a great material, if you can fit it into your budget then yes go for it, but equally you can use a stone-look laminex with rolled edge which looks great (we have caesarstone in our kitchen, but laminex in the bathrooms and it looks very nice); also if the tenant happens to crack the stone then it is of course going to be expensive and annoying to replace!; however the stone does make the kitchen appear high-end.

With all these items, remember that a tenant will possibly not care for it as much as you would (having shelled out the cash for it), and how will you feel is it's damaged?
wow looks good Nek (are you the same nek from ocau? :D)

I have been trying to do the same thing as you but my drafter still has not got a design back to me and its been 6 weeks :(, wish he would hurry the heck up!. Wish i could fire his *** but i have already given them a deposit and his partner is a friend of my parents:rolleyes:
Hi monty-python, thats for the feedback. I had a feeling those would be the answers, just wanted some reassurance :)

That chamoix is the a coffee-ish colour isnt it? That looks pretty nice, but i think im going to stick with white for the following reasons:

1. Its a neutral colour
2. Its easier to replace the door and match the colour.

As for the polyurethane, I'll see how extra much its going to cost me and take it from there.

You're right on the ceasarstone, if a tenant breaks it, its going to be a pain in the butt to fix it if its broken. Laminex is easier.

zhouse, personally I would have walked away from them already. 6 weeks just to make some drawings on a piece of paper? They are designing a granny flat with a maximum of 60sqm, not some masterpiece. Keep the design simple - ie a rectangle. Once you start making different wall lengths, indents, etc its may look nice, but its going to cost you more to build and its not going to rent for anymore money.

You'll notice on the designs i posted up, they are almost full rectangles (the only reason why there's a porch is because if I kept is a enclosed rectangle it would have exceeded the 60sqm size).

You should ask them what work have they done so far and get them to send it to you ASAP. There's no reason why they cant send some draft drawings.... unless they havent done them.

Are they charging you mates rates or full rack rate? If its the latter, i'd cut my losses and walk away now.

Serge (Brazen on Somersoft) helped me with the drawings, he had them done in less than a week! If you like the design I've got, Im sure Serge would be happy to modify it to suit your needs.

And yes thats me on OCAU as well.
Here's what I was thinking on the colour scheme on the kitchen (this photo is of someone's else place i stumbled on to while browsing

White cabinets + greyish slate lookalike laminex benchtop.

You guys think this is pretty neutral? Not after a "wow" from prospective tenants on the kitchen, more something that will get a "its a decent kitchen" comment now and 5 years in to the future.


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