Granny Flat - should I bother with council approval?

I have recently settled on an IP in the Parramatta Council area. It has a garage which I'm planning to convert into a granny flat. This will be my first granny flat.

I have made prelim. enquiry with the council & was advised that applic'n could take up to 12wks and council costs approx. $3,000. On top of that, I may have to engage a town planner or architect to help with the applic'n. This to me sounds like 'unnecessary' costs.

What's the worst thing that can happen if I don't bother with council approval?

Besides, whatever happened to the '10-day approval'?

I'm also advised by the rental agent that I should have separate electricity & water metres.

My next question is: should I use a building contractor or is it simple enough to project manage myself? The garage is 11x4 metres. I'm thinking to do an open plan. Any suggestions?

A builder has quoted $30,000 to install kitchen, bathroom, toilet, laundry, tile floor, paint walls, insulate and line roof, install sliding doors on front and back, and fence it off from the main backyard. Sounds too pricey to me...

Any feedback?
 
Worst case scenerio you end up in jail.

u lease it out, tenant dies because of fire, insurance rejects claim for legal costs and replacement of granny flat because not council approved, u get taken to court and get jail for negligence.

just tell them about the 10 day thing
 
Thanks guys! I get the message... Jail is not my kind of holiday destination, so I guess I better make friends with the council!
 
Hiya,

I am currently in the process myself, have a few points to offer:-

1)as already stated insurance wont cover unapproved flats = instant no go for me.

As for the costs.

2)Consider getting a draftsman to do the layout, if you can find one who has exerience with conversion, it will be cheaper than a architect.

3)Try to minimise walls and construction activities.

4) Find out particularly about the water and sewerage as these are important. If they are close to to where you need them it gets messy and expensive to connect to them.
- Dial before you dig
- Council Plans

5) Understand council regs re: granny flats. Do you meet privacy needs, parking, outdoor areas? runoff?

6)Is the building council approved? Does the garage exist on council plans? Is it running over water pipes? Is it waterboard approved?

7) Other costs you may not have thought of:-
No tenants during construction?
Airconditioing
Seperate Services
Connect another electrical circuits - if existing cannot service things like oven etc
Windows - granny flats really need some natural light to make appealing - of course not essential
Ability to screen of access- prevent tenants from having fights /issues

8) A certifier - from what i understand - (i have done this myself yet) is usually a fair bit cheaper than the council. get prices from them, plus they will handle the council for you!

9) quoting:- I would get all seperate quotes(itemised) and parts seperate. Get multiple quotes on everything. Remember Cheaper isnt always better though!

this allows you to:- understand what bits you can do yourself? (painting? sanding? etc..) and how much you will save

look on ebay and other auctions for bathrooms and kitchens to fit your floorplan - it will save you $$$

10) understand what your granny flat will return, will help in the budget calcs.

11) understand what time you will spend compared to a professional - this relates to 10) Time = Money

12) I assume you have already looked at the zoning of the place.

Well thats my 2c ;) just in case something helped.

Thanks
 
I have recently settled on an IP in the Parramatta Council area. It has a garage which I'm planning to convert into a granny flat. This will be my first granny flat.
Congratulations.

I have made prelim. enquiry with the council & was advised that applic'n could take up to 12wks and council costs approx. $3,000. On top of that, I may have to engage a town planner or architect to help with the applic'n. This to me sounds like 'unnecessary' costs.
Use the over-riding NSW legislation that twodogs has linked to and has been posted lots of times in the forum here.

I'm also advised by the rental agent that I should have separate electricity & water metres.
Good advice and easy (relatively) to do. Sparkie and contractor can do a sep. meter and you should do a flow meter rather than a sep water meter. Read this thread: http://www.somersoft.com/forums/showthread.php?t=57893

My next question is: should I use a building contractor or is it simple enough to project manage myself?
If you are asking the question about whether or not you can manage the project yourself, then you don't have the experience and I'd recommend using a building contractor. Or you can pay to get the experience by doing it yourself and stuffing up the trades sequence.:eek:

A builder has quoted $30,000 to install kitchen, bathroom, toilet, laundry, tile floor, paint walls, insulate and line roof, install sliding doors on front and back, and fence it off from the main backyard.
Sounds cheap enough to me. You are paying $30K which will cost you $35pw in loan interest and you'll be getting $200pw back in rent.
 
Thanks twobobsworth, I'm definitely leaning towards getting an approval now!

And Reach, you're a wealth of information, a BIG thank you! I'm so glad I found this site.

I've just spoken to an accredited certifier, who proved very helpful and has pointed me in the right direction, so will be doing further research b4 I take the plunge!

Cheers,
Josie
 
Previously lived next to a house that had an unapproved granny flat. Just rang council and they came and evicted the tenant.

With respect 2BW, that is not entirely true, although that may have been the end result. Councils do not have (AFAIK) the power to evict anyone on a lease.

What council may have done is approached the owner of the property and directed him not to rent the unapproved structure separately. The LL (owner) would then have either issued a termination notice to the tenant if it was going month to month or entered negotiations with the council to resolve the situation after the lease had expired.

On a separate but related issue, I have observed many LLs simply renting the entire property to one tenant and then the tenant sub-leasing to another.
 
Thanks Propertunity, much appreciate all your input.

The certifier also advised that the garage has to be at least 900cm away from the boundary.
 
Not sure how it was handled. It was a granny flat built underneath the main house. Pretty steep block so there was plenty of room and it was professionally done. When we moved in there were a young couple that kept to themselves, apart from using our entrance path half way then jumping over a 2 foot retaining wall to access the side of property (their front door).

Next tenant was a 17-18 year old that would have all his mates over for booze sessions. Use our garbage bins for his waste. I installed a sensor light on the entrance path which mysteriously smashed the first week.

I knew it was being managed by a PM because I saw it come up for lease on RE.com.au in between tenants.

Rang council, 2 days later an inspector came around and 2 days later the tenant was gone.
 
Thanks Propertunity, much appreciate all your input.

The certifier also advised that the garage has to be at least 900cm away from the boundary.

This is usually the biggest problem when thinking to convert a garage to a granny flat, if your setback requirement is satisfied and the garage is legal there should be no much drama
 
This is usually the biggest problem when thinking to convert a garage to a granny flat, if your setback requirement is satisfied and the garage is legal there should be no much drama
Thanks Bill. This may be a problem for me. The garage is too close to the boundary. I'm certain it's within 900ml, which means I'll have to resort to a detached GF. Back to the drawing board. Any ideas on how to get started?

I've seen other threads where propertunity mentioned using Tristeel.

I'm also trying to find the 'checklist-style' code to make sure the detached GF will comply with council requirements.
 
DA or Complying Devt?

Just wondering, if I'm not in a hurry for the granny flat, is it better or easier to go the DA path or Complying Devt application? I've heard that there are extra requirements for CDA.

Should I DIY or involve a draftsman and/or certifier?

Would love to hear from ppl who have experience converting or adding GF.
 
I have made prelim. enquiry with the council & was advised that applic'n could take up to 12wks and council costs approx. $3,000.

Council fees for a DA/CC should be around $1500 @ Parramatta Council. The statute for a DA is 40 days. This includes 2-3 weeks for neighbour notification.

On top of that, I may have to engage a town planner or architect to help with the applic'n. This to me sounds like 'unnecessary' costs.

You will need a Site Plan, Drainage Plan, Floor Plan, Elevations and Sections, Soil/Water Management and Waste Management Plans, Specifications and Engineer's Certification for the structure and slab/footings.

Cost? Around $1,500 for plans/specs and about $1,500 for an Engineer to come onsite, check the structure (twice) and to provide certification for the existing Slab/Footings, wall and roof + BCA Compliance check for internals.


What's the worst thing that can happen if I don't bother with council approval?
Worst Case: They can make you provide the plans mentioned above. As far as setback goes IT CAN BE LESS THAN 900 mm to the side/rear boundaries @ Parramatta. DA's are merit based and setbacks are not set in concrete- they are not legislated, but are listed in the Control Policies. These can be (and are often) flexible.

Best Case: They make you do a simple 'Building Certificate'. This involves getting and ID-Survey from a registered surveyor (about $600) and pay Council $210 for the application. They will then inspect to ensure the granny flat (secondary dwelling) has been built in accordance with the Building Code of Australia (BCA) the relevant Australian Standards (as it applies to all aspects of residential design) and Councils' LEP legislation. The Parramatta Council LEP does not prescribe setbacks and heights among other axioms; so they are flexible.

Note: If it fails to meet any standards, they will require the works to be done and if its a BCA shortfall, they may ask for an engineer's ticket.- so it's best to have ALL of the work done properly before approaching them.

Besides, whatever happened to the '10-day approval'?
Therer are criteria for 10-day approval; one of them is the setbacks are to be at 900mm side and 3m rear. Another is that you build AFTER approval...


I'm also advised by the rental agent that I should have separate electricity & water metres.
If its for rental, its strongly advised.


A builder has quoted $30,000 to install kitchen, bathroom, toilet, laundry, tile floor, paint walls, insulate and line roof, install sliding doors on front and back, and fence it off from the main backyard. Sounds too pricey to me...
Work on $800/sq m for a fitout like this. So its a fair price.

I get a few requests to do these for people- and I do. As long as the client is aware that whilst I'll do everything I can to minimise paper costs for her/him, I am bound by what Council conditions for me to provide (see above).

Im not trying to sell my services to you here dreamgirl. In fact I find these jobs to be a f%**^ headache and they take twice as long to draft (twice the headaches) compared to a new dwelling. I decline most requests for this type of work- its just a huge headache. Making a Class 10a structure (garage) into a Class 1 (dwelling) is not easy because of the upgrades required (on paper).
Council want to know that the structure is compliant with all codes. Garages mostly dont have adequate sealing, foundations, insulation etc so its a larger task than certifying a new (secondary) dwelling.

Hope this helps.

Brazen.
 
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Thanks for your reply, Brazen. Just found it now. I have now secured approval from a private certifier for the Granville property (fully detached). Next move will be arranging quotes from builders... Still waiting on drawings for the garage conversion...
 
Thanks for your reply, Brazen. Just found it now. I have now secured approval from a private certifier for the Granville property (fully detached). Next move will be arranging quotes from builders... Still waiting on drawings for the garage conversion...

Hi Dream girl,

Can you recommend me the private certifier, builder, draftperson you have used? Thanks.

Len2010
 
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