There are many companies that now sell not only new homes, but also granny flats and teenage retreats. It can be difficult to work out what the best option is and also what the permis de construire logistical requirements are for each property. Many people don’t understand that there is a difference in terms of council requirements and building permits for each property structure. A lot of the time too, sales staff aren’t aware of these differences and because the properties have a similar look and feel, the process can become very confusing. It is advisable to do your research and make sure you get the right building permit for your new home, or granny flat or teenage retreat, or risk losing thousands of dollars when you eventually go to sell your home.
Below I have listed the different meanings relevant to each property in the hope that this might clarify things for you.
New homes can be relatively straight forward in terms of council requirements and building permits. A new house is classified as a single dwelling on a block (ie. the only house on your property). If you wanted to buy a new home to build on the same grounds as your existing property, then you would need to go down the process known as subdivision. This involves contacting and liaising with Town Planning and the Building departments within your local council. Considerations include, making sure you have a driveway for both properties, setting up power and water, installing separate meters for both properties, plus more. Whilst the subdivision process can increase the value of your home and raise revenue, the process can sometimes take a minimum of a year.
A Granny Flat is a name that is used for a Dependant Persons Unit (DPU). A DPU is a building that you build on your property (that is not the main dwelling), for a person that is dependent on the person living in the main dwelling. The unit can consist of a full kitchen, full bathroom, laundry, living room and a couple of bedrooms. are just like a new home, however when you are organising a building permit, they are classified as a DPU. The important thing to remember here is that once the dependent person finishes using the unit, it will need to be removed. Whether you do this immediately or when you go to sell your property, is your choice, however it will come up when you eventually go to sell. Check with your council before you make any decisions because you may be able to reclassify the granny flat and use of the unit by removing the laundry and cooking facilities. Note too that council regulations vary from state to state.
When organising a building permit for a teenage retreat, you simply write the name ‘teenage retreat’ on the form in the relevant box. For a building permit, it will be classified as an extension to the main dwelling. Teenage Retreats are perfect if you are looking for an extra room or need a home for your kids or grandparents and are an economical and easy to maintain option. Otherwise known as sleepouts, these are a habitable building, which means you will still needs to go through the same process as a DPU. For example, teenage retreats will require a six star energy rating, plus some will need to go through Town Planning (this is dependent on the overlays of your property). A teenage retreat can have a bedroom, living room and even a bathroom, however some will have a sink with a cupboard, but not a full kitchen or laundry facility. The good news is that you don’t need to remove these if your teenager stops using it or if you were to sell your property.