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What is Secondary Dwelling?

Guide to Secondary Dwellings

A secondary dwelling or granny flat is an additional living space either attached or separate from the principal dwelling space. It is usually smaller compared to the principal dwelling. Find out more about building a secondary dwelling or granny flat and the approvals needed.

Why are the approvals required for secondary dwellings?

The approvals are needed to ensure the safety of your structure. It also ensures compliance with the National Construction Code. The NCC ensures that the property meets all the requirements for safety, health, and sustainability.

Building a granny flat on the Gold Coast

Gold Coast city council promotes affordable housing and secondary dwellings as a major part of the City Plan.

The City Plan was designed in 2016 keeping in mind the needs of the growing population and aims to turn Gold Coast into a world-class destination. If you are planning to build a granny flat, you need to acquire building approval by getting in touch with a private building certifier.

You can access information on the Gold Coast City Plan here -

Why you should consider building a granny flat or secondary dwelling?

Granny Flats can be a self-contained accommodation option for your family members, relatives, or friends. They can be used as a living space or office. With Gold Coast being a tourist spot, granny flats can also provide extra income via holiday rentals.

Need expert help? Contact our experienced Gold Coast Builders today

Do you need to submit a development application?

A development application is needed if your secondary dwelling doesn’t meet the criteria of the City Plan. You would need to submit a development application in that case.

A development application is NOT required if:

  1. your house is located in the low, medium, or high-density residential zones.
  2. your property meets the requirements listed in the secondary dwelling code.
  • The same driveway, water, and drainage connection are used for both principal and secondary dwelling.
  • If the secondary dwelling is built using the same materials or has the same design concept as your principal dwelling.
  • Doesn’t exceed 80 m^2 in size.

If your property meets these criteria, you won’t need a development application which can save you a lot of time and money. However, you might need development approval if you do not meet the criteria listed in the City Plan. Visit to see if you need development approval.

What if you don’t get approval for your granny flat?

If you don’t have an approval if required prior to building, the Council may impose a fine or ask you to demolish the structure. As the structure won’t be compliant with the NCC, you might lose your home insurance on your principal dwelling in the case of an accident. Needless to say, it would also decrease the value of your property and make it very difficult to sell.

It is not worth risking your peace of mind and safety and it is advisable to follow the guidelines set by the council.

Professional granny flat builders on the Gold Coast

If you are planning to build a secondary dwelling or granny flat, Symcorp can help. We can guide you through the required approvals and planning to get your granny flat building project up and running smoothly. Our team will ensure all the paperwork is completed thoroughly and meets the requirements of the council. Get in touch with us on 07 5594 1768 and we would love to help.

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