Granny Flat Approvals

In order to build a granny flat on your property, submitting the appropriate approvals is necessary. These exist to ensure a granny flat is the correct size and built to a high standard of safety and livability. In April of 2024, some of the approvals necessary for building a granny flat in Western Australia will be amended. The amendments will make the overall process faster and easier. This was enacted largely to help ease the housing crisis in WA.

Building a granny flat has the potential to work well as a rental or to add a bit more value to your property. As long as you ensure that everything is done by the book, a granny flat is an incredibly lucrative investment. We at Granny Flats WA are intimately familiar with every step of the approval process. We have set up this handy guide to help you along if you’re thinking about building a granny flat.

Granny flat requirements

The first requirement to build a granny flat in Western Australia is to have an existing house on a lot with sufficient space for a granny flat. If you have an empty plot of land, a granny flat may not be the first property built on it. This is because granny flats are considered ancillary dwellings. They must be built on the space left over after building a primary dwelling like a house.

Part of the amendments to the granny flat approval requirements allow grouped dwellings to have granny flats. Grouped dwellings refer to multiple dwellings that exist on the same lot. Previously, a lot with a grouped dwelling would not be allowed to add a granny flat on top of these. But with that restriction lifted, the owner of a duplex, for example, could add a granny flat to their lot if they have sufficient space.

Next, the granny flat must conform to the size and setback requirements size requirements encompass both the size of the granny flat and the lot it is being built on. Setback requirements refer to the distance between the granny flat and the fencing. The requirements may vary depending on factors like the granny flat’s height.

Once you have ensured that you meet the most basic requirements for a granny flat build, you may apply for building approval. This is submitted to your local council, primarily to ensure the safety of your design. In certain cases, there will be additional considerations. These include the requirement for a parking bay when the residence is not located near public transport. This is determined by the Residential Design Codes (R-codes), which help manage the design of residential development in low and medium density areas.

Until recently, the requirements for building a granny flat were more stringent, requiring planning approval submission to your local council. Depending on your local council, this process could take months. The amended requirements only require building permits to be submitted and approved, provided the granny flat doesn’t exceed the maximum allowed size. This process should take no more than 10 business days. In tandem with this, the R-codes have also been relaxed to remove minimum lot size requirements for granny flat builds.

Granny flat rental requirements

If you are planning to rent out your granny flat, you will be subject to additional requirements like any rental property. Certain tenancy laws will apply and it’s important to be aware of these, as they outline your rights and responsibilities. WA’s Department of Commerce outlines the requirements for renting out your granny flat.

Granny flat sizes

The maximum legal size for a granny flat in Western Australia is generally 70m², but can be up to 100m² in some local councils. Previously, houses required a minimum lot size of 350m², but that is set to change in April of 2024. Under the updated size requirements, as long as a granny flat doesn’t exceed the maximum allowed size and meets the setback requirements, it can move onto the building permit phase.

Granny flat building permits

A granny flat building permit is necessary to ensure the safe and effective construction of your granny flat. It ensures that you are complying with all of the relevant standards outlined in the Building Codes of Australia. These encompass aspects of the build including fire resistance, energy efficiency, sustainability, accessibility, health and safety provisions, appropriate equipment and services.

Granny flat building permits are focused on different aspects of the building process to ensure a soundly constructed home. Part of these requirements includes adequate levels of light and ventilation, properly functioning protective and safety measures, and utilities. Meeting all these criteria ensures the home can serve the prospective occupants properly.

Building approval forms can be found on the Commerce WA website and are lodged at your local council. Fixed tiny homes are also subject to Australia’s building codes.

Do granny flats need council approvals?

You no longer need council planning approval to build a granny flat in Western Australia. Formerly, the procedure for getting a granny flat build approved was a lengthy process that involved planning approval, building approval and council approval. This had the potential to impose more limitations on granny flat designs, depending on surrounding properties and local council rules. However, in April of 2024, these limitations were scrapped. This was largely to help with the Australian housing crisis by making more housing options available.

Granny flat approval cost

There are several factors that influence the cost of getting granny flat building approval. These can be related to meeting the primary criteria for a granny flat. If you don’t meet these, you may need to do some preliminary work that could cost you money. There is the submission of the building approval itself. This has a fixed cost, but will require you to pay again if you’re required to resubmit. These aspects are important to factor in along with the general costs of building a granny flat.

Granny Flats WA is here to help

Part of the service we provide is helping our customers get through the approval process. Whether it’s drafting a granny flat design, figuring out your budget or getting everything approved, we’ve got you covered. We have years of experience helping people bring the granny flats of their dreams to life. If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to call us for a chat.