Lounging Lizards | Building A 2 Story Granny Flat
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Building A 2 Story Granny Flat

2 Storey Granny Flats

Building A 2 Story Granny Flat

Regulations For Building a 2-Storey Granny Flat Through Complying Developments


The complying developments legislation has made it easier than ever for Sydney home owners to build revenue-generating granny flats. In fact, this fast track to approval can save homeowners up to $15,000 and expedite the approval process in as little as 10 days.


If building a one-storey granny flat is a great way to generate extra income and increase your home’s property value, then a two-storey must be twice as good, right?


With the new regulations in NSW, you can now build a two-storey dwelling on the same lot of land as the existing dwelling so long as they meet certain standards. In order to comply with the “complying developments” scheme, there are a few things to keep in mind.



Understanding the Housing Code


The State Environmental Planning Policy of 2009 sets down strict regulations with which you must comply in order to build on your existing property. The housing code allows for certain exemptions that don’t require the traditional (and lengthy!) approval process. These “complying developments” allow for:


  • A new single or two-storey home
  • Alterations or additions
  • Attached developments (for example, a garage)
  • Detached developments (granny flats)


You are allowed to build a separate dwelling altogether as long as you meet certain regulations. When it comes to two-storey granny flats, they are:

Multi Level Granny Flat Height Requirements


Height requirements are in place to create a simplified and uniform building code. A building cannot exceed 8.5m in height measured from the ground level not including the attic. Since your two-storey granny is going to tower over most other dwelling of its kind, pay special attention to this restriction!




A setback is a horizontal distance (measured at 90 degrees) from a development (in this case, the granny flat), from the lot boundary. Setbacks are in place to provide space between boundaries and limit overshadowing. In essence, a setback is simply the distance between your development and the edge of your property. The size of the setback is in accordance with building height. The minimum required setbacks are as follows:


  • Lot width of 6-10m and building height up to 5.5m = 900mm setback
  • Lot width of 10-18m and building height of 4.5m = 900mm setback
  • Lot width 18m-24m and building height up to 4.5m = 1.5m setback
  • Lot width of 24m at any height = 2.5m setback


Since you will be building an additional floor, your granny flat will likely be taller than those in the table. If the building exceeds these heights, then the side setbacks must be increased. Take one-quarter of the additional height of the building and add it to the current setback. For example, if your dwelling is 3m in additional height from the minimum, then your set back must be 1.65m (3m/4 + 900mm = 750mm + 900mm).



The complying developments scheme allows fast track approval and major savings for Australians looking to build an investment property right in their own backyard. A two-storey granny flat will be subject to regulations for height and setbacks, but with a bit of planning, you can have a complying dwelling up in no time at all!

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