Cairns Dual Occupancy

What is a dual occupancy home? Is dual occupancy the same as a duplex?

What is a dual occupancy home?  Is dual occupancy the same as a duplex? What is the difference between and granny flat and dual occupancy? How to I get dual occupancy on my land?  These are just some of the common questions we get asked daily by our clients, so we have put together a simple summary of the key differences.

Dual Occupancy
Dual Occupancy Home by Koru Builders

Image credit: Courtesy of Koru Builders

1. What is a dual occupancy home?

Dual occupancy (or shared living homes) provides two dwellings on a single site (and single title).  The dwellings can either be attached with a common wall or completely detached.  They can sometimes share features such as front yard and car parking access.  The land a dual occupancy is built on is one piece of land and cannot be subdivided.

Suburban neighbourhoods offer the perfect location for dual occupancy homes and residents can enjoy similar living arrangements with lower maintenance and housing costs.  At a time when multi-generational living is becoming more common, dual occupancy can provide the perfect living arrangement.

2. Dual Occupancy Vs Duplex

A duplex can look and feel like an attached dual occupancy, but they are not the same.  A duplex is considered two dwellings and have separate titles.  Often a duplex will be on land already subdivided and can be sold separately.

3. Dual Occupancy Vs Granny Flat (called a secondary dwelling)

A granny flat is considered a secondary dwelling on the existing property and is intended for use by members of the family or extended family.  At no time can a secondary dwelling be sold separately to the main dwelling.  You will need to check your local council planning laws if you intent to use the granny flat as a rental.  The can involve a material change of use (MCU). 

Dual Occupancy Home
Koru Builders Dual Occupancy Home

Image credit: Courtesy of Koru Builders

4. What rules do you have to follow for a dual occupancy

Dual Occupancy Rules are governed by Local Planning Codes. The rules around dual occupancy will be governed by the by the local council and information can usually be found on their websites.  The first step is to check the property locations planning zone to see which planning codes apply to the address (there is often more than one code or overlay to check).  At this point we recommend you appoint a private Building Certifier who will carry out a full code assessment and advise you of any applications that will need to be made.

5. Do I need to make an application for a development permit or Material Change of Use Application (MCU)

The second dwelling is considered a material change in the use of the property as it significantly increased the intensity and scale of use of the premises and an MCU is required.  The Material Change of Use application may also require additional planning applications to deal with other elements of the code such as flood inundation or character precinct.

6. Will there be conditions to the approval

If you obtain planning approval for your dual occupancy it is likely to come with several conditions that will relate to:

  • Access
  • Connection to services
  • Infrastructure works
  • Landscaping
  • Screening
  • Refuse storage

7. Do I need any other approvals?

In addition to any planning approvals, you will need to obtain a building works approval for any building works and an approval for plumbing and drainage works. An operational works permit may also be required for works on a local government road (driveway works).

8. How do I make a Dual Occupancy application?

The easiest way to obtaining a dual occupancy building permit is to engage The Building Approval Company to produce a planning, development code and overlay report.  We will review your plans and location against all the assessable building codes and produce a report detailing all the assessable outcomes.  The report details everything you will have to do to meet the local planning requirements and get a building permit.  Wee complete all the forms and applications on your behalf so for a small initial outlay you can pre-plan your dual occupancy build and set yourself up for success for the outset.

To get a quote, click here.

To check your property address zoning within Cairns Regional Council, click here.

To check your property address zoning within Townsville City Council, click here.

To read more on Cairns Plan requirements for dwelling changes and additions, click here.

Featured Image credit: Courtesy of Bridgewater Builders.