Granny Flat QLD Regulations – All You Need to Know

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When planning to build a granny flat, you may find yourself confused by the sheer amount of regulations you find. But there is no reason to be discouraged. Here is a summary of the rules for Granny Flats in QLD:


The maximum size allowed for a granny flat in Queensland varies, depending on your local Council. It will be approximately 60 – 90sqm. Your local Council also has the authority to decide who can stay in your granny flat. Unless you apply for a Development Application where your granny flat is approved as a ‘dual occupancy’, it must be occupied by a ‘member of your household’.


Today, I will discuss the rules for a granny flat in QLD.


DON'T PAY A FORTUNE FOR YOUR GRANNY FLAT. Find out how to deal with council and build a granny flat for the lowest cost possible. Learn More.

I will advise you of the costs to build a granny flat in Queensland and how you can rent out your granny flat.


I will talk about the regulations on the Sunshine Coast and the regulations on the Gold Coast and lastly, I will provide you a list of granny flat builders in Brisbane.



Understanding the QLD rules below will save you time and money


What is the Maximum Granny Flat Size in QLD?


The Brisbane City Plan 2014 (also called the ‘City Plan‘) was developed by the Brisbane City Council to:


  • Support a simple, streamlined development assessment process for granny flats.


Under this plan, a granny flat in a residential zone can be approved to a maximum of 80sqm.


For a breakdown of the standards you must meet, see “Can You Build a Granny Flat on Your QLD Property?” below.


However, if you wish to build a granny flat bigger than 80sqm, you can:


  • Lodge a Development Application (DA), and
  • Depending on your zone and your local Council, this may be approved up to 90sqm.


Costs to Build a Granny Flat in Queensland


Granny flats can come in all shapes and sizes. As such, they cost anywhere from $50,000 to $200,000.


To see an in depth guide about granny flat costs click here.


The price also depends on the:

  • Materials
  • Upgrades
  • Builder


The price of your granny flat can easily increase if you choose optional upgrades, for example;

  • A brick veneer may cost $9000
  • Roof tiles may cost $2500
  • A clothesline may cost $350


Other costs that aren’t included are electrical and plumbing.


If you plan to rent to someone who isn’t part of your ‘household’, you may need to meter your water, electricity and gas separately.


This will cost roughly;

  • Water Meter = $400
  • Electrical Meter = $380
  • Gas Meter = $350


Plus, approximately $250 each for installation.


Also not included;

  • Fencing = $3000
  • Landscaping = $3000
  • Council fees = These vary depending on your Council


There are ways to lower the price.


You can limit it to the essentials – no optional upgrades, even remove some standard inclusions.


Having the bare necessities can lower your costs by up to $10,000.

Or, you can do the construction work yourself.


See my article “Can You Build Your Own Granny Flat?” for how this is done and what you can save.


Can You Build a Granny Flat on Your QLD Property?


The Brisbane City Plan set some rules to assist with building granny flats. 


As a result, some granny flats can be approved without a DA.


You must meet the accepted development, subject to requirements criteria.


Whether your granny flat is an ‘accepted development’, depends on;


You can use the Brisbane City Plan 2014 interactive mapping tool to discover this.


Other regulations that you must adhere to are;

  • If you have a small lot (under 450sqm, or 600sqm excluding the access way for a rear lot)
  • If you have a standard lot (larger than 450sqm, or 600sqm minus the access way on a rear lot)


Other things to consider are:



  • Site Coverage – The portion of your land size that can be covered by buildings, to ensure the safety and privacy of both dwellings.


The specific percentages are:


  • 200sqm or less = Up to 80%
  • 200sqm – 300sqm = Up to 70%
  • 300sqm – 400sqm = Up to 60%
  • 400sqm or more = Up to 50%


Requirements for Granny Flats – Your granny flat must have:


  • Parking – At least one car space (additional to those for the main home)
  • Separate Entryways – An entrance to the granny flat separate from the main home.


Sizes – There are rules regarding the height your granny flat can be:

  • 2-storey granny flats – No taller than 9.5m.
  • Rear and side walls must not exceed 7.5m.
  • The highest point of the roof cannot be greater than 30 degrees on small lots.
  • They can only be built in low or medium density residential zones.
  • 3-storey granny flats – Maximum of 11.5m.
  • Rear and side walls must not measure greater than 9.5m.
  • The maximum point on the top of the roof cannot be greater than 30 degrees.


It is possible to build a granny flat with more than 3-storeys and taller than 11.5m, but you must lodge a DA.


You will also need to submit a DA if:

  • You want to build a granny flat bigger than 80sqm
  • You are placing the granny flat further than 20m from the main house
  • Your land is affected by Neighbourhood Plans (i.e. the Biodiversity and Wetlands overlay)


*Note – I gained this information from the Brisbane City Council website, it is subject to change.

For the latest information visit their website.

Can You Rent Out a Granny Flat On Your QLD Property?


As aforementioned, a granny flat for a ‘member of your household’ does not need a DA, as long as you;


Council classifies ‘a member of your household’ as:


  • An individual who maintains a household
  • Two or more people related by marriage, blood, or adoption
  • 1 to 5 children, under the age of 18, who may/may not be related, but are looked after by 1 or 2 adults
  • Up to 5 people who aren’t related.


If you wish to rent out to someone who does not form part of your household, you need to:


  • Submit a Development Application for another type of dwelling – a ‘dual occupancy’, and gain Council approval.


The rules on who can rent the granny flat vary between Councils’.


In some areas, the renter must be:

  • A ‘dependent person’ (i.e. a child or relative who relies on those living in the main home).


In other areas, you may be:

  • Allowed to rent out to a non-family member


  • Denied approval to rent out your granny flat.


So, I suggest you contact your local Council for their regulations prior to planning on renting out.

Granny Flat Regulations Sunshine Coast


Granny flat regulations differ in Sunshine Coast.


Granny flats are allowed to be built to a maximum of 90sqm in the following zones:


  • Low density residential zone
  • Medium density residential zone
  • High density residential zone
  • Tourist accommodation zone
  • Emerging community zone
  • Limited development (landscape residential) zone
  • Rural zone
  • Rural residential zone


However, Caloundra only allows 45sqm.


If located in an urban zone:


  • The minimum land size allowed is 600sqm
  • The land must be regular in shape (that is, square or rectangular)


  • If not regular in shape, able to fit a square or rectangle of at least 400sqm inside.


In all areas of the Sunshine Coast, the primary and secondary dwelling must share the same:


  • Water connection and meter
  • Wastewater connection/system
  • Street number and letterbox
  • Driveway access point.


*Note – This information was collected from the Sunshine Coast Councils’ website, thus is subject to change.


For up-to-date information, view their website.


Granny Flat Regulations Gold Coast


Gold Coast follows the standard City Plan approval process.


However, you must check the City Plan Overlay to see if there are any exclusions on your land.


The overlay has an interactive map, outlining your key requirements.


Another handy page is the City of Gold Coast’s Secondary Dwellings, where you can check if you need approval.


Do You Need Council Approval for a Shed in QLD?


Under the Brisbane City Plan 2014, a shed is subject to the same assessment process as a granny flat.


So, before you build a shed, check to see if you need approval.


Start by finding out key facts about your property, such as:

  • Zoning
  • Neighbourhood plans
  • Overlays


Then, find out whether your shed:


  • If you need to submit a DA.


If you qualify for accepted development you can commence your shed project, as long as you;

I suggest you contact the Brisbane City Council for advice on:

  • Whether your proposed development is associated with residential use, such as a warehouse or farm.


You must design your shed as a Class 10a building under the Building Code of Australia:

  • A maximum of 10sqm
  • No taller than 2.4m (with an average height of no more than 2.1m)
  • No greater than 5m on any side
  • Not impacting the safety of your existing dwellings, retaining walls or structures
  • Not affecting any adjoining properties
  • Not changing an existing pool fence or enclosure.


If your proposed shed does not comply with the above, you will need a DA.


Can You Live in a Shed?


No, you can’t live in a shed or make it fit for habitation in any way.


You will run the risk of Council ordering you to demolish the structure.


As you can see, the whole process can be quite complicated, so it can help to;

  • Enlist the help of a professional builder


  • Attend a Talk to a Planner session, held by the Council to help you understand the City Plan.


List of Granny Flat Builders in Brisbane


Below is a list of granny flat builders in Brisbane:





The Brisbane City Plan 2014 requires your granny flat to be:


  • A maximum of 80sqm
  • 20m or less from the main home
  • Occupied by a member of the same household


Other Councils’ will allow you to build a granny flat up to 90sqm without lodging a DA. In other areas, if you wish to build a granny flat larger than 80sqm you can try speaking with your local Council and submitting a DA.


In some areas you may have to rent to a dependant person, in other areas you may be allowed to rent to a non-family member. However, to do so you must submit a DA for another type of dwelling – a ‘dual occupancy’.


You may be surprised where lodging a DA will get you. Please do not let the regulations surrounding building a granny flat deter you.