SA Granny Flat Regulations – The Rules Broken down

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When building a granny flat in South Australia, you must abide by regulations set by the SA Government and your local Council. Otherwise, you may not gain approval for your development. Here is a summary of rules for Granny Flats in SA:


A granny flat is also called a “Dependant Accommodation” in SA. You must gain Development Approval from your local Council, ensuring it meets the requirements of their Development Plan. Most Councils’ will give approval, under the provision that an immediate family member will occupy the granny flat. Meaning, they cannot be an investment. As such, the unit must be connected to the same services (i.e. electricity, phone line, sewer and water) as your main home.


  • Your property must be a minimum of 600sqm.
  • Your floor size must be a maximum of 60sqm or 70% of the total floor area of the main home (whichever is less).
  • You can have a maximum of one separate bedroom and
  • You must provide at least 20sqm private open space.


Today, I will cover how to build a granny flat in South Australia. And discuss the cost of building a granny flat in Adelaide.

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 also compile a list of recommended kit home options and granny flat builders in SA.


Can You Build a Granny Flat on Your SA Property?


Yes, However…


A granny flat is also called ” Dependant Accommodation” by the SA Government. That means it is generally used for accommodation by a dependent relative – i.e. grandparent/s or a teenager.


To be classified as “Dependant Accommodation”, the unit itself is required to be dependent on the primary dwelling for services.


This means it must be connected to the same services as the primary dwelling, such as:


  • Electricity
  • Telephone line
  • Sewerage / waste control system
  • Water connection
  • Driveway


If applying for a Dependent Accommodation you must also:


  • Have a minimum block size of 600sqm
  • Restrict your maximum floor area to 60sqm or 70% of your main home (whichever is the less is the maximum size you can build)


It is easier to get approval for a small dwelling, which can feature:


  • An open floor plan, with a bathroom being the only separate room
  • A kitchen


If proposing a self-contained unit:


  • A laundry must be integrated into the bathroom or kitchen.


If a separate bedroom is genuinely needed, there should only be one. You can have separate car parking space.


This South Australian rule makes it hard for a two bedroom granny flat


You must have adequate private open space (a minimum of 20sqm).


To summarise, if the unit has more than 1 bedroom, it may not be classified as “Dependant Accommodation”. So, you will not gain Development Approval.


The approval process goes as follows:


Your proposal will need to gain Development Approval by Development Assessment Planners.


Development Approvals are legal documents that allow you to begin building, and state:


  • The design
  • Other reports the development must adhere to (i.e. the location, depth of footings, etc.)
  • The timeframe in which the development should take place.


The role of a Development Assessment Planner is to:


  • Assess a Development Application
  • Decide whether it’s a suitable development for its location and won’t look out of place


There are generally 2 types of Consent required for Development Approval for a granny flat:



The Development Plan Consent will evaluate the impact your granny flat may have on others by assessing its:


  • Location
  • Appearance
  • Remaining open space
  • Setbacks


This is handled by a Development Assessment Planner who:


  • Assesses your application against the
  • Development Act
  • Development Plan (each Council has its’ own Plan, a copy of which you can get from your local Council or at www.planning.sa.gov.au).


The Building Rules Consent generally looks into issues such as:


  • Structural suitability
  • Fire safety
  • Health
  • Access for the disabled
  • Energy efficiency.


This is necessary to ensure your granny flat is architecturally safe. It can be obtained by either a private certifier or Council certifier.


You will not gain Development Approval until both types of Consent have been given. Various information is needed for your application.


For the information you need to provide with your application, contact your local Council.


If you are not confident in preparing the application, you could enlist the help of a Planning Consultant.


Planning Consultants are qualified professionals who have full knowledge of the Councils’ Development Plans.


Or, for more information on lodging applications, visit the SA Planning Portal.


Cost of Building a Granny Flat in SA


All granny flats in SA are made with a standard design, that is:


  • 1 bedroom
  • 1 bathroom
  • An open plan living area and kitchen


They are, on average, $70,000 – $100 000.


You can have them custom-made to integrate a laundry, but keep in mind the more you add to a granny flat the cost will skyrocket.


Their exact cost, however, will depend on several factors. Extra costs include:


  • Upgrades – For example, if you don’t like the standard facade (usually cladding), you may choose a brick veneer for approximately $9,800. Be sure to find out the price of any upgrades, as the charges can accumulate quickly.
  • Size – The bigger the granny flat, the more time and materials, and the extra the cost.
  • Land Quality – The quality of your land will be a factor.

For example, if you have flat land you are in luck, but if you have a sloping block, expect to pay more.

Council fees:

  • Development Assessment fees – $103.50
  • Planning Assessment fees – $83.00 or more
  • Building Assessment fees – $216.50 or more
  • Planning Consultant fees – If using a Planning Consultant, this may cost up to $1500.
  • Building Surveyor – Roughly $1000.
  • Drafts-person – Approximately $2800.
  • Site installation costs for utility services – Connection to the main home’s electricity, phone line, sewer and water Ring multiple electricity, telecommunication and water companies for quotes, then choose the best option.


Ask if there are any extra fees for plumbing connections beyond a certain distance from the main home.


  • Delivery – Prices quoted generally include delivery in the Adelaide metropolitan area only. There be an additional cost of approximately 50c per km outside of this is a good figure to use.


Engaging professional advice is an additional cost. But your application may have a higher chance of approval.


It is vital you have accurate plans in your Development Application. So, especially if your development is complex, the professionals you should consider using are:


  • An architect / drafts-person – They prepare drawings that will be accepted by Council
  • A surveyor – To measure your development, particularly if it is near a boundary.


With all additional costs accounted for including council fees, on average, a granny flat costs $120,000+ to build.


If you find this price too high, a way of reducing the cost is to not include a kitchen. As this is a huge cost when construction costs are broken down.


Contemplate this if the family member using the granny flat can use the kitchen in the main home. Also, a bedroom isn’t necessary – you can have a sleep-out and keep only the basics.


You can save up to $10 000 once you factor in frame costs, labour and trades people. You can save a lot by doing the labour yourself as an “owner-builder” – see my article “Can You Build Your Own Granny Flat?”.


*Please note – The Council fees vary regularly and depend on your local Council.


I suggest you check with your local Council prior to planning your granny flat, so you know the exact cost.


Kit Home Options for SA – We Compile a List


A kit home, also known as a flatpack, has many benefits, including they are:



Here are the kit homes available for delivery in SA:



Extra Costs for Having a Granny Flat in SA


Your local Council, under the Local Government Act, has the power to charge separate rates for granny flats. These have been known to be up to $840 a year.


If you request more bins for the occupants of the granny flat, you may also be charged a fee for this – roughly $42 a year.


So, although you are allowing a family member to live there rent-free, be aware of these additional costs.


List of Granny Flat Builders in SA


Granny flats are a relatively new trend in SA. So below are the current builders who specialise in building them:





Development Approval is required for a granny flat (also called Dependant Accommodation). This ensures your development complies with policies for your zone and the Development Act.


The Development Act allows granny flats to be installed under certain provisions, including it is:


  • Occupied by an immediate family member
  • Connected to the same services as the primary dwelling
  • Built on a property a minimum of 600sqm
  • A maximum of 60sqm or 70% of the total floor area of the main home (the lesser)


A minimum of 20sqm private open space must also be provided. Your local Council will decide whether your development meets these requirements.


*Note – Information provided is general. I suggest you gain specific information from your local Council.