Granny flats, also known as accessory or minor dwellings, are a popular way of providing extra living space for your family and adding value to your home. You can even use a granny flat to generate extra income. This guide will provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision about building a granny flat in Auckland.
How can you use a granny flat?
A granny flat provides you with a versatile extra space with many uses.
- A safe space for elderly parents who need to live close to their family but do not want to share a house.
- Interim accommodation for adult children who want their own space while saving for a house deposit.
- A source of rental income. You can either rent out the granny flat or move into it and rent out your main house.
The benefits of building a granny flat rather than an extension
Granny flats are normally separate dwellings, which enables you to locate them slightly away from the main house and give the occupants more privacy – this is especially important if you are renting it to people you don’t know.
It can often be easier to build a granny flat than to incorporate the extra rooms into the structure of your existing property.
When used for elderly parents or young adults preparing to leave home, a separate granny flat can give the occupants a greater sense of independence.
Can I build a granny flat on my property
There are regulations for building minor dwellings in Auckland, so you’ll need to check your consent requirements before you start planning your granny flat. The introduction of the Auckland Unitary Plan has made it much easier to build a second dwelling on your property without needing to subdivide or get extra consents.
However, there are still rules in place to ensure that areas are not spoilt or overcrowded, and to protect areas with respect to the environment, heritage, culture, conservation, and people.
The rules for building a granny flat on your property will depend on where it is located within Auckland. The Unitary Plan breaks Auckland up into zones that dictate how the land can be used, such as residential, commercial, or conservation. Most Auckland properties will fall into one of three categories: Single House Zone, Mixed Housing Suburban Zone, and Mixed House Urban Zone.
- Single House Zone - a minor dwelling can be built of up to 65m2.
- Mixed Housing Suburban Zone - each section can have up to two dwellings without resource consent.
- Mixed House Urban Zone - each section can have up to two dwellings without resource consent and buildings can be higher.
You will need to check that your granny flat meets the criteria for your zone, especially if you are planning to use it for commercial purposes or want to subdivide your land before you build.
Regardless of which zone your property is in, you may also need a building consent for your granny flat, which will depend on:
- the floor size,
- the height of the granny flat,
- how close it is to the section boundaries or other homes,
- and whether it will have cooking and toilet facilities.
How to check whether you will need consent for your granny flat
To check if your granny flat needs council consent, you can use Auckland Council's online consent tool to view the requirements for your suburb.
If you are unsure about how to use the tool, or you’re not comfortable entering details online, you might prefer to call or email the council. Then you can talk to a member of staff about your plans and check the minor dwelling rules for your address.
Incorporating a granny flat into your existing house
Granny flats don’t have to be separate buildings. The size or shape of your section might make it more practical to convert part of your current home into a granny flat or build an extension to accommodate a granny flat.
You have several options when converting or altering your home to add a granny flat.
Garage conversions: If you don’t need your garage for cars, a garage conversion can be a cost-effective way of adding extra space. The main building structure will already be in place, making it cheaper than a from-scratch extension, but you will still need to make alterations. Making the conversion self-contained will require building consent and separate access.
Existing room conversions: Unused large bedrooms, basement rooms, or rumpus rooms can be converted to become self-contained. Again, these renovations will probably require building consent.
Property extensions: If you don’t have enough space in your home to convert an existing area to a granny flat, you can extend outwards to add a self-contained unit to the current dwelling. Again, you will need to investigate consent issues and make sure you have access and parking sorted out.
Finding the right builder for your granny flat
Whatever your reason for building a granny flat, the fact that it is a small secondary dwelling or converted room doesn’t mean you should pay any less attention to the details and standards.
It is still important to make sure the granny flat complies with building regulations and meets safety standards. It also needs to be well designed and adapted to the needs of the user. If you are planning to rent the dwelling out, then you also need to make sure it is adaptable for different tenants.
A reputable builder can help you make the most of a small space and ensure that your build meets the required standards.
Build Right Contractors can help you get your granny flat built on time and on budget. Get in touch with our experienced team for help with:
- Structural and cosmetic renovations
- Recommendations for trusted draftspeople or architects
- Advice on building materials and making the most of small floor plans
- Site assessment (slopes, flood potential, etc.)
- Building code compliance assistance
Talk to us today to arrange a quote.
Build Right Contactors is a family-operated business serving the Greater Auckland Region
We have more than 15 years of experience completing building projects. We cover a wide area of Central Auckland, East Auckland and South Auckland. No matter what type of residential or commercial building project you have in mind, we have the knowledge and expertise to make it a reality. From new homes, house extensions and renovations to significant upgrades to Daycare Centre and Community Projects, we offer a full range of building services.
What our customers say ...
In April 2018 we were despondent having been let down by the local franchisee of Lockwood Homes. The franchisee subsequently went into liquidation but they were due to build a minor dwelling for us in the back garden of our home. Lockwood Homes said that if we could find another local builder who would be willing to take over the job they would offer support and guidance for their particular style of construction. We approached Build Right Contractors on the recommendation of friends and we had a great experience with them and are happy to recommend them. We would be pleased to follow up this written reference with a telephone call also. Greg from Build Right said that they would be pleased to take on the challenge of building a Lockwood as they had not done one before. Detailing pricing was agreed with us covering the build, the groundwork and fittings not supplied in the kit from Lockwood. All suggestions from Greg and the team were well thought out and appropriate. The build went well and the young builders on-site each day were very hardworking and polite. We had regular feedback from neighbours who were really impressed that these young builders turned up at 7.15 every day and worked all day until 5.30 pm without taking much time at all for breaks. They cleared up pretty well each day and if something wasn’t tidied to our satisfaction we only had to mention it and they took note. They kept us well informed of everything and contacted us to let us know if there were any changes in times and dates for the contractors. They liaised with Lockwood Homes on aspects of the build which were particular to Lockwood and everything ran smoothly. In short, Build Right Contractors kept their word on everything which was agreed. They turned up when they said that they would, they kept to their timescales, produced the quality which they promised and their pricing was accurate. ~ Tina and Howard Mair