Before you rush off to the display village and start picking out your ideal duplex design, you need to do your homework. This involves research to fully understand whether you can build on your existing block or one you’re planning to purchase because not every block of land is suitable.
By doing your homework you’ll be able to see the opportunities and constraints of a potential site. Possible restrictions can relate to rules and regulations around building setbacks, site coverage, private open space, car parking requirements, and more.
The good news is that the NSW Government has a code that makes it easier to understand the requirements to build a duplex and provides uniform rules for the entire state.
In some cases, you may also be able to have land rezoned to accommodate a duplex home, but this costs more and takes longer so may not be the ideal situation for your family.
At Kurmond Homes, we’ve got years of experience building duplex homes, and here are a few things we’ve learnt that we’d like to share.
What is a duplex?
Terms like duplex, dual occupancy, granny flat and dual living get used a lot in the Sydney building market but what do they mean?
Duplex construction generally refers to two homes built on one block of land that share a common wall. At Kurmond and most other building companies we use the term duplex when the homes are of equal size, and often a mirror of each other like our new Arcadian design.
Dual occupancy refers to two homes on one block of land which can be attached or not attached. We often use the term when we’re describing a duplex home that has been subdivided so it has two land titles, meaning the houses can be sold separately.
A Granny flat is generally considered a small separate dwelling built on an existing block of land that already has a main residence like Kurmond’s standalone Carlton. Although some people use the term when the granny flat is attached. Confusing, we know!
Dual living is a term we use for homes that include a main larger home and a smaller self-contained residence under the same roof, like our popular Melody 45 that includes a four-bedroom family home with a double garage and a separate two-bedroom ‘apartment’.
Can I build a duplex on my land in NSW?
The NSW Government has a code aimed at making it easier to receive approval for a medium-density housing need like a duplex. Called the Low Rise Housing Diversity Code (LRHDC) it applies to all local government areas in NSW and allows dual occupancies to be approved through the fast-tracked Complying Development process.
The Code applies to properties zoned R1, R2, R3 and RU5 across NSW, where this type of housing is already permitted under a council’s Local Environmental Plan (LEP).
There are many minimum requirements under the code including:
- Blocks must be either 400 square metres or the minimum lot size required by the council, whichever is greater.
- Blocks need to be a minimum of 15 metres wide, or 12 metres wide where the required car parking is provided at the rear or accessed by a secondary road.
- For a duplex, the dwellings must be located side-by-side and each dwelling must have a frontage to a public road.
- No dwelling can be located behind another dwelling on the same lot except on a corner or a parallel road where each dwelling fronts a different road.
- Dwellings must be no higher than 8.5 metres and no more than two storeys.
- There are also several setback requirements for both primary and secondary roads and adjoining properties. The minimum side setback is 0.9 metres.
- The code requires each dwelling to be a minimum of five metres wide and off-street parking must also be provided for at least one car per dwelling.
What about rezoning for a duplex?
Rezoning a property can be a difficult and costly process and there are no guarantees that your development application (DA) will be approved.
You firstly need to consult your local council which will have detailed strategic plans, showing what areas and suburbs are set to be rezoned in the future.
If there are no plans for future rezoning and you still want to proceed, you’ll need to lodge a DA to change the use of your land with your local council.
Can I sell one duplex and live in the other?
It is possible to apply to subdivide your land into separate titles so they can be owned and sold separately.
But once again you’ll need to consult your local council to determine if this is permissible in your situation. They will take into consideration issues like the lot size and width, privacy between the two dwellings, floor area limitations like floor space ratios, parking rules, and some environmental constraints like stormwater drainage.
How to find a builder for your duplex home
Kurmond Homes has years of experience building duplex homes and can provide initial advice on whether your land is suitable.
On the Kurmond website, you’ll find eight Duplex designs with many façade and layout options. And if these don’t suit you and your family, we’ll help you design your ideal duplex home.