If you’re planning to build a granny flat or additional accommodation in Sydney, you need to understand what’s required before your project can proceed.

Certain regulations and procedures must be met and carried out before you can build a granny flat in Sydney, or any backyard structure of any size that people will sleep in. We can introduce you to some people in Sydney who offer to help our customers through the planning and approval process. Depending on which installer or builder you’re using, they also might be able to help you with approval requirements. Movable buildings (Backyard Pods built on skids) might suit some projects without a building permit being required.

Please click this button to read more about current regulations for the development of granny flats and bedroom pods in Sydney:

Once you’re across the requirements, please talk to us for more information on how to get approvals organised, and how to get granny flats installed (if not DIY) and services connected using a licensed plumber and electrician.

FAQ about granny flat approvals Sydney

What is a granny flat in Sydney?

A granny flat is a secondary dwelling on your property where there is already a primary residence. In most areas of Australia, secondary accommodation is a granny flat whether or not it is being occupied by a family member or someone else, occupied full or part-time, rented out, or non-commercial. In NSW, it is relatively easy to get approval for a secondary dwelling intended for commercial rental or to accommodate a family member.

Sometimes a property is not suitable for granny flat approval but a “movable building” might be okay. Backyard Pods can be installed on skids (rather than foundation piers) to allow for easier relocation in future if needed, and therefore can likely satisfy the requirement for a “movable building” under local council definitions. You could ask your local council, or a private building certifier would be able to provide you with specific advice.

What if it’s just a bedroom with no kitchen or bathroom?

You still need approval for an extra bedroom as it is somewhere you’re proposing for people to live in, to some extent, even if there are no cooking or bathroom facilities, or even if it’s just for occasional sleepovers by guests – no matter what size the proposed structure. The approval process also ensures structures that are intended for someone to live in (or just sleep in occasionally) are safe and suitable for people to inhabit when asleep, and compliant with the national building code for home-building safety and energy efficiency. Additionally, in Sydney, no matter what the intended purposes, even for a home office or craft studio, any backyard structure more than 20sqm will require a building permit or satisfactory compliance as a movable building.

Are there fees involved in getting granny flats approved in Sydney?

Yes, throughout Australia there are fees involved in getting building approvals, whether this is done through a local council or private building certifier. The amount of these fees varies between councils, certifiers, and proposed projects. In Sydney, the typical cost of obtaining a granny flat approval/certification could be $3,000-$4,000 including drawings, etc. Movable buildings are a different category and if your project qualifies, fees may not apply.

What else is needed to get Sydney granny flat approvals?

You can save time in the process by obtaining a copy of the site plan and sewerage diagram for your property (ask the local council). You will also need to get professional drawings of your site and proposed structure (we can refer you to people who can help). There are complex forms to be completed and you can get help with these too.

Are there consequences for building a Sydney granny flat without approval?

Where granny flats have been constructed without approval, councils may insist on demolition and perhaps impose fines. At best, further works and expenses in order to grant approval retrospectively. Having a non-compliant structure on your property could also void the insurance on the main residence should an incident occur. The lack of compliance could seriously compromise the value of your home if resold in future. It’s not worth taking any of these risks. Follow the regulations that apply in your area for everyone’s safety and peace of mind.