Sewer pipes needn’t stop development of your property
In 2009, the NSW government relaxed the planning rules for residential developments to allow granny flats to be assessed as ‘complying developments’, which means it may be approved within 10 days if it meets the complying development requirements outlined in the NSW Department of Planning and Environment’s State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP).
Since the introduction of these rules, the number of approved granny flats in NSW soared 260 percent in the first five years, and increased a further 20 percent in the 12 months to 2015. In the regions of Lismore, Ballina and Byron Bay, the local councils also introduced new initiatives to encourage dual occupancy developments, including granny flats.
Check if you can build a granny flat
These initiatives were relaxed to take the pressure off the rental market in Lismore, Ballina and Byron, where, in the former area in particular, there’s a shortage of rental properties. According to local real estate agent, Terry Wallace, vacancy rates have dropped to 1 percent (down from 1.3 percent in August), which is keeping rental yields at 6.1 percent, the highest in the state, which typically averages 3 percent.
In order to qualify for a Complying Development Certificate (CDC), your property must meet certain standards, in addition to the granny flat itself also meeting certain design standards and requirements.
If there are water mains on your property
For example, you need to determine if there is a water main in your property, which you can find out by obtaining a sewer diagram for your property. If it turns out there is a sewer pipe on your property, either of the following will need to be addressed before your granny flat can progress:
- If there’s a sewer pipe in the location of the granny flat footprint, it will need to be encased in order to build over it. Usually this costs somewhere between $1,000-5,000.
- If the sewer pipe is near the proposed granny flat footprint, but not over it, you may only require a pegout (also known as a ‘sewer survey’) to ensure no damage occurs to the sewer pipe during construction. This costs about $1,000-1,500 and the turnaround is usually two days.
If you’re able to choose to build near the sewer pipe, but not over it, and therefore only require a pegout or sewer survey, your granny should, providing there are no other compliance issues, be eligible for CDC approval. Otherwise, you may have to submit your application to your local council for DA approval.
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