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What is the difference between a duplex and dual occupancy?

What is a dual occupancy home?

Dual occupancy home are two dwellings on a single site and single title. They are attached with a common wall or completely detached and sometimes share features such as front yard and car parking access.  Dual occupancy homes are built on one piece of land and cannot be subdivided.

The perfect location for dual occupancy homes are in suburban neighbourhoods. Residents enjoy similar living arrangements with lower maintenance and housing costs, a perfect living arrangement for multi-generational living.

What is the difference between Dual Occupancy Vs Duplex?

A duplex can look and feel like an attached dual occupancy, but they are not the same.  A duplex is considered two dwellings and have separate titles.  Often a duplex will be on land already subdivided and can be sold separately.

What is the difference between Dual Occupancy Vs Granny Flat (called a secondary dwelling)?

A granny flat is considered a secondary dwelling on the existing property and is intended for use by members of the family or extended family.  At no time can a secondary dwelling be sold separately to the main dwelling.  You will need to check your local council planning laws if you intend to use the granny flat as a rental.  The can involve a Material Change of Use (MCU) application. 

What rules do you have to follow for a dual occupancy?

Dual Occupancy Rules are governed by Local Planning Codes. The rules around dual occupancy will be governed by the by the local council and information can usually be found on their websites.  The first step is to check the property locations planning zone to see which planning codes apply to the address (there is often more than one code or overlay to check).  At this point we recommend you appoint a private Building Certifier who will carry out a full code assessment and advise you of any applications that will need to be made.

Do I need to make an application for a development permit or Material Change of Use Application (MCU)?

The second dwelling is considered a material change in the use of the property as it significantly increased the intensity and scale of use of the premises and an MCU is required.  The Material Change of Use application may also require additional planning applications to deal with other elements of the code such as flood inundation or character precinct.

Will there be conditions to the approval?

If you obtain planning approval for your dual occupancy it is likely to come with several conditions that will relate to:

  • Access
  • Connection to services
  • Infrastructure works
  • Landscaping
  • Screening
  • Refuse storage

Do I need any other approvals?

In addition to any planning approvals, you will need to obtain a building works approval for any building works and an approval for plumbing and drainage works. An operational works permit may also be required for works on a local government road (driveway works).

How do I make a Dual Occupancy application?

The easiest way to obtaining a dual occupancy building permit is to engage Buildable Approvals to produce a planning, development code and overlay report.  We will review your plans and location against all the assessable building codes and produce a report detailing all the assessable outcomes.  The report details everything you will have to do to meet the local planning requirements and get a building permit.  We complete all the forms and applications on your behalf so for a small initial outlay you can pre-plan your dual occupancy build and set yourself up for success for the outset.

Remember the advice given in this article is of a general nature and may vary upon individual construction circumstances. Always obtain your own advice to ensure it is specific to your individual construction needs.


Dual Occupancy Koru Homes
Dual Occupancy Koru Homes