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How to make sure your shed, carport or garage conversion is legal and livable.

It might seem like the ideal solution to get rid of the junk stored in that big old shed and turn it into livable space for the growing family or visitors, but you will need to make some changes to make sure it meets the standards for livable space. It is important that any alterations you make are legal and that council will allow you to use the space in the way that you want.  This means you will need to engage a building certifier to organise a building approval to convert the space from a Class 10 (non habitable dwelling such as garage or shed) to a Class 1a (dwelling).

Below is a summary of the considerations and changes you will need to make to the space to ensure it meets the standards set out in the Building Code Australia (BCA) and can be used as a livable space.

Research and Planning:

You will need to determine if your property is eligible for building a granny flat/shed conversion. Check with the local council for zoning regulations, property setbacks, and any specific requirements. Alternatively, one of our town planners can review your plans and advise of any town planning applications that need to be made as part of the approval process.

Consider the size and layout of the current non livable space (known as class 10a) and how this can convert to livable space (known as class 1a).  You will need to include access to amenities such as toilets and bathrooms. You will also need to meet current livable housing standards.

Design and Approval:

You will need to draw up some plans that show the detail of the conversion. You will also need to get these plans engineered (most engineers offer drafting services or you can work with a draftsperson).  The design will need to comply with the dwelling standards outlined in the Building Code of Australia (BCA) and Queensland Development Code (QDC) standards.  A site plan will be required for the building approval process also.

Structural Changes and Upgrades:

An engineer will need to check the structural integrity of the current area and advise of any remedial work is required to meet building code standards.  You will need to upgrade insulation, ventilation, and waterproofing as needed to comply with BCA and QDC requirements. You may need to upgrade other items like glazing and termite management for example.


Install plumbing, electrical wiring, smoke alarms and fire safety according to relevant standards and regulations. This may include connecting to existing utilities or installing new systems.

Accessibility and Safety:

Ensure that the granny flat meets accessibility standards, including provisions for wheelchair access and safety features such as handrails and smoke detectors.

Install appropriate exits, such as windows or doors, that meet egress requirements.

Once you have determined if you wish to go ahead you can make an application for the building approval assessment. Just email us for more information on what is required.

You can get a copy of our fact sheet here.


The information in this document is provided as a guide only and is of a general nature. Specific advice will vary depending on the individual construction circumstances. It may be necessary to check with relevant qualified persons when interpreting these requirements, or engage Buildable Approvals for a full assessment.