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Tips for Building A Minor Dwelling in Auckland

Still Summer!

It is always good for us builders to do earthworks to framing and roof on sites in the summer. We are building 6 houses in Auckland at the moment, so it’s progressing faster than starting in rainy season. Usually, design stage takes around 6-12 months, depending whether resource consent is required or not. So if you are planning a new home in the future, you can plan your project backwards plus considering the rainy season.

We are often asked about a Minor Dwelling (granny flat) and today we show some sample cases.

After the Auckland Unitary Plans officially commenced, some properties changed the zoning, which made a section better or not good if owner wanted to develop the land.

In theory, the AUP rules are as follows.

  • Single house zone – one house with a minor dwelling permitted.
  • Suburban zone – up to 3 dwellings permitted. Minor dwelling is allowed.
  • Urban – up to 3 dwellings permitted. High density zone.Minor dwelling is not recommended.

If you are planning to start a small development such as building a minor dwelling and renting it out, you should check your zoning first. AUP Zone 

It will require Resource consent in some cases, for example:

  • want to do subdivision too. (Subdivision consent)
  • there will be lots of earthworks, protected trees, flood issue and etc (Land Use Consent)

Otherwise, usually, we only need a Building Consent to construct a minor dwelling.

We have several cases of minor units, which are sized around 55-65m2, with 2 beds/1 bath/kitchen/Living/Dining.

A couple of years ago, it was a more popular way, since the labour and material costs were cheaper than the current year. There were not many requirements from the Council. So it was more cost effective and profitable.

Now, with the high growth of NZ country, every labour and materials costs have risen every half a year, and also we are often requested a water tank (above or underground) especially in the North Shore area, due to the AUP rules, which needs civil engineering and drainlayer that could cost around $8,000-10,000 in total. Therefore we sometimes find it not really a cost effective model comparing to building a bigger house like 120-240m2 (of course if land allows). Even a minor unit is a small house, it is also a complete building, so we and subs need to come back to the site for same amount of times as a standard sized house, but for small area job. So minimum charge happens.

From another case that we experienced, if there are overland flowpath or flood area in the proposed building area, we need to address the issue which also require flood engineer and civil engineer, then modify the house/site plans with architect and structural engineer. It may affect the floor layout and building height to avoid the overland flowpath. It takes more care by architect and structural engineer, and the council assessment time could get more than normal sections.

Another idea is, to have a minor dwelling within a big house with a separate entrance door. It is more convenient for landowners to maintain a rental property, and also some clients are requested this “House and Income” scheme as bank loan condition. A note that we should write is that this will require fire walls or fire rated windows/doors, which costs more than normal type of walls and windows.

We have some sample plans for each case so if you are planning a minor dwelling, please contact 0800 00 5055 and let’s see what is the best way for your land and your life financial plan. We will listen you and advise you professionally.

Thanks for your reading 🙂