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Planning and building

The Gold Coast is a vibrant and attractive city. We are working hard to maintain our enviable lifestyle and ensure our city continues to thrive in a sustainable way.

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Secondary dwellings

Affordable living opportunities are a strong focus of our City Plan. To provide our residents with a variety of housing choices, the City has made it easier and more affordable to develop different types of living options. A secondary dwelling is just one of the many residential choices to cater for our growing population.

A secondary dwelling is a separate living area which is smaller and subordinate to the primary house. A secondary dwelling is commonly known as a granny flat or family accommodation.

Do I require a building approval?

If you are building a secondary dwelling house you will need a building approval. Building approvals can be obtained by contacting a private certifier. Please see the private building certifier page for further information.

Do I require a development approval?

If your dwelling house (secondary dwelling) does not meet all the relevant development criteria of the City Plan, you may need to lodge a development application.

A development application is not required when you:

  • are located in a residential zone (such as the low, medium or high density residential zones – including precincts); and
  • meet the required outcomes in the secondary dwelling code and any other applicable codes (e.g. a zone code).

A City Plan overlay may also trigger the need for a development application. Refer to the do I need a development approval page for further information and instructions.

For further information on the required development application, please refer to the RiskSmart accepted to code assessment information on the RiskSmart development applications page.

Who can I contact for more information?

For building related matters, you will need to engage a private Building Certifier. Please see the private building certifier page for further information.

For planning related matters, please contact our Planning Enquiries Centre on 07 5582 8708 or email:

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