The following information will help you plan for building a house, secondary dwelling or dual occupancy.

Dwelling house

A single household used for residential purposes.

Secondary dwelling (granny flat)

A secondary dwelling is a separate living area which is smaller and subordinate to the main house. Previously called granny flats or family accommodation.

Further details can be found within the City Plan Secondary dwelling.

Dual occupancy (duplex)

A dual occupancy is made up of two dwellings (attached or unattached) on a single property. Previously called a duplex.

Further details can be found within the City Plan dual occupancy code.

Do I require a building approval?

Yes, you can get an approval through a private building certifier. For more information, go to the Role of a private building certifier page.

Do I need a development application?

Most of the time, you don't need a development application for a dwelling house or secondary dwelling when it is in a residential zone, meets the requirements of the secondary dwelling code and any applicable codes.

A dual occupancy in a low density dwelling zone may not be require a development application when there are dual frontages, or the residential density overlay map is RD1 or greater (1 dwelling per 400 square metres). This will be subject to other City Plan checks that may need a planning professional.

For more information, go to Do I need a development application?

Do I need Council as a referral agency?

The design and siting of buildings and structures within the City of Gold Coast area is regulated by the City Plan and Queensland Development Code. The City Plan has good information within table 1.5-1 on which setbacks apply.

You may need us as a referral agency to assess design and siting matters if setbacks can't be met.

Refer also to our Setbacks for buildings or structures and Referral agency application pages for more information.

Design considerations

There are many considerations when designing a home to suit a property. The State Government has developed guidelines that go above the minimum construction practice to detail resilient building practice against cyclones, bushfire and flood.

More information

A town planner, building designer, architect or private building certifier may be able to help you with the design and approval process.