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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.

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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