1. The initial enquiry stage – understanding what we can build on your property.
🕒 On average, 10 working days.
Before we can commence designing or building your Secondary Residence (Granny Flat) or detached addition, we first need to determine what you can legally and practically build on your property.
The planning and development legislation is complex and constantly evolving in Canberra; all Secondary Residences require a Development Application (DA), and over 50% of extension projects require a DA or minor DA.
Our business has built over 250+ projects in Canberra, and we will use that experience to educate you on the most efficient and effective way to achieve your desired outcome.
If you bypass the initial step of determining what can be built and where it should ideally be built, it may cost you both time and money when you start the approvals process.
Our proven Planning Assessment report (complementary) meeting will set you up to understand where you can build, the process, likely costs and timelines. We can also match existing designs to the contours and profile of your block.
We will use our expert planning tools and experience in planning, approval and building Secondary Residences in the ACT (Australian Capital Territory) in formulating your customised report.
The foundation of a practical world-class residential building project is developing world-class plans.
The Planning Assessment Report sets that foundation for a set of world-class plans, as it outlines the rules and criteria of the Planning and Development Act and the Utility Act and issues that might impact your property and block, allowing you to maximise your building entitlements and saving you time and money in the process.
Yes, we can, and we do this by providing examples of projects we have recently completed and then match the most suitable and comparable design to your objectives factoring in unique property features, including block elements and likely potential site work.
We will also discuss the potential conditions the planning departments and utility providers will impose and the associated costs to meet those conditions.
In the Planning Assessment Report meeting, we will identify the likely value of building your Secondary Residence and the associated planning and utility costs. You will have an accurate estimate to proceed confidently into the design phase.
Our primary objective with our price, time and quality written guarantees is to deliver what we say we will.
The Planning Assessment Report is about educating clients on the total value of a project, factoring in all conditions, so there are no surprises when you start building!
We note that you may only be investigating the planning parameters regarding an extension now; however, to provide you with all practical options, we have provided a Planning Assessment Report that encompasses both extensions and Secondary Residences in the event you change your objectives during the process.
The legislation and code requirements for building a Secondary Residence are considerably more demanding than those for building an extension or knock-down rebuild in the ACT. Therefore, clients considering an extension or knock-down rebuild will benefit from working on the detailed, in-depth planning report.
Find out where you can legally build the proposed project with our Planning Assessment Report
Provide an overview of the relevant legislation that impacts the design, planning, approval, and construction of your proposed project
Look at case studies and determine the likley increase in property value based on benchmarking (if this is important to you)
Advise on the 'Question and Answers section of the Planning Assessment Report, which addresses relevant elements related to your property
We have many online resources and we can record the meeting for future use so online using zoom is the best platform. Alternatively, we can meet at our Belconnen office 6 days a week.
2. The Project Design Stage
🕒 Between 12 and 16 weeks on average.
The importance of having world-class design and construction plans cannot be overstated.
In the design stage, you will work with our experienced design team, which has collectively managed 250+ Canberra-based projects that have achieved DA and Building Approval (BA).
There are three design options:
Modify an existing CGFB (Canberra Granny Flat Builders) design for an investment of $2250 inc GST (Goods and Services Tax). (20% of customers choose this option)
Create your own unique design for an investment of $3500 inc GST. (75% of customers choose this option)
Create a bespoke design for an investment of $77/hour inc GST. The bespoke design option applies when we are redesigning your existing concept design if you want us to provide a proposal to build. (5% of customers chose this option)
ACT Government Mandatory Contours Survey. The ACT Government mandates we undertake a detailed contours survey with a registered surveyor.
You will own this site survey, and the investment is $1100 in addition to the design agreement option you select.
Best practice requires your designer and builder to have a detailed site survey to be able to provide a Fixed Price Quality proposal and building agreement.
A builder can only accurately provide a scope and subsequent pricing if a detailed survey has been undertaken and implemented into the DWG file at the beginning of the design process.
To produce a basic floorplan can take as little as 4 or 5 hours.
It is successfully finalising and quality-assuring a set of plans (30 on average) to ensure the compliance requirements of ICON Water, Evo Energy, Transport Canberra (stormwater) and the Tree Protection legislation that takes most of the time when we design.
What is the value of investing your time, emotion, and money into a design process to have it rejected when you commence the referrals to the utility providers and start the formal development process?
In addition to having the detailed plans completed to meet the ever-changing requirements of the Planning and Utility legislation, a detailed set of plans is required to provide a Fixed Price Quality proposal.
The average time to complete a modification design for a Secondary Residence is generally 10-12 weeks (about 3 months), subject to the requirements to undertake a tree survey.
The average time to complete a custom design for a Secondary Residence is 16 weeks (about 3 and a half months).
When you sign your design agreement on DocuSign, the preliminary processes must take place before we can commence designing.
Firstly, we need to create what we call commencement plans. These plans are critical in understanding the contours of the block and all the improvements and features. This takes about 2-4 weeks.
To complete the commencement plans, we will require a site survey by a registered surveyor and the existing building and drainage plans from the ACT Government. These two foundational sets of plans and documents will be implemented into the commencement plans and design template file (software).
Once we have a quality assed the compliant set of commencement plans we can commence with face-to-face initial design meeting with all the key decision makers and commence working on the concept, with the ease of mind that what we are design can legally be built.
The initial meeting is what we call the Initial Design Meeting (IDM), and this can take place at your property or if you are overseas or interstate then on MSTEAMS.
We will continue to have follow-up design meetings and peer reviews until you are ready to sign off on your design concept. While you are in the design process, we will be providing weekly estimates on the value and scope of your design project.
The regular pricing update will keep you on track and ideally within scope, this is to avoid the problem that many customers face, designing something for 3-6 months that they ultimately can’t afford or justify.
When you are totally satisfied with the plans and designs we have created we will obtain sign-off on the plans. As soon as the plans are signed off, we will engage our engineering and construction teams to create a design summary.
A design summary is a detailed set of quantities and measurements that is extracted from the design plans file. Having the design summary allows our teams to calculate the value of the build and associated siteworks and provide a fixed price HIA (Housing Industry Association) building agreement and proposal.
This detailed information avoids costly project variations at a later stage.
We prefer that you build with us. However, if you intend to build as an owner builder or with family and friends, please let us know in the initial stages, and we will customise the process for your benefit.
If you decide to use the design with an alternative builder, we will apply an hourly fee for the services, expertise and time invested, on average this is about $10,000.
You will know the total hours invested because, during the design process, you will receive regular updates on the project, price, timelines and hours invested.
If you purchase the plans, you will receive all plans, but you will not receive the template files. If you require our Planning Approvals team to manage the Development Application process, then we can do that at an agreed fee.
If you are selling your property because of a change in circumstance, then for an agreed value, we can release these plans and provide them with the sale of the property; this has happened previously and added immense value to the sale and in recent circumstances adding $50,000 - $100,000 value.
This happens, and we are more than happy to accommodate your needs and concerns to get the right design. As long as the changes are reasonable then we won't apply any additional fees.
If you require a substantial or entirely different design, then we will reach an agreement on the costs associated to achieve your revised design.
3. The Planning Approval and Project Inclusions Stage
🕒 On average, 10-20 weeks.
Our business takes full accountability for the planning approvals and inclusions process on behalf of our clients.
We are a full-service business, so we do not outsource the inclusions and planning approvals to third parties. Our employee-based teams take ownership of the delivery of planning and inclusion outcomes.
Planning approvals involve obtaining all the necessary documentation to commence building on-site and ensuring that the required certificates, such as a Certificate of Occupancy (CoO), are issued at the end of the project.
This might seem novel, the issuing of the CoO, but you can only imagine the frustration of clients who have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars but can't legally rent out or move in because they don't have a CoO.
The project inclusions process involves documenting all the inclusions, components and products that make up your building package. This way, the trade partners and builder know precisely what you, the client, wants with the build.
Once you have completed the paperwork and committed to building with us, our planning team and our inclusions team will work independently but simultaneously to obtain approvals in the most efficient manner possible and deliver a world-class inclusions and construction package.
Because we have managed so many Secondary Dwelling (Granny Flat) Development Application processes we have logged the main and reoccurring issues within our database.
In simple terms most frustration of customers about obtaining efficiently building or development approval is centered around the various government agencies and utility entities changing their interpretation of rules and criteria, changing the process, or applying inconsistent interpretations.
Our business has built systems and databases to track the issues that arise when obtaining approvals and we try and resolve these in the design phase to avoid costly and timely delays.
There are always unanticipated outliers that are exceedingly difficult to identify and predict, such as Crown Lease conditions, estate planning rules and ever changing rules about Heritage conditions.
The ever-changing requirements of entities like Icon Water, Evo Energy and Transport Canberra can delay project approvals. As explained on this website you require approvals from these entities to be able to build regardless of if your project requires DA or BA.
It is our goal to obtain what we internally call “Stamped Plans” for DA and BA in the most efficient manner with minimum or no changes to the plan, because our Fixed Price Quality business model means that we are financially accountable for delays in commencing and completing the project.
Once you have agreed on your design’s position on the block, floor plan, elevations and exterior finishes and colours, Canberra Granny Flat Builders will submit the application for Building and/or Development Approval.
While the approvals are being assessed, decisions on the interior inclusions can be made. Inclusions including interior colours, tapware, floor coverings, interior doors and door handles, curtains and blinds and lighting options are chosen.
After plans and documents have been submitted, it may be difficult to change the position of the proposed building, windows and doors or the style of the roof for example. If you would like to make a change to the Development or Building Approval after it is submitted, an amendment will be required.
Our business will take full ownership and accountability for this process. When you sign an agreement to build with us, we will appoint a dedicated Planning Approvals Manager who manages obtaining DA and/or BA for your project.
Weekly, the Planning Approvals Manager will email you the progress, approval date, and date we could legally commence building. We will also provide the on-site commencement date.
These key dates and documents are tracked in our database. We have created customised systems to efficiently manage the planning process and communicate with the eight or so agencies and entities.
We prefer to manage this entire process if we are accountable to a signed building agreement with specific timelines.
We have not to date had a project (approx 300) that we have applied for DA or BA that has yet to advance to stamped plans - approval to build.
We have had to work with the Planning Departments to find a solution with the ultimate option of appeal to ACT Civil & Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) - something we have yet to do at this stage.
We have had projects delayed because of obscure and rare legal and administrative issues imposed, such as crown lease conditions. We have now developed a database to pick these up in the Planning Assessment Report meeting and design phase.
Option 1: We will work with you to overcome the planning objections until the approval is received. If a redesign is required, there will be minimal costs, which we will share with you.
Option 2: If you choose to, you can discontinue the process. The only costs will be those required for the planning approvals stage, and no further fees will apply.
4. The Building Stage
🕒 On average, 12-20 weeks.
As soon as your project has been given the legal approval to start, our licensed builder can commence the building of your project. All work is undertaken on-site by our insured, local, qualified employees and trade partners.
Our Price Guarantee: The price written and provided is the price you will pay.
Our Time Guarantee: If we don't meet our time commitment, we will pay you $250 per day, which we delay.
Our Safety Guarantee: The safety of our staff, trade partners, customers and the public is essential to our business, and we take this seriously.
Our Quality Guarantee: At Canberra Granny Flat Builders, our mission is to create a world-class residential building project that increases the value of your property equivalent and ideally greater than the initial investment and creates lasting and reoccurring value.
Our Communication Guarantee: We know that the cornerstone of a successful project is clear and transparent communication at every stage. When the building starts, you won’t be left in the dark regarding the progress.
Our Inclusions Guarantee:At Canberra Granny Flat Builders we aim to ensure that your building is exactly what you have dreamed of. Our dedicated and professional Inclusions Coordination team strive to deliver a build tailor-made for you within your budget.
Our Rental Guarantee: 90% of designs can generate 10% gross yields in 90% of Canberra suburbs.
Frank Walmsley - Client Service Manager and Director
After the building certifier provides the commencement notice can legally begin.
Generally, two weeks are required from when a commencement notice is issued to book the initial inspections for drainage (sewer) work. We will provide a drainage plan detailing the amendments to the drainage on your property.
Window, wall frame and roof frame suppliers also take 4 to 6 weeks to deliver these components from the time of order. We will order these products as soon as a commencement notice is issued and plan around their delivery.
During the planning approvals stage, you will receive a weekly email update outlining the likely legal start date and likely onsite commencement date.
Our customer's aim is almost always to increase the value of their property, and this is best achieved by designing, planning and building a permanent, custom-designed and constructed project built on site.
Many of the market's modular and transportable options do not provide the required planning approvals and related certificates of occupancy.
You can only legally occupy or rent out these structures with the required approvals and certificates.
However, unapproved structures create a far more dire situation than not being legally able to occupy or rent out.
If you sell or try and refinance the property, the improvements and the unapproved structures are not included in bank valuations and generally detract from the selling price.
In Canberra, unapproved and unapprovable residential structures are disclosed to buyers upfront in the compliance certificates provided in the contract for sale when properties are offered for sale.
We understand the temptation and need to go for cheaper transportable structures, and this is not in our business model, but we empathise with clients who consider this an option.
Our business has invested considerably in developing proactive and systemised communication tools.
We send weekly email information about the building schedule, including project calendars and completion dates.
A weekly progress letter is sent outlining the likely completion and handover date and outlines any delays caused by product or weather delays.
We have dedicated project schedulers who coordinate our trade partners and employees. The core purpose of schedulers is to ensure that the project meets timelines while retaining quality and safety guarantees.
We have developed our own proprietary document management systems and secure onsite cameras so you and our teams can track the build's progress 24/7, anywhere in the world.
You can request a progress meeting at any time during your build with 48 hours' notice.
In case of emergencies, our 1300 979 658 is answered 24/7 and text messages are delivered to our directors seven days
Our commitment is to create a world-class project with lasting and reoccurring value.
We will do our best to accommodate changes during the building stage.
However, substantial plan and inclusion changes may cause significant time delays if we are required to amend the stamp plans during the building phase.
Our central focus and commitment is to get the plans and the inclusions documented in the design and inclusion stages to avoid project delays.
Our evolved and enhanced designs and inclusions systems, driven by our committed and experienced teams, will ensure minimising the need to change plans once we have commenced building.
5. Project Completion
🎉 This is the final stage of the project, where the building of your project is complete. At this stage, you will walk through the project with the builder to ensure your total satisfaction with the project and to ask any questions you may have.
Your Certificate of Occupancy is provided by the ACT government. The certificate will be issued after all of the plans, forms and certificates are completed and signed by the owners, builder and the building certifier.
Canberra Granny Flat Builders will manage all of the documents required to be lodged for the release of the Certificate of Occupancy. The Certificate will be sent by email and post.
If at any stage of the project you are not happy with progress or a particular component or item, we will do our best to rectify any work or services that are not compliant, do not meet building codes and standards or are different than you had expected.
If the work meets our high standards, and you are still not satisfied we will aim to work effectively together with you to reach a mutually positive outcome.
At the end of the project we will walk through the completed project together. The final progress payment invoice is not issued until you are satisfied.
Our company Turnkey Creations Pty Ltd has not had any claims under our Home Warranty Insurance policy; this can be confirmed by contacting Bree Parsons firstname.lastname@example.org, our insurer representative.
The two directors, Nick Constable and Frank Walmsley, have not delisted, folded or owned any other companies that provide residential building services in Australia. There are six shareholders and 3 are working shareholders.
The company has been active since 2012 and has met all its tax and legal obligations.
We do not receive any supplier rebates or incentives.
We have employed more than 100 employees and have had one industrial dispute referred to Fair Work Australia.
We are not aware of any consumer complaints reported to the ACT Government Office of Regulatory Services phone: (02) 6207 3000
The company directors have not had legal action or complaints against them for any practice in the building and construction industry.