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What You Need to Know about R-Codes before Building a Duplex, Building a Granny Flat or Subdividing Your Property

Jan 19, 2015

We make our living providing the best in home renovations and home extensions in the Perth area. However, since zoning restrictions were made more permissive in 2013, we have been asked to build a second, free-standing home on some properties or turn a home into a duplex.

What changed? R-Codes.

In August of 2013, the residential or “R-Codes” were changed across Western Australia. The codes were changed to allow higher population density. Many people whose properties were only large enough for a single home under the old R-Codes were suddenly large enough for two homes or to turn their home into a duplex.

In addition, the requirements for “Granny flats” were eased so that the person living in a garage apartment didn’t have to be related to the homeowner anymore. This caused many to call them “Fonzie Flats.” The end result is that a lot of people in WA figured out that their properties were worth a lot more if they subdivided them or turned their homes into multi-unit dwellings.

How do R-Codes Work?

R-Codes are designed to help neighbourhoods, towns and cities control their population density. The main idea is to make sure that a quiet, single-home neighbourhood doesn’t suddenly get overrun by multi-unit dwellings or too many homes crammed into too small a space. For the most part, R-Codes have worked as they are supposed to.

Why did R-Codes Change

As we have become more populated, especially in the capital cities, there is more demand for housing. The typical land block in Australia has decreased by as much as 50% in fifty years. Our population has changed, the structure of our cities has changed and our needs have changed. In 2013, the WA Government decided that it was time to relax R-Codes and allow more population density.

What does it Mean to You?

Before 2013, a property zoned R-20 required a minimum of 450 sqm for a dwelling and an average of 500 sqm on one property. If you had a property smaller than 1,000 sqm, say 975 sqm, you were allowed to have one dwelling without applying for a variation, which may or may not be granted.

Under the new rules, a property zoned R-20 only requires 350 sqm for one dwelling and an average of 450 sqm for more than one. That means your 975 sqm property can now hold two homes.

The easing of requirements on Granny Flats also means that you can now rent out the top of your garage to someone who isn’t related.

What Does it Have to Do with Home Extensions?

For home extensions, it doesn’t mean much except that you must always make sure any building plans you have are compliant with your council’s zoning requirements. However, it means a lot to those thinking of building another home or turning their current home into a multi-unit dwelling.

What do I Need to Know?

First, you need to know how your home is zoned and what density is allowed. This information can be obtained from your local council, which is responsible for all zoning regulations and enforcement. However, if a local law independent of the R-Codes contradicts an R-Code, the R-Code always prevails over the local law.

How Next Level Extensions can Help

At Next Level Extensions, we are experts on building regulations in the Perth area. We have worked closely with the local councils on behalf of many customers and we have plenty of experience in decoding the R-Codes.

We are experts on home extensions and renovations, having provided plenty in numerous Perth suburbs. We usually help homeowners have more living space by extending their homes or building second storey additions.

However, we are more than capable of turning your single family home into a multi-unit dwelling or building a separate, individually designed new home on your property if you so desire.

To learn more or for a free consult, call 1300 948 094 today.

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