5 Mistakes to Avoid When Building a New Granny Flat

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A granny flat can be referred to as a self-contained apartment erected in a separate spot from the main building. It is more of a secondary building included with amenities to accommodate one or two individuals. It can either be attached to other buildings or completely detached. You can build a granny flat if you require a separate space for:

• Elderly parents
• Young adult members of your growing family
• Nannies
• Home office
• Privacy from your noisy kids
• Hobby room

Features of a granny flat

A granny flat must feature the following:

• Separate living facilities
• Separate cooking facilities
• Separate sleeping facilities
• Separate toilet and bathing facilities

However, it does not require separate parking facilities

What are the common mistakes to avoid when building a granny flat? Continue reading to find out.

Mistake number 1: Ignoring government regulations 

Conditions for building a granny flat differ from one state to another; many counties also have different regulations regarding this. It is important to discuss with the local authority before starting the building project. The local authority would want to ascertain that the building project meets the following regulations:

  • Right to the light of neighbours
  • Height
  • Floor space ratios
  • Environmental plan
  • Number of granny flats per lot
  • The total area covered by the building

Ignoring any of the regulations will put you on the wrong side of the law and terminate the project prematurely.

Mistake number 2: Failure to plan 

Failing to plan is tantamount to planning to fail. You should have a clear plan written in black and white before calling on self-contained flat builders. The following points should be included in your planning:

• Where to locate the building?
• What design is acceptable to the local authority?
• How much the project will cost and whether it is within your budget or not?
• How reputable is the builder?
• Will the building have great resale value later?
• How to maximise energy efficiency in the granny flat

Mistake number 3: Failure to consider the builder’s qualifications

Before you employ any of the granny flat builders out there, find out if they are adequately qualified to handle the construction project. Furthermore, do not employ a builder that does not belong to a reputable trade organization. The right builder should be licensed, and the license should be up to date. ,
Examples of reputable builders’ trade organizations in the United States, for example, are:

  • American Concrete Institute
  • American Institute of Architects
  • American Institute of Constructors
  • American Society of Civil Engineers
  • American Institute of Steel Construction, Inc.
  • American Subcontractors Association
  • American Builder and Contractors
  • Construction Management Association of America

National Society of Professional Engineers

Membership of one or more of these associations is an indication of reliability.

Mistake number 4; Failure to check for insurance 

Aside from paper qualifications and membership of trade organizations, find out if the granny flat builders have all the essential or relevant insurance policies. This way, you will be covered against any risk during the construction project. You will also not be held responsible for any property damage or personal injury

Some of the insurance policies to consider are:

• Owner-builder construction insurance
• Home warranty insurance, which covers the homeowner in case the builder dies, goes missing or bankrupted in the course of the project.
• Contract work insurance, which covers against water damage, storm, vandalism, theft, and fire damage.
• Public and products liability insurance, which covers against any injury to pedestrians or any other third party, as well as third-party properties
• Plant equipment and tools insurance, which covers the tools and equipment used by the builder in case of loss or damage
• Employers’ liability insurance, which covers the employees of the granny flat builders, who may get injured during the construction project

Give the builders a call and ask them if they possess the essential insurance policies before they kick start the granny flat construction project.

Mistake Number 5: Not having a realistic budget

This is termed as the biggest mistake many people make when building a granny flat. You may force the builder to turn down the project if he/she feels the budget is too small to complete the project. You cannot decide on the budget alone; you should work with professional valuers and also carry the self-contained flat builders along.

To start with, ask the builders to submit quotes on the project. Then, take some time to scrutinise the quotes submitted and opt for the most realistic one among them.