This website may not display properly using your current browser version. Please consider updating to a supported browser to get the most out of the Metricon website.

View this website for more information about supported browsers

5 tips for choosing your DualOcc block


Perhaps you're sitting on the perfect block in an ideal location and hoping to maximise what you've got, or maybe your existing home is dated, and you're considering a knockdown rebuild. Either way, a DualOcc development could be right for you. But what blocks are suitable for this sort of property development?

The simple answer is: there is no standard block size, shape or aspect that will guarantee planning approval. The zoning rules and regulations for building dual occupancy homes can differ greatly from one Australian council area to another.

To further explain, we asked Jarrod Sturdy, Sales & Business Manager for DualOcc By Metricon, to help guide you through what's possible.

Tip 1: Check minimum land requirements

There's no magic number when it comes to ideal land size for a DualOcc development. It depends on what, where and why you're planning to build your new homes.

But Jarrod notes that the minimum amount of land required for a side-by-side duplex development is around 15m wide by 30m long, pending council regulations and neighbourhood character requirements.

The slope of the block would preferably be no more than three metres. Any higher can be challenging to build on and increase costs significantly with additional excavation work.

"Make sure you do your homework and ensure the block meets your local council requirements for the type of DualOcc you plan on building," Jarrod says. "It can be a costly exercise if you purchase land, then discover your council doesn't support your home designs. So have it assessed by dual occupancy experts before purchasing."

Tip 2: Getting what you want out of your land

Knowing whether you plan to live in, rent, or sell your DualOcc homes will significantly influence the type of dual occupancy development you choose to build. It will affect the size, shape and location of the land you require.

"If you're planning to build a DualOcc for you and your growing family, consider purchasing a larger block of land so you can maximise the size of the property," Jarrod says.

Tip 3: Where to look?

If you haven't got an existing block of land, Jarrod recommends looking in an area you're already familiar with.

"I would look somewhere you know your numbers," he says. "That way you can be sure you're getting good value for money. Remember the old story that if you find a block that's a steal and it seems too good to be true, it probably is."

Tip 4: Ask an expert

Navigating council requirements can be confusing. It's best to get an expert on board early, Jarrod advises, looking carefully at crucial planning considerations and restrictions before you buy, or repurpose, your land.

"The process can be scary, but you can reduce stress and anxiety by seeking help from the right people," he says. "They can help navigate through the sea of planning and building requirements."

Every development comes with risks, no matter how much homework you've done, but experts can help reduce that risk by checking your project's feasibility.

"Will the current price of the land along with an average build cost stack up?" Jarrod asks. "There's no point buying a block of land if you can't afford to build on it. Similarly, if you're looking at a knockdown rebuild, you need to make sure you can afford all costs and financial repayments."

Tip 5: Check the details

If your block is subject to specific council requirements, requires excavation or sits under power lines, the construction costs will quickly add up. "Consider building on land with the fewest intrusions to minimise your building costs," Jarrod recommends. Things to look out for:

  • Building covenant – outlines the limitations and prohibitions of land use. That could include restrictions on the number of dwellings you can build on the site, or specific building material requirements. Building covenants will need to be satisfied as part of the planning process.
  • Drainage – most developments require a drainage or retention system for stormwater. Whether your block is sloping or flat will impact that. You may need to install a new system or upgrade an existing one.
  • Landscaping – councils generally require a landscaping plan to be submitted as part of your application, and there may be a fee for council landscaping programmes.

During the build

  • Access and traffic management – if your land's on a main road, you need to ensure there is adequate parking and access for tradespeople. Will your council allow you to block a lane of traffic if parking isn’t available?
  • Overhead power – trucks need to be able to manoeuvrer under powerlines, otherwise it could delay deliveries to your site. You may need permission to shut off power in the area for a short period.

Metricon is the market leader in DualOcc and Knockdown Rebuild developments. We build homes in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide, and regional hubs throughout South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. Speak with one of our specialists for more advice on land that best suits dual occupancy designs. Call 1300 METRICON. You might need to engage a solicitor to provide advice on legal queries.