What to Expect During a Site Inspection for Secondary Residences

Building a secondary residence requires the builders to meet you on-site for inspection. You may be wondering what happens during site inspection so we have listed down the things that need to be completed during site inspection so you can be prepared.

The inspection involves examining and checking a block/site to make sure that the future project meets specific requirements. The inspectors need to ensure that by building a new/secondary residence, that the current residence and buildings on the block comply with current standards.

As the secondary residence will be built on your backyard or (sometimes) front yard, the builders or site inspectors are not required to enter your main residence. The only time they would need to go inside your house is if your electricity meter is installed inside your house, otherwise, they will only inspect your backyard. An alternative solution, if you would like to keep the privacy of your main residence, is to take a picture of your electricity meter (if installed inside the house) and provide it to the site inspector.

Inspection of the electricity meter

The type of electricity meter plays a great role in building a secondary residence as the secondary residence is usually connected to the main residence to get its power.

The builder needs to know if you need to upgrade the meter currently on-site or if the existing meter can sustain the power supply that you will need for both the main residence and secondary residence. This may include an upgrade from one phase to three-phase power.

If you are looking to separate your bills from the secondary residence, you can request for the builder to install a separate meter for each residence, which will mean you will receive two separate bills.

Inspection of the plumbing IO’s

The purpose of inspecting the installation of your plumbing system is to make sure that it is compliant with the government regulations and that there will be no potential issues that will arise during the building process of the secondary residence. We also like to get a copy of your drainage plans so we can see how we are likely to connect the plumbing from your residence to the secondary residence.

Inspection of easements

The inspector will check if your block meets the ACT Rules and Regulations for a secondary house. If you have easements within your block, the builder will check if the block will give enough access to the government anytime they need to go and check easements. You will need 1.5 meters off one side of the main and secondary residence and 3 meters on the other side for easement access.

Inspection of significant trees

There is a regulation on trees whether they can or cannot be removed depending on how big they are. A rough guide is if the truck is larger then 600mm in circumference or over 13m tall. The inspector will be able to identify if a tree on your block is a significant tree and also let you know if there is a possibility that the council will allow removal if so. If a secondary residence is being built close to a significant tree, you’ll need to apply for a tree damaging report for an arborist.

Setback Requirements

The inspector will have a checklist during the site visit to make sure they will comply with the standards and discuss requirements with you. Each site holds different potential complications such as backing onto a reserve or pathway, two easements or other site easements running into your block, and positioning of the existing residence can cause some complications.

The site inspector will find out what you’re looking to build and then discuss a solution you are looking for if there is one, and answer any questions you may have.

Inspection of parking space

Parking space needs to be checked too, especially if you don’t have an existing one prior to building. There MUST be 2 car parks for the main residence, 1 of those car spaces MUST be undercover on the block. Also, you’ll need to show on the plan the parking for the secondary residence. These must be behind the front of the house. If you do not want parking spaces on your block or do not have the capability your secondary residence is likely to not be approved.

As you can see the site inspections are quite detailed to understand your site. Although they are usually only 15 mins long, the inspector has a lot to check in order to quote you. It is best to bring lots of questions because the inspector should be very well educated on the rules and regulations of the ACT and surrounding regions. You also want to verify all information you’re told with your local council. Then, you may want to get someone testimonial that the company you’re working with looks after their clients.

Once you have sorted all that out with a few different companies, quotes and seen their building work, you’re ready to make a decision.

Have a look at our blog ‘what a granny flat will cost me’ for the details of the extra or hidden costs you need to be aware of so you don’t have any surprises during the build or after you have signed.

These are big decisions so you want to make sure you get as much information as possible about who you’re working with and how they do business.

All the best in your decisions.

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This information is general in nature and written by The Pod Canberra team specialising in luxury secondary residences in Canberra and surrounds.

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