• Swarup Dutta,AuArchitecture

Dual Occupancy+Development course

Updated: Dec 14, 2019

Dual Occupancy Course. Learn from our experience in development!


A dual occupancy is successful when your local Victorian Council consents to you building two dwellings on a block and most importantly allows you to subdivide that block into two. The subdivision approval allows you to sell one or both blocks.

Some Councils across Melbourne have minimum lot sizes so even though that council might give you approval for a dual occupancy home, you are stuck with both dwellings on the one lot!

Contact us to find if your land is burdened by minimum lot sizes.

The second critical item to check is the title.

Does it contain a restrictive covenant, like a single dwelling covenant or Section 173 attached to the title? They could be problematic and restrict a second home on the land. Get a free Title Check today.


Is your property suitable for a dual occ subdivision? You may be thinking of building a new home in your backyard.

Is it deep and wide enough to provide the private open spaces for each dwelling?

Will it allow for the appropriate number of car spaces?

Is the site wide enough to provide turning circles for the cars to exit the site?

​Is the site wide enough for a side by side duplex?

Is it a corner site capable of supporting more than a dual occ- three units?

How many bedrooms will the dual occupancy house accommodate?

These are the most commonly asked questions by would be developers. Contact us for a frank and fearless opinion.

How much should you pay for a development site?

Read on.


The most challenging issue you will face are the councils zoning, schedule and overlays.

The Zoning will give you an idea of what you will be allowed to build. Most sites in Greater Melbourne will support a dual occ in the zoning.

However the Schedule will specify site coverage and other requirements including the amount and size of the secluded open space and garden area you need to provide each dwelling.

The overlays , if one burdens your land, could affect vegetation control, excavation, heritage, bush fire and more.

Why develop in Melbourne Australia?

Residential property development is generally encouraged across Melbourne where the population is expected to outgrow that of Sydney by 2060.

The Bureau of Statistics predicted Melbourne’s population will overtake Sydney’s by 2053. Australia’s largest cities of Sydney ( @4.9 million people) and Melbourne(@4.5 million) will both have populations of 7 million by 2041 which will create and underpin ongoing opportunities for investment and development of new projects across a range of property markets.

Whilst Sydney and Melbourne are still comparatively small cities in the global context they are nonetheless economic out performers because of their very high livability and their competitive advantages in attracting investment in advanced economic sectors such as education, finance, ICT and biotechnology.

The recognition of being amongst the world’s most liveable cities is also one of the factors underpinning Sydney and Melbourne’s exposure to high levels of investment from international developers and purchasers into their housing markets.

That population explosion means Melbourne is in need of housing stock to meet the population growth and this factor in turn provides both short and long term comfort to the residential developer and investor. Melbourne house prices are more affordable compared to that of Sydney while both cities have maintained a steady growth.

As a result, the new residential zones in Victoria allow medium density in most areas subject to meeting lot size restrictions. The Industrial zones do not allow residential development under their zoning.

However, one can build townhouses or units in the General Residential Zone, the Residential Growth Zone the Mixed Use Zone and the Commercial( Business) Zones and the Township zone.

The Low density residential zones have lot size restrictions which is shown in the Planning Report Schedule obtained from Land Channel.

More and more Councils are slowly following the trend of introducing minimum lot sizes for medium density development. Nillumbik Shire Council has tried but failed to gather support from the Planning Minister’s office in 2015.

In this paper, we cover a broad range of topics from types of residential development, subdivision costs and all the way to the site constraints or the challenges your architect, designer or town planner will encounter at the local Melbourne or regional Victorian Council or for that matter at VCAT if your local Council refuses the Planning Application or if your neighbour objects and challenges the Council decision to grant a permit!

If one works collaboratively with the local council its easier and faster to obtain that all important Town Planning Permit for your property from your Local Council across metropolitan Councils which include Banyule, Bayside, Boroondara, Brimbank, Cardinia, Casey, Darebin, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater Dandenong, Hobsons Bay, Hume, Kingston, Knox, Manningham, Maribyrnong, Maroondah, Melbourne, Melton, Monash, Moonee Valley, Moreland, Mornington Peninsula, Nillumbik, Port Phillip, Stonnington, Whitehorse, Whittlesea, Wyndham, Yarra and Yarra Ranges.

Dual Occupancy VS non Dual Occupancy property

A dual occupancy development will outperform a single home on a block significantly as shown in the graph below which was prepared by David Shaw a certified accountant. This study was done a while back when capital growth was very low.

In today's market that difference will be greater and the dollar amounts shown will be more significant.

Dual occupancy outperforms non dual occupancy land

“Remember no Town Planning Permit means no Property Development- so don’t even think of the finishes and colours now – think of the big picture first- your planning permission to build. A Planning Permit allows you to build.”

What is a development site worth?

You can work backyards to calculate the maximum price you should pay for a development site.

Lets assume a straight forward site where you plan to develop three units.

You are thinking of buy in the site. How much is the site worth? This is a hypothetical example.

The develop's objective is to demolish the existing house, which is in poor order and see how many units can be built.

Experience shows three units will be the maximum number which will garner this council's support for this wedge shaped land in a court bowl.

Each unit will be around 150sqm containing 3 bedrooms. Ask us how many units can we fit on your land.

Recent sales in area show 3 bedroom units sold for $510,000. We are cautious so do our feasibility on a$480,000 selling price for each unit even though the front unit might command a slightly higher price.

Gross Income from sale of 3 units

$ 1,440,000

Development cost