What You Need to Know Before You Build a Duplex in Sydney

March 26, 2024
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A duplex in Sydney

Many individuals today choose to invest in a duplex when building a new home in Sydney. They recognize this housing option offers countless benefits and few drawbacks. Thanks to advances within the industry over the years, duplexes are no longer cramped and uninviting. They resemble single-family homes in most ways and offer the same benefits.

However, several differences exist when building duplexes and single-family homes in Sydney. What must a person who plans to build a duplex in Sydney know before moving forward with the process?

Set a Budget

Never begin looking into constructing a duplex without a budget. Duplexes can be costly to construct. Having a set figure in place allows the builder to make recommendations on where changes can be made without sacrificing the overall quality or feel of the structure. Approve all changes before any construction begins, as change orders mid-project significantly add to the final cost.

If you are looking to learn more about the budget side of duplexes, we have some info on investing in a duplex build.

Choose a Builder

Once a budget has been determined, the next step involves finding a builder. Duplexes in Sydney differ from single-family homes in several ways. Many people go into the process assuming they can build a duplex as easily as they would any other structure. However, they must comply with all rules and regulations regarding these structures and find a reputable builder who has handled similar projects in the past.

Duplex projects must be built to certain specifications. The builder must understand the additional requirements for load-bearing walls, as they must support the additional weight of the larger structure.

They need to know the best materials and products for a duplex and how to find cost-effective solutions without sacrificing quality. As many of these structures are built for investment purposes, finding a builder who has this knowledge helps ensure the owner sees the best return on their investment.

Request Pre-Approval

A person cannot simply contact duplex home builders and begin constructing this residence. They must complete many steps before doing so. Secure financing before moving forward with the process and learn the council requirements for duplexes in Sydney.

These requirements vary by jurisdiction and may change with time, so complete this research early. Doing so saves time and headaches as the project moves forward, as all parties know what is required when constructing a duplex.

Confirm the selected site is zoned for duplexes in Sydney. Thorough research helps avoid zoning obstacles. Lot size plays a role in whether the lot meets dual occupancy criteria.

The site must meet the frontage size requirements while complying with the private space requirements. Dual occupancy builders in Sydney help customers ensure their lots comply with all government guidelines.

A Neighbourhood in Sydney


When choosing a neighbourhood for the duplex project, look at the housing types, community density, and character. The current streetscape plays a role in the siting and massing of the building along with the design quality and materials. The duplex design needs to distinguish between the two units to break up the monotony of the streetscape while highlighting the uniqueness of each unit.

Additionally, speak with duplex builders to learn more about alternatives to the side-by-side duplex setup.

Building Elements

Local zoning laws determine many aspects of the building envelope. The roofing style selected should match other residences in the neighbourhood, as should the exterior cladding.

Consider dormers and gables to distinguish the units and break up the monotony of the facade. Don’t overlook elements such as the driveway and garage door because they aren’t part of the residential living area. They play a role in the overall cohesion of the property.

Design Features

When designing a duplex, builders, owners, and architects must consider the unique aspects of these structures. For example, the units share a wall, which means no natural light will enter the home on that side. What steps can be taken to overcome this loss of natural light? Don’t overlook ventilation either, as the shared wall disrupts airflow patterns. Dual occupancy builders recognize these challenges and will offer recommendations for overcoming them.

Landscaping Considerations

Many home buyers focus on the aspects of the duplex and take little time to consider the landscaping around the property. However, landscaping helps to soften the building, which can be overwhelming because of its size.

Furthermore, landscape features help to distinguish the units and make them unique. As with all features of the duplex, dual occupancy builders recommend considering the neighbourhood when choosing landscape elements.

Storage Options

Many home buyers work with Sydney duplex builders because they want to make an income from their property. They plan to live in one unit and rent the second unit to help offset the cost of home ownership. Each unit needs storage space for items the occupants don’t use regularly. During the planning stages of the project, incorporate this storage. Shelving units within closets serve as one option, and a storage shed on the property is another.

Home buyers should talk with several duplex builders before choosing one to work with. Each meeting will provide information about the builder, what they prioritize, how they walk clients through the process, and more.

The home buyer can then choose which company they feel is most knowledgeable and which they are comfortable with, as both are important as the project moves forward.

If you're looking to build a duplex in Sydney, then speak with our team at Kobo Projects today. Bring us your ideas, and we'll help bring them to life. Get in touch with us today.

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