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A granny flat alternative, the detached studio revolution

Australia’s housing crisis is a stark reality. As the population increases, property prices and rental costs continue to rise steeply across the country, and the need for affordable housing solutions has never been greater. Soaring property prices and rental shortages are making it increasingly difficult for many Australians to achieve the dream of home ownership or secure affordable accommodation. In this climate, creating additional living space on your existing property has become a popular strategy.

Traditional granny flats have long been a popular choice, allowing homeowners to add rental income or provide independent living for family members of any age – forget the word ‘granny’! But a new wave of innovation is offering a smarter and more efficient alternative: prefabricated modular detached studios. At their core, these prefab structures provide much-needed extra living space without the expense and hassle of constructing an entirely separate self-contained dwelling. This modern alternative to secondary dwellings offers many of the same benefits as granny flats but with lower costs, faster installation, and fewer regulatory hurdles.

So, if you’re looking for versatile extra living space that will add value to your property and provide much-needed accommodation now, or in the future, read on.

The rise of the granny flat alternative 

Granny flats have become a popular way to increase property value and create additional accommodation on a temporary or permanent basis. However, they can be a significant investment with lengthy construction times and complex council approvals. Additionally, the rising cost of building materials and council fees can further strain budgets.

This is where detached studios have emerged as a smart viable alternative, offering a more accessible and streamlined solution to this growing need for additional space.

Saving money and time: 6 ways the detached studio granny flat alternative does this

1. Cost-effectiveness: Smarter spending

Building costs are a major concern for anyone considering a granny flat. While traditional builds offer some flexibility, they can be susceptible to price fluctuations due to material availability and labour costs. Prefabricated studios offer significant savings compared to traditional granny flat construction. Leveraging the power of factory production, streamlined offsite manufacturing minimises material waste and labour, offering significant cost savings compared to traditional builds.

Additionally, a detached, modular, prefabricated studio can avoid the lengthy council approvals and expensive contribution fees that can add tens of thousands to a granny flat build. For families and individuals being priced out of the housing market, these cost advantages make detached studios a much more realistic path.

2. Speed and efficiency: Time is money 

One of the biggest frustrations with traditional granny flat construction is the lengthy timeframe. From obtaining permits to dealing with weather delays and the wait for in-demand tradespeople, the process can stretch on for months.

Time is of the essence, but especially in a housing crisis!

Prefabricated studios boast a much faster turnaround time compared to traditional granny flat construction. This is particularly beneficial if you need the space quickly, perhaps to urgently house an elderly relative, accommodate a newly independent or returning child, or quickly generate income through short-term rentals. Prefabricated studios are quickly and easily manufactured off-site in a controlled environment, eliminating weather disruptions and streamlining the process.

3. Streamlined Approvals: Avoid the red tape 

Detached studios are often considered “ancillary developments,” meaning they are seen as secondary structures to the main dwelling. This can translate to simpler council approval processes compared to granny flats, which are classified as secondary dwellings. As “ancillary” structures rather than separate dwellings, studios can often bypass the need for planning permits and extensive council approvals required for granny flats. Additionally, recent planning reforms in some states, such as those in Victoria, are helping to clear the way for detached studio construction specifically for this purpose.

All of this translates to less time and money spent navigating red tape. In turn, this drastically reduces fees, waiting times, and bureaucratic hurdles – making detached studios a quick and easy solution, ideal for today’s housing challenges.

4. Avoiding Costly Fees: Money stays in your pocket

One of the biggest financial burdens of building a granny flat is the Section 94/7.11 contribution fees levied by many councils, which can reach over $20,000. Detached studios are classified differently – as ancillary developments – so often bypass these fees, making them even more attractive financially during a housing and cost of living crisis. This key exemption makes a remarkable difference in upfront costs for cash-strapped homeowners.

5. Space optimisation: Create space, don’t lose it

Detached studios can provide more than ample square meterage of additional living space without sacrificing your entire backyard like a full granny flat. For those with smaller block sizes or wishing to preserve as much yard space as possible, the compact and flexible footprint of detached studios is a major draw. This allows homeowners to increase accommodation capacity while maintaining their much-loved outdoor area. It’s a way of adding value and maximising your property’s potential, without feeling cramped. After all, you want to gain space, not lose it!

6. Maximum return on investment: A bigger gap

When it comes to enhancing your property’s value, prefab detached studios deliver a significant return on investment (ROI) compared to traditional granny flats. While granny flats can boost resale value, their high construction costs and expensive council fees often make it harder to recoup your full investment. In contrast, the affordable pricing and bypass of contribution fees for detached studios means you can achieve a larger net gain in potential property value increase. Additionally, the flexibility and customisability of studios creates more buyer appeal – whether the new owners use it as rental accommodation, a home office, exercise studio, or something else entirely. For astute homeowners, prefab detached studios represent an intelligent way to cost-effectively increase your property’s market value and return far more than your initial outlay.

Versatility beyond the granny flat

The case for detached studios over a traditional granny flat extends far beyond just financial and time savings. And, while prefab detached studios offer an affordable alternative for creating secondary dwellings, their versatility is far greater than housing grandparents or extended family members. These flexible living spaces can continually adapt to your evolving needs over time, delivering distinct lifestyle advantages. These benefits, combined with their overall affordability, make prefab studios an incredibly compelling solution for homeowners seeking intelligent ways to create more space during the housing crisis.

The Greenspan advantage: More than just cost savings and value gains 

Customisable comfort 

Many granny flat and prefab studio options are often set packages with limited options for customisation. But Greenspan granny flats and studios offer a surprising degree of personalisation ability. While they might be pre-engineered and PreCrafted, almost every aspect of a Greenspan building can be adapted to suit your space, needs and style.

Change the size by adding or removing panels and selecting your preferred wall height. Incorporate a porch or verandah or take a deck away. Add or remove windows and doors and position them where they suit you best. Then achieve the perfect finish with a range of colours, doors, windows, roofing and cladding options. The internal layout is yours to do with as you like. It’s the ultimate freedom to create a space that perfectly complements your existing home, lifestyle and unique needs.

Versatility and privacy for today

One of the biggest strengths of detached studios is their versatility. Unlike officially-designated “granny flats” which require the full kitchen, laundry and bathroom facilities that are required for self-contained dwellings, prefab studios provide just as much (or as little) functionality as you need. For example, a studio can offer an extra bedroom with or without a bathroom for rental guests, in-laws, or adult children. The flexibility to design the space precisely for your intended use is a key advantage over granny flats.

Additionally, detached studios offer privacy from the main dwelling that granny flats attached to the home cannot. They create distinct living zones ideal for multi-generational households or mixed-use situations. If they are not required as permanent accommodation, this provides great flexibility for additional use as a dedicated workspace, art studio, or family room. The flexibility to design the space precisely for your intended use is a major benefit.

Adapt and upgrade in the future

This versatility also allows a great degree of flexibility into the future. A key advantage over traditional granny flats is a detached studio’s capacity for incremental upgrades and expansions as your lifestyle evolves. Start with an open layout now, and easily add a bathroom or wet bar area down the road when your budget allows or needs change. This upgradability ensures your studio can transition to whatever you require. After all, no one knows what tomorrow will bring.

A sustainable tomorrow 

Our buildings are crafted with sustainable materials and practices at the forefront, minimising environmental impact. The Australian grown timbers used in each building are responsibly sourced from renewable plantations where for every tree that is harvested, at least one new tree is planted. The PreCrafting process is an inherently sustainable manufacturing approach that maximises resources and minimises waste and environmental impact.

Minimal disruption

One of the major advantages is just how little disruption a PreCrafted Greenspan studio causes to your existing property and life when being built. Because the bulk of the building process is completed offsite, you avoid months of on-site work, tradespeople, and the mess and noise that comes with it. Your studio is precision designed and PreCrafted in our factory using meticulous, time-honoured techniques under strict quality control standards.

The modular panels are then delivered to the last delivery vehicle access point on site, ready to be installed in a matter of hours – the installation process is essentially just piecing together the prefabricated components. And minimal groundwork is required. With our elevated floor on a system of piers, there’s no need for extensive site excavation, concrete pouring, or heavy machinery that can damage your existing landscape and property. No more weeks or months of endless construction zones and a parade of work crews taking over your backyard and home.

Uncompromising quality

While the prefab construction process allows for efficiency and cost savings, there are absolutely no compromises when it comes to structural integrity and build quality with Greenspan studios. Our buildings are precision-engineered using premium materials and time-honoured manufacturing techniques. The controlled factory environment ensures strict quality control standards are adhered to at every step.

Just like any traditional building project, our detached studios are subject to the same critical building stage inspections as any traditional build. The end result is a structure of uncompromising quality and craftsmanship backed by a 10-year structural warranty – just another reason prefab detached studios from Greenspan are an exceptional solution.

The smart alternative

So, if you need more room but are put off by the obstacles and costs of building a traditional granny flat, explore the smart alternative of a detached studio. And, of course, if a dedicated granny flat is what you’re after, we can help with that too.

But, efficient construction, minimal disruption, speedy timeframes, personalisable designs and affordable pricing, means a detached studio is the perfect alternative for adding space and value to your home.

Do you need any more reasons?

Want to find out more?

Download our Design Price Guide to find out how we can help you with a granny flat or an alternative.


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