Two Storey Dual Occupancy Properties – Pros and Cons

The pros and cons of two storey dual occupancy properties is a topic that I am discussing with clients more and more lately.  I think the reason for this is that with land selling so quickly, and developers producing smaller blocks which are harder to build low-two storey dual occupancy properties set dual occupancy properties on, we have been forced to build more two storey properties.

Due to the size of dual occupancy properties, it is hard to keep the square meterage down very low which means that we aren’t always able to fit a single level dual occupancy, and in many instances we must build a two-storey property.  For example, if a client is wanting a dual occupancy with 4 bedrooms/2bathrooms/single garage on the main side and 2 bedrooms/1bathroom/single garage on the other side then it’s very difficult to squeeze this into a plan much smaller than 220 square metres.

Now if you have a 400m2 block of land which only allows for 50% site coverage, then the maximum coverage of 200m2 would mean you would have to build a two-storey dual occupancy.  This has become a fairly common scenario in recent times and when developers don’t apply for 60% site coverage in small lot developments it is very difficult for us to draft suitable dual occupancy designs.

The obvious advantage of a two-story property is that they are able to fit on smaller blocks of land where single level properties aren’t able to fit.


  • Ability to fit on small blocks of land: As mentioned above, this is an obvious point and it enables smaller blocks of land to be used for dual occupancy properties sometimes as small as 300m2. This can lead to a saving in the cost of land, and enables a larger back and front yards to be achieved.
  • Attractive Facades: I think that two-storey dual occupancy properties look fantastic, they have great street presence and can look very aesthetically pleasing when designed and drafted well.


  • Cost: The first and most obvious disadvantage is that two storey dual occupancy properties cost more to build.
  • Build Time: It is also generally best to allow for a longer build time frame, usually only a few weeks, but it’s worth being aware of this and factoring it into your considerations.
  • Stairs: Stairs are not always an attractive feature for older people, who can be potential tenants particularly for the smaller auxiliary side of the property. Whilst there are generally enough tenants and we haven’t ever had problems renting out properties with stairs, it is worth being aware that it may inhibit the ability to rent to older tenants.

two storey dual occupancy propertiesAs mentioned above there are pros and cons of building a two-storey dual occupancy, whilst they are more expensive to build they do allow the use of smaller (and normally cheaper) blocks of land, so this cost generally evens out.  However, with the number of developers who are producing small and hard to build on blocks of land in recent times, the choice of whether to choose a two-storey or single-storey dual occupancy may be made up for you if you go with one of these blocks of land.

We have built quite a few two-storey dual occupancy properties for clients recently.  We have done a lot of work in refining and redrafting our designs to ensure that we are able to get the best use of the individual blocks.  We have developed a few great two-storey options which we use in the Logan City Council Area, that have an option for both 3 and 4 bedrooms in the main dwelling and a two bedroom auxiliary.


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