Building a 2nd dwelling

Everything you need to know

Discover the 2nd dwellling brochure

Second dwellings are a great option for a multitude of reasons. From a smaller, more manageable space for an elderly relative to an easy-to-manage income earner. If you have a large enough section then a small, affordable home may be the perfect use for that land.

It's common the have a bundle of questions about building a 2nd dwelling. From the cost to the consent process, and how long they take to build and delivery implications it can be so overwhelming that many push the idea to the 'too hard basket'.

In reality, buying and building a second dwelling is quite easy and we've helped dozens of people through the process. From design, budgeting consents to delivery we're here to help. So before you dive in here are some key things you should consider before building a second dwelling.

Self contained prefab unit
Accomodation - Cottage 1

Second Dwelling Consents

Selwyn District permits family flats as an accessory to the main dwelling are permitted, provided that they comply with the following restrictions:

• They must comply with the relevant bulk, location and relocation requirements for a dwelling on that site.
• They can be no more than 70 square metres in size (excluding any garage).
• They can only be lived in by someone of the same immediate family as someone in the main dwelling on the site.

In the Rural zone, the number of dwellings you can have on a site depends on the area of land held in that Certificate of Title. For example, in the Outer Plains, you are entitled to one dwelling per 20ha, so if a Certificate of Title contains 40ha, then two dwellings are permitted, provided that the relevant bulk and location requirements are met. For further details, got to:

Waimakariri District Council allow 2nd dwellings to 75sqm but they must be within 30m of the main dwelling. There are also restrictions on the number of dwellings for the size of your land.

Timaru District Council allows 2nd dwellings in residential 1 Zones as long as there is 300sqm of area per dwelling. So if you want to add a 2nd dwelling to your section with an existing house your land area needs to be larger than 600sqm plus allowing extra space for access and driveway. The Timaru District Plan is available online at:

Consents do change so whereas the above is correct at the time of writing there may have been changes to these outlines. Chat to us or your local council to get more information on the current consent regulations for second dwellings.

Second home building

For a lot of people, the idea of building a second home or dwelling is marred by the idea of having builders on your section for months on end. The mess, noise and having people in and around your house all day can be more stress which outweighs the benefits of having a second dwelling.

This is where prefab homes really shine. Being built in a factory has a number of benefits, including:

  • Reduced weather delays.
  • Controlled manufacturing process.
  • Timber framing is protected from the elements.
  • No trades or deliveries to your site.
  • Project management handled by the manufacturer.
  • Delivered to site once built.

The house being delivered and lowered onto the footing is the biggest disruption to your site, and once connections are done the home is ready to be lived in. This means that it could only be a couple of weeks after the home is delivered that it's ready to be lived in.

2nd dwelling

Our range of second dwellings

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