Three unit development

Three unit development

We recently investigated whether a client site in Melbourne’s north-east could support two units. We surprised our client by obtaining pre-planning support from Council for not two units, but three!

Here’s how…

Dual occupancy home designs: Don’t short change yourself!

In the words of one of Melbourne’s foremost property investors:

If all you’ve got is a hammerthen every problem looks like a nail”

– Steve McKnight

If you have a set outcome before even going into the development (ie. in this example, a dual occupancy) – then thats the problem that you’ll find a solution for.

You’ll talk with builders, ask friends, do your research and google ‘dual occupancy home designs’.

Inadvertently, you’ve just armed yourself with a dual occupancy ‘hammer’.

No two properties are alike

The problem with ‘hammer thinking’ is that properties aren’t nails.

Every property can’t be ‘driven’ the same way.

Every property is unique.

Further, every Council is also unique.

Going to Council with a predetermined solution (in this example, a dual occupancy development) is often forcing a square peg to fit in a round hole.

Councils don’t like ‘hammer thinking’.

It inevitably meets with unnecessary friction, difficulty and opposition (ie. your time, stress and money).

Lastly ‘hammer thinking’ short-changes your project because opportunities outside the scope of the predetermined solution (eg. an extra unit) are either not presented or are overlooked.

As a worst case scenario, if one is refused for a ‘square peg’ application this may lead to a  false assumption that all solutions are therefore not permitted.

How we achieved three units instead of two

In talking with Council early we discovered that their greatest need (Council’s ’round hole’) – was for mixed configurations: one, two *and* three bedroom residencies.

In learning this, we collaboratively designed a custom one, two and three bedroom triple unit proposal that Council actively supported in an area where they had previously rejected a two unit proposal.

Instead of going to council with a hammer, we were armed with a complete toolbox.

This enabled us to custom select the right tools for the right job – a round peg for a round hole.


  • Council wins because they get a development that supports their community and growth plans.
  • Our client wins because they saved time, money and stress by working with Council instead of against them plus the net equity and cashflow position of a one, two and three bedroom development proved more profitable than for any dual occupancy home design.

Dual occupancy home designs: Conclusion

Going into any development project with a pre-determined outcome that must fit, runs the risk of:

  • Forcing a square peg to fit into a round hole
  • Resulting in friction, difficulty and opposition (ie. your time, stress & money), and
  • Short changing the project by closing doors to opportunities that lie outside of the pre-determined outcome

What if Council actually had a need that you could fill?

What if instead of two units (pick your number), you could fit more of different designs and configurations than you originally intended?

What if these alternatives were in greater demand and resulted in higher profits?

Its time to put the hammer away.

Thinking Dual Occupancy?
Go to Council armed with a complete toolbox.
Engage our custom Plan + Design services today!