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The move toward urban consolidation and home owners subdividing their existing properties has meant that more new home buyers are building on small narrow blocks. There is also a general trend to build larger 2 storey homes on smaller land areas. Houses are getting bigger, but blocks are getting smaller.


There are a number of specific issues which you need to consider. Building costs per square metre may be higher due to the need for additional cavity walls. Building on smaller narrow lots usually involves the construction of more perimeter walls than internal walls which will lead to higher building costs. Site access could also be a problem for delivery and placement of building materials.

You must also consider new residential design codes. These cover things like:

  • Restrictions on the size of the garage to less than 50 per cent of block width. If the block is less than 12 metres wide, it will be impossible to erect a double garage;
  • A requirement for neighbour consultation. Neighbours are often required to sign off their approval on new buildings which involves zero-lot lines, setbacks and overlooking adjoining property issues; and
  • On sloping sites, restrictions on floor height.

Local governments can often impose their own restrictions on house size and design in order to preserve, as they see it, the amenity of the street or surrounding area.

You may also have particular design challenges depending on your lifestyle. Incorporating courtyards and outdoor living areas into smaller lots can be difficult.

You should also contact Master Builders members for advice and consider their experience in dealing with small, narrow sites. Use the adjacent Find a Master Builder search service.

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