My 7x3m Container Granny Flat

3 Materials
9 Weeks

Building My 21 Square Meter Granny Flat / Man Cave

For years I've been contemplating on whether I should build a granny flat in my backyard to use as an office space and place to sleep when visitors are over. Our home is a 2 bedroom plus 1 study built on a 600sqm block so we have plenty of room for it. I finally decided to take the plunge and do it after spending 3 weeks sleeping on the couch when my in-laws visited during Christmas.

I called a few building companies in my area (Sydney, Australia) and was surprised to find that the ballpark figure for one of these things was around 80k and I knew my wife wasn't going to give the approval for this project......I started browsing online as I was tossing up whether i should go the owner/builder route to save some costs.
I can't remember what I searched for but end up at a chinese website which was selling pre-fabricated container homes and the prices seemed cheap enough so I decided to email them for more information. A few days later after a few emails back and forth, I finally spoke to the owner who said he would be able to sell me a 7m x 3m container fully fitted with electricals, kitchen and bathroom for $25000 Australian Dollars plus $2000 shipping. I paid a 10% deposit via paypal and was told it would take 6 weeks for shipping.

While waiting for the structure to arrive, I had to get a builder to lay the foundation. At the end, I ended going with a local builder who was introduced by a family friend and he also helped me submit plans to council (city of Canterbury Bankstown in NSW) to make sure everything we did was above board. I must say the process was simple and much more streamlined compared to building a real home. Apparently, the government is trying to encourage more people to build these things to help remedy the lack of affordable housing in Sydney at the moment.
The only concern the council had was that the container was too light so we had to amend the foundation plans to include a steel chain which is cast into the concrete footings to prevent the structure from being blown away.
8 Weeks Later

My granny flat finally arrived in Sydney (2 weeks late) and was parked in front of my house atop a truck. Drew quite a bit of attention from my neighbors who all couldn't help but take a look. To be honest I was surprised with the craftsmanship for something in this price range, it wasn't the best but it was comparable to the apartments being built all over town at the moment.
One thing I didn't like was the fact that all the surfaces seemed very dusty and there was a bit of moisture which accumulated in some areas which was possibly due to the shipping process. Luckily, I was prepared and had organised a post renovation cleaning company to do a thorough clean. The place looked good as new once they worked their magic on it.
This is the bathroom after it was cleaned
I had to wait a few more days before the crane company would come to hoist it into my backyard but it only took a couple hours once they did.

It's been 3 months since I got it and my wife is starting to say I'm spending a bit too much time in it. The whole process was a great learning experience and I save a lot of money by doing it this way which I can use on other things like furniture. I finally have a place to hide away from the kids to do my work and a place to sleep when the in-laws visit.

Suggested materials:

  • Container Granny Flat  (China)
  • Foundation  (Building Company)
  • Furniture  (Various places such as Ikea)

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Join the conversation

  • Katy Bowss
    on May 1, 2017

    That is awesome. I really like it. Would love to see pics of it in the yard area. Thanks for sharing as my son is looking to do something similar. I will share your post with him.
  • Nicolette Spargo
    on May 2, 2017

    So neat! It looks really nice inside
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