Have ever wanted to understand the types of challenges you can expect to face when undertaking a dual occupancy project?

Well, keep reading because, in this dual occupancy case study, I’m going to break down a project we recently completed that wasn’t without a challenge.

It was a project that we picked up later than we would have liked and as such inherited a lot of issues and challenges.

In the end, we delivered the project successfully, but not without some good lessons that were learnt.

Let’s get into it.

Project Address: 7 Pleasant Road Hawthorn East

Our clients purchased the property in April 2017 for 2.56 million.

It was an off-market opportunity and was purchased at what would be now considered the top of the market.

Paid 2.56 million

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Project Particulars

The site had a right of way at the rear of the property which allowed for two double garages to the rear, which was awesome.

dual occupancy case study particulars

As the site sloped front to back it allowed for the garages to be set down to maximise the northern light into the living (see image below), which ended up as a home run for the project.

dual occupancy case study northern light

The purpose of this dual occupancy case study is to share the entire storey of the project, as there were a lot of challenges that were encountered.

I hope to depict how we navigated those challenges and how we were able to get the project back flying straight.

In the Beginning

Our client’s initial plan was to run the project themselves but quickly realised the project needed serious attention if it was going to end up a success.

So they reached out to us here at Little Fish.

Ultimately, we picked up the project towards the end of the town planning process, which you will see detailed clearly in the project timeline later in the article.

When we took over the project, the client had been talking to duplex builders, and they had multiple construction estimates of around 2.5 million.

The first thing that we did was reach out to all the providers that had already been engaged and establish ourselves as project managers taking over the project.

The town planning application was already underway and had been dragging its heels. The issue was that there were too many cooks in the kitchen.

Everyone was worried about their part, but no one was overseeing all the components or the entire project.

We eventually got everyone on the same page and talking to each other to address the councils concerns cohesively and finalise the application.

After going back and forth with the council several times, we eventually got the required planning permit approval.

Working Documentation

It wasn’t until we started to peel the onion back on the project that we began to realise the enormity of the task we had taken on.

We quickly realised that the documentation was all over the place. The dual occ design was amazing but the documentation had a lot of holes and missing parts.

And the parts we did have were insufficient. So we had to work hard and sink a lot of time and resources into getting it all in order.

Assumptions, Assumptions, Assumptions

One of the major issues we encountered was around the assumptions made structurally.

There was a lack of consideration given to the front to back fall of the block.

In the end, we had to arrange for the dwellings to be raised 300mm, a massive task with numerous knock-ons and implications to its current design.

We didn’t have a choice. It had to be done to mitigate potential flooding given the site was located at the bottom of Pleasant Road.

Now let’s look at the timeline.

Project Timeline

dual occupancy case study timeline

As you can see the timeline details all the project’s key milestones.

You’ll notice the big gap between the planning permit and the endorsed plans.

The delay was due to the number of conditions that we inherited as part of the permit.

Including the requirement of raising the dwellings by the 300mm that I just mentioned.

As a result, we had to redesign significant elements within the original design and resubmit them to the council.

All of which burnt a lot of time.

Finding a Quality Builder

A big part of the value we were able to bring to the project was getting the documentation in order so we could tender it out to relevant subdivision builders.

Our goal, as it is with every project, is to determine the market value of the construction to then ultimately align the project with the best dual occupancy builder possible at that level.

When we first picked up the project, there were builders lined up to win the job, which was great.

The issue though, was that they were all throwing big numbers at it. Most of which were based on assumptions which we weren’t comfortable with.

It’s human nature to overestimate if you aren’t sure of something, this was undoubtedly the case.

We knew if we got a handle on the documentation, the price range would drop significantly.

And we were right!

The clients signed a contract for 1.9 million without the need to change the integrity or fabric of its design.

Wrapping Up

The project, in the end, was completed successfully as detailed in this dual occ case study. You can check out a similar case study here also.

And there is no question. Pleasant Road was one of the more challenging projects we’ve done in recent times.

We took great satisfaction and a real boost of confidence, taking it from the tricky place that it was to the successful outcome that resulted.

Most people would make the incorrect assumption that picking up a project mid-way would mean that most of the heavy lifting was done and it would be significantly easier.

But in fact, it is the opposite. Picking up a project mid-way is super challenging. A clean slate is always preferred – the type of slab had already been selected, so a lot of water had already gone under the bridge.

The sooner we can get our hands on a project, the more control we can have over the outcome.

That said, we are under no illusions that we are tied to the outcome either way.

In the end, we were thankful our clients backed us in and allowed us to do what we do best. Deliver successful townhouse development projects.

We had to take a couple of early deep breaths. Roll the sleeves up and do some hard yards. But ultimately, as detailed in this dual occupancy case study we delivered what turned out to be a fantastic project.

Finally, if you would like to learn more about how our expert team can help on your next project, we would love to hear from you at 1300 799 277.

We can help directly through our development management service or even indirectly and provide advice through our free no-obligation development consultation sessions.