Have you ever wanted to know what the optimal block dimensions are for a side by side dual occupancy designs Melbourne?

Well, keep reading because in this article I’m going to share with you the block dimensions you need to be looking out for.

When trying to identify a site perfect for a side by side dual occupancy design, having a clear understanding of the various site dimensions and how each will directly impact what you can achieve on the site is going to be critical.

If you don’t have a handle on these dimensions and the kind of impact each can have on the footprint of your development. And ultimately, it’s bottom line. Then you are already behind the eight ball before you’ve even begun.

Whether you already have your land, or you are looking to buy land to do a Melbourne dual occupancy, understanding block dimensions will help determine if the site is feasible and worth doing.

Buying a site that won’t allow you to achieve what you thought you could is the fastest way to lose money in the developing game. Once you commit to a site there is no turning back, so you need to get this stuff right.

The last thing you want is to be working on a side by side development for however long knowing it’s going to deliver a negative result… what a drainer.

[callout]Have an existing site you need help with? Give us a call on 1300 799 277 as leading property developers Melbourne we’d love the opportunity to help. Check out our property development project manager service.[/callout]

If you already have a site and are looking for quality dual occupancy builders to connect with then check out this list we curated of Melbourne’s very best. Both independent and volume builders.

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Frontage (width)

First up … let’s talk about Frontage. And by frontage, I mean width. For a side-by-side dual occupancy design, in most cases, we are looking for a minimum 12m frontage. Meaning each dwelling will end up with 6m, and built with a common wall down the middle. These dwellings are known as ‘semi-detached’.

Now, 6m in width might not sound like much but I can assure you that if you can get the design right you’ll be left with a whole lot of house!!

Below is a set of plans. They’re an example of what you could expect to achieve.

A 12m frontage also means that the council will allow you to add another crossover. So you utilise the existing one and add one new one. By adding an additional crossover it will mean 6m of your street frontage won’t have street parking. But the remaining 6m will. Given council requires 6m to fit 1 car it’s perfect.

Think about it… originally, your 12m site started with a 3m crossover leaving 9m for on-street parking, which is enough for 1 car. When you add a second crossover, your frontage has now gone from 9m to 6m, again only enough for one car.

side by side dual occupancy designs cross overs

It means the council’s happy because you’re not reducing the number of street car parks. And if the council is happy then you’re happy.

So now you know. In almost all cases 12m of street frontage is the minimum required for a side by side dual occupancy development. The on-street parking is a big factor but also any smaller than 6m wide per dwelling is getting pretty tricky to design something appealing.

Length (depth)

Now, let’s talk length. And by the length, I’m referring to the depth of a block. Once you get your frontage right and you know you have enough width. You need to make sure there is enough depth in the site. Firstly, your setback!

Your sites setback is the distance from the front boundary to the start of your dwelling. A blocks setback is governed by the setbacks of your direct neighbours on either side. It’s an average of their setbacks.

For example. Let’s say the setback of the neighbour on the LHS is 9m and your neighbour on the RHS is 7m. It means your setback will need to be 8m. Add relevant hand-drawn images


After you understand what your setback is, you then work out how long you need your dwellings to be to achieve enough accommodation for your development. As a general rule of thumb, if your building can be about 20-30m long we are looking good.

Now 20-30m long will result in very appealing houses that you should have no problem selling or living in yourself. We are talking 3 bedrooms, 2 living zones and 3 bathrooms! Per house!

When identifying a side by side dual occupancy site, we also need to be careful of blocks that are too deep. You will find yourself paying a premium for the extra land that will just end up in your backyard. Which sounds nice. But buyers are not going to pay you a premium in return for that extra space.


Another important thing to understand is that planning regulations can be interpreted differently from council to council. In some cases even planner to planner. So before you make any final decisions on a block. It’s important you research what kind of approvals are getting through in your local area.

Now with the width and depth ticking all the right boxes. One of the final things you need to consider for a side by side development site is your backyard and the relevant restrictions you will need to adhere to. Commonly known as the private open space.

This again can vary between councils. So you need to roll up the sleeves and figure out what those minimum requirements are. Then make sure you allow for them!

Once you have the required setback and open space for your block, the footprint you have to work with to build your house will become evident very quickly. Which directly affects your end sale values and your feasibility.

By now you are getting close to figuring out if it’s a good site or not!!

Side note – check out this video around property development for beginners and understanding site orientation.

Wrapping Up

Finally, … as always these are just a couple of the many non-negotiables you need to consider.

And understand before deciding if a site is primed for side by side dual occupancy designs Melbourne.

Whether that’s an existing site you own or one you are looking to purchase. It doesn’t matter you need to know your numbers.

Hopefully, these simple to follow tips give you a much clearer understanding of dimensions you need to consider when completing your due diligence on side by side dual occupancy designs Melbourne.

Keen to do a project yourself? Check out this side by side development case study. We lift up the hood on a completed project in Carnegie.