The Pod Canberra believes that knowledge is key to construction, building and business. It’s also key to understand client expectations and them getting what they want. Enjoy reading our FAQ’s below to build your knowledge base on secondary residences, policy, general information and TPC. Updated December 2019

TOP 5 QUESTIONS

Do you customise your Pod?

We don’t currently change The Pod layouts and sizes as we must stick to Canberra’s strict adaptability rules but if you’re after a renovation, extension or Pod without cooking facilities, our partner company VRD Design can look after you. 

How much will it cost me to build a Pod?

We’ll be more than happy to send you our Pod prices and inclusions list. Please feel free to contact us via this link – http://thepodcanberra.com.au/contact-us/ Or check our a blog we created to guide you through the quoting process when looking for Granny Flat & Secondary Residence Builders it’s titled ‘How much will a granny flat cost me?’ click in the title to view.

What locations do you cover in building Pods?

Currently, our Pod projects are built within Canberra and outskirts such as Bungendore, Queanbeyan Wamboin & Goulburn. At this stage we are not able to look after clients further than 1 hour from the ACT. We are working on other states as we have had multiple enquiries from all around Australia.

If you are outside the ACT:

We are looking at least 2-3 Pod projects in your area before we can start building. We like to take our trades where we go and currently do not have relationships with other builders or project managers outside ACT and surrounds.

We are also looking for great builders in NSW, TAS & VIC who we can work with. If you would like to share your suggestions please contact us via the online form.

What are the dimensions of your Pod?

Our Pod dimensions vary depending on the plan. Our plans are predominantly the same size rooms on each plan and we recommend coming to an open at the end of each month to see a Pod and see if it is something you would want to live in or put in your backyard. 

The shapes are below with the dimensions. They can be reversed and mirrored. There are also NSW options with a max of 60m2 (1 bedroom variation) and there is a see through Pod option with large sliding doors at the front and back of the Pod. 

L Shapes:

  • Two Bedroom L Shape Pods: 12m x 10m

Rectangular:

  • Two Bedroom Pod is 16m x 6.42m
  • One Bedroom Pod is 12m x 6.42m (similar to NSW and the ‘see-through’ Pod)
  • Studio Pod is 8.5m x 6.42m
  • Room Pod is 5m x 6.42m
What is included in The Pod package?

Our prices include everything you need in order to move in, we call it a turn key service. 

This means we include:

  • Architectural Plans, consultant fees* DA approval, BA approval and certifier fees.
  • It also includes the full construction with steel frame and built to australian standards. Plus we include these extras that most companies don’t include:
  • Engineered timber flooring
  • Block-out blinds
  • White goods (fridge, microwave, dishwasher, washing machine & dryer)
  • Stunning kitchen & laundry with soft close drawers and a stone benchtop
  • High quality electrical package with built-in surround sound speakers in the living room roof
  • A separate electricity meter and 
  • much more…

 

The only extra cost that may incur is the “tie-in cost” because it varies for each block. Tie-in cost is connecting the electricity, plumbing and gas (if required) from the main residence on the block to The Pod.

CONSTRUCTION QUESTIONS

What are the Land/ Block requirements to build a Pod?

According to the ACT Government standards, you can place a secondary residence on a block size bigger than 500m2.

Generally, with our Pods being quite spacious we recommend a minimum block size of 750m2. 

North is ideal for energy efficiency and winter warmth, we also recommend in order to get the minimum 6 start energy efficiency it is best for your secondary residence to face North or North East. If you need to face the Pod west there will be additional measures to protect the heat from getting into your Pod.

BOUNDARY SETBACKS: ACT Government current requires the below but is subject to change without notice.

  • 3m distance the current residence if windows are present (1.5 if no windows are near)
  • 1.5m from 1 side boundary and 3 m from the other
  • 3m from the rear boundary

EASEMENT: When you have an easement you must be 2.5 minimum off the boundary / area of the easement and when applying for a Secondary residence ACT usually required us to place a Pod 3 metres from the boundary location to allow for access of machinery. 

PARKLANDS: If your backing onto parklands access requirements from the government may change but the boundary requirements enlarge and the new residence must be 4 metres from the boundary. 

CORNER BLOCK: If your block is on a corner one the building lines change again. The boundary for the building areas must be 4 metres from the from one side and 6 metres on the other.

All of the information stated above may change with regulations, updates and TPC cannot hold responsibility for updates or changes to these regulations.

What are the parking requirements for a secondary residence?

First of all, the main residence is meant to have two existing spaces with one undercover. Some older homes may not have this requirements but if you were to renovate or put a secondary residence on the block, you have to comply with the current rules and regulations. 

For the secondary residence, there is a requirement to have one large 3.8m wide car space. This space must comply with AS4299 Adaptability code. The car space maybe tandem and is not required to be covered.

Therefore it is a legal requirement to show on plan three car spaces on your block in order to build a secondary residence. These spaces must be all behind the building line (front of the house).

Can I make changes to the design of The Pod?

Our Pods are designed with Canberra’s accessibility regulations in mind, so only minimal changes will need to be made to make it compliant for a fully accessible Pod.

Therefore changing walls, bathroom configurations is extremely limited.

We can only offer variations if our client is not wanting to rent their Pod out, have cooking facilities or be located in NSW.

How long will it take to get Development Application approval?

The approvals may also vary. In Canberra, they can take anywhere from 2-4 months for a secondary residence. This was the current time in 2019. 

Can you help with tree removal in the backyard?

Yes we can. If you’re building a Pod in your backyard and a tree is in the way, we can remove it. Some large tree may need approval which can take time but best to organise a free site inspection and we can let you know when we are visiting on site. This will be an additional costs and will be provided at a proposal stage under siteworks.

Can you build a pool with The Pod?

We are not licensed to build a pool but we can work with your chosen pool company to build them, The Pod and the pool together.

We would recommend something like the Shipping Container Pools in order to keep the look and ease of build simple.

What is your commitment when it comes to maintenance?

Our commitment is to make your life easy and to make you 100% happy with your secondary home. We offer a 90-day maintenance period where you can report to us anything that you think needs fixing or corrections on the Pod.

PRODUCTS & MATERIALS

Can you build in concrete slab?

Sure. This is absolutely possible. We can build on a concrete slab rather than our standard steel frame. Please note that the cost will increase for this change and will extend the build time frame. 

What materials do you use for insulation?

Acoustic Batts and Sisalation Paper

Insulation is fibreglass batts for roof, walls, and floor. 

What materials do you use for framing?

Steel floor frame with a timber wall frame

Wall frames are 90mm pine frame

PRICING QUESTIONS

How much is the additional cost for DA approval?

The DA Approval is already included in The Pod prices.

Why is a Pod more expensive than most?

We get asked this question a lot and it is because we include everything you/your tennant requires to move in.

We completed the plans, approvals, construction and also all of the appliances, full kitchen, modern laundry and whitegoods.

Most companies will just show you the construction cost and everything else in an extra.

Us, as The Pod hate extra/hidden costs so we like to be very upfront about everything. 

We will provide you with a proposal which includes a detailed list of inclusions and any extra costs.

Can we add or remove items from your Inclusions list?

Yes we can. We would like each client to enjoy their new home and for it to feel boutique, so we can certainly tailor certain products & suppliers.

It may mean a price increase but it is vital to us that you are happy with your new Pod.

In our office you can choose flooring, colourbond and paint colours. To make sure someone is in the office when you arrive please call 0403 843 763.

Do you charge for site inspection?

We do not charge for site inspections.

We offer free site inspections for as long as your site meets the requirement to build a Pod. We value your time and our goal is to help you decide if the Pod is perfect for you.

Can you help us with bank approvals?

Yes we can.

We currently work with More Than Mortgages, Deanna Ezzy who is one of the top brokers in Australia. MTM have been brilliant at knowing the Pod product and working with a clients situation to best advise how to achieve their financing approval. We highly recommend MTM. We do not take any referral fees or get any advantage by using MTM, we believe they are the best and use them for that very reason.

If you already have a broker or bank pre approval, we liaise with your bank manager/ broker and yourself with the progress payments along the way with images and updates so it is easier for all parties. 

We try and do the most we can to create a simple process for our clients.

Do you offer a discount for 2 or more Pods?

Yes, we can do. This is on a per client basis. It is best to contact us directly regarding your project. 

Feel free to contact us via this link http://thepodcanberra.com.au/contact-us/ or 1300 the pod.

TECHNICAL INFORMATION

Do you build the Pod with separate electricity meters?

Yes, we do install separate electricity meters for the Pod. Please let us know if you do not require this.

Do you build the Pod with separate gas meters?

In the ACT we cannot separate the gas metre, ACTEW won’t allow us to have 2 metres on one block. 

How long is your warranty period?

We commit to a 20-year warranty on the facade and structural works. We also provide a 90 day maintenance period.

Each supplier such as tapware and appliances have new warranties ranging from 15 years to 1 year.

Can you tell me about your energy rating?

The Pod’s energy efficiency rating is between 6-8 stars. We promote energy efficient Pod and ways on how to make them. We use energy-efficient materials in building the Pod. You can also suggest some materials to be added to your home for it to become more efficient.

How long is the build process?

The build process can vary. 

We state, it can take approximately 12 weeks after DA Approval.  It may take longer if: The build runs over Christmas, if the client is using alternative suppliers, and/or not many changes are made to the standard design.

GENERAL QUESTIONS

What happens if I don’t own the property yet?

We can still conduct a free online site check we can also come out and do a site inspection with you. The things to look out for are the boundary restrictions, pods sizes, proximity to house, parking requirements and basic disability/ accessibility rules (think to yourself how could we get a wheelchair up into a pod without help, things such as a sloping block can cause issues in getting approval).

Disclaimer: We cannot give advice on whether to purchase or not a Property. The information on the site analysis is intended to provide unofficial advice on whether a Pod can fit or can be applied to the property. While we have taken into consideration every rules and regulation in ACT for secondary homes to ensure that we provide helpful information – actual site inspection, house survey and drainage plans are needed to accurately provide Pod plans on the site.

Do you do renovations?

The Pod Canberra specializes in building secondary houses. If you would like to attach a Pod to a home, it makes the process a lot more difficult as we need to comply with the main residence requirements for ventilation, windows and more. 

Our partner company VRD Design, who is owned by Robert Valk, can also help you with the design renovation if you require. If you’re looking to build a secondary residence and renovate the main residence, The Pod with VRD design will work together to try and make it a seamless process for you with cheaper DA and BA costs.

What happens if you don’t have a copy of your house plans?

For plans, drainage and your file from council, visit the below link. 

Please note it will only work if you’re located in Canberra. 

https://form.act.gov.au/smartforms/servlet/SmartForm.html?formCode=1073

Where do I start if I want a Pod?

Start with entering your details on our website. 

We will contact you to show you the display, give you access to our price, inclusions list and brochures as well as provide a free online satellite check to make sure a Pod will fit on your block. We don’t want to waste you time, and therefore if we are not the right fit for you we will try and help out otherwise.

Who created The Pod?

The Pod is a family-owned business. The people behind the modern design Pod are Jacki Valk, Rob Valk and Deb Valk.

Do you give commissions for successful referrals?

We do provide commissions for successful referrals. You can refer your family or friends to us and we will help them with a solution. If they successfully sign-up with us, you’ll get a referral fee or gift for each Pod sold. Make sure the client tells us that you referred them.

Can you build in heritage sites?

There are certain rules in the ACT that make it difficult to get heritage sites approved for secondary residence such as The Pod but we work with heritage architects and may be able to find out a way to help.

Are your Pods wheelchair friendly?

Only minimal conversions will be required to make the Pod completely accessible for people with a disability. In saying that we can create the Pod as a wheelchair friendly Pod. We create the appropriate ramps, kitchen, even an iPad for operating your lights and doors. 

One of our objectives is to bring our clients a low-maintenance and stress-free home that they can use and enjoy for a lifetime. 

What is your privacy Policy?

Information, collection and usage while visiting our site: We may ask you to provide us with certain personal identifiable information that can be used to contact or identify you. Personal identifiable information may include but is not limited to: name, phone number and address. Your personal information will not be shared with unrelated parties. For more information about The Pod Privacy Policy, you may visit http://thepodcanberra.com.au/privacy-policy/

Do you accept rush jobs?

If you are looking for an urgent solution it is best to call us and see what we can do. 

When do you hold your Open?

Our open for the display Pod is usually held every last Saturday of the month from 11 AM to 12 PM. We want to make sure that we can chat with all of our attendees and answer questions or concerns. We limit our visitors each month to cater as many queries as possible during the Open.

Should you be interested to get updates on our Open schedule, you can provide us with your email address and we’ll gladly send our open list schedules. Once the schedule has been confirmed, we will send you the full details of the open. 

What are your office hours?

The team are often on: site inspections, project checks and meetings with suppliers therefore the office hours are subject to change. Generally we are open from Mondays through Fridays 9 AM to 5 PM but to guarantee someone will be in the office when you’re looking to come in please call us 10-15 mins prior to arriving.

1300 THE POD or 0403 THE POD (0404 843 763).