Things You Need to Know Before Starting Your Next Multi-Unit Development

For experienced property investors, multi-unit development is a great way to maximise a piece of land and profit from it. Working with experienced multi-unit builders, a developer can do very well out of each development, but there are a few things to know before you jump in.

What is a multi-unit development?

In very simple terms, a multi-unit development is a project where more than one building is constructed on a single plot of land. It could be multiple townhouses on a block, an apartment building, or an entire subdivision. Experienced property developers understand the benefits of building multi units, as it streamlines the construction process and offers excellent financial rewards.

Most developers engage with an experienced professional project manager or multi-unit builder to further maximise their savings and potential profits. By working with professionals who specialise in building units, subdivisions and townhouses, a developer can keep building costs down without cutting corners or sacrificing quality.

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6 types of multi-unit development

There are typically six different types of multi-unit dwellings that can be built on a single block of land. The type you choose may depend on a variety of factors, including land size, budget and, of course, local council regulations. Here are some of the building types you could consider.


Townhouses are usually multi-story dwellings that take up only a small amount of land. Due to the multi-level design, a townhouse can offer plenty of living space inside while only taking up a fraction of the land plot. Townhouses provide developers with a lot of flexibility, especially when working on smaller plots of land.

Apartment buildings

Usually a larger undertaking but one that’s extremely profitable in the long run, apartment buildings are common in built-up areas. An apartment building features multiple levels, apartments that can be sold or rented individually, and usually some shared spaces such as foyer, lifts, stairwells and other facilities.


A duplex property is basically two homes in one. The two homes share one wall because they are joined together, either next to each other or above and below. In most cases, both homes in a duplex have the same floorplan and layout, making them cost-effective to build.


Much like a duplex, a triplex is three homes joined together as one. They are usually built side by side and have a shared driveway at the front. Much like a duplex, the homes share a wall – in fact, the middle property shares a wall with neighbours on each side. Again, the floorplans and layouts are usually identical, and they can be single or double-storey.


Units are usually single-storey dwellings that share a driveway. The number of units permitted on a block of land depends on the size of the land and units. Council regulations also play a part. Units are separate houses, so they don’t need to share the same design and layout, but they are often very similar inside for ease of construction.


A subdivision is a process where one plot of land is split for the purpose of building multiple properties. For example, a vacant block of land could be split and sold as two separate titles. Developers can also purchase a plot of land and subdivide it, demolishing an existing home and replacing it with two or more smaller homes.

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How to avoid costly issues with your multi-unit development

The whole idea of property development is to make money. To do that, you need to avoid some common development mistakes. Here are some tips to help avoid costly mistakes.

Budget for everything

Finance is a crucial part of any multi-unit development project. Like any investment, you need to clearly understand your costs before you can determine your return. Experienced property development project managers are good at keeping costs within your budget, but they’re not miracle workers. If you haven’t conducted feasibility studies and considered every cost, you risk losing money.

When budgeting, ask your builders for the most detailed, accurate quotes possible. You also need to consider legal costs, stamp duty, bank fees and other expenses outside your builder’s control.

Choose a reputable and experienced property development builder

Your choice of builder can make or break your multi-unit development project. Builders who focus primarily on single dwellings may not have the experience necessary to really maximise the cost-effectiveness of building multiple units.

At Groove Properties, for example, we’re developers, too. So, our team includes experts in design, finance, real estate markets and, of course, home construction. We specialise in multi-dwelling construction and work with developers regularly. Essentially, when you choose the right builder, it reduces your costs and build time and makes the entire process easier.

Invest in planning and design

There are plenty of horror stories out there regarding budget blowouts on building projects. The reality is that most risks can be mitigated with proper planning. Naturally, your designs need to meet council guidelines to be approved, so this needs to be a major focus of your planning. The design and layout of your properties have a big effect on the building process, which is why experienced multi-unit builders generally save you more money. They know what can and can’t be built and how to design for profitability.

Factors to consider when securing planning permits to build a multi-unit

Every council has different guidelines for building approval (BA) and development approval (DA). In addition, all land is different and presents unique building challenges. Councils develop their own sets of rules, but there are some common considerations for all permit applications, including:

  • The slope of the land
  • Site orientation
  • Height of proposed dwellings
  • The effect on neighbouring properties (such as blocking sunlight or views)
  • Appropriate space for cars
  • Plus, many more


The best way to deal with council building regulations is to work with professional builders who understand multi-unit development. They can assist with BA/DA approval because they already understand the council’s requirements and incorporate them into the design phase.

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Get started with your next multi-unit development in Brisbane today

When investing in property development, it’s important to work with people you can trust. Here at Groove Properties, we’re developers as well as builders. We’ve got the experience and real estate industry knowledge to make your next muti-unit development project a success. Our team brings your vision to life, taking care of everything from initial concepts to final completion. Whether you’re building in Carina Heights, Carindale or anywhere else across the region, Groove Properties is your first-choice, knowledgeable Brisbane multi-unit builder.

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