What Every Homeowner Needs To Know About The ADU Process

Are you considering building an ADU on your property? Are you curious about what an ADU is and what the process entails? In this blog, we will cover the basics of ADUs, including their definition and purpose, the different types available, and the prerequisites for building one. We will also go over the step-by-step construction process and discuss the costs associated with building an ADU. Finally, we’ll take a look at some of the benefits of constructing an ADU that you might not have considered before. So whether you’re looking to create a guest house or rental unit, or just need some extra space for family members, this guide will provide everything you need to know about understanding the ADU process.

Here at GreatBuildz, a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Orange Counties with reliable ADU contractors, we speak to homeowners every day about planning for an ADU construction project – here are some considerations to get you started.

The Basics of Accessory Dwelling Units

Accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, are secondary units on residential properties. They serve a variety of purposes, including multigenerational living, rental income, a home office, or additional living space. ADUs can be created by converting existing space or constructing new units. They provide a more affordable housing solution compared to traditional single-family homes and can increase property value. ADUs also help address the housing shortage and promote housing diversity.

Read More: https://www.greatbuildz.com/blog/los-angeles-50-most-common-adu-questions/

Los Angeles ADU

The Different Types of ADUs

When it comes to ADUs, there are different types to consider. These include attached, detached, garage conversions, pre-fab, and stick-built ADUs. Each type has its own unique design considerations and may require different permits. Detached ADUs offer more privacy and space, while attached ADUs can be a more affordable option. Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (JADUs), are small units within an existing home with a separate entrance. This can be converted from a basement, attic, garage, or spare room. Each type of ADU offers its own advantages and considerations in terms of design and affordability.

Prerequisites for Building an ADU

Before embarking on an ADU project, property owners should familiarize themselves with local zoning laws and regulations. Assessing the feasibility of building an ADU is essential, taking into account available space, accessibility, utilities, and soils. To ensure compliance, architectural and structural plans, building permits, and inspections are required for ADU construction. By checking off these prerequisites, homeowners can confidently proceed with their ADU project, knowing they have met the necessary requirements.

Property Requirements for ADUs

To build an ADU, the property must be zoned for residential use and comply with local building codes. ADUs have minimum and maximum square footage requirements and can only occupy a certain percentage of the lot. Some cities have specific placement requirements, such as a minimum distance from the main house or neighboring properties (usually 4 feet or more). Additionally, ADUs may require additional utilities or infrastructure, like plumbing or electrical connections. These considerations ensure that ADUs meet the necessary standards for safe and comfortable living.

adu planning

Permits and Legalities Involved in ADU Construction

It is important to understand the permits and legalities involved in building an ADU. Local building and safety departments typically require project plans and specifications for approval. Building permits are necessary to ensure compliance with building codes. Inspections during construction are conducted to ensure safety and quality standards are met. Failure to obtain proper permits and comply with regulations can result in fines or even removal of the ADU.

The Step-by-Step ADU Construction Process

The ADU construction process begins with determining the feasibility of the project by assessing the property. Next, you will need to work with an architect or designer to create plans for the ADU and submit them to your local department of building and safety for approval. Once the plans are approved, you can obtain the necessary permits.

After that, hire a licensed contractor and begin the construction phase, which includes site preparation, foundation work, framing, and installation of utilities. Throughout the construction process, inspections will be conducted to ensure compliance with building codes. Once all inspections are completed, you can obtain a certificate of occupancy, allowing you to occupy the ADU.

Permitting and Revisions

Once the ADU plans and construction documents are submitted, the permitting process begins. Homeowners may need to make revisions to the plans based on feedback from the permitting department, such as addressing zoning issues or adjusting setbacks. It is crucial to complete all necessary revisions and obtain the required permits before starting construction. This ensures compliance with state laws and development standards.

adu contractor

Construction Phase

During the construction phase of an ADU project, several key steps are taken to bring the accessory dwelling unit to life. These include site preparation, such as clearing the area and preparing the foundation. The construction team then proceeds to framing, roofing, and exterior work, ensuring the ADU is structurally sound. Plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems are installed, following state laws and building codes.

Insulation, drywall installation, and exterior finishing help create a well-insulated and aesthetically pleasing space. The final touches involve adding interior finishes like flooring, fixtures, finishes, and paint. Once the construction is complete, both the interior and exterior undergo a thorough inspection to ensure compliance and quality.

Related: https://www.greatbuildz.com/blog/building-an-adu-scope-checklist/

Costs Associated with Building an ADU

When it comes to building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), the size and complexity of the unit are key factors that can influence construction costs. Homeowners may also need to factor in additional expenses such as permits and plans. However, homeowners should consider these costs against the potential rental income or increased property value that an ADU can bring. ADUs are becoming increasingly popular due to their versatility and ability to provide additional living space for family members, rental income, or a home office.

adu detached garage

Estimation of ADU Construction Costs

Estimating the construction costs of an ADU can be a crucial step in your project. The costs can vary significantly, ranging from $100,000 to $400,000 or even more. Converting an existing space is usually less expensive than building new, and attached ADUs can sometimes be a more affordable option as well. The size of the ADU, the materials used, and the finishes chosen can influence the overall cost.

To get a more accurate estimate, it’s advisable to consult with a professional architect or contractor who specializes in ADU construction. They can provide valuable insights and help you budget for both the upfront construction expenses and ongoing maintenance costs. Additionally, it’s wise to obtain estimates from multiple contractors and factor in unforeseen expenses that may arise during the construction process. While some homeowners may consider DIY construction to save money, it’s important to note that this approach requires advanced skills and knowledge.

How does building an ADU affect property taxes?

Building an ADU can impact property taxes as it may increase the assessed value of the property, leading to higher taxes. However, some jurisdictions offer tax breaks or incentives for ADU construction. Renting out the ADU may also generate rental income that needs to be reported and taxed accordingly. It’s important to consult with a tax professional or local assessor’s office to understand the specific tax implications.

ADU Design

What are the potential benefits of constructing an ADU?

Building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) can offer numerous benefits to homeowners. One of the most significant advantages is generating additional income through rentals. Homeowners can lease out the ADU space to tenants, providing a reliable source of secondary income. It can also provide separate living spaces for multigenerational families who want to live together but still maintain their privacy and independence.

Another advantage is addressing housing shortages in urban areas. By creating more livable spaces on existing properties, homeowners can help alleviate the housing crisis in their community. Furthermore, an ADU can provide dedicated workspaces for remote workers or home-based businesses.

Finally, constructing an ADU can increase property value. It offers a flexible addition to the property that can cater to different living arrangements and lifestyles, making it more appealing to potential buyers. Overall, building an ADU presents a unique opportunity for homeowners to maximize their property’s potential and reap its many benefits.

Start Your ADU Journey Now

Building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) can offer various benefits and opportunities. However, it is important to understand the prerequisites and legalities involved in the ADU construction process. From property requirements to permits and revisions, each step requires careful consideration. By familiarizing yourself with the ADU process and seeking professional guidance, you can navigate through the steps smoothly and make informed decisions. If you’re interested in constructing an ADU, reach out to our experts for personalized assistance.

When it comes to planning and coordinating an ADU construction project, you shouldn’t have to go it alone – GreatBuildz is a free service that connects homeowners in Los Angeles, Ventura, and Orange Counties with reliable, thoroughly screened ADU contractors and provides project support from start to finish.

Hi, we're Paul and Jon - Co-Founders of GreatBuildz. We believe everyone deserves to find a great contractor, have a stress-free renovation, and enjoy their beautiful new space. There are so many contractors out there and it's often hard to tell the good from the bad... until it's too late. We started our company to help simplify your contractor search and help you have a stress-free renovation experience. We're always available to help, no matter where you are in the process. Click here to learn more about our story.

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