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How to build an ADU - completed guide

The Ultimate Guide to Building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)


Backyard ADU building

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) have become increasingly popular among homeowners looking to add value to their property, generate rental income, or provide additional living space for family members. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire process of building an ADU, from planning and permits to design and construction. Let's dive in!




Step 1: Understand ADU Regulations and Permits


Before starting your ADU project, it's crucial to familiarize yourself with local zoning regulations and building codes. Each city and state has different rules governing the size, height, setbacks, and parking requirements for ADUs. Contact your local planning department to determine the specific requirements and restrictions for your area. Once you understand the regulations, you'll need to apply for the necessary permits before beginning construction.



Step 2: Evaluate Your Property


Assess your property to determine the most suitable location for your ADU. Consider factors such as available space, access to utilities, privacy, and potential impact on neighbors. You may also want to consult with a contractor or architect to evaluate the feasibility of your desired ADU location and design.


Step 3: Set a Budget


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Step 4: Choose a Design


There are various ADU design options, including attached, detached, garage conversion, and interior conversion units. Consider the specific needs of your intended occupants, your property's layout, and your budget when selecting a design. You may choose to work with an architect or designer to create custom plans or purchase pre-designed plans from a reputable source.


Step 5: Hire a Contractor


Selecting the right contractor is critical to the success of your ADU project. Seek recommendations from friends, family, or online reviews, and interview multiple contractors to ensure they have experience with ADUs and a solid track record. Obtain detailed quotes and compare their services, pricing, and proposed timelines before making a decision.


Step 6: Manage the Construction Process


Throughout the construction process, maintain open communication with your contractor and stay involved in the project. Regularly inspect the work to ensure it meets your expectations and adheres to the agreed-upon timeline. Address any concerns or questions as they arise to avoid potential delays or additional costs.


Step 7: Inspections and Final Touches


Once construction is complete, your ADU will need to pass a series of inspections to ensure it complies with local building codes and regulations. Work with your contractor to schedule and prepare for these inspections. After receiving final approval, you can add the finishing touches, such as landscaping, furniture, and décor, to make your ADU move-in ready.



Don’t Forget


Building an Accessory Dwelling Unit can be a rewarding experience, offering numerous benefits for homeowners and occupants alike. By following this step-by-step guide and partnering with experienced professionals, you can successfully navigate the ADU construction process and create a valuable addition to your property.



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