Tip #1: Plan for Permits
It's important to consider the permitting process early in your ADU or JADU project. Permits are required before you can start building, and the process can take several weeks or even months, depending on your jurisdiction. Also, remember that permit and development impact fees into your cost for design and construction. In addition to the basic fees for filling building and planning permit applications, property owners may be charged various other fees, such as road and school impact fees, special traffic mitigation fees that apply in certain areas, sewer and water connection fees, and fire department review fees.
Each jurisdiction has its own rules and regulations for ADUs and JADUs, so it's essential to familiarize yourself with the specific requirements in your area. Here are some resources to help you get started:
The city of South San Francisco presents information on ADUs, including requirements, permit processes, and design guidelines. Visit their website at: https://www.ssf.net/departments/economic-community-development/planning-division/planning-applications-requirements/accessory-dwelling-units-adus
Alameda County has information on ADUs, including requirements and permit processes: https://www.acgov.org/cda/planning/landuseprojects/secondary-units.htm .They also offer an ADU handbook and FAQs. Visit their website at: https://www.alamedaca.gov/files/assets/public/departments/alameda/comm-services/formsandhandouts/planning/aduinfopacket-revised-6-7-22.pdf
Santa Cruz County provides information on ADUs, including requirements, permit processes, and a helpful ADU handout. Visit their website at: https://www.sccoplanning.com/ADU.aspx
Marin County has extensive information on ADUs, including requirements, design guidelines, and permit processes. They also offer a helpful ADU checklist and an online ADU toolkit. Visit their website at: https://adumarin.org/
San Mateo County gives information on ADUs, including requirements, permit processes, and design guidelines. They also offer an ADU handbook and FAQs. Visit their website at: https://www.smcgov.org/planning/accessory-dwelling-unit-ordinance
Santa Clara County office has information on ADUs, including requirements, permit processes, and design guidelines. They also offer an ADU handbook and FAQs. Visit their website at: https://plandev.sccgov.org/how/build-or-improve-property/accessory-dwellings-units
It's also important to note some differences in the permitting requirements for ADUs and JADUs. JADUs typically have more relaxed requirements and can be created within an existing living space, such as a bedroom or garage. ADUs, on the other hand, are separate dwelling units and may require more extensive permitting and construction. Be sure to check with your local jurisdiction to determine the specific requirements for your project.
Tip #2: Design for Your Needs
When designing your ADU, thinking beyond just making it look pretty is essential. Consider your current and future needs, whether for rental income, extended family, or as a home office. Think about the size, layout, and features that will best meet your goals. You can choose between a pre-fab design or a custom design that fits your unique needs. An architect or designer can help you realize your vision and guide you through construction and permitting. If you have construction experience, you can be the "owner-builder" and facilitate the process yourself.
To find the perfect design team:
Prepare a list of questions you'd like prospective designers to answer.
Consider asking about their familiarity with your jurisdiction's permitting process and examples of past work that is compatible with your design goals, aesthetic, and cost expectations.
Remember that plans can be prepared by someone other than an architect or engineer if they meet specifications within the California Residential Code.
Tip #3: How to Connect with the Right Professionals
Connecting with the right professionals can make all the difference in the success of your project, whether you are building an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) with a design/build team that handles both the design and construction or working with a modular home company, it's important to find the right professionals with the skills, experience, and expertise you need to get the job done right. Here are some tips on how to connect with the right professionals:
Research different companies: Start by researching other companies in the industry. Look for companies with experience in the type of project you are working on and a good reputation in the community. Here are some places to start:
Use online directories: Several online guides can help you connect with professionals in your area. These directories typically list professionals, their contact information, and reviews from past clients. Some popular directories include Houzz, Angie's List, and Yelp. If you identified a few companies you want to work with this way, ask for references. Talking with past clients can give you a good sense of what it's like to work with the company and whether they were satisfied with the final results.
Shows and events: Attending these events can be a great way to meet professionals in your industry. You can learn about new products and services, network with other professionals, and get inspiration for your project. Check your local events calendar for upcoming trade shows and events.
Ask for recommendations: This might be the most powerful tool. Ask your friends, family, and colleagues to see if someone you know has had a positive experience working with a professional. This can save you much time and effort in the search process.
Have a list of questions handy: When you start talking to the companies, make sure you ask specific questions about the project timeline, budget, and communication, and ask them about any challenges that they encountered in the past and how they solved them.
Determine if they have done projects in your area: It's a good idea to choose a company that has done projects in your area that you can go and see. This will give you a sense of their style, quality of work, and attention to detail. Ask the company if they have any projects in your area that you can visit or if they can provide you with photos and videos of similar projects.
Ensure that they are licensed and insured: It's important to work with licensed and insured professionals. This protects you from liability if something goes wrong during the project. Ask the company for their license and insurance information and verify it is up-to-date.
Connecting with the right professionals requires research, due diligence, and networking. Remember to take your time, ask questions, and choose a professional you feel comfortable working with.
All this information can be overwhelming. Remember we are here to support you in building your dream ADU. Simply book time with us so we can find the best way to assist you. At HelloADU our goal is to make your ADU dream a reality!