LEADING THE ADU REVOLUTION IN CA
We are ADU specialists - That's all we do.
Have you been considering building an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit), but are not sure where to start? Maybe you have already got your financing put together and have a rough design, but are looking for someone to complete plans and permitting. Or maybe you've already got plans from a designer, and are looking for a bid.
As a design/build contractor, we can provide assistance from start to finish. We exclusively build ADU's, and have been doing that since the deregulation laws passed in CA in 2020. We've successfully completed projects across the Bay Area and Sacramento, and have learned how to navigate permitting issues, as well as meet design goals while keeping budget in mind.
Please reach out to us on our main phone line, send us an email, or schedule a phone consultation by filling out a quick form. Hope to talk soon!
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Here is a helpful guide that details the costs, durations and tasks involved leading up to an ADU construction project.
2020 ADU DEREGULATION LAW SUMMARY
This is a summary of the (6) different laws that passed in 2020, all with the goal of deregulating ADUs and making them more attractive to build. Created by California Division of Housing Policy Development.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN "STICK-BUILT" AND "MODULAR" CONSTRUCTION?
Stick-Built construction is the traditional way of building - the building is built piece by piece (or stick by stick), from the ground up. The foundation is built, then each trade comes in and does their part to make the building. Local building inspectors verify and sign off each step.
Modular construction is when a building is built in a factory, under a separate set of Modular specific building codes. It is then transported by road to the build site, and set or craned onto its foundation.
HOW MUCH WILL I PAY IN PERMITS AND FEES?
2020 was a great year for ADUs. There were multiple laws passed to make ADUs more attractive to build, and reduce red tape getting in the way of development.
If your ADU is under 750 sqft, you will be exempt from "Impact Fees" which are fees charged to contribute to local roads, schools, etc. that other development projects usually have to pay.
From our experience, if under 750 sqft, permit fees range from $5k to $10k, and if over 750 sqft fees range from $10k to $20k.
HOW CLOSE CAN I BUILD THE ADU TO MY HOUSE? MY FENCE?
If your building is under 800 sqft and less than 16 feet tall, it is guaranteed 4 foot setback from property lines. Otherwise, those distances are set by the local jurisdiction.
Distance from existing house varies by jurisdiction, but is usually anywhere from 4 feet to 10 feet.
HOW DO I GET PLANS DRAFTED?
The first step to getting plans drafted is an initial phone call to talk about the project, and if an ADU project makes sense for you. If so, there will be a site visit to take measurements, then a rough floorplan created. If the budget checks out, we get a drafter involved and he handles the rest!
HOW LONG DOES THE PROCESS TAKE?
Check out the Pre-Construction Timeline (also linked above under "Helpful Handouts") for a great general idea! Usually, jobs take anywhere from 9-12 months from first conversation to keys in hand and move-in.
WILL MY NEW ADU HAVE ITS OWN ADDRESS?
Yes! As its own dwelling unit, it will have it's own address. This is no additional cost and comes as part of the permitting process.
WHAT KIND OF FOUNDATION WILL THE ADU HAVE?
The most common foundation type for an ADU in California (and most new houses) is the Slab on Grade (SOG). The other option is a raised foundation which is typical of older homes.
SOG is more cost effective, and provides great features like pest and water resistance and insulation.
A raised foundation raises the floor an additional 2 feet or so off the ground, with a wooden floor and crawlspace below. Benefits are ability to relocate and repair sewer drains, ability to do floor HVAC ducting, and ease of install for nail-down flooring.
WHAT IF I AM NOT SATISFIED WITH REDWOOD ADU LLC?
Great question! Luckily California has a robust system for holding contractors responsible, and protecting homeowners. The CSLB is a state regulator of contractors that can handles all complaints about contractors. After an investigation, the CSLB can discipline them, and even compensate the homeowner using the contractors Bond on file.
Building inspectors act as another line of defense to ensure a contractors work is done to meet CA building codes.
Of course we hope this never happens, and always keep communication open so if a problem does start developing it is handled before it becomes worse.
HOW LARGE CAN I BUILD MY ADU? HOW TALL?
Under the 2020 state law, your guaranteed at least an 850 sqft ADU if you have One Bedroom or less. If you have Two Bedrooms or more, you are guaranteed a size of 1000 sqft. You are also guaranteed a height of 16 feet.
Any size or height greater must be approved by local jurisdiction. However, many cities heavily encourage ADUs and actually deregulate further, allowing up to 1200 sqft ADUs, multiple ADUs (Sacramento) and even waive parking requirements.
WILL IT BE EARTHQUAKE RESISTANT?
The Bay Area is seismically active, and for that reason building departments in that area will usually require a geotechnical report. This reports provides information to the structural engineer so he can beef up the foundation and framing as needed to account for possible future earthquakes, soft/swampy ground, or even clay beneath the surface.