How Do I Get a Permit to build an ADU?

According to state laws, the screaming high housing shortage in California is increasingly getting people to build attached or detached units to their homes, often taking the route of basement and garage conversions. This is an accessory dwelling unit or an ADU. There are several ways to build an ADU, and depending on the type of ADU, getting an ADU permit becomes mandatory. So, before you start dreaming about the extra bucks you will make renting out your basement or the garage, ensure that you get an ADU permit in adherence to state laws.

An ADU is a single-family dwelling or multi-family residence connected or detached and offers completely independent living amenities for one or more people on a lot. It has permanent housing, resting, cooking, and sanitary facilities.

ADUs are built as attached or detached structures to new or existing residences. You can apply to build an ADU concurrently with or after constructing a home on your land, but you can’t build one as a stand-alone project on an empty lot or as part of a commercial structure.

What is an ADU permit?

To construct livable living space on your land, you’ll need permission from the local government. If the area is uninhabitable and less than 200 square feet, you may not need a permit. However, obtaining a construction permit is always necessary when creating livable living spaces. There are three fundamental steps to be aware of — pre-construction/permitting, construction management, and post-construction.

Within these stages, there are twelve sections:

  • Get pre-loan approval for your ADU.
  • Develop a design for your ADU.
  • Apply for city approval.
  • Select an architect.
  • Select a contractor.
  • Get a bid.
  • Arrange to finance.
  • Prepare a construction contingency plan or contract, construction management, financing, and ready-to-use record of the City’s Covenant Agreement.

How to build ADUs?

The pre-construction stage

If you require financing for your ADU project, you should consider whether or not you need pre-loan approval. After that, you create a design for your ADU. You may do it yourself or hire someone to help guide you through the design process. . If you want to do it yourself, you’ll need to check with your local building authority to see what’s necessary and then decide if you have the knowledge, skills, and time to complete the design. If you intend to have a contractor design your ADU, make sure to include a clause in your contract that addresses this.

If you want to handle the design yourself, call the local officials to see if any necessary criteria relate to your ADU design since the allowable sizes of ADUs differ from city to city. To file for an ADU permit and receive a quotation from your contractor, you’ll need a design.

Then you can submit an application to your city for approval.

The permitting procedure for an ADU is divided into two stages. Apply for a zoning permit and a permit to build for any ADU construction work. Further permits, such as electrical or plumbing authorizations, may be required too.

Your city may demand that one or more of your ADU’s external design elements be assessed independently by city employees, which may include standards for your ADU’s front door position, design of outside elements, colors, or other matters.

After the building plans are submitted, your design is reviewed by your local building department, and they will see whether any adjustments are necessary. It becomes your ‘final’ design after the city or county accepts it, with or without revisions. This is the final design that will be utilized in the building process.

Managing Construction

Make sure the property has all of the required permits posted. The work is authorized by the building permits. Make sure your architect services contract outlines what tasks you want the architect to provide if you hire one to supervise your building project. If you’re hiring a contractor to oversee your project, make sure the agreement spells out the services too.

After it’s done

Now you must contact your lender to determine whether any more paperwork is required for your loan. Often, the financing starts out as a construction loan that rolls into a mortgage after the project is completed. You may, for example, want proof that your ADU has passed its final inspection with your building department. Then you must record the city’s covenant agreement, which certifies that you are the estate’s owner, that you recognize there is an ADU on the land, and that you will comply with the city’s or public’s criteria for the same. To complete the ADU procedure, most localities require a documented covenant agreement, as pointed out before. Having this also gives you the advantage of having proof that you have a legal ADU to show lenders or homebuyers in the future.

Now you are set to go.

How We Can Help

While this article touches on the more significant requirements that make your ADU legal, there are plenty of others that may affect your project. If you plan to build an ADU or obtain a permit, it’s in your best interest to consult a professional. Regardless of your project, our team of experts at Design Everest will be happy to assist you with it and make sure that you’re fully compliant with all soon-to-be adopted codes. Contact us for a FREE quote and consultation.

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