Pre-Approved ADU Plan: Good or Bad

ADUs (sometimes known as secondary dwellings) are compact, attached or detached homes located on the same property as the primary residence. Pre-approved ADU building plans are being developed by the city to speed up and streamline the approval process. Pre-approved ADU plans have a quicker review procedure and a lower permit charge for homeowners. The city’s ADU webpage will offer an online portfolio of plans that have been pre-approved. The procedure is as follows:

  • The design concepts and considerations that experts will apply to the picked plans will be based on the results of the public poll.
  • Architects and builders are invited to pitch ADU design ideas.
  • The team in charge of permitting will pre-approve six to ten different plans depending on selection criteria.
  • The plans are made accessible to the residents, and the landlords can get in touch with the designer to establish construction plans.

What Is an ADU Pre-Approved Plan?

ADU pre-approved plans are ADU plans that have been pre-approved by city construction or regulatory agencies for speedy approval. Homeowners can choose to use them toward their ADU investments. Getting rid of this obstacle will help reduce the amount of money and time spent on getting customized ADU plans approved by the city.

However, there is an important exception. It does not imply that the plans already possess construction permits, but it does mean that the process of acquiring permits for your ADU will move faster if an ADU architect submits your application for you.

There is a possibility that owners could save big bucks by using pre-approved ADU design plans. Some communities with pre-approval schemes, like Fremont, can provide much lower costs for pre-approved ADU plans. It is possible because approving a pre-approved plan saves personnel time in the design process.

As a result of the time that pre-approved plans save architecture and design companies’ staff, picking a pre-approved plan might also reduce expenses associated with your ADU’s design. In addition, the pre-approved ADU plans offered are always ready for building and have their costs minimized, which will save you both energy and cash.

Not all pre-approved projects are efficient like this. In fact, many of them are designed to be urban utopias and contain layouts and amenities that are impossible to attain and do not make efficient use of either your area or your financial plan.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Pre-Approved ADUs

Some people prefer pre-approved ADUs, while others dislike them. It is possible to save time and money by using a pre-approved ADU plan that is designed well, but it is also possible to waste time and money by using a pre-approved ADU plan that is poorly constructed.

The real advantage of designer-owned proposal schemes is that they let you keep your pre-approval condition even while attempting to make minor changes. By working with the design engineer in charge of the proposals, users can make these changes and send the plans to the city right away.

It may be necessary to stick with the previous designer or hire a different designer or architect while engaging with the municipality’s pre-approved designs. However, whatever pre-approved plan you select, the project must still pass the usual site-specific inspections to acquire a permit.

Meetings with experienced professionals and site supervisors, for example, would be necessary. An additional benefit of being involved in the permitting process is that you’ll gain a better understanding of your local construction authority’s standard requirements for accessory dwelling units (ADUs).

ADU Layouts: Things to Think About

Before deciding on a new design for an accessory dwelling unit (ADU), several factors to think about are listed below.

  • ADU category

Is an attached ADU or detached ADU better suited for you?

In some cases, you can locate a plan that combines both. ADUs differ from one another in this respect.

  • Dimension

How much space do you need for a new ADU?

From tiny home studios to two-bedroom master apartments, ADUs come in various sizes and configurations. Size, cost of maintenance, and your ADU’s objective must all be considered before making a final decision.

  • The Layout of the Property

Is the size and arrangement of your property such that it may necessitate changes to your plans?

Because of this fact, ADU floor layouts cater to a wide range of property types. As you plan, consider any potential issues, like accessibility, that may arise.

  • Expense

Is the cost of your ADU idea within your budget?

Access to layouts might cost an arm and a leg at some businesses. However, there is a different way to go about this. Instead of building your own ADU plan, which can be hard and expensive, use one that has already been built. Pre-approved plans can be built more quickly and at a lower cost than custom ADUs.


No matter what you decide for your ADU design plan proposal, in the end, it is important to gain as many professional opinions as you can. Regardless of whether you intend to live in the ADU or rent it out, make sure that the ADU fits your lifestyle. The establishment of an accessory dwelling unit is one method to expand your living space, boost the value of your home, and make better use of the resources you already have.

However, if your desired ADU house plan is compact and energy-efficient, pursuing the customized way with an A-to-Z ADU vendor may indeed work out to be less expensive. This is because many pre-approved ADU plans in California allow architects to offer a wide range of pre-approved options. But given that the decisions on matters like aesthetics are made independently of the projects that are pre-approved for the plan, there will still be chances to save expenses. An ADU’s design and construction are no small feat. Finding the ideal design and witnessing your dream house come to fruition can take weeks or even months. Contact Design Everest for a support session today.

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