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What is an ADU?

Accessory Dwelling Unit

ADU stands for accessory dwelling unit, and it is a second house, that shares the building lot with a primary house. More commonly known as a granny flat, these secondary units have their own kitchen, bathroom, living area, and entrance. While many people decide to build ADUs to house family members, others do so, for rental income. The choice is entirely up to the property owner. Here at H&M Building services we are happy to help with the process. Step-by-step, beginning with learning more about ADUs, to actually having one built on your property lot. 

The Process


The process for building an ADU begins with an assessment. This is the first step of a 3 part contract. During this process we learn if its even possible/ legal to build an ADU on your property. It is very important to find information about your zoning laws, identify model code requirements, determine the type of permits you need, as well as project submittal requirements. To do so, we must take measurements of the existing home on the property, and offer you a simple sketch of the proposed plot plan. We decided to make this contract due to many potential customers investing a lot of money on their own blueprints, prior to contacting us; Only to find out from the city, upon submitting said blueprints, that their property is not allowed to have an ADU. Leaving the homeowner out of thousands, and no ADU project. We only charge $950 for an assessment.


Once we determine that we can, in fact build an ADU on your lot. The second step, is a design contract. This is where we work closely with an architect, and an engineer to bring you architectural and structural design blueprints; Based on your property zoning laws, and your personal budget. We deal with all the logistics, collecting all the required permits, and getting the city to approve the project.


The third and final contract, is the construction contract. Construction only begins after the city has approved your project. This means that the appropriateness of the proposed site is suitable for the type of unit you want to build, and is compatible with your homes surrounding community character. Once this is established, and depending on affecting variables, you can expect construction to take anywhere from 3 to 5 months to build. The major affecting variable in this case, is how much prep we have to do on the land or jobsite prior to beginning construction. Whether we have to level the ground because your home is built on a steep slope, or having to demo an existing garage; these are factors that will impact the construction period.


Lastly, before completing any project, it is very important to us that our clients are happy and fully satisfied with our work. The homeowner and ourselves, will have an initial inspection where we can create a punch list of things to be corrected. If the homeowner doesn't feel it complies with our contract agreements, or if they're simple areas of concern, rest assured we will fix the issue, and complete the project with a final walk-through. After this final walk-through, with the homeowners and city approval, the ADU is complete and ready for use.


Why the best time to build an ADU is NOW!!

Its a new year, and therefore a new year for ADU opportunities. Let's talk about the positive impact these new opportunities have on homeowners. On January 1st, 2020 a series of laws went into effect, these laws intend to address the housing crisis. In turn, they relax the governing laws on ADU's, now making ADU development easier. Below we explain the four bills that hold the most impact, and how they benefit you.


  • No more minimum lot size requirements.

  • You're no longer required to replace off-street parking, making garage conversions easy.

  • Expedited approval time for ADU permits, 60 days.

  • Owner occupancy of the primary residence is no longer imposed in order to build an ADU on your property.

  • No additional or increased utility fees.


  • Prohibits HOA roadblocks on building an ADU on your property.

  • Allows and encourages rental of your ADU. 


  • Eliminates development impact fees on ADU's smaller than 750 sq. ft. and severely limits these fees on larger ADU's.


  • Bans single-family zoning, meaning you can now build up to 3 units (an ADU and a junior ADU) on a single-family property lot.

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