Did you know that there are over 1.4 million accessory dwelling units in the United States? Accessory Dwelling Units, or ADUs, are in high demand throughout the United States, with 70,000 ADUs being sold in 2019 alone.
There is no better time than the present to join a growing number of people across the country in designing and building your own ADU, whether you want additional room for guests or to add value to your property.
Luckily, you’ve come to the right place for all of the information that you’ll need in order to get started with designing your own, personal ADU.
P.E. For Hire is here to help with all of your design and building needs.
1.) Do Your Research
While ADUs are becoming increasingly popular across the country, some cities are more friendly about them than others. Accessory dwelling units in California, especially cities like San Jose, are being strongly encouraged, and while that’s not the case everywhere, more and more areas across the country are becoming open to them due to the housing crisis.
It’s important to talk to town officials in your town in order to determine your town’s feelings toward ADUs before taking the steps towards building one.
Per InnoDez, some important things to keep in mind are:
- Density constraints of your ADU
- Structural design
- Site conditions (is your property sloped, or have drainage issues)
- Parking requirements
- Access requirements
2.) Know Why You Want an Accessory Dwelling Unit
There is a multitude of purposes for an ADU, so knowing what your plan is is a great starting point. Whether you plan on using it to rent out for extra income, or for housing a family member, ADUs are a very versatile type of housing. The design that best fits you can change depending on your plans for the dwelling. Some typical uses for an ADU are:
- A place for adult children to live that is separate from the main home
- Rental property and source of passive income
- Use as a work area, fitness area, or hobby area
- A place of residence for elderly family members
Knowing the purpose that you want your ADU to serve can go a long way in getting started with determining the accessory dwelling unit floor plan that best suits your needs, as well as what features are going to be important.
Having all the details squared away will make it much easier to get your design approved when you decide that you’re ready to proceed.
3.) Know Your Options
There are a variety of different types of accessory dwelling units, so knowing what you want and what you have to work with is very important. Here are some different types of ADUs to consider:
- Conversion of a garage: a cheaper alternative
- Conversion of a basement with an outdoor entrance: cheap and easier to separate from rest of the home
- Conversion of an attic: cheap alternative, but not good for elderly residents
- A new building: highest accessory dwelling cost, but freedom to choose your own design and features
- Tiny home: cheaper than a new building, with many of the same features
Depending on who you plan to have as a resident in the, certain accessory dwelling unit designs may work better than others. Finding the best balance of convenience and cost is important for building your dream ADU.
4.) Size Matters
Determining the size of the dwelling is also going to be important, depending on how many people are going to be living in it, and what features those people will need. Some places, such as Portland, Oregon, require that an accessory dwelling unit be no larger than 800 square feet, which could alter your floor plan drastically.
Limited space means that you might have to make sacrifices in other areas, such as closet space, appliance size, and the size of furniture. With limited space, you don’t want to have the ADU to be too full to the point of being uncomfortable or cluttered. Licensed professional engineers can be a great resource when determining the size of your ADU and putting together your accessory dwelling unit floor plan.
5.) Be Conscious Of Your Budget
It’s important to know how much your design is going to cost you when all is said and done. This can vary widely depending on if you’re building a new structure versus doing work on an existing part of the home.
For a new ADU, it’s reasonable to expect it to cost around $100,000, and in some cases as much as $200,000. If you’re renovating an existing building you can expect to spend less, but either option can be a wise investment, and renting it out is always a safe option to make some of that money expenses back over time.
6.) Use Your Engineer
Whether it’s something as simple as window and door placement, or as complex as a mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) package, your engineer can be is the determining factor of your ADU materializing into what you first imagined it could be. MEP packages allow the ADU to function the way that it should, with all the utilities that are required for making it livable.
An engineer’s expertise can go a long way towards preventing future headaches for you or your future residents while making your accessory dwelling unit as efficient and comfortable as possible.
The Next Step
With all of that information at your disposal, you’re now well on your way towards making your dream accessory dwelling unit a reality, but there’s one step yet to go.
Contact us, and together we can make your ADU dreams come true.