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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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Below are the common questions we hear on ADU regulations, cost, financing, timelines, working with ADU Works, pre-approved plans, rentals, investments, and more. Contact us to talk about the specifics of your ADU project.

General Inquiries

What is an ADU and why should I consider building one?

An ADU, or accessory dwelling unit, is a secondary living space built on the same lot as the primary home, such as a single-family property. There are several advantages to building an ADU, including generating rental income, creating a space for multi-generational living, increasing property value, and addressing the housing crisis. 

To learn more about ADUs, their costs, pros, and cons, check out our blog post: https://www.adu.works/resource/adu-definition-costs-pros-cons.

How much space do I need on my property to build an ADU?

If you're wondering how much space you need on your property to build an ADU, the general rule is to have at least 6 feet of setbacks from the property lines and other structures.

As for the actual size of the ADU, it varies based on the model you choose. Our M392 model is around 1000 sq. ft, M504 is 1250 sq. ft, and M748 is 1350 sq. ft. Keep in mind that the property needs to be approximately 2.5 to 3 times the size of Detached ADUs.

However, the best way to determine if your property is eligible for an ADU is to schedule a free consultation with us. We can discuss your specific property and provide you with more detailed information. Give us a call today to schedule your consultation! Simply click here!

What are the benefits of building an ADU with ADU.Works?

As a full-service ADU builder in California, we possess the expertise to guide you through the entire process, from navigating permits to planning construction. Our goal is to eliminate hidden costs and unexpected roadblocks, ensuring you a smooth and hassle-free experience. You can trust us to provide you with the best service, as we take pride in our experience and reputation.

The benefits of accessory dwelling units include housing family members, particularly elderly ones, increasing property value, creating affordable housing for the community, and generating additional income through renting. If you want to learn more about these advantages and others, visit our blog post, 7 Benefits of Building an ADU Home (+ ADU Home Guide).

When you're ready to take the next step, contact us to schedule a consultation.

How can I start the process of building an ADU with ADU.Works?

If you're a property owner interested in constructing an ADU, rest assured that the process is uncomplicated. We strive to make building your ADU as simple and easy as possible. Here's what you can expect when you work with us:

  1. Initial Call - During the Discovery Call, our ADU Specialist will learn about your ADU needs and provide an overview of our models and processes. We'll also schedule a showroom visit to discuss the next steps.
  1. Site Assessment - Our team will conduct a thorough site assessment to determine the feasibility of your ADU and identify placement options. We'll also assess site-specific costs and research your property's jurisdiction and permit requirements. All of this information will be included in a feasibility report that will provide an estimate of the total cost of the ADU on your property.
  1. Feasibility Report & Estimated Cost - Based on the site assessment, we'll create a feasibility report that outlines the proposed ADU's layout and any site-specific work required to complete the project. The report will also provide an estimated additional cost based on our base cost of the unit.
  1. Build Agreement - If you decide to move forward, we'll provide you with a Build Agreement that covers all stages of the build process. This agreement will include site-specific costs, the estimated timeline to complete the project, permit requirements, and the estimated cost of your ADU.

At ADU.Works, we have a team of dedicated experts who will guide you through each step of the process. To get started, simply schedule a Discovery Call with us today!

Can ADU.Works assist me with designing my ADU?

We have a team of experts who will ensure that your ADU design meets all the necessary codes and requirements. Our pre-engineered and prefabricated ADUs are designed to comply with local regulations, so you can rest assured that your ADU will be in compliance with your jurisdiction’s ADU requirements. While we cannot customize our ADUs, our team can help you choose from a variety of pre-designed models to find the best fit for your needs. 

To learn more about our ADU build process, click here!

How long does it take to build an ADU with ADU.Works?

We pride ourselves on our efficient construction and building methods that enable us to complete the on-site build of your ADU in just 60 days. However, the permitting process can vary in timeline depending on the jurisdiction and their review and approval processes.

For example, some jurisdictions may have a backlog of permit applications due to high demand for ADUs or other construction projects, causing delays in the review and approval process. Other factors that can impact the timeline include the completeness and accuracy of the permit application, as well as any necessary revisions or additional information that may be required by the jurisdiction.

Rest assured that we work closely with the local jurisdictions to ensure a smooth and timely permitting process. Our team will handle all the necessary paperwork and coordination to help move your project through the permitting process as efficiently as possible. 

What materials are used to construct an ADU with ADU.Works?

We utilize high-quality building materials to ensure that your ADU is both durable and energy-efficient. Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), our primary building material, consist of wood and thick foam insulation. They offer superior insulation, reducing utility bills by up to 50%. Additionally, they provide a strong and efficient core structure, allowing for rapid assembly compared to traditional stick-frame buildings. Their bearing capacity and strength surpass traditional building materials.

In addition to SIPs, we use Helical Piles for the foundation instead of concrete. This not only benefits the environment but also reduces build time, labor costs, and the size of equipment needed for construction, ultimately reducing our construction carbon footprint.

Instead of using conventional materials, we opt for engineered building materials of high quality, such as durable siding, energy-efficient windows, and sturdy doors. Our team selects these materials carefully to ensure that they are both functional and visually appealing, meeting your expectations and needs for your ADU.

How much does it cost to build an ADU with ADU.Works?

ADU.Works offers a pricing model that allows you to estimate the cost of constructing your ADU. The M392 model is available starting at $139,400, but it's crucial to keep in mind that this starting price excludes expenses such as permitting fees, site-specific civil work, and utility connections. Due to the distinct characteristics of each property, there may be a requirement for additional site-specific work, which could influence the overall cost of your ADU build. You may learn about our other models here.

To get an accurate estimate of the cost for your ADU build, our team conducts a feasibility study to uncover any additional costs you may incur, such as concrete demolition, cost of utility connections, among others. We understand that cost is an important consideration for you, and we strive to provide a comprehensive breakdown of costs so that you can make informed decisions about your ADU build.

If you're interested in building an ADU with ADU.Works, please reach out to us for a free consultation. We'll discuss your unique property and provide you with a detailed estimate of the cost and timeline for your ADU build

What is the lifespan of an ADU built by ADU.Works?

An ADU constructed by ADU.Works has the potential to last for over 60 years, contingent upon factors such as the materials used, upkeep, and environmental circumstances. Our use of premium and robust materials, engineered to endure wear and tear over time, guarantees longevity. Furthermore, our team of specialists incorporates the most up-to-date building methodologies and optimal practices to guarantee the enduring nature of your ADU. With appropriate upkeep and attention, your ADU will remain a cozy and practical living area for you and your family for an extended period.

Can I rent out my ADU to tenants?

The ability to rent out an ADU as a rental unit will vary depending on the regulations and ordinances in your specific jurisdiction. Therefore, it is crucial to check with your local government before making any decisions about building an ADU and renting it out.

In California, ADU rental regulations and ordinances have been evolving rapidly in recent years. This is because ADUs are becoming an increasingly popular solution to the state's affordable housing crisis. While some jurisdictions have eased restrictions on ADU rentals, others have implemented stricter regulations. For example, some cities limit the number of ADUs that can be rented out, require specific parking arrangements, or have zoning restrictions on the types of tenants that can occupy the unit.

It is essential to contact your local government to obtain up-to-date information on the regulations and ordinances surrounding ADU rentals in your area. 

Pricing & Financing

What financing options are available for building an ADU with ADU.Works?

ADU.Works offers a variety of financing options for building an ADU that are tailored to your specific needs. We've partnered with multiple banks and lenders that specialize in ADU loans to provide you with the best available financing options. Our preferred lenders will work with you to ensure that you can achieve your goals while remaining within your budget.

In addition to our preferred lenders, you're welcome to use your own funding options. We're dedicated to ensuring that the financing process is as smooth and stress-free as possible.

If you're interested in learning more about our financing options for building an ADU, please don't hesitate to contact us. Our team of experts will be happy to assist you in any way possible.

How does ADU.Works calculate the cost of building an ADU?

We understand that every ADU project is unique, which is why we take a comprehensive approach to calculate the cost of building an ADU. Our team of experts takes into account several factors such as engineering, material costs, permitting fees, civil works on site, and other expenses that may be specific to your project.

To ensure accuracy, we begin by conducting a feasibility study on your property to assess its suitability for an ADU. During this assessment, we consider factors such as zoning restrictions, building codes, utility connections, and other site-specific issues that may impact the cost of your project.

Once we've completed the feasibility study, we provide a detailed report outlining the estimated cost of your ADU project. This report will give you an accurate picture of what to expect, from start to finish, including any unexpected costs or delays.

To get started on your ADU project and receive a comprehensive feasibility assessment report, call us to book a site visit today. Our team will work with you to create a personalized plan that meets your needs and budget.

What is included in the pricing of an ADU built by ADU.Works?

When you choose ADU.Works for your ADU build, our pricing includes all the necessary structural materials such as SIPs, lumber, helical piles, beam brackets, finishes, fixtures and appliances. This means that everything you need for the ADU's construction, including cabinetry, flooring, sinks, and hvac and water heater, are included in our pricing.

However, it's important to note that appliances such as an electric cooktop, washer/dryer, and dishwasher are not included in our pricing. These items can be added for an additional cost if desired.

Are there any additional costs or fees that I should be aware of?

Yes, there may be additional costs or fees that you should be aware of, depending on the site requirements and other factors. These additional costs could include and are not limited to utility connections, removal of structures, or relocation of property lines/fences.

It's important to note that these additional costs are not necessarily related to extra materials beyond what is allocated to each build. At ADU.Works, we conduct a thorough feasibility study to identify any potential additional construction costs and ensure that you have a clear understanding of what to expect. However, it's possible that additional costs could arise during construction due to requirements by inspectors or unforeseen circumstances.

Our team of experts will work with you to ensure that you have a clear understanding of all potential costs and fees before starting construction.

Can I customize my ADU without incurring additional costs?

While we understand the desire to customize your ADU to your specific preferences, unfortunately, we are not able to offer customization at this point. The pre-engineered models that we offer have been designed to expedite the permitting and construction processes and ensure that your ADU is built as efficiently as possible.

However, it's important to note that non-customizable ADUs can actually be more cost-effective in the long run. Customization can often lead to additional build requirements and more complex designs, which can increase the overall cost and time required for construction.

Orange County ADU Builder

How much does it cost to build ADU in Orange County?

According to the UC Berkeley Center for Community Innovation, the median construction cost of an ADU in Orange County is about $200 per square foot. (link to source)

However, this figure could vary based on different aspects of your ADU project. But one thing we do aim to do at ADU.Works is give you the best ADU design at the lowest cost possible without compromising on quality. We also do our best to make the most of every square foot of your property.

How big can an ADU be in Orange County?

The maximum size of your ADU will depend on the type of ADU you're planning to create and the size of your property. The maximum size of a detached ADU could be different than the maximum size of an attached ADU.

What's the minimum lot size of an ADU in Orange County?

There's no minimum size to construct an ADU in Orange County. However, homeowners might want to provide as much space as they can so their ADU will be comfortable to live in.

How many ADUS can I build on my property?

The number of ADUs allowed can also vary depending on the size of your lot, what type of ADU you plan to build, and how many properties you already have on it. But if you have a single-family property already standing on your property, you can probably have one or two permitting you have enough room to build.

Can I get a home equity loan to pay for my ADU?

Homeowners can use a home equity loan, construction loans, cash-out refinancing, credit card or personal loan to build their property. To learn more about your financing options, you can reach out to our loan specialist here.

What are the Basic Requirements for Building an ADU in Orange County?

To see what requirements we'll need to prepare to get your ADU up, check out the Orange County website.

What Kinds of ADU Can I Build on My Property?

Here are a few of the most common types of ADUs you can build in Orange County.

Detached ADU

Build ADUs that stand completely on their own. A detached ADU can be a backyard ADU or any other structure where the living space doesn’t share a wall or roof with the primary residence.

Attached ADU

Build attached ADUs to expand your current living space. An attached ADU will share at least one wall and a roof with your primary house.

Garage Conversion

Turn an existing garage into a beautiful attached garage conversion ADU. Garage conversions are a great way to maximize unused garages. 

Basement Conversion

Do you have an unused or underutilized basement in your house? Turn that into a living space you can house family members in or rent for extra income.

ADU Construction

What is a helical pile foundation, and why is it used for ADU construction?

A helical pile foundation is a type of foundation system that has been used for centuries. It consists of steel shafts with screw-like plates or flights around them that are screwed into the ground until it can properly hold all loading affecting the structure and the ground . This type of foundation provides an elegant and efficient way to stabilize and support structures.

At ADU.Works, we have opted to use helical pile foundations in our ADU construction because they offer several advantages over traditional concrete foundations. For one, they require less manpower to install, which helps to reduce overall construction costs. Additionally, they are better for the environment, reducing immediately the carbon footprint of concrete. Finally, they are less invasive and can be installed 80% faster than concrete foundations. 

Overall, the use of helical pile foundations in ADU construction is a smart and sustainable choice that helps to ensure that your ADU is built to the highest standards of quality and durability. If you have any questions about helical piles or our ADU construction process, please don't hesitate to contact us.

What are SIPs, and why are they used in ADU construction?

Structural Insulated Panels, or SIPs, are a type of construction material that has gained popularity in recent years due to their many benefits. These panels consist of a foam core insulation material sandwiched between two layers of oriented strand board (OSB).

SIPs are used in ADU construction because they offer excellent thermal insulation, making them 50% more energy-efficient. They are also faster and easier to install than traditional building materials, reducing labor costs and construction time.

SIPs also have a higher strength-to-weight ratio than traditional stick-frame built and  they produce less waste and are more environmentally friendly compared to traditional building materials.

Overall, using SIPs in ADU construction can result in a more sustainable and cost-effective project.

Can ADU.Works build an ADU with a basement?

While we are not currently offering ADUs with basements, our team is always exploring new possibilities and innovations for future builds. We understand the appeal of having a basement in an ADU, but at this time, our focus is on providing our clients with high-quality, cost-effective, and environmentally-friendly detached ADUs. We encourage you to stay updated on our latest developments and offerings and subscribe to our newsletter!

How does ADU.Works ensure that the ADU is structurally sound?

To ensure that the ADU is structurally sound, we have a team of professional structural and geotechnical engineers who design the unit's structure and foundation according to the latest building codes and standards, taking into account all loading and site conditions. Our panels and helical piles are also structural-certified to ensure their quality and strength.

Additionally, we have city inspectors visit the site at every step of the building process, from laying the foundation to finishing the roof, to analyze our work and ensure it meets all building codes and regulations. We take your safety seriously and strive to ensure that all of our work is up to code and built to last.

What is the lifespan of a helical pile foundation?

The lifespan of a helical pile foundation can vary depending on various factors such as soil conditions, erosion, and seismic activity. However, on average, helical piles have a lifespan of around 75 to 150 years. It's worth noting that the pile's failure is usually due to the surrounding soil conditions and not the pile itself. In stable soil conditions, helical piles can last for much longer. Our team ensures that the helical piles we use in our ADU constructions are made of high-quality materials and meet all relevant industry standards to ensure their longevity.

How are septic tanks installed for an ADU built by ADU.Works?

We want to make sure that we are providing the best possible services for our customers. While we specialize in building ADUs, septic tank installation is not part of our services. However, we understand that this may be an important aspect of your project, and we encourage you to reach out to a licensed professional to assist with this part of the process. We can work with you to ensure that the ADU is built with the necessary requirements to connect to a septic system. Our team is happy to assist with any questions you may have throughout the process.

What type of roofing is used for an ADU built by ADU.Works?

At ADU.Works, we use a Saltbox type roof for our M392 and M504 models, and an additional shed type roof for our M748 model. While the roof style may not match the architecture of the existing home, we do ensure that the shingles type and color are matched. Our ADUs are built using beams and Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), water and air proof with fire resistant shingles as required, which provide a strong and durable roofing structure.

Please note that if you have specific roofing material preferences or requirements, we can work with you to accommodate your needs.

Can ADU.Works build an ADU with a garage or carport?

We currently do not offer the option to build an ADU with a garage or carport. Our focus is on delivering pre-engineered detached ADU models that are designed to be efficient, cost-effective, and quick to build. However, we are constantly evaluating and updating our services, so we encourage you to check back with us in the future for any changes or updates to our offerings.

Can ADU.Works build an ADU on a sloped lot?

Yes, we can build an ADU on a sloped lot, but it will require additional measures to ensure the structural integrity of the unit. Building on a slope can be more expensive than building on a flat lot due to the additional work required. In this case, additional columns will need to be attached to the helical pile head and the subfloor wood beams to ensure stability and safety. This will trigger higher design costs, engineering costs, soil/topographic surveys, and material costs.

If you're interested in building an ADU on a sloped lot and want to know if it's feasible, we recommend booking a site visit and a feasibility assessment with one of our ADU experts. They can assess the site and provide you with more information about the specific requirements and costs involved in building an ADU on a sloped lot.

ADU Process & Timeline

How long does it take to obtain permits for an ADU?

The time it takes to obtain permits for an ADU varies by jurisdiction and can range anywhere from a couple months to several months. In some areas, like San Mateo, the process could exceed 6 months due to specific regulations and requirements.

At ADU.Works, we understand that the permit process can be the longest part of the ADU building process. From our experience, it can take anywhere from 3-6 months to get approval from your county. This is something that you should take into consideration when deciding to build an ADU. However, our team always aims to expedite the process and ensure that all necessary steps are taken to obtain permits as quickly as possible.

What is the timeline for building an ADU with ADU.Works?

Our on-site build time is typically around 60 days from the start of foundation laying, although this can vary depending on factors such as weather and any unexpected delays in the permitting process.

How involved do I need to be in the ADU construction process?

We understand that you may have a busy schedule and don't want to add any additional stress to your life. That's why we strive to make the ADU construction process as seamless and stress-free as possible for you. Our team will take care of all the heavy lifting, from obtaining permits to the final touches on the build. However, we will keep you informed throughout the process and provide regular updates to ensure you are comfortable with the progress being made. If you have any questions or concerns, our team is always available to address them. Overall, our goal is to make this process as smooth and hassle-free as possible for you.

Will I be able to make changes to the ADU design during the construction process?

While we understand that you may have ideas for modifications during the construction process, we have set the design and plan sets to ensure the quickest and most efficient building process possible. By avoiding design changes during construction, we can reduce delays and ensure that your ADU is built within the timeframe we've estimated. This approach also allows us to keep costs lower and more predictable, making it easier for you to plan and budget for your project.

What happens if there are delays in the construction process?

While we strive to complete every project within the given timeline, sometimes delays may occur due to factors beyond our control, such as weather conditions or unexpected material shortages. In the event of any delays, we will promptly inform you and provide regular updates on the status of the project. We understand the importance of timely completion and will do everything in our power to minimize any potential delays and keep the project on track.