There’s simply never been a better time to build an ADU in San Diego. Property values continue to rise and increasingly friendly building regulations have made it an excellent investment opportunity that you don’t want to miss.
So if you’re ready to build an incredible ADU, book a consultation w/ us to discover how our integrated design + permitting process will help you build a modern or minimalist ADU efficiently in San Diego.
For a sneak preview of what our ADU design process looks like, check out the video here.
Your ADU Project Goals and What You’ll Need to Do to Achieve Them
A General Estimate Of How Much Your Project Will Cost + Potential Ways To Save Money
What Permits Your Project May Be Subject To And The Associated Cost
What Our Studio’s Design, Permitting, and Construction Process Looks Like
An Overview of the ADU Project Process + Expected Timeline Of Your Project
Actionable Next Steps You Can Take To Move Your Project Forward
A.D.U. stands for Accessory Dwelling Unit. These are legal structures that always serve as an accessory to a primary Dwelling Unit.
You may have heard the term being used more frequently in the last few years because the newer allowance of ADUs has been the primary strategy to alleviate California’s housing crisis. Typically the municipal fees for ADUs are significantly less than they would be for a primary Dwelling Unit of the same size.
Every municipality has different regulations for ADUs. In general, they can range in size from 150sf to 1,200sf. Some cities restricted the maximum height to16-feet while other cities allow them to be taller. Sometimes certain setbacks are reduced. Some zones/municipalities allow multiple ADUs on a single lot.
The first few weeks of a new ADU project are spent requesting record drawings, measuring/documenting the existing conditions, researching relevant codes, + meeting with municipal staff to get clarification on development options.
More complicated projects may require a formal preliminary submittal to obtain the needed clarification to move forward with the design.
Once we’re able to begin design we will go through a predetermined amount of meetings, progressing the design forward in each. The goal of this process is to move from more vague ideas to more detailed specifications.
Smaller ADU projects can take as little as 2 months to design while larger ADUs will take longer.
When the design is completed we are ready to produce our architectural construction drawings + begin any engineering needed. This phase can take one or two months depending on the complexity of the ADU + site conditions.
Now we’re ready for permitting! Although the State of California requires ADU projects to be permitted within a 60 day period, real-world permitting timelines are highly variable, ranging from as little as 3 months for more straightforward projects to well over a year to achieve the more difficult permit types required for certain projects.
Construction is also highly variable + will depend mostly on your general contractor. Even smaller construction projects will take at least 6 months. Larger projects can take a year or more to complete.
Custom ADUs can be more expensive than expected so it’s important to have an understanding of the costs before you begin your project. To answer this question let's break the project into a few categories below.
Soft Costs include design, engineering, consultants, + permitting. Every ADU is different + will require different professionals. Most projects we work on include an architect (obviously), a structural engineer, + an energy consultant (who produces the “Title-24 Report”). In California, the submittal package for an ADU permit can be pretty intensive so we have set a minimum fee of $20k for our architectural design package.
Permitting is also a type of soft cost. Permitting will vary greatly in price depending on the municipality + the type of permit. A Coastal Development Permit or Site Development Permit will be considerably more expensive than a more simple permit. Municipal fees for ADUs are usually reduced in comparison to a standard home of the same size.
Hard Costs are directly related to construction including materials and labor. Since the beginning of the global pandemic construction prices has increased. Currently in Southern California minimum construction costs are around $250-300 per square foot. A custom ADU will increase in the cost depending on the features + finishes. It’s also important to understand that a smaller ADU may cost more per square foot than a larger ADU.
A JADU or Junior Accessory Dwelling Unit is a specific type of accessory structure. JADUs come with specific restrictions + cannot be permitted on every lot. JADUs are generally limited to 500sf + need to be attached to another structure.
Some zones/municipalities allow multiple ADUs on a single lot. Typically multi-family zones or transit priority zones are where multiple ADUs are permutable. Each municipality regulates ADUs slightly differently. Most single family zones allow an ADU + a JADU.
Your ADU consultation would take place at our architecture studio's office located at 4411 30th St.
Suite 202 in the North Park neighborhood of San Diego. We'll send you all the details before your consultation meeting takes place. Virtual consultations are also available upon request.