How to Plan an Additional Dwelling Unit in Los Angeles

Whether you call them granny flats, in-law units, or “additional dwelling units” – it’s easy to see that these innovative housing solutions are taking Los Angeles by storm! In the midst of a housing crisis, the state of California has passed legislation aimed at making ADU construction more accessible to homeowners. In January 2020, the state passed two new laws (AB-68 and SB-13) which will allow many single-family and multi-family properties to add one unit. Within Los Angeles, this means that as many as 381,082 homes may now be eligible to add an ADU!

In this article, we’re going to explain the process of creating an additional dwelling unit in Los Angeles. From hiring a contractor to navigating the permitting process, we’ll review the key details that every homeowner should know. Let’s get started!

Assess Available Space

Before you begin the planning process, the first step is to confirm that you have sufficient space on your property. To construct an ADU, you’re required to have at least four feet of setback between the edge of the unit and your property line. If you’re converting a garage or remodeling another existing structure, you won’t need to worry about this requirement.

Once you’ve determined whether you meet the setback requirements, it’s time to consider the size of the ADU itself. According to California law, an ADU that’s attached to an existing home can only be 50% of the size of the main unit. Detached ADUs aren’t restricted based on the size of the home, but they are limited to a maximum size of 1200 square feet. All ADUs must also be less than 16ft tall, or, if you’re converting a space, it must be no taller than the existing structure.

Now that we’ve covered setback space and size restrictions, we have one final check to perform! ADUs must also be at least 10 feet away from the primary residence. As before, existing structures (like a garage) are also exempt from this requirement.

Review & Budget for Other State Requirements

Depending on where you are located, building codes may dictate features of the ADU such as the number of exits and entrances, the height of the ceiling, the number of outlets, and other factors. You will also need to adhere to certain restrictions on building materials. For example, windows must be at least double-paned without an exterior trim and the roof must have a minimum pitch of 2:12. Additionally, builders may not use single piece composite, laminates, or interlocked metal sheathing for the exterior cladding.

Regulations like these were put in place simply to ensure that ADUs meet minimum housing quality standards.Generally, they are not particularly restrictive for homeowners, but many find it helpful to account for compliance measures while planning their budget.

The bigger the dream,
The More Important The Team!

With Regal Construction & Remodeling, it only takes a few minutes to start building your dream home! Give us a call today!

Choose a Los Angeles ADU Contractor

When you’re exploring the possibility of creating a new ADU in Los Angeles, it’s important to find the right contractor. Try to refine your search to include only local and licensed contractors who can present a CSLB license and proof of insurance. Before signing any contract, make sure you’ve requested at least three different project bids and take the time to check references.

For more tips on choosing the right contractor, check out our blog on the topic!

Make Plans to Connect the Utilities

Before requesting a construction permit, make sure that you understand how the ADU will be connected to utilities like gas, sewer, and electricity. While you may be able to connect the ADU to your primary fuse box, we recommend having it separately metered – particularly if you’re planning to rent out the space. You’ll also want to determine how you’ll connect to the water main. Typically, homeowners are able to connect their ADUs direction to the main house water connection. Be sure to discuss any concerns about utilities with your chosen contractor!

Obtain the Appropriate Permits

The permitting process for ADUs can be quite confusing for homeowners. If you’re working with a reputable contractor, they should manage the bulk of the approval process. After an architect has finalized the plans, they will submit the relevant documentation to the Department of Regional Planning. The local authorities will review your application and zoning restrictions to determine whether they’re in compliance with all restrictions.

At Regal Construction & Remodeling, our elite team includes some of the best ADU contractors in Los Angeles. We know what is required to comply with building codes and local ordinances, and we’ll help you understand your options. If you decide to proceed, we’ll manage the permitting process from start to finish.

The bigger the dream,
The More Important The Team!

With Regal Construction & Remodeling, it only takes a few minutes to start building your dream home! Give us a call today!

Working with Regal Construction for Additional Dwelling Units

Since 2008, we’ve been helping homeowners with their Los Angeles home addition projects. When you contact us for an estimate, we’ll start by discussing your goals. We love to help homeowners find thoughtful and creative solutions to everyday functional problems.

Next, we will schedule a consultation. During your in-home consultation, we’ll assess the available space. At this stage, we’re going to help you ensure the functionality of your planned additional dwelling unit.

After we’ve designed your addition, we’ll move on to drafting an estimate. Our estimate gives you an expected cost breakdown for materials and labor. Our company was built on a foundation of trust and respect for our customers, so we don’t use any high-pressure sales tactics. We strive for excellence in every project, and customer satisfaction is our top priority.



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