TRUPLANS INC has a new FREE ADU zone check service for homeowners. Homeowners may use this free service to have a planning professional look up and provide a free zone designation report for their accessory dwelling unit project. See more details by selecting "GO TO ZONE CHECK FORM" button below.
Pre-Approved or Permit-Ready Accessory Dwelling Plans?
A few cities such as Encinitas and San Jose have such programs, but what does it really mean?
First off, ADU stands for Accessory Dwelling Unit. It refers to a secondary dwelling in addition to a primary residence. Sometimes they are also known as; a granny flat, guest house or a backyard home. These structures require plans and permits prior to construction. So what are pre-approved and permit-ready accessory dwelling unit plans?
Many people are misled by these two terms; pre-approved and permit-ready. Rest assured it is not what it sounds like.
there's probably no drive-thru window at your local building department.
What Does “Pre-Approved or Permit Ready ADU Plans” actually mean?
Here what it sounds like...
“Pre-approved ADU” makes it sounds like the city has a full set of ADU plans that are already stamped and approved for starting construction immediately on your site. This is probably not the case.
“Permit ready ADU” also sounds like the city has a full set of ADU plans that already have a permit for you to pick up and use. This also is probably not the case.
What It Really Means
When a city announces they have pre-approved or permit-ready plans it usually means they have some examples of architectural and structural ADU plans that they would approve if you meet all the conditions. However, these are rarely applicable to everyone. There are a wide range of variables from property to property not to mention from area to area. There is a reason they offer these pre-planned hand-outs as we will see. Please read on...
Not A Rubber Stamp
In some cases the city has curated plans that have been previously approved for someone else. They would approve them again if you meet all the same requirements. This is rarely ever the case. Although these types of hand-out-plan programs might work for simple patio covers and storage sheds, auxiliary dwelling units are much more complex with tons of variables and code considerations. If the rubber stamp idea came into your mentality it is not a reality. If the definition of pre-approved plans is merely a rubber stamp program then all architects, designers and contractors also have pre-approved plans available and probably more choices than the city would make available to you. Keep reading, we're getting there.
No Skipping The Plan Check Process
There is no by-passing the plan check process at the city. In order for a city to re-approve these previously approved plans you must first meet all the other requirements for your project. The pre-approved status only applies to a small part of the entire process. You still have to go through the plan check process with a full set of plans including; your existing house, existing lot size and coverage of the main residence, proposed lot coverage information, sediment control plan, floor area ratios, set backs, title 24 energy report, mechanical, electrical and plumbing connections, easements, public works, fire authority, soil reports, homeowner associations restrictions, are just a few things that need to be addressed.
Why Do Cities Offer Pre-Approved Plans If They're Actually Not Pre-Approved?
The goal behind any city government’s pre-approved or permit-ready plan program is primarily to reduce the amount of time the city spends answering the onslaught of questions from homeowners, contractors and in-experienced designers. It is a blanketing approach, a way that the city can help to convey the acceptable ADU building standards codified in their local jurisdiction. To this end it serves its purpose well. The main goal is not to give you a free set of building plans with a permit card ready to go. Pre-approved or permit-ready plan programs really benefit the building department by helping them to bridge the knowledge gap that exists especially with new legislation. It is a good and proactive way to help inform those who are interested in a granny flat, but it is not meant to be a drive-thru window for your ADU permit.
More Accurate Terminology "Hand-Outs"
To help avoid misunderstandings most city building departments simply provide what they call "hand-outs" which include examples of acceptable building standards for various types of projects. These hand-outs are common for projects like; water heaters, patio covers, outdoor kitchens, pools, storage sheds and more. Whether distributed online or as a hard copy, they are made available by building departments to help convey the local codes for such projects. With the new California ADU legislation, hand-outs are a common and effective practice by cities to help decipher the new rules they have adopted for accessory dwelling units and junior accessory dwelling units in their jurisdictions. Some of these ADU and JADU hand-outs include examples of floor plans, even structural details, but that hardly makes them pre-approved ADU or JADU plans.
ADU PLANS APPROVED/PERMITTED - We're happy to announce that the plans and permits for this 747 square foot attached ADU by TRUPLANS INC was approved today by the Orange County Building Department.
This accessory dwelling unit is located on the side of the residence. Therefore, the architecture of the ADU had to match the existing home especially on the front elevation. The county of Orange does not want to see two entrances on the front. Therefore the entrance to this new granny flat is located on the left side elevation.
The blue highlighted area of this photo shows the new ADU structure from the street view.
Construction is scheduled to start next week.
How much does an ADU cost to build?
Up-To-Date Accessory Dwelling Unit Construction Pricing
Truplans Inc is working with several licensed construction companies and is authorized to forward pricing, on their behalf, to homeowners for accessory dwelling units and junior ADUs for their projects. You can receive a basic ball park estimate by providing general information about your project online. Then you can also receive a more detailed official estimate when a property evaluation is conducted.
Truplans Inc can also provide the onsite home-evaluation for design and planning ideas in the process.
If you would like an estimate for an ADU project please contact TRUPLANS INC using the button below. This will link you to the form to request an estimate for construction of an ADU project in Southern California.
Can you turn your high ceiling into an ADU?
This is an interesting thought. Let’s think this through to see what might be possible. For over a decade and a half we have been designing and building high ceiling conversions in the empty ceilings in California. These are also known as loft additions. But they are limited to merely open lofts. Anytime type of room can be built in these wide open spaces.
If you have a high volume or vaulted ceiling, typically an open-to-below space from the second floor, you may be able to convert that space into an ADU. That’s the head on approach, but are there other options? Yes…read on.
There are new laws effective in 2020 that apply to accessory dwelling units across California. Due to the affordable housing shortage in California the State has mandated new rules for ADUs and now JADUs. An ADU stands for accessory dwelling unit. JADU stands for junior accessory dwelling unit. These are separate dwelling units that can be designed and built complete with bedrooms, bathrooms, living spaces, laundries and kitchenettes. In essence these are secondary homes that may be permitted on lots zoned as single-family residence.
TRULOFT in a specialty (niche) service that converts high ceilings into new rooms. How can a homeowner benefit by combining a loft addition with an ADU or JADU conversion?
It may be entire possible to convert your high ceiling into a new ADU or JADU. However, that would typically call for a new set of stairs to access the new second floor unit if this was being designated as a rental unit to outside tenants. Although this may be possible, the design might not be appealing for two entries without paying for a lot of extra work to make it happen properly and to code. With a creative design plan the TRULOFT team can review your property to see if you can convert another part of your house into a JADU, for example, with a separate entry and use the high ceiling to build a new replacement room for the main residence. This way your house doesn’t have to shrink in size just because you want to convert part of your home into an ADU or JADU.
Contact the TRULOFT team to schedule a review. Call or fill out the form below.
TRULOFT is a co-op of four companies;
TRUPLANS – expert loft addition design & structural plans
TRUADDITIONS CORP – expert loft addition construction
CA LOFT – Lofts by Aaron and Luis Inc - expert loft addition construction
HUGE GRACE INC – strategic property development