Tag Archives: accessory dwelling unit

Accessory Dwelling Unit Update 2020

With the arrival of the new year, new housing laws are taking hold in California. Red tape has been cleared for homeowners to build not just one, but two accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, under ministerial approval from local governments.  ADUs, also called “granny flats,” offer cities an opportunity to develop new housing units that are not disruptive to the look and feel of single-family neighborhoods.  Continue reading

5 Ways an ADU Investment Can Produce ROI

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is typically a one or two-room living unit designed as a separate dwelling from the single-family home located on the same lot. ADUs can sometimes be referred to as guest house, carriage house, or granny flat. These spaces are completely habitable with features such as a kitchen and bathroom. ADUs can be a money maker for homeowners looking for short-term cash flow and long-term investment. Continue reading

The County of Santa Cruz’ ADU Design Guide

Santa Cruz County has recently implemented new, more relaxed development standards intended to make building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) easier and more affordable. Towards this end it’s published three guidebook resources, Santa Cruz County ADU Basics, ADU Financing Guide, and ADU Design Guide. This article outlines the County’s ADU Design Guide. Continue reading

County of Santa Cruz Releases Interactive ADU Toolkit

The County of Santa Cruz has released an interactive toolkit making it easier for homeowners to design, permit and construct Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), which can be a more affordable housing option for Santa Cruz County families. Continue reading

Santa Cruz’ “Granny Flat” Program

Like many small cities across the country, Santa Cruz is struggling to maintain its small-town character despite enormous growth pressures.With few new development sites left, the city has turned to its primary asset for help – its single-family neighborhoods, where it is allowing property owners to develop accessory dwelling units, commonly known as a “granny flat.

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New ADU rules for Santa Cruz County going to Coastal Commission

If you are waiting to create an accessory dwelling until Santa Cruz County has adopted new rules to make the process easier and less expensive, you’ll have to be patient a little longer. The Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 Tuesday to adopt new rules for ADUs to comply with new state laws, SB 1069 and SB 229, aiming to make ADUs easier and less costly. Continue reading

Is Building an Accessory Dwelling Unit (A.D.U.) a Good Investment?

No matter where you live – Santa Cruz, Monterey, the Peninsula, or for that matter anywhere in California- if you are considering building an ADU your first concern will be feasibility: will this project pencil out? In this article we discuss considerations when deciding whether to invest in constructing a rental unit on one’s property.

Is an ADU a Good Investment?
Even with ADUs gaining popularity, the value an ADU adds to a given piece of property is hard to calculate. This can make determining whether an ADU is a “good investment” difficult. You may not know whether it is a good investment until you sell the property (which may be many years down the road.) Determining whether an ADU is a good investment is also going to depend heavily on the investor’s (your) financial situation and goals. Continue reading

Relaxed Requirements for ADU’s: An Update

Effective January 1, 2017, local laws regarding Secondary Dwelling Units were superseded. State law now mandates that local jurisdictions ease restrictions and barriers to the permitting and use of what are now referred to as Accessory Dwelling Units (“ADUs”). Continue reading

California Legislature Lowers the Bar on Granny Units.

ADUThe California Legislature recently passed new rules making it easier, faster, and presumably less expensive, for people to get permits for new “granny units” otherwise referred to as “accessory dwelling units” (“ADUs”).  Senate Bill 1069, which was signed by Governor Brown on September 27, 2016 and takes effect on January 1, 2017, amends Government Code section 65852.2 to require local agencies statewide to amend their zoning ordinances to implement several uniform development requirements and restrictions on ADUs – both substantive and procedural.

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Integrated Design Process (IDP) for Homeowners

0409-tn-1The Department of Energy (DOE) defines Integrated Design Process as “[a] process of design in which multiple disciplines and seemingly unrelated aspects of design are integrated in a manner that permits synergistic benefits to be realized. The goal is to achieve high performance and multiple benefits at a lower cost than the total for all the components combined.”

The Whole Building Design Guide (WBDG) describes Integrated Project Delivery as “an approach to the design and construction process that is based on shared risk and reward, and open exchange of information that is intended to optimize project results. IPD unifies the Project Delivery Team at the beginning of the project with the shared goal of project success.”

While in the public’s mind IDP is generally associated with larger, multi-million dollar projects, such are the benefits of Integrated Project Delivery that in our firm’s practice it’s now the norm rather than the exception, with applications for all our clients, whether institutional, corporate, or residential.

In the case of the homeowner planning a new custom home, a second unit (ADU), or simply a substantial addition, the philosophy and mindset of IDP has important practical benefits.

IP-compared-2

Diagram: the traditional design process.

First and foremost, the IDP mindset entails bringing an experienced builder onto the project team as early as practicable in the design process. Involving a builder in the capacity of professional estimator allows early and accurate tracking of project construction costs. This eliminates guesswork, reducing the uncertainty surrounding the most important factor in construction, the Project Budget.

IP-compared-1

Diagram: the integrated design process.

As importantly, factoring costs-benefits as early as possible into the design decision process eliminates uninformed design decisions, re-thinking of previous design assumptions, backtracking, and associated wasted effort.

Regulatory requirements in California are such that the Project Team for anything but the most modest residential project can typically include not only the Owner-Architect partnership but also geotechnical engineer, civil engineer, wastewater specialist, structural engineer, and energy analyst.

With this many professionals working in coordinated fashion towards a common goal, one can see that targeting those resources towards an uninformed goal, without clear comprehension of the construction costs attached to that goal, can be disastrous.

For this reason in our practice for all but the most modest residential projects we typically recommend that the homeowner engage a professional estimator and incorporate them as part of Project Team formation. Thus we collectively target the design objective from an informed position as to construction costs, and not shoot for that objective twice.

In other words, quoting the carpenter’s aphorism, “measure twice, cut once”.

For further reading:

http://www.wbdg.org/project/deliveryteams.php

http://www.wbdg.org/design/engage_process.php

http://www.aia.org/about/initiatives/AIAS076981