7 Common ADU Construction Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Backyard units, in-law flats, granny flats, or secondary units are among the numerous names people use to refer to ADUs. ADU abbreviates Accessory Dwelling Unit, which describes a secondary housing unit detached from the main house. ADUs can house guests or extra family members, but some folks rent them out for additional income.

Although ADUs are smaller than standard housing units, constructing them still requires a great deal of technical knowledge, skill, and diligence. Even minor ADU construction mistakes can ruin your ADU construction project and throw a lot of money out the window.

Unfortunately, most people are oblivious of these construction mistakes, but that’s why we’re here.

Join us today as we highlight a couple of mistakes most people make during ADU construction.

1. Failing To Comply With Local ADU Regulations

The first mistake most people make when constructing their ADUs is failing to comply with local ADU building codes. It’s crucial to construct your ADU to the latest ADU building codes that the authorities stipulate. It’s also a good idea to check for any updates to your local regulations to ensure your ADU is fully compliant.

Failing to comply with ADU regulations can lead to structural failure that may translate to injury and massive losses. You can also attract hefty fines from local authorities, and you might have to redo your entire project. A reputable ADU construction service ensures that your ADU is fully compliant with all regulations.

2. Not Taking Advantage of Space

The question “What is an ADU?” could attract many answers, but one remains certain; ADUs are small. You’ll have to take advantage of the limited space to meet all your housing needs. Failing to optimize the space in your ADU is a huge mistake.

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your ADU space:

Think vertically: If you have limited square feet on the ground, why not go up instead? Increasing ceiling height can make your ADU feel bigger and roomier, especially for single-unit ADUs.

Orienting the unit to allow more natural light: No one wants a dark and cramped ADU. Orienting your ADU to have the windows face the sun allows for more natural light. This not only lights up the place but also makes it feel bigger.

Plan diligently: Also, ensure you plan diligently, so you don’t have bigger rooms than others. While a few bigger rooms are okay, don’t let one room’s size constrain another.

3. Not Having a Clear Goals and a Budget

Defining your goals clearly and having a definite budget before starting your ADU construction project is of utmost importance. Not having a budget sets the stage for your upselling and disrupts your decision-making process.

However, when making a budget for your ADU project, ensure you set aside a 10% contingency for emergencies. It’s also worth noting that contractors bid with grade material pricing. This means they price their contract with substandard material pricing to lower the cost.

Once you dig into the contract details, you’ll realize that your contractor may not have quoted the best materials for your ADU. If you want better quality materials, you’ll have to revamp the budget, and it’ll cost a lot more. However, having a budget eliminates any possibility of the contractor upselling you.

4. Underestimating the Project

While it’s true that ADUs are smaller structures than standard houses, it’s no reason to underestimate the project’s scope. Building an ADU is more complicated than more people think. The typical ADU construction project entails the following steps:

  • Exploring various ADU design ideas and picking one that works for you
  • Getting a mortgage pre-approval for individuals who need financing for their ADU construction
  • Getting the local authorities to approve your loan design
  • Organizing your finances and finding a reputable contractor
  • Actual construction of the ADU

An ADU that measures around 500 feet will take about 3-4 months to complete. You mustn’t undervalue the budget, so financial inconveniences don’t derail your progress. You’re better off overestimating the budget than downplaying the scope of the project.

5. Hiring the Wrong Contractor for Your ADU Project

A simple internet search should expose you to hundreds of ADU building contractors eager to do your bidding. With so many to choose from, you may find it difficult to pick the right one for your projects. However, there are certain indicators of a good contractor, and they include:

  • Readiness to provide a written estimate of the costs
  • Respect for ground rules and your private property
  • Proper availability and consistent communication
  • Excellent online reviews and testimonials
  • Willingness to provide information on demand

Steer clear from any contractor that asks for upfront payment. Proficient contractors only ask for payment after the completion of the project.

6. Not Installing the Right Size HVAC

Although ADUs are small housing units, it doesn’t mean you should skimp on its HVAC system. While a smaller HVAC is much cheaper, you’ll still have to pay installation fees and monthly energy bills. Plus, a smaller HVAC won’t cool or heat sufficiently unless you put it on a higher setting, which raises your energy bill.

Ensure you install an HVAC system that fits your ADU. That way, you can keep it comfortable and avoid paying hefty bills for straining your HVAC.

7. Excluding Change Order Agreements in Your Building Contract

Ensure our contracts have a change order agreement to ensure their integrity. Without this agreement, the contractor can change the contract terms at their discretion.

A change order agreement requires the contractor to revamp the entire agreement whenever both parties change aspects of the contract.

Steer Clear From These ADU Construction Mistakes

Do your best to avoid the above ADU construction mistakes at all costs. One sure way to do so is by hiring a reputable contractor to handle your ADU construction. Also, make sure you give the project the commitment and financing it deserves for the best results.

For more informative content, check out the other articles on this site.

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