What is an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit)?

Aug 8, 2021 | Room Additions | 0 comments

In recent times, ADUs have absolutely blown up in terms of popularity and flourished in the world of real estate. Although the concept of an ADU is an old one, they really fell out of popularity in the 20th century and have since made a drastic comeback. Nowadays, ADUs are known as granny flats, in-law units, laneway houses, secondary dwelling units, and there are perhaps other names you have heard that mean the same thing. That being said, what exactly is an ADU, and does it fit into your current home? Luckily for you, the team of professional builders at Style & Structure is able to clearly define exactly what ADUs are and help you to decide whether or not an ADU is right for you.

What is an ADU?

In the simplest of terms, ADUs are separate, livable units that share the same land property as the main home. The simplest example would be a backyard cottage, a type of ADU that is predominantly popular in California. ADUs can also be structurally attached to the main home, however, which essentially expands the already-existent living space. If you would like, an ADU can even be converted from an already existing bedroom or a garage. Clearly, ADUs allow you to get creative and give you flexibility so that you are able to add to your home depending on your specific, individual needs.

ADUs are, by definition, supposed to be independent living spaces. This means that they are built to the same quality of a miniature house in order to match the quality of the main living space on your property. This also means that ADUs are required to have their own utilities connections, living areas, bathroom facilities, and a kitchen in order to meet the requirements of a separate living space. More on this later.

Different Types of ADUs

ADUs are allowed to come in a variety of different shapes and sizes depending on your needs. There are also different types of ADUs which allows you to select the one that you could use the most. For a quick summary, there are 3 types of ADUs: detached ADUs, attached ADUs, and conversions. Knowing that, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to ADUs.

Detached ADUs are structures in your backyard that are detached from any other structure on the property. These ADUs are ideal when you want a separate living space that allows for maximum privacy. Detached ADUs are predominant when the homeowner wants to rent out living space while maintaining privacy, or when multiple families share a property. Conveniently, since detached ADUs don’t come into any contact with the main home, construction is simpler since the quality of the ADU does not depend on the quality or conditions of the main home or garage.

Attached ADUs are simply units that are attached to the main house or another pre-existing structure. These ADUs are common for homeowners who are looking to maximize their living space or create temporary rental spaces in their home. Since attached ADUs are additions to the pre-existing home structure, it is important to note that these ADUs may need fire-rated separations between the ADU and the main home, which can increase the price.

Conversion ADUs, or JADUs, are ADUs that are built using living space that already exists in the house structure. These ADUs are most commonly garage conversions, but are also seen with basements, attics, and spare bedrooms. JADUs are smaller conversion ADUs with relaxed standards when it comes to bathrooms and kitchens. Conversion ADUs are cost-efficient ways of expanding your living space or adding a rental space to your property.

ADU requirements

Simply put, an ADU must have complete independent living facilities, which includes bedroom space, kitchen facilities, and bathroom space. This also includes utilities connections. As long as these requirements are met, your ADU can become whatever you would like it to be!

Is an ADU For Me?

The answer to this question is not so straightforward. The decision to have an ADU added to your property is a big one, although they tend to be highly beneficial to homeowners. Whether you need extra living space or are looking for rental space, there is always an ADU that fits your unique property and lifestyle. If you would like to speak with the professional builders at Style & Structure for a free consultation and estimate regarding the addition of an ADU, contact us today!