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What Are The Different Types Of Accessory Dwelling Units In California?



|Last Updated: 08 Apr 2024

In California, accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are a popular housing option, providing families with additional space and homeowners with extra income opportunities.

In California, building different types of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) comes with its own set of challenges. Understanding the types and uses of ADUs can help you open up ideas for additions. Here's a breakdown of the major difficulties associated with each type, along with the standard requirements:


1.Detached ADUs:

These units are entirely separate from the primary residence and are typically standalone structures located on the same property. They can range from small cottages to larger structures and often include their own amenities such as bathrooms and kitchens.

Obtaining permits and approvals for detached ADUs can be challenging due to zoning regulations, setback requirements, and other land use restrictions. Additionally, constructing a new standalone structure involves significant construction costs and site preparation. 

Detached ADUs must comply with local building codes and zoning regulations, which may include restrictions on size, height, setback distances, and parking requirements. Standard construction practices and safety codes also apply to ensure the structural integrity and safety of the unit.









2.Attached ADUs:

Attached ADUs are connected to the primary residence, sharing one or more walls. They may be converted rooms within the existing home or added as extensions. Attached ADUs can have separate entrances and amenities, making them suitable for rental income or multigenerational living.

Adding an attached ADU to an existing residence may require modifications to the primary structure, such as creating separate entrances, installing additional plumbing and electrical systems, and ensuring compliance with fire safety regulations. Coordination with local authorities and adherence to building codes can be complex.

Attached ADUs must meet the same building code standards as detached units, with additional considerations for structural integration with the main house. Proper insulation, soundproofing, and fire separation measures may be required to ensure safety and comfort for occupants.

attached ADU


3.Converted ADUs:

This type involves converting existing structures on the property, such as garages, basements, or outbuildings, into livable spaces. Converting these structures can be more cost-effective than building from scratch and allows homeowners to maximize their existing space.

Converting existing structures into ADUs involves assessing the structural integrity of the building, addressing any code violations, and ensuring compliance with building regulations for habitable spaces. Renovation costs and unforeseen challenges, such as addressing structural issues or outdated infrastructure, can add complexity to the project.

Converted ADUs must meet the same health, safety, and habitability standards as newly constructed units. This includes adequate ventilation, natural light, insulation, and access to utilities. Compliance with building codes for structural integrity, electrical, plumbing, and fire safety is essential.

converted ADU


4.Junior ADUs (JADUs):

Junior ADUs are smaller units typically located within the primary residence itself. They must have their own entrance, bathroom, and kitchenette but can share other facilities with the main house, such as utilities. JADUs are often created by converting a portion of an existing home, such as a spare bedroom or underutilized space.

Creating a Junior ADU within an existing home requires careful planning to carve out a separate living space while maintaining the functionality and privacy of the main residence. Limited space and structural constraints may pose challenges in designing and configuring the JADU to meet building code requirements.

Junior ADUs must adhere to local building codes and zoning regulations governing secondary dwelling units. They must have a separate entrance, bathroom, and kitchenette facilities, along with compliance with fire safety measures and structural integrity standards.

junior ADU


While constructing ADUs brings many benefits to homeowners, there are also significant challenges involved in carrying out such projects in California. One major difficulty is navigating the relevant regulations and approval processes. California's building codes and city planning regulations are stringent, often imposing strict requirements and limitations on ADU construction. Homeowners need to ensure that their plans comply with local building codes and secure all necessary permits and approvals. Additionally, some areas may have land use restrictions and neighborhood agreements, which could further complicate the project's complexity and cost.

Eano's full range of services includes pre-permit applications, even if you are a decoration white is not afraid, these problems can be solved by a professional for you


Another challenge is managing the project's costs and budget. While ADUs are generally considered a relatively affordable housing option, the actual construction costs can vary depending on the region, materials, and design choices. Homeowners need to carefully assess the project's budget and consider various expenses, including building materials, labor costs, permit fees, and other additional costs.

Eano's ADU materials package makes it easy for you to start your addition journey, while giving homeowners peace of mind with open and transparent pricing. Click on here to read our planning and view ADU quotes.

ADU quote


Despite these challenges, California's ADU market continues to thrive, offering homeowners a range of choices and opportunities. With careful planning, compliance practices, and prudent budget management, homeowners can successfully build their ideal ADUs, adding value to their homes and achieving their financial goals.

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