The Biggest Mistakes You Can Make When Building an ADU in California

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) have become an obvious choice among homeowners in California. They are a great way to house family members, generate rental income, or increase the value of your property. However, building an ADU is not an easy feat. There are several mistakes that homeowners make during the building process that can cost them both time and money. In this blog post, we will discuss the biggest mistakes you can make when building an ADU in California, and how to avoid them, and how we can help!


1. Not Understanding Local Building Codes Before Building

This is the most common mistake homeowners make when building an ADU in California. Every city and county in the state has its own set of building codes and zoning laws that you must follow. Before you start building, you should check with your local building department to make sure your plans comply with the local regulations. Failing to do this can result in extra costs and fines down the line, or even force you to tear down the ADU.


 Proteus has an entire department dedicated to working with each city to ensure your plans are handled correctly and as efficiently as possible. It can be a major time saver to have an expert help you here. It can minimize the time for city reviewers and minimize mistakes that trigger corrections.


2. Not Hiring a Licensed Contractor 

Building an ADU involves a lot of work, and hiring a licensed contractor can save you a lot of time and money. Licensed contractors are trained professionals who know how to navigate the complex process of building an ADU. These contractors are also insured, meaning that they are covered for any accidents or damages that might occur on the job site. Hiring an unlicensed contractor, on the other hand, can result in poor workmanship and legal problems.


Proteus is a design build firm that has our own internal team of contractors and tradespeople to ensure you are getting a one stop shop for your entire project scope.  


3. Not Consulting/Sharing  with Neighbors

Before you start building, it is helpful to have discussions with your neighbors. Informing them about the construction and how you are planning on minimizing noise or disturbance may prevent complaints from them. This could save you from potential legal battles or complications that could arise in the future. Lucky working with Proteus, our building process allows for the least amount of on site disruptions as possible. Crane day enables us to have most of the disruption completed in one day. A major benefit in using our custom prefab system. 


4. Not Considering the Neighborhood Style

ADUs should complement the main house and the neighborhood style. California has a vast diversity of homes ranging from Craftsman to Spanish-style, and it is crucial to match the ADU with the decor and style. It is essential to consult an architect or designer who understands this and can help you come up with a design that is compatible with your surroundings. Being able to customize is a must! We can customize to match anything.


5. Ignoring Sustainability

Building an ADU provides the perfect opportunity to implement sustainable and eco-friendly measures. California is vulnerable to environmental challenges that are mitigated by adopting green practices, such as; implementing and installing energy-efficient solutions like solar panels, recycling materials via deconstruction, solar water heaters, and so on. When it comes to being sustainable, custom prefab has its perks: Proteus uses thicker lumber to build its walls allowing for much less need for heating and cooling. On top of this, the low lumber waste is impressive!.


Building an ADU can be an ambitious project if you do not have the right. To safeguard your investment, it is important to avoid common mistakes that can be devastating to you in the future. These include not checking local building codes, not hiring a licensed contractor, not consulting with neighbors, not considering the neighborhood style, and not incorporating sustainable techniques. By avoiding these common mistakes, homeowners can create an ADU that is not only compatible with the rest of their property, but also follows all legal guidelines in California. Let us help you achieve your property goals!