Accessory Dwelling Units Are Not A
Back It Up and Plug It In procedure
Accessory Dwelling Units Are Not A Back It Up and Plug It In Procedure. Inexpensive? Fast? Easy? In a word, NO! Adding a 500sf BACKYARD HOME to your property can be
every bit as complicated, time consuming and costly, relatively speaking, as building a 5000sf home.
Smaller is not always cheaper in construction. Contractors, as in almost any business, have to deal with economies of scale.
How much time will it take a contractor to wallow through the permit process for a 500sf ADU? Probably just about as long as it takes them for a 5000sf home. Time is money and your contractor will charge you the same for this service regardless of the size of the home.
What about site preparation? Sure they are dealing with a much smaller footprint, less material and labor. However, they are still tying their crews, sub contractors, equipment and materials up on your small project and they still have to go through all the same procedures i.e. soils, civil and structural engineers, possibly even a site survey. This all takes time and can cost the same amount of money that a 5000sf home would cost.
Then comes the site preparation which involves layout, grading, excavation, trenching, etc. This involves dump trucks, bobcats, excavators, misc tools, equipment and materials i.e. soil imports, trenching, forming pouring and related inspections; Followed by framing, utilities, drywall, exterior siding, roofing, and on and on; Then more inspections.
Now for the finish work and believe me the devil is in the details. For many contractors this is where the rubber meets the road no matter how small the job may be.
In some cases this is where the contractor can and often does lose money. The final inspections and that much coveted Certificate of Occupancy by the local jurisdiction is just the beginning of the end. The real challenge is yet to come. Satisfying the homeowner. Believe me this is the sticky wicket and it can be painful to both contractor and client.
As you can see, though much smaller than a 5000sf home, your contractor still has to jump through all the same hoops on your 500sf ADU project. Sure it won't take as long, involve as many materials or as much labor but you will still end up paying between $300-$350 per square foot. And that doesn't include all the FrouFrou i.e. driveway, hard scape, landscape, deck, patio, awning, etc, etc. At the end of the day your 500sf ADU could very easily end up costing the property owner $250,000-$300,000.
Well folks, sit back, close your eyes and take a deep breath and when you open your eyes we have the answer right here.