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Frequently asked questions

What is an ADU?

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a secondary living space on a residential lot. Typically, an ADU can be separately rented, but not sold as a separate property.

Can I put an ADU in my backyard?

Yes, as long as there is adequate space to fit one. You’ll need about 25’ from your house to the back fence. Recently, updated state laws now allow an ADU in your front yard if it cannot fit in the back.

What are the setback requirements for an ADU? Height limits?

4 ft. from the side and rear yard property lines and 16’ tall, regardless of differing local standards.

Can I build a two-story ADU?

Probably not, but it depends on your jurisdiction. Most localities allow a 16’ tall ADU, which is too tight for two stories. A few towns, such as Redwood City, have increased their height limit. We have found that our one-story Casitas fit well in local residential neighborhoods.

How long does the permitting process take for an ADU?

Six to ten weeks, although some municipalities are quicker and more friendly to ADUs than others. Some jurisdictions have complicated local regulations such as geo-technical investigations, drainage studies, arborist evaluations, or fire sprinkler requirements that can extend our entitlement times. We’ve been working locally for decades and are experienced at efficiently securing permits.

What size Casita will fit into my backyard?

It depends on the size of your backyard and if there are any obstructions that prevent us from doing so. We’ll need four feet setback from the property lines, and recommend clearance of at least five feet from the main house. We will verify that your size will fit during our free site consultation.

How do I get electricity to my Casita?

We supply power to your Casita from your existing electrical service with a new underground connection. If the main panel does not have sufficient capacity, we will help you upgrade it. We will verify your electric service capacity during our free site consultation.

How do I get water to my Casita?

We will supply water to your Casita from your existing water service (usually from your existing house) with a new underground water line. Since Casita’s use water conserving low-flow plumbing devices, your water service is most likely adequate.

What about sewer service for my Casita?

All Casitas utilize a pumped sewage system discharging into the existing underground sewer line just outside your home. The pumped system allows us to minimize the trench depths, greatly facilitating Casita placement options and reducing costs.

Do these Casitas come with solar panels?

Yes, two or three solar PV panels are often required. We can pre-wire your Casita for separate installation by your subcontractor (often rebates and utility credits make this an easier option) or supply and install the system.

What kind of foundation is the ADU set on?

A permanent slab foundation.

Do these units have heating and air conditioning?

Yes, all Casitas have electric heat pumps that provide heating and cooling tailored specifically for each unit. Heat pumps offer an extremely energy-efficient alternative to furnaces and air conditioners. Like your refrigerator, heat pumps use electricity to move heat from a cool space to a warm space. Unlike your gas furnace, heat pumps have a zero carbon footprint!

Who does the construction?

All work is conducted by experienced professionals who are fully licensed and insured. Our combination of in-house craftsmen and specialized subcontractors allow for tight scheduling and high quality construction. We’ve been working locally for decades.

How long does it take to build my Casita?

18 to 24 weeks from the start of construction. Our up-front architectural design process provides us with complete construction specifications so we can focus on quick and efficient construction. Each Casita has a dedicated construction manager who is on-site daily and responsible for the entire construction process.

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