What Are the First Steps in ADU Construction?

Embarking on an infill development project can transform a blank canvas into a vibrant living space. This blog post walks you through the initial stages of constructing a house and an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) on a property, sharing insights from over two decades of experience in the field. Follow along as we break ground, tackle the less-discussed aspects of development, and lay the groundwork for a successful build.

Why Choose Infill Development for ADUs?

Infill development is a strategic approach to urban planning, turning underused land into valuable property. This method is particularly effective in dense areas where creating new housing is a challenge. By adding a house and an ADU, you not only contribute to solving the housing crisis but also potentially benefit from having two separate tax ID numbers, allowing for individual sale or rental.

Laying the Groundwork: Surveying and Squaring

Before any construction begins, it’s crucial to have the property professionally surveyed. Corner pins are placed, and lines are drawn with string across the lot to square the house and ADU pads. This precision ensures that the outline of your building aligns with the surrounding streets and lots, presenting a professional and intentional development.

Mastering the Art of Site Preparation

Site preparation involves several critical steps:

  • Mapping Out: Pay close attention to lot lines and streets to ensure your units are parallel and well-placed.
  • Determining Separation: Decide how far apart your ADU and primary house should be. Consider future possibilities like parking standards or lot splitting.
  • Prepping for Utilities: Locate and prepare for water and sewer connections. This includes hand-digging around existing vaults and ensuring a clear path for connections.

The Financial Advantage of Savvy Pre-Existing Infrastructure

Infill lots with pre-existing infrastructure, like water meters or sewer stubs, can offer significant cost savings. These connections, potentially saving thousands of dollars, are a crucial aspect of due diligence when considering a property for development.

Digging Deep: The Excavation Process

Excavation is more than just digging a hole. It’s about strategically removing soil to reach the required depth, as dictated by a soil engineer, and preparing the site for foundation work. This involves cutting the house pad, ensuring proper depth, and backfilling with rock.

The Importance of Utility Planning

Utility planning is a critical, yet often overlooked, aspect of construction. Ensuring you have the right connections for water, sewer, and electricity can make or break your project. In this case, existing connections to a sewer line and a water line provided a substantial head start, emphasizing the importance of thorough property evaluation before purchase.

Laying the Foundation: The First Physical Milestone

The foundation is the first significant physical milestone in your construction project. It involves careful planning, setting up batter boards for a square layout, and preparing for the footing and stem wall. This stage requires precision and attention to detail, as it sets the tone for the rest of the construction.

Thank you for following the journey of infill ADU development. If you have questions or comments about the process or construction in general, feel free to drop a comment below. Remember to subscribe to stay updated with the latest progress and insights. Until the next post, keep dreaming and building!

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