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ADU – Accessory Dwelling unit

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ADU – Accessory Dwelling Unit

Accessory Dwelling Unit

ADU stands for Accessory Dwelling Unit, it means that you can built or convert existing structure on your property to a living space that you can legally rent out. Basically, turning your single-family residence onto a new type of a duplex. In a nut shell, if you ever wanted to convert your garage to a living space, do it now under the new ADU laws. This will be easiest way to obtain a permit and, in many cases, probably the only way. These days, garage conversions to ADU’s are the hottest item in the real estate and construction industry.

ADU Plans

Yes, this project does require a full architectural plan. I’m sure you have some great ideas as for how to design your new accessory dwelling unit but remember, this will become a legal living space and therefore all new building codes will apply. We know how to design it properly to meet all city requirements and maximize the space so you can earn top dollars in rent. Depending on the city that you reside in, the process of approving architectural plans for ADU takes some time, we encourage our potential clients to start with the planning stage even if they are not fully ready for construction.

Garage Conversion Remodeling
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Is my property qualified for an ADU?

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Due to many inquiries in regards to you local city permits we have assigned a designated in home garage conversion specialist to assist you with your garage remodeling, conversion, or garage addition plans based on your specific needs.

Free Permit Research

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Garage Conversion to ADU
Garage Conversion to ADU

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Pearl Remodeling is seriously the best group of people to work with! They turned around my whole house - kitchens, bathrooms, floors, patio, backyard and studio were all renovated. It was a complete overhaul and a huge job. Everything was so well done, but in particular I need to give a shout out to the work they did converting the garage into an open plan studio unit I can now AirBnb. That work is truly beautiful and has been noticed by guests... Read More

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ADU – Accessory Dwelling Unit

Have you been dreaming of converting your garage into a second unit to generate additional income? Or maybe you have you been wanting to create a cozy and private place for your visitors to stay? Well, Thanks to State Senator Bob Wieckowski and Governor Jerry Brown, building a second unit or transforming a garage to an ADU Accessory Dwelling Unit is easier than ever before. Due to the huge shortage in housing and the fact that home values and rent is skyrocketing, the government has decided to take the initiative and instruct local building and safety departments to remove certain barriers that previously discouraged home owners from adding a second unit on their property. This new bill was supported by a huge coalition including Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.

ADU Laws in a nutshell:

To make your life easier, here’s a summary of the SB-1069 ADU law requirements in simple words and as we encounter them within the city of Los Angeles (all subject to changes and are somewhat different from city to city):

  1. The law was meant to qualify properties that are zoned as R1 only (may change, check for updates).
  2. You can convert existing structures (Garages Etc.) to a living space even if they are not situated within the necessary prevailing setbacks, as long as they are legal structures.
  3. You can build a new building completely under the same rules only that new building will have to maintain all required setbacks.
  4. Yes, you can build on top (as a 2nd story). Prevailing setbacks will apply.
  5. ADU’s are limited to 1,200SF and cannot be larger than the main house.
  6. Parking - Carport is not needed. You must be able to park your cars in a designated paved area on your property. 3rd parking space for the new dwelling is not a must if you live within half a mile of public transportation.
  7. Yes, you will receive a separate house number.
  8. Utilities – You don’t have to separate your meters, but you can do so.

ADU – Granny Flat – Mother In Law Suite – Garage Conversion

Today turning your garage into a usable space has become easier than ever before. Prior to January 1st, 2017 about 90% of the request we received for a Garage Conversion in Los Angeles and its surrounding cities would have been denied. The main reason was related to prevailing setbacks requirements and of course, the need of a carport. After passing the ADU Accessory Dwelling Unit bill (SB 1069) those 2 main obstacles are almost eliminated bringing our success rate to almost 85% in turning your garage into a Granny Flat. Now everyone can be happy when Mother in Law comes to town!

The Process of Converting a garage to an Accessory Dwelling Unit


Please note that the process is still the same as before. Certain cities may have different requirements and all of them begin with a plan. In the city of Los Angeles for example, converting a garage to a second unit starts with a plan that shows the house’s property lines and the structures that are on it (Plot Plan). It will also include the “As Build” Plan and the proposed Conversion. In most cases the plan will call to perform some foundation work, especially where the garage door used to be, improve some of the framing work, add insulation, a new electrical panel (or sub panel), windows and doors, a Kitchenette, a bathroom and much more. Depending on the city load at time of submission, obtaining a permit can take anywhere from two weeks to two months. Once approved, you can collect accurate bids from general contractors. Remember to make sure that they are licensed and experienced in garage conversions to Accessory Dwelling Units.


Once permit is obtained the first trade that comes in will be the underground plumbing work, the plumber will need to connect new sewer line to an existing one somewhere around the house, in some cases, an ejection pump will be needed.

After passing underground plumbing work we can move on to foundation, in many cases, new footing is required where the old garage door used to be and even in other places.

After passing foundation inspection we can move on to framing, depending on your layout the framers will create your new walls, build the new exterior walls where old garage door used to be, new window opening and re enforce the existing roof rafter and/or ceiling joists.

Once all farming is up, the electrician and plumber can start with their work inside the walls, what we call rough plumbing and electric. Once this is done and complete we call for rough inspection which is one of the most important inspections.

The next stage will be to install wall and ceiling insulation, pass inspection, install drywall and the pass another inspection. In the meantime, specialty moisture barrier needs to be applied on the floors, the bathroom tile work is ongoing with its own interior lath inspection and hot mop if needed. Painting the entire unit before the finish items are installed is recommended, no inspection needed. Now comes the finishes, all ADU’s must have a small kitchen (it could be even a bathroom vanity size), therefore the next stage will be kitchen cabinetry, countertop, backsplash Etc. as well as all finishes in the bathroom. Installation of floors, lights fixtures, plumbing fixtures, closet doors, baseboards, all comes last. That’s it, one last final inspection and the space is ready!

It is important to mention that the new ADU Accessory Dwelling Unit regulations is designed for SFD (Single Family Dwellings) only. Meaning duplexes and multifamily buildings cannot create an accessory dwelling unit under the same laws.

We provide full architectural services and construction to make this process quick and efficient. If you wish to consult with an expert please contact us at: 800.742.3585