Remodeling May 18, 2020

ADU – what??

Here I am on a Friday morning in May, while still under our “safer at home” orders, about to embark on an adventure in remodeling.  In the fall we made the decision to add an ADU to our home.  You may be asking, an AD what??  An ADU is an Accessory Dwelling Unit.  These are what you may have called a “granny flat” or “guest house”.  They can be either a garage conversion, an addition to an existing single family home, or a separate building on the property of a single family home.   Updates to California state laws in 2017 has loosened up regulations regarding the additions/conversions.  They have now even begun to allow a second unit to be built as well.  Those are called Junior ADUs.  Like many things when dealing with the city and city ordinances, there are many rules and regulations.  I won’t get into too many specifics, but here is link that explains things in better detail.  As always, check with building and safety for current building codes.  ADU’s are a great option for additional family members or as additional income (from rent) for the



For us, this all started back in the summer 2019 when my mother moved in with my family.  She is a young and vibrant “boomer” and we all agreed that adding an addition for her to have her own area would work well.  After meeting with several contractors and designers we decided to add an attached ADU to the side of our home.  There will not be direct access from the main house, but we will have a shared wall.  It will be a 400 sq.ft. studio, with her own entrance.  We had decided against a garage conversion for several reasons: where would we store all of “stuff”, I actually park my car in there and most important – we would lose the beer fridge!

Here’s a brief timeline of how we got to where we are today:

  • Fall 2019 – met with 6 contractors/designers to get ideas on cost and options.  We also needed to have our property surveyed to locate any easements, property lines, etc.  So we hired a licensed land surveying company – Iacobellis & Associates.  Yep, that’s my husbands business, sometimes it’s good to know people 😉
  • December 2019 – We hired our architect, ASA Design & Engineering, and they began drawing up plans.  We reviewed their plans, made adjustments and proceeded to formalize our submission to Building & Safety.
  • January 2020 – On Jan 8th, our architect submitted plans to the Los Angeles Building & Safety Department.  We paid our submittal fee and now the waiting game begins.
  • February 2020 – Almost 4 weeks at Building and Safety and we begin to see progress on our submission.  It is reviewed (2/11) and assigned to a plan check supervisor (2/20) woohoo, progress!
  • March 2020 – Our architect begins the process of corrections issued by plan check, including paying a couple more fees to the city. These corrections can be minor or major depending on what departments they need to clear the construction.  Thank goodness our are minor!
  • March 22 2020 – BOOM!  Our world as we know it changes – COVID 19 is here and we are now under stay at home orders!  We were so close to the end of the process with the city, but all is not lost.  Building & Safety is still open, with many modifications, but we are able to proceed to getting our permit, although it may take longer.
  • May 2020 – fast forward 2 months and we finally get our RTI on Thursday, May 14th.  Ok, so I had to look up RTI – it means Ready To Issue.  This means, either my contractor or myself will need  to take the final approved plans to the permit department and pay the final fees to the City of Los Angeles and we are good to start!

But wait…..there’s more!

So we meet with our contractor to walk the property again, so he can give a formal bid to complete the job.  We go over things, including that we will need to move our gas meter about 12 feet closer to the front of the house.  We learn that only the gas company can do it and this can now take a couple of months.  Lesson of the day – if you need to move a gas meter for construction start that asap.  Called SoCalGas on Thursday, May 14th, to request a field rep to call me back – in 7-10 business days.  So our waiting game begins again.  In the meantime, we’ll be removing landscape with our gardner and prepping the area.

I’ll keep you posted with pictures and info on my next post!  In the meantime I hope to hear from you if you have any comments!

#ADU #ADULosAngeles #ADUNorthridge #architects #landsurveyor #homeproject