In the City of San Diego, ADU’s & JADU’s, also called companion units and junior companion units. The term refers to an accessory residential structure located on the same lot as an existing single-family home. Both ADU’s and JADU’s serve similar purposes but have key differences in size and amenity requirements.
Companion units are independent residential dwelling units that are self-contained and typically come in one of three forms: detached, attached, or a repurposed existing space. A detached companion unit allows for the most additional space, up to 1,200 SF, whereas a companion unit that is attached or built within a repurposed space cannot be more than 50% of the square footage of the existing home up to 1,200 square feet. All three types of companion units must provide permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation that are entirely indr pendent of the primary residence. The unit needs to have it’s own entrance and cannot have direct access to the existing home - meaning that an attached or repurposed unit can not have a door or entry point into the primary residence. The primary dwelling on the property with a companion unit does not need to be owner occupied, making this an ideal accessory dwelling for a rental property.
In comparison, junior companion units are accessory structures 500 SF or less that are built within the existing square footage of the current single-family home. Junior units require their own exterior entrance AND an interior connection to the main living area. There are more restrictions on the kitchen amenities allowed within a junior unit than in a detached companion unit, and it does not need it’s own bathroom. Either the junior unit or the primary dwelling must be owner-occupied, and neither can be rented for any period less than 30 days. The most common requests we get for junior unit/space conversions are from clients looking to turn their garage into an attached living quarters or office space with a small kitchenette and a bathroom.
Only one companion unit or junior unit is allowed on a premises and may not be sold separately from the primary dwelling unit. However, if you add a companion unit to your property you may still be allowed a non-habitable structure (e.g., a shed or garage) depending on the size and condition of your property. The building requirements and permitting for companion units vary slightly across the different cities and principalities within San Diego County. The information we have provided here is predominantly based on information from The City of San Diego. Please see their companion unit handbook for more specific information.
When it comes to mastering the art of ADU, Granny Flat, and Casita construction in San Diego, Woolsey Construction is your trusted partner. Our experts are well-acquainted with the various building requirements and permitting processes across the Southern California region. We specialize in building new structures and expertly remodeling existing spaces to accommodate both companion and junior companion units, tailored to meet the unique needs of our clients. Whether you're considering the conversion of a garage into a JADU or constructing a detached unit, such as an ADU, Granny Flat, or Casita, reaching out to an experienced ADU contractor in San Diego is essential for ensuring a smooth and successful project.
Here are 5 things to consider when
planning your ADU:
1. Zoning & Setbacks
In order to determine if an ADU or JADU can work for your property you can contact us and have us conduct a feasibility study. We will prepare different options for you that align with your budget and unique features of your property. If you already have a developed idea of what you want then you can contact your local building department.
2. Budgeting & Funding
Once you have determined whether your space is buildable, the next step is to create a budget and secure financing for the project. Your budget will help you to determine the size and quality of the build you are able to do. The typical cost of an ADU can range anywhere from $350-$450 per/sf and up, depending on the accessibility, design/size, and finishes you select.
3. Design & Construction Team
After you have nailed down your budget it is time to get your designer and construction team involved. Designing your ADU can be an overwhelming and lengthy task. An architect or draftsman is the best place to start and will help bring your ideas to life. The initial drawings will be used to complete a submittable set of plans ready to be processed for permits.
Woolsey Construction has spent years fostering positive relationships with local designers and architects. If you already have drawings - great! If not then we'll connect you with one of our experienced affiliates who can help you work on a design that fits your budget and your needs.
4. Permitting & Project Duration
With the high demand for ADUs the permitting process can take between 3 & 4 months to complete and in some cases even longer. It is very important to work with an experienced team to avoid unnecessary revisions which delay the permitting process. Next, the construction project time frame will vary based on the complexity of your project and weather, but the building stage is typically somewhere between 5-7 months.
5. Construction & Completion
When taking on a project of this size, it is important to know that you will be partnering with your contractor in many areas. You will be relying on your contractor to facilitate with your ideas, finances, schedules, space, and the overall construction of your project. Knowing that this can be a long involved process from the get-go can help you prepare.
Being accessible during your project to answer any design questions or address any unforeseen issues is key to a successful project. Many of the final decisions lie with you and there are a lot of them! That is why it is important to have as much information as possible before breaking ground on your project and to have a contractor you can trust to be by your side from start to finish.
"The end result is amazing! The process went smoothly, the crew that we worked with was well qualified, conscientious, and worked collaboratively with us. In addition, they were all great guys and we enjoyed working with them. We felt very confident that all of the structural issues were handled appropriately. If an issue came up, alternatives were discussed and agreed upon before moving forward. We would absolutely use Woolsey Construction again and highly recommend them!"
DAWN O., LA MESA
"Luke Woolsey is every house owner’s dream contractor. Not only does he do excellent work to a very high standard, he is also honest, reliable, prompt, trustworthy, and a delight to work with."
DONNA K., SAN DIEGO
"I would highly recommend Luke Woolsey and his team for any construction or remodeling job. From bid to final inspection they were great to work with. His bid package included everything that we requested which was just the first indication that Luke pays attention to the details. His sub contractors do high quality work and Luke is there to make sure everything is perfect. He kept us informed throughout the project and in the end we love our casita!"
TOM M., CHULA VISTA
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