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How Do Pre-Approved California ADU Plans Save Time And Money?

How Do Pre-Approved California ADU Plans Save Time And Money?

Want to build an ADU in California without the trouble and cost of custom designs? You only need to look at pre-approved plans. Then all you need is Pre-Approved California ADU Plans. ADU are certainly an attractive option for California homeowners, however, the planning and approval process is sometimes quite challenging. Therefore, pre-approved California ADU Plans offer a solution. 

Pre-approved California ADU Plans allow you to speed up the permission process and skip most of the design phases. This is because the design has already been accepted by local building agencies. In this way, you can avoid paying costs of up to $10,000 and save weeks or even months spent getting your permissions.

However, to make a smart decision, it is essential to measure the benefits and drawbacks of pre-approved California ADU Plans. So let us read further about both sides for a smart choice. 


What Are Pre-Approved California ADU Plans?

Pre-approved California ADU Plans are architectural plans for ADUs that have been inspected and authorized by the city’s planning or building departments. This speeds up the permitting process and reduces the possibility of minor planning errors that can cause delays. You should view this as after investing tens of thousands of dollars on a custom design. The permit may not be granted. Therefore, Pre-approved plans are designed to help you avoid these specific situations and enjoy an easier solution. 

Do Pre-Approved California ADU Plans come in their original form?

No, Pre-approved plans are nearly 70-80% finished, but you still need to submit the necessary paperwork and make any property-specific changes. This can also include a site/plot plan and any other site-specific calculations. However, it is recommended to find out the exact requirements from your local building department. 

Pros And Cons Of Choosing Pre-approved California ADU Plans

Pre-approved California ADU Plans can have both benefits and liabilities. Based on your specific needs, one will probably be more beneficial than the other. The following are some of the main benefits of Pre-approved ADU plans:

  • Time Savings: Pre-approved ADU designs allow you to save weeks or even months by avoiding the design process and reducing the time needed for approval. 
  • Saving money: Pre-approved Plans usually cost less and require fewer permits. Certain plans are even provided for free. 
  • Low Initial Cost: The fee for hiring an architect is usually 8–15% of the project’s total cost, which must be paid initially. This can be a big amount for homeowners who do not have a large savings account specifically for design. 
  • Compliance With Local Building Codes: Local planning and building agencies review pre-approved California ADU plans. This eliminates unneeded expenses on a design that might not be approved.

However, the following are a few most significant drawbacks of Pre-Approved California ADU Plans: 

  • Limited Customization: You cannot add much customization to pre-approved ADU Plans as compared to custom plans as they might not give many design alternatives. 
  • May Not Fit Unique Properties: Pre-approved Plans may not match the unique features of a certain site, including the size, slope, or shape. 
  • End Up Not Being Cost-effective: Pre-approved plans may not save much time if the permission process is complex or delayed, the authority does not prioritize ADUs, or it is understaffed.

Types of Pre-Approved California ADU Plans

The following are the two types of Pre-Approved California ADU Plans 

  1. City-Owned Plans

City-owned plans are usually free or significantly less expensive than designer-owned plans and designed by architects chosen by the city. These plans have less architectural flexibility, but they also have a higher chance of complying with local building laws and regulations. However, city-owned Plans have several limitations. This includes:

  • You still need to find a designer
  • Create your site drawings
  • Complete your Title 24 calculation (a report that confirms your building design’s compliance with California Title 24’s energy efficiency criteria)
  • Work on any other needs specific to your land
  • You also bear the cost of hiring a builder
  1. Designer-Owned Plans

Designer-owned plans are created by independent architects or design businesses and presented to the city for pre-approval. The benefit of working with designer-owned plans is that they allow you to make minor design changes while the plan is still in the pre-approval stage. This is because, due to liability concerns, the original designers are usually the only ones able to make these changes. However, they could be purchased as a license, allowing you to work with your own architect to make any necessary modifications to the designs.

The designer will make everything go smoother by managing your building permits and processes. Moreover, designer-owned plans are often more expensive than city-owned plans and offer a wide range of design alternatives.

How to choose the right pre-approved California ADU Plans for your property?

The following are a few key considerations you need to make while choosing the best Pre-approved California ADU Plans for your property:

  • Review Your Property: Analyze the dimensions, form, slope, and orientation of your land to make sure the pre-approved ADU plan you select fits well.
  • Check Local Regulations: Understand local zoning and building codes that can affect the pre-approved ADU plans you choose, and make sure the plan complies with them.
  • Consider Your Lifestyle: Consider your space needs while choosing an ADU design, such as a guest home, separate office, or rental unit.
  • Consult a Professional: Get advice from an architect, builder, or ADU professional to choose which pre-approved ADU plan is ideal for your needs and price range.
  • Understand the Cost-benefit Analysis: Evaluate the time and cost savings of Pre-approved California ADU Plans by comparing the expenses of creating a customized ADU with those of a pre-approved ADU. 

Final Thoughts

The choice between pre-approved and custom California ADU Plans comes down to your preferences and needs. Pre-approved ADU designs have several benefits like lower costs and time savings, however, they have limitations on design alternatives, suiting certain properties, and adapting personal preferences. Moreover, developing and getting their permission might be more costly and time-consuming. Pre-approved ADU designs are better suited for homeowners who value economy and efficiency, while custom plans are perfect for those who want a customized ADU.

If you are debating between converting your garage into an ADU or building one, then with Ceed Civil, you can now choose the structure that most closely matches your needs. Our civil engineering experts guide you through the entire process. For further queries, contact our professional or visit our website at Ceed Civil for more information.