Frequently Asked Questions for ADUs

  1. Is your Mini-Cottage the same as an “Accessory Dwelling Unit”?

Yes, our Mini-Cottage with kitchen and bath is a bona fide Accessory Dwelling Unit, or ADU for short.  They are also known as “Second Units”, “Granny Units”, or “In-Law Units”.


  1. Can you attach your Mini-Cottage to my home like a room addition?

No. We specialize only in new “detached” ADUs.


  1. I heard getting an ADU is easy now. Is that not the case?

In the past, many local regulations prohibited ADUs altogether.  Recently however many of these barriers have come down due to ADU-friendly state legislation.  This is welcome news!  However the building codes that pertain to human habitation are still in place, and there are many codes that regulate where an ADU may be placed on the property.  We will help you navigate these hurdles, but it takes time and effort to complete all the steps.


  1. How long does it take to from start to finish to complete an ADU?

It typically takes from 10 to 12 months from the first steps to completion.  Two months to prepare the quote; 3-4 months to obtain the permit; 4-5 months to construct the building.


  1. What do Title 24 and Green Building Standards refer to?

“Title 24” is a set of standards for energy efficiency.  “Green Building” refers to standards to protect the environment.  Both sets of standards apply to the construction of an ADU project.


  1. Will an ADU affect my property tax?

Probably, yes.  Please consult your County Tax Assessor to determine how the assessment will be calculated.


  1. How much will it cost for permits?

This varies from city to city or county.  We have seen fees range from $3K to $6K.


  1. How do you handle all the utility hook-ups? Are they included in your package pricing?

Your ADU will need hook-ups to sewer, water, electrical, and in many cases gas.  The cost is not included in the package price because each property is unique, and connection costs vary depending on distance and obstacles.  We will evaluate and calculate costs during the quote work-up per question 22 below.


  1. Can I have a walled-off bedroom, or is the interior open without walls?

A walled-off bedroom is not included in our package pricing, however it can be added for extra costs.  It will give more privacy, however, it limits future flexibility should you wish to re-arrange the layout.


  1. Can I select my own windows/doors/cabinets/fixtures/flooring, etc.?

Our Mini-Cottage is designed and packaged with a specific set of features and options.  We offer color and size choices for most of the features, however we do not offer limitless choices from scratch.  This helps simplify the process and keep costs in check.


  1. Can you provide other exterior wall surfaces such as stucco to match my house?

Currently we only offer two choices of residential-grade wood siding; vertical or horizontal.


  1. Will my ADU have its own address?

It may or may not be required.  We will determine the answer during the quote phase.


  1. Can or will my ADU have its own utility meters?

An ADU typically does NOT have separate utility meters.  However it may be possible, and it will most likely add cost.


  1. Can you build sizes that are not listed on your brochure?

Yes. We can build any size, length and width, in 2 ft. increments, from as small as a 14×16, up to 500 sq. ft.


  1. Do you offer financing?

We do not offer financing at this time.  Most of our clients finance through savings or a home equity loan.


  1. Are there items I the homeowner will be responsible for to complete an ADU project?

The Shed Shop will handle almost everything for the ADU, but plan to be an active participant in decision-making throughout the project.  You may need to arrange for the following items (if required) on your own: A). confirm Planning Codes per C.; B). lot survey to confirm property lines; C). gutters/downspouts and drainage plan; D). paying of impact or utility fees.


  1. Can I use my own subcontractors, or do some of the work myself?

There are a few items you can do such as your own flooring and painting.  However for efficiency’s sake, we prefer to manage and be responsible for the entire project from start to finish.


  1. What type of insulation is used?

We will use the most appropriate insulation that is called for in the Title 24 energy report.


  1. Can the ADU be built ADA compliant?

It is possible.  Be advised being ADA compliant will have significant effects on the layout and costs.


  1. How is the Mini-Cottage construction different compared to my main house?

Because ADUs must meet the very latest in building, energy, and earthquake codes, it will probably be constructed to a higher standard than your existing home… only smaller.


  1. Can I add an ADU to my duplex/condo property?

Check with your city.  Currently, most cities only allow ADUs on lots consisting of a single family detached home.

  1. Please let us know if we’ve missed your question. Call us at (510) 791-7433, or email at  We look forward to helping you!