True Blue Remodeling

What’s the process for getting permits for an ADU in major cities?

The ADU Permit Puzzle: Decoding the Process for Major Cities

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), colloquially known as “in-law units” or “granny flats”, have gained immense popularity in recent years. If you’re thinking of jumping on this trend, one of the key hurdles to navigate is the permitting process. Given the increasing appeal of ADUs, especially in urban areas, cities have developed specific regulations surrounding them.

At True Blue Remodeling, we’re here to help homeowners like you demystify the ADU permitting process. While regulations can vary by city, here’s a general blueprint to guide you through the intricate maze.


1. Dive Deep into Local Regulations:

  • Know Your Limits: Before you even sketch out a plan, familiarize yourself with your city’s specific regulations. These might dictate size restrictions, setback criteria, or parking stipulations. It’s crucial to understand the landscape before you build on it!

2. Design with Precision:

  • Sketch Your Dream: Partnering with an architect or an end-to-end ADU service provider can make a world of difference. Together, sculpt a design that not only reflects your needs but also falls within the boundaries of city regulations.

3. Application – Your First Official Step:

  • Seek City’s Green Signal: With a design blueprint in hand, it’s time to submit an application to your city. This could encompass seeking a zoning permit or acquiring permission for ADU construction.

4. Power Up with Necessary Permits:

  • Utilities are Key: Beyond the basic building and zoning permits, you might also need specific permits for electrical and plumbing works. These are pivotal to ensuring your ADU functions seamlessly.

5. Bring Rogue ADUs to Light:

  • Addressing the Unpermitted: If there’s an existing ADU on your property that doesn’t have official permits, it’s time to make amends. Get these units up to code, ensuring they align with the state’s energy efficiency mandates and city’s Green Building codes.

6. Engage in Public Parleys:

  • Meeting the Locals: Some cities might require you to engage with the community. This could mean attending neighborhood meetups or even sessions with the City Council. These interactions often provide valuable insights and pave the way for smoother approvals.

7. Brace for the Review Rollercoaster:

  • Patience is Key: After submitting all your documents, there’s an inevitable waiting period. The city will thoroughly review your application, design, and other permits. Delays can pop up, so ensure you’re mentally prepared and have factored in some buffer time.

8. Utility Link-Ups:

  • Powering Your ADU: Constructing an ADU isn’t just about bricks and mortar; it’s about creating a functional space. This means connecting your ADU to essential utilities, which might require additional coordination and permits.

9. The Final Frontier – Inspections:

  • Approval Finale: Once you’ve put the final touches on your ADU, city officials might want to do a final walkthrough. Satisfying their criteria ensures you get the ultimate nod of approval for your new space.

Remember, these are broad strokes in a vast canvas. Each city might have its own unique palette of requirements. It’s essential to connect with your local government’s planning and building departments for the most tailored and updated details on the ADU permitting process.

At True Blue Remodeling, we’re not just about construction; we’re about creating dreams within frameworks. If you’re considering an ADU, let our expertise guide you through each step, ensuring your dream unit sees the light of day, legally and beautifully!