An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is also known as a backyard cottage, granny flat, or in-law unit. This structure is like a small home, usually built in the extra backyard space. It is a great source of additional income; you can rent it out for extra monthly income for your household. If you are planning to build an ADU at your home in Sacramento, California, you have come to the right place. At Casci DesignWorks, we offer home remodeling projects, including accessory dwelling units. In this blog post, we will explore the things to consider when building an ADU. If you think this information is beneficial, keep reading to learn more.

When building an ADU, you must consider the following before starting the construction process:

Check Property Development Standards

Modern two-story house with a grey roof, a patio, and a well-maintained green lawn, surrounded by trees. Featuring cutting-edge kitchen design by Casci DesignWorks, this home seamlessly blends style and functionality.

You need to check the property development standards in your area. Are you allowed to build an ADU on your property? You must check the density units allowed for certain properties. The ADU you plan to build must fit the density requirements. In some places, the height of the unit must adhere to the maximum height allowed.

The unit must be built at a certain distance from the property line and may have limited access to utility services. Check the local government rules and regulations to understand the standards you must follow for your ADU.

Parking Space

In some places, you will need to provide off-street parking for the ADU. A parking space might not be a concern if your home is near public transportation systems or in an architecturally or historically significant district. Regulations may differ from one area to another, so you must check with your local government authority to determine if you need to provide additional parking space for the ADU you plan to build.


The ADU must be easily accessible to tenants, with safe access from the unit to the street. You should place a walkway from the unit to the street, ensuring it is free from clutter between your home and the property line.


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Privacy is crucial when building an ADU, especially if you plan to rent it to strangers. Ensure complete privacy for the tenants by installing privacy screens such as plants, trees, fences, and window blinds. This will help make the ADU comfortable, safe, and secure for anyone living there.

Site Issues

Before building an ADU, assess the condition of the surrounding area. Is the backyard flat or sloped? Are there areas where rainwater pools during the rainy season? Checking the site condition beforehand can help reduce expenses by addressing any issues prior to construction.

For example, if the soil is loose, the foundation may be prone to damage as the structure settles. If the yard has drainage issues, resolve them before building to avoid large pools of water around the ADU when it rains, making it difficult for tenants to move in.


In most areas, you are not allowed to install new utility service connections such as electricity, gas, sewer, and water. The ADU will be connected to the existing plumbing system using a series of pipes and won’t require new service meters.

For example, if you plan to install a stove, water heater, or gas furnace in the ADU, you can tap into your property’s gas lines, and a meter can be installed upstream of the existing meter. The ADU’s plumbing fixtures can connect to your property’s existing plumbing; however, the septic system may require approval from the health department.

Your home’s septic system might not handle extra sewage from new bathrooms. If you have an older septic tank, you may need to upgrade it before connecting it to the newly built ADU. Discuss all these issues with local officials to determine what is allowed on your property.


A well-maintained suburban home with a tiled roof, lush garden, wooden swing, and greenhouse. Inside, enjoy a modern kitchen design featuring top-notch countertops selection and cabinetry solutions. Stacks of firewood are neatly arranged on the side of the house.

The design of the ADU may vary between cities and counties. You must be familiar with the codes and regulations in your area to determine how you can build the ADU. Most ADUs include a bathroom and a kitchen, and a proper heating and cooling system is essential, especially in colder climates.

If you are not familiar with the building design standards in your city, consult a local home remodeling contractor. They know the local building design standards and can ensure that your ADU meets all codes and regulations.

Hire an ADU Contractor

If you lack experience in building an ADU, choose a contractor with the skills and knowledge necessary for the project. Ask about their previous projects and if they have worked on similar ones. Ensure they are up-to-date with current ADU building regulations and technology. A knowledgeable contractor can assist you with both the design and construction of your ADU.

Fire Regulations

Are you aware of the fire regulations in your area? Installing a sprinkler system in the unit is mandatory in some regions. Discuss fire regulations with your contractor to ensure compliance when building your ADU. Additionally, inquire with your insurance company to see if installing a sprinkler system can help reduce costs.


A beige stucco house with white columns, a large patio, and an attached pergola covered area. The yard has a stone path and decorative pottery near the entrance. Trees are visible in the background, making it an ideal spot for showcasing innovative kitchen design or cabinetry solutions during home remodeling projects.

Consider the space in your yard. Is it sufficient to build an ADU? You do not want to build an ADU in a cramped area. Consider aspects such as storage space, appliances, and furniture. Choose items that fit well in the ADU to ensure enough space for the tenant.

For example, use wall-mounted cabinets, shelving, and other storage solutions to maximize space. Avoid bulky furniture; instead, use multi-purpose items like tables and chairs that can also serve as storage units. Incorporate space-saving features when designing the ADU.

Do you want to build an accessory dwelling unit in your home? If you live in Sacramento, California, you can rely on Casci DesignWorks. With more than 45 years of experience in the home remodeling industry, we can help you with your home remodeling projects.

We also offer products for home remodeling projects. If you have any questions regarding our products and services, please let us know. You can call us at 916-216-2786 or email What are you waiting for? Contact us today!