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What is an ADU? 

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a secondary housing unit that is either attached to or located on the same property as a primary residence. These units, also known as granny flats, in-law suites, or backyard cottages, provide additional living space while maintaining the character of the existing neighborhood.

ADU Design Competition

The ADUs for all ages design competition invites design ideas for Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) buildings. Our focus: ADUs that cater to multi-generational living arrangements and feature sustainable solutions. A jury selected first and second place, the public choice winner will be determined during the 2023 Tiny House Expo at the Fresno Home and Garden Show. 

Why ADUs Matter:

  • Sustainability: Smaller, more energy-efficient ADUs contribute to sustainable living.

  • Flexible Living: ADUs offer a versatile living arrangement for homeowners, renters, or multigenerational families.

  • Affordability: ADUs can serve as a source of rental income or provide affordable housing options for family members, students, or renters.

  • Increased Property Value: ADUs often increase the overall property value, making them a sound investment.


ADU Codes and Regulations: Understanding local building codes and regulations is crucial when considering ADU construction. Here are resources and links to help you navigate the legal aspects:

  • Zoning Codes: Learn about your city's zoning regulations related to ADUs.

  • Permitting Process: Understand the steps involved in obtaining permits for ADU construction. Remember that these processes can vary by location.

  • Building Codes: Familiarize yourself with building standards and safety requirements in your area.ADU Program – City of Fresno

  • Pre-Approved Plans in the city of Fresno can be found here, Pre-Approved Plans

  • Apply for a Building Permit at Apple for Permit, Fresno CA

  • State of California Handbook for ADUs California ADU Handbook

ADU’s come in a variety of shapes!

Explore the various types of ADUs, including:

  • Detached ADUs: Standalone structures like cottages or tiny homes.

  • Attached ADUs: Part of the primary residence or connected as an addition.

  • Conversion ADUs: Repurposing existing space, like a garage or basement.

  • Basement ADUs: These are ADUs created by converting or finishing a basement space. They are often cost-effective and can provide a significant amount of additional living area.

  • Garage Conversion ADUs: Garage ADUs involve converting an existing garage into a separate living space. This is a popular option for homeowners who don't use their garages for parking.

  • Above-Garage ADUs: If you want to preserve your garage space, you can build an ADU above it. This type of ADU utilizes the space above an existing garage and is sometimes referred to as a "garage apartment."

  • Junior ADUs (JADUs): In some regions, there are regulations for Junior ADUs, which are smaller ADUs often located within or attached to a single-family home. They typically have a limited kitchen and bathroom but provide additional living space.

  • Interior ADUs: These ADUs are integrated into the interior of the primary residence, often as a separate suite or apartment with its own entrance. They can be ideal for multigenerational living.

Find more information on each of these here, ABCs of ADUs AARP

Financing and Funding:

Estimate your construction costs here: Estimate your Construction Cost

Loans, Mortgages, Financial information on ADUs 

  • Home Equity Loans or HELOC (Home Equity Line of Credit)

  • ADU Construction Loans

  • FHA 203(k) Renovation Loans

  • Government Grants and Subsidies

  • Accessory Dwelling Unit Impact Fee Reductions: ADUs under 500sqft are not subject to School impact fees

  • ADU-Specific Financing Programs:

 The ADUs for all design competition is sponsored by


USGBC-CC is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. WET Center, 2911 E. Barstow Ave, M/S of 144, Fresno, CA 93740

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