Building an ADU With the Help of an Architect

Building an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is a popular choice for homeowners looking to increase the utility and value of their property. It provides additional living space and can be used for various purposes, such as accommodating family members, generating rental income or using it as a dedicated workspace. Whether or not you need an architect to build an ADU depends on certain factors, as discussed below.

Building an ADU With the Help of an Architect

Local Regulations

The most significant factor in determining whether you need an architect is your local zoning and building codes. These regulations can vary widely from one jurisdiction to another. Some areas may have stringent requirements for ADUs, specifying that you must work with an architect or design professional to ensure the unit meets the necessary standards for house additions. In such cases, hiring an architect is often mandatory.

Complexity of Design

If your ADU project involves complex design elements, such as structural modifications or unique architectural features, an architect’s expertise may be invaluable. They can help you create a functional and aesthetically pleasing space while adhering to local building codes and regulations.

Budget and Personal Preferences

Your budget and personal preferences also play a role in the decision. While an architect’s services can be beneficial in terms of design and ensuring compliance with regulations, they come at a cost. If you have a limited budget and a relatively straightforward ADU plan, you may choose to work with a general contractor who can handle the project without an architect.

Permitting Process

The permitting process for ADUs can be complicated. Some homeowners prefer hiring an architect because they can navigate the permit application process more efficiently, ensuring that all necessary documents and plans are in order. However, some contractors also have experience with permitting and can assist in this regard.


If you want a highly customized ADU that aligns with your specific vision, hiring an architect is often a wise choice. Architects can help you create a unique space tailored to your needs, whether it’s a custom layout, sustainable design or innovative features.

Local Resources

Some areas offer pre-designed ADU plans or kits that can simplify the construction process. In such cases, you may not need an architect if you choose one of these pre-approved designs. However, you will still need to ensure that the design complies with local regulations.

It’s advisable to consult with your local zoning and building department to understand the specific requirements in your area. Additionally, seeking guidance from a design professional or architect can be beneficial in ensuring that your ADU project is successful and meets all necessary standards.

Get Started on Your ADU Project Today!

Planning to build an ADU in your property? Turn to the experienced team at G.M. Roth Design Remodeling for assistance. Get started by calling (603) 880-3761 or filling out our contact form. We would be glad to help turn your dream into a solid reality.

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