How to Maximize your ADU

If you’re ready to take advantage of the newly expediting permitting process for building an Accessory Dwelling Unit, there’s a few guidelines to be aware of before you start designing the perfect ADU.  To help, here’s Home Planning Hawaii’s handy checklist for determining your eligibility for ADU construction...

  1. Your property is not “landlocked,” meaning the land meets with the road directly or via a driveway or easement.
  1. An additional parking space is available for the ADU resident.
  1. A single-family dwelling must already exist on the property, and the owner, or direct family member of the owner, lives on the premises.
  1. Your property is not under a private covenant that forbids the construction of an ADU, and you have recorded a covenant with the State of Hawaii promising not to sell the ADU separately from the original dwelling on the property.
  1. Your lot is zoned in a residential or country district that permits ADUs, and is at least 3,500 square feet.
  1. Lastly, you must abide by the floor space limitations for new Accessory Dwelling Units:
  • 400 square foot structures for lots between 3,500 and 4,999 square feet.
  • 800 square foot structure for lots 5,000 square feet and above.

Wondering how to maximize the utility of a 400-800 square foot living space? Fortunately, good design elements work for homes of every size, especially with a little creativity.Make sure to include room for both built-in and portable storage: think additional shelving in kitchen and closet spaces, and wardrobes or bed frames with storage included in the design.Consider raising ceiling heights to increase potential storage spaces in pantries and closets, while also creating the illusion of a larger sized home.Go with oversize windows that provide lots of natural light, and open up otherwise small spaces. An added bonus? Relying on natural light can help reduce utility costs long-term.Accessory Dwelling Units can add extra income and value to your property, or can provide a comfortable space for family members who want to live nearby but retain a degree of independence. (ADUS are a great fit for multigenerational families.) And in areas like Hawaii where finding an affordable residence can be a challenge, an increase in ADUs can help address housing shortages throughout the island.With the help of Home Planning Hawaii, you can find the perfect designers, builders, and architects who specialize in building for Hawaii’s unique circumstances. Contact us today for help with project estimates, locating the right professionals, and navigating the permitting process with ease.

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(808) 222-4069

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Mon - Sat 8:00 - 5:30,
Sunday - Closed


200 N Vineyard Blvd.
Ste A325 - 5145
Honolulu, HI 96817

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