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ADU DIY OMG

When considering how to approach your ADU project, the DIY route, and its potential savings, can be appealing. For every client we’ve had over the years there's a couple others who engaged our service then decided to go the DIY route. Occasionally we hear back from those courageous DIYers, but when we do, it’s because things are not going well. We’d like to highlight one of those ‘DIY gone wrong’ stories to perhaps make you pause a moment before deciding, “Yea, I got this!”


ATL ADU turnkey project that finished on time and under budget!


A couple years ago we were approached by an investor with just enough experience to be dangerous. They asked for feasibility planning services, stock plans and ADU consulting but decided to take a DIY approach. They calculated a $20-30k savings if they hired their own subs and contractor rather than hiring ATL ADU’s turnkey services.


Early in the project, under our ADU consulting arrangement, we let them know that they would need a civil engineer to round out their permit application. They said that the City told them it wasn’t needed and their basic site plan would suffice. So against our advice, they submitted for permits without the civil engineering package. The project was delayed in the zoning, site development and arborist department and would not be reviewed until the necessary drawings were provided.


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At that point the investor began contacting local civil engineers for their services. Due to busy schedules, and likely the investors lack of personal contacts in this area, they were informed that the drawings would be ready in six weeks. The investor also admittedly hired the engineer with the lowest bid, which would prove more costly in the long run.


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Once the new site drawings were submitted, it became apparent that the civil engineer lacked experience in ADU zoning and City requirements. Permit comments from the City arrived every day via email. “ADU is placed too close to the neighbor’s trees. Setbacks are not shown appropriately. Lot coverage calculations are incorrect.”... to which the investor responded, “I didn’t know there are different setbacks on a corner lot, shouldn’t the surveyor or civil engineer know that? They said they knew what an ADU is. Apparently not.”


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Finally, the new civil drawings were re-submitted to the City to address the permit comments. After several back and forth emails and calls with the investor, they were approved, and a permit was received. The selected builder began the project, but it took them two months to get started after the permit was issued, and progress did not go anywhere near the schedule that was promised. Delay after delay ensued.


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The project ended up taking ten months longer than ATL ADUs timeline, which translated to deferred rental revenue and additional expenses totaling roughly $30,000. Comparatively, we would have completed the work in half the time and all the investor would have been required to do was pick the unit type and exterior paint color - a few hours of work compared to managing a stressful project for twenty months! DIYers be warned. We’re here if you need us.


ATL ADU TURNKEY SERVICE...


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