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How Long Does It Take To Build an ADU in Atlanta?

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are growing quickly in popularity as they provide additional living space, rental income, or a separate but nearby housing option for family members.  One of the questions we hear most often is “How long does it take to build an ADU in Atlanta?”  At ATL ADU, we provide a turnkey service which means we handle all aspects of your ADU project from start to finish.  This includes surveying, site planning, permitting, construction and project management and our timeline is roughly 8-11 months all in.  In general, that includes 4-5 months for preconstruction, and 4-6 months for construction.  Read on for a more specific breakdown of that timeline!

One bedroom / one bathroom 'RTown' ADU currently under construction in City of Decatur.

Feasibility Phase - Survey: 1 month

The first step is to contact us with your name, email, and address.  We will research your property’s zoning and basic site conditions.  Then we will schedule a brief call to provide a free preliminary analysis and share price ranges for each ADU model.  After this consultative phone call, the first official step with ATL ADU is our feasibility phase, which typically costs $2500 and includes the cost of a survey.

The survey is a critical first step, providing clarity on the feasibility of the project based on factors like setbacks, trees, lot coverage and any potential unknowns like sewer easements or stream buffers.  If you already have a survey, we can check to see if we can use it or not.  Typically client surveys do not include trees or topography (which we need) or they are too old (1+ year) and likely wouldn’t be accepted during permitting.  But if we can use it, it will save time and money during feasibility!

Two bedroom / two bathroom 'KWood' ADU in Summerhill that was completed in 2023.

Feasibility Phase - Site planning: 1-2 months 

With the survey in hand we will schedule a site visit with you.  During the site visit we will discuss the ideal location and orientation of your ADU based on your desires, trees, setbacks, utility connections, etc.  After the site visit we will create a CAD generated site plan and walk the property once more with our building team.  We operate with predesigned models, so this is where ATL ADU saves significant time (and money) compared to a custom design process that can add several months to the timeline.  At the conclusion of the feasibility phase, the survey and site plan are yours, and we will present you with a final estimate for the project and draft contract for your review.

It’s important to note that our feasibility phase and final contract act independently of one another.  While the majority of our clients who take part in our feasibility phase do end up going under contract, there is no commitment to do so by signing a feasibility proposal.  We’ve designed our feasibility phase so you can spend the least amount of money to discover what is possible and what it would cost. If you decide to go under contract with us, that feasibility fee rolls over and acts as a deposit toward the overall project.

Site plan for the Studio / one bathroom 'East Lake' ADU in East Atlanta Village currently in our Feasibility Phase.

Permitting: 2 months

Once the contract is signed we begin the permit application.  We have seven years of experience permitting with the City of Atlanta (and other Metro Atlanta municipalities), and a permit for an Accessory Dwelling Unit takes two months on average.  In the City of Atlanta, you can build an ADU up to 750 sft, by right, in zones R-4, R-4A, and R-5.  ‘By right’ simply means no variance is required and therefore you don’t have to get neighbor approval or attend your NPU (Neighborhood Planning Unit) meeting.  This phase could be slowed down if you are located in a Historic District, or directly adjacent to the Beltline, which would require a Special Administrative Permit (SAP).

In the City of Atlanta, you can build an ADU in zones R-4, R-4A, and R-5, which make up over 60 percent of the residential zoning.

Construction: 4-6 months

Once we receive the permit, we schedule a construction kickoff meeting with you and break ground shortly after.  Unlike a tiny home on wheels, ADUs are built on a permanent foundation and have all major utilities.  Therefore, ADU construction includes working with all the typical trades and requires building rough in and final inspections, which takes time.  In other words, we’re building another home in your backyard!  There are numerous factors that can impact the construction timeline including site access (easy or challenging), weather, scope of work, etc.

Studio / one bathroom 'East Lake' ADU in Ormewood Park nearing completion.

One of the benefits of working with ATL ADU is that we manage the building team on your behalf.  There is an extra layer of accountability so you don’t have to stay on top of a builder because we are!  Another benefit of our predesign model is the consistency and efficiency.  While our team is working on your ADU, they are likely working on the same model nearby.  This reduces mistakes, delays, and supply chain issues.

Once we receive the certificate of occupancy and take some photos, we’ll hand over the keys so you can enjoy your brand new ADU! If we can help you build an ADU, and you’re in the Atlanta area, we’d love to chat!  Contact us below to get started.

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