Accessory Dwelling Units

ADUs or "Tiny Homes" require a number of permits and approvals and can take some time in order to begin construction. As Utah’s leading ADU builder, we know the process inside and out and have worked closely with Salt Lake County over the years. It’s part of what sets us apart — that, and working with you personally to create a custom ADU that looks great and meets your needs.

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a second building constructed on your property. These structures can also either be attached or detached from the primary building. Over the past few years, you've probably noticed they’re popping up all over because the possible uses are endless. Most people refer to these structures as "Tiny Homes" because of their small size and ability to be constructed at a great price in comparison to a typical home. Depending on what you want, an ADU is ideal as a private guest home, rental property, home office, mother-in-law apartment, craft room, party space — almost anything you can dream up. Whether you build it for personal use or as an income-generating rental, you’ll be amazed at how functional and beautiful these small homes can be.

If you’ve been thinking about building an ADU, let’s talk about what you envision, then walk your property and start discussing the possibilities.

utah's number one adu builder

ADU Policy as of mid 2023
  • Start to Finish ADU Permitting & Planning
  • Custom Design & Floorplans
  • Expert Contractors
  • Full-Service Client Experience

2023 Adu Construction & Permit Updates

Increased the maximum size of adu's

650 sqft to 1000 sqft
Detached ADU's are now allowed to expand up to 1000 sqft, which allows homeowners to construct an ADU that can accommodate up to two bedrooms.

With the added space, homeowners are not restricted to a fixed rental income and can potentially increase revenue by offering more living space for tenants. Read more here: Salt Lake City Counsel ADU Amendment
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Increasing the maximum height of adu's

Single Story to Two Story
Under the previous regulations in Salt Lake County, detached ADU's were restricted in height to not exceed that of the primary residence.

Now with these changes, ADU's can exceed that height limitation and be built on top of garages or other structures to make the most use out of your space. This allows homeowners to enhance the value of their home by creating additional living space in a cost-effective manner. Read more here: Salt Lake City Counsel ADU Amendment
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Removed planning commission approval

9 Months to 3 Months
The permitting and approval process of building ADU's was tiresome and took on average 9 months just to begin construction.

The county has now removed the Commission Approval Process to allow the entire approval process to be in-line with all other construction projects.

Homeowners can now expect a standardized permitting approval process to begin construction. Read more here: Salt Lake City Counsel ADU Amendment
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We can build any style of ADU to match your home whether it's an attached or detached Accessory Dwelling Unit. Our ADU's are all one of a kind, we do not build out of the box structures. They are designed to fit your needs specifically and can accommodate most areas throughout Salt Lake County and Utah. Contact us today to learn more about building and pricing of Accessory Dwelling Units.

Recently Salt Lake County has prohibited using ADU's as short-term rentals such as Airbnb's. However the use of long-term rentals is here to stay, this policy ensures the safety of you and your neighbors while enabling homeowners to fully capitalize on income opportunities and help with the housing shortage we are experiencing in Utah.

Building an ADU is typically a lengthy process due to city permitting and approval, which can take over three months. Every ADU has to meet certain requirements in order to be approved by the city and requires a team that understands the process. Our team is here to make sure this process is as smooth as possible to get city approval.

You can read more details on the recent ADU updates to Salt Lake County here: Salt Lake City Counsel ADU Text Amendment

City Side Haven
Roosevelt adu
Architect: Brach Design Architecture
Completed 2020
Sugarhouse Getaway
Windsor Place ADU
Architect: Brach Design Architecture
Completed 2021

adu sample designs

Each ADU is unique*, but they’re typically one to three bedrooms and include a full bathroom, kitchen, and comfortable living space.  
*We don’t build from a kit.
View Designs

ADU Design and Build Process

There are many steps that must be taken in order to design and build an ADU in the Salt Lake City, Park City and surrounding area in Utah. We have created an easy to understand two phased approach that allows our clients to get through the design and city approval process as quickly as possible.

The first phase of the process is about understanding our clients goals and creating the necessary drawings to turn into the city. The second phase of approval is submitting an application along with these drawings in order to begin construction. We are experts in this process and are happy to answer all of your questions during our initial kickoff meeting.

ADU's are currently permitted in the following cities:
Alpine City
Bountiful City
Cedar Hills City
Cottonwood City
Enoch City
Heber City
Midvale City
North Ogden City
Park City
Payson City
Provo City
Orem City
Sandy City
South Jordan City
Taylorsville City
phase 1
1-3 weeks

kickoff meeting, drawing plans, & goal setting

In phase one, we complete your application for the city. It begins with our Clients having a conversation in which they discuss their goals with an Architect. Architects will walk the property and gather the information they will need to create the Schematic Design & Project Site Plan. With this, Clients and their Architect are able to create the Custom Conditional Use Drawings, both of which are required for your application to the city.

phase 2
3-6 months

Applications, Project Planning & City Permitting

Phase two is the application submission phase, which takes anywhere from three to six months. This needs to be completed before construction can begin. Below we outline six detailed steps all applicants must complete, but the application process generally goes like this:

Once submitted there is a 45-day public input period in which city departments review the information and the planning division (is this supposed to be commission???) reviews compliance. Once complete, a public hearing is held to inform the planning commission’s decision. If there are any disputes, there willl also be an appeal process. Once your application is approve, we will receive the building permits necessary to begin construction.

Step 1: Application & Conditional Use Drawings submission

Documents are submitted and the applicant is assigned a planner.
If application is not completed, applicant will be provided a list of missing information. Step 2 will not begin until application is resubmitted.

Typically 7 days

Step 2: Forty-five day public input period

Documents are submitted and the applicant is assigned a planner.
If application is not completed, applicant will be provided a list of missing information. Step 2 will not begin until application is resubmitted.

Typically 7 days

Step 3: Any necessary updates to the application are made

Documents are submitted and the applicant is assigned a planner.
If application is not completed, applicant will be provided a list of missing information. Step 2 will not begin until application is resubmitted.

Typically 7 days

Step 4: Staff report is created

City departments review comments. Step 4 will not begin until applicant resubmits updated information.

Typically 1 day

Step 5: Public hearing is held + Planning Commission makes a decision

There is a 10-day appeal period for all Planning Commission decisions.

Typically 10 days

Note: If an appeal is made, it will add an additional 60-90 days.

Step 6: Application & Conditional Use Drawings are approved

Building permits may now be acquired to begin construction.

Timeframe determined by the city’s building services


how do i begin the adu building process?

To begin building an ADU you must first have plans and drawings completed. This will really be the first step in making sure that your property will meet the requirements set forth from your city. We are here to help our clients along this process from start to finish. Contact us today to get started.

how long does the adu building process take?

Building a custom ADU is a complex process — which is why we focus so strongly on our relationship with our clients. It typically takes several weeks to understand your needs, determine the scope of the project, and make we’re a good fit. After that, we move to the first steps in the process — permitting and planning— which can take anywhere from three to six months alone.

where can i learn more about slc building rules?

You can always ask us, but there is also a lot of information online. Visit’s Building Services FAQ for more information. You can visit the permits and zoning office in the city and county building. Contact us and we’re happy to meet you there. The permit office is located at 451 South State Street Room 215, SLC. Read more here: Salt Lake City Counsel ADU Amendment

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Built by Design Construction is a full-service construction company specializing in premium custom homes, ADUs, and large-scale renovation projects. With over 10 years of experience as custom homebuilders and a combined 30 years in real estate and renovation, we walk our clients through every step of this vitally important process.

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