Friday, October 18, 2019

Benefits Of Building An ADU in Los Angeles

Benefits Of Building An ADU in Los Angeles 

Would you like to make extra money and create a rental income stream? Or more living space for your family? Maybe a space for your visitors who can’t be accommodated inside the main home? You can do these things if you create an ADU, (an Accessory Dwelling Unit) an extension to, or a separate small building,  on your property that is often called a granny flat or a second unit.

Building an ADU in Los Angeles has many benefits.

Perhaps the most obvious and easiest granny flat to make  is to perform a garage conversion. You already have the building, it is conveniently located and the costs are a lot less than putting up new construction. And sometimes we get so used to seeing our garage filled with nothing but bits and pieces and maybe even a car that is rarely parked in there, that we forget that it is a prime piece of real estate just begging for upgrading and utilizing. And maybe making money out of.

Any garage conversion you undertake can be as impressive or as modest as you want to make it and as your budget allows. Gone are the days when the granny flat is little more than a fancy sleep out.

The phrase granny flat is perhaps a bit unfortunate for this sort of dwelling unit. What about the teenage family member who is desperate for their own space? Or a student who wants basic accommodation at an affordable price? And, of course, for when granny comes to stay. Some people even maximize the return on a garage conversion to a granny flat by living in it themselves and renting out their main home. Not suitable for everyone, perhaps, it is another option.

Nowadays, organizations like Airbnb make it easy to have short term stays possible for tourists, business people and those on a short term layover. It’s another revenue avenue that is gaining in popularity and is a hassle-free option.

In Los Angeles nowadays  there is a  lot of flexibility both with regulations and designs,
the building of granny flats is something is welcomed and encouraged. There are rules, of course, relating to cooking facilities and hygiene etc., but generally the city and county authorities aren’t in a negative frame of mind when applications for AUDs, granny flats or second units are made..

 Conversion plans for your garage can range from the basic to the eye poppingly elaborate, it all depends on your needs, your flair and your budget. But It is best to get a specialized contractor for this sort of work – what appears easy at first glance can be heartbreakingly difficult for the unskilled. Contractors have experience and, more often than not, can spot potential problems from the get go and alert you to them.

But even the most simple process in the building world can be a bit daunting to the uninitiated, so it is best to research your project first. In Los Angeles there are companies that specialize in this field, offering advice and practical help, both of which will save you both time and money. But the contractor of your choice may well be able and willing to help you with the initial stages and first steps.

Whichever path you take to the final turning of the key in the door of  your granny flat or teenage retreat or rental income maker, it’s important to understand that, as projects go in the construction world, garage conversions can be relatively easy and painless. All you need is vision, a bit of common sense and a plan. We all need a plan.

So, an AUD, an Accessory Dwelling Unit –  a granny flat or second unit in ordinary English – is something that is easy to imagine and conceive, easy to apply for in Los Angeles and, with the right contractor, is easy to create as a  valuable addition to your home.

Friday, September 6, 2019

What you should know before converting a garage in Los Angeles

What you should know before converting a garage in Los Angeles

With the relaxing of planning laws for the creation of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) or granny flats from a garage conversion, Los Angeles residents have embraced the idea enthusiastically. Today, there are more Los Angeles garage conversions than ever, but if you have garage conversion plans, there are some things you need to know before you go any further.
While recent changes have meant it is much easier to gain approval for a conversion or other ADU build, there are still challenges for homeowners to navigate to ensure a successful conclusion to the 

Energy Efficiency

Perhaps the primary obstacle to deal with as part of any garage conversion plans is the need to comply with current Building Energy Efficiency Standards for a garage conversion, ADUs and so on. This means cavity insulation for the walls, including areas that are replacing the garage door, along with specific heat insulation levels for roofing too.
Currently, this means R-15 or R-19 insulation for walls, depending on framing, and roof insulation levels of R-22 to R-30, varying with the size of the garage conversion. It is important to check current regulations when drawing up garage conversion plans to ensure your ADU complies though.
Any glazing in the new garage conversion in Los Angeles, whether a window or skylight, must also comply with efficiency standards. This means the amount of glazing is directly limited by the flor area of the garage conversion, with some restrictions on maximum west facing glazing in several climate zones.


Foundations will be designed to meet the specifics of a given project, but there must be infill provided where the garage door has been removed. Importantly, insulation is important here too, with floors required to have R-19 insulation under raised wooden floors. In climate zone 1 locations, R-7 slab-type perimeter insulation must be installed as well.

HVAC and other utilities

The size of the garage conversion has an effect on the type of utilities that are allowed or required in a garage conversion in Los Angeles. However, one that affects all ADUs regardless of size is that there must be no return air shared with any other dwelling within the property. That includes other ADUs or the main part of the property.
Beyond that, the HVAC system must comply with all new building regulations as they currently apply it is important to check as they are updated from time to time. When making garage conversion plans, it is also important to remember that if the space will be used as a bedroom, any gas-fired furnace or water heater already in the space must be removed. This can mean major changes to the heating system for the rest of the property, so be prepared.


 As with any new build, there are legal requirements for a garage conversion in Los Angeles when it comes to occupant safety in an emergency. That means passive fire protection and an escape option for occupants in most cases.
Fore your garage conversion plans, this will mean some type of fire separation between the garage and the rest of the property, and if the property has an existing sprinkler system, the converted garage will be required to have one too.


Once you have a garage conversion plan that includes the necessary work for compliance with various legislation, it is time to obtain the permits for the build. You will need to present several documents, including:
·         Elevations Drawings
·         Floor Plan Drawings
·         Map of the location
·         Mechanical and Electrical Drawings
·         Permit Application Form
·         Roof Framing Plan
·         Site Plan Drawings
·         Structural Drawings
·         Title 24 Compliance Forms
This process can take as much as 6 weeks and require you to submit revised plans if issues are found. Once approved, you can begin to create your work schedule and start construction.

An Alternative
Keeping track of all the legislation needed to be complied with can be a significant issue. In some locations there may be additional parking provision mandates to be included too, adding additional work. However, there is an alternative approach that takes the strain for you. Garage conversion specialists work with the laws, compliances and expectations every day, and can guide you through the design and permit processes ensuring a fully compliant ADU that is legal, beautiful and achieves everything you hoped for.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Creating the perfect granny flat or ADU BY Hillstar Construction

Garage conversion is easier than you think

Garages, a useful space where we keep the car when not using it, right? In theory it is, but try thinking about your garage. When was the last time you actually used it to for your vehicle? Just as importantly, could you fit your car in it even if you wanted to?
For many of us, the garage is that black hole where we put old furniture, toys the kid’s have long since got bored of, Christmas decorations, Halloween outfits and almost everything else that we want to get out of sight and forget about.
But there are better things to do with that space, which is why garage conversions Los Angeles residents are looking for often create an accessory dwelling unit, or ADU.

The Accessory Dwelling Unit

In 2017, California introduced a state law that relaxed regulation on using space within a property as accommodation for family members or to rent out. Whether that is a garage conversion, basement suite or even a separate dwelling within the property’s lot, these independent accommodation spaces allow homeowners to generate additional funds through rental income, and since adopting the law, the rate of ADUs being built has increased massively. Today, there are thirsty times more applications each year that prior to the law being enacted.
What that means for homeowners is that instead of storing junk or the car, a garage conversion can build an ADU, creating a real rental income, or even a granny flat space for a relative.

Slow Down a little

Before you rush off to empty out the garage and place a Craigslist ad for your new tenant, there is a little more to it. Whether you call the granny flats or an accessory dwelling unit, for any garage conversion Los Angeles residents will still need to follow some simple rules.
You still need permitting to create an accessory dwelling unit, and there are some aspects of the garage conversion that need to be considered. First, only one ADU is allowed per single-family home. However, once you have made the choice, when drawing up your garage conversion plans, there are some things to remember.
The ADU built entirely internally to the house has no size restrictions, whereas those built as a detached building can be no more than 1,200 square feet, or half the house size, whichever is smaller. For garage conversions, there is a necessity to waive rights to passages to the garage conversion, Los Angeles also requires that there are zero setbacks for existing garages that are converted to ADUs.

A better way

While it is possible to accomplish all this yourself, there is a better way that removes the hassle and uncertainty about code compliance and other aspects of the ADU garage conversion. Hillstar Construction can help you through every step of your garage conversion plans, and we can take the hassle from the process.

From initial design, maximizing the space available for a granny flat or accessory dwelling unit, through permitting to carrying out the construction work, we can ensure everything goes smoothly. While most homeowners think it is the building works that will be the part that they will find most challenging, in reality, getting the design right and creating a useable space from the garage conversion is the part where they often need most help.
The temptation with the design is to rush in to get things going on the garage conversion project, however, time spent here can save a lot of hassle and costs down the line. There are three things to think about, light, access and space. This is especially important if you are looking at creating an ADU for rental. After all, the garage conversion plans need to result in a space that people will want to rent if you wish to make additional income from it.

Creating the perfect granny flat or ADU

By necessity, the garage conversion Los Angeles residents can create will be relatively small. This makes introducing light into the space crucial. Light has the effect of opening up the space, making it look bigger than it is and presenting a welcoming space that will attract tenants. Other things to think about are how they access the granny flat or accessory dwelling unit. Here finding a solution that doesn’t impact your own lifestyle is important.
With a specialist ADU expert drawing up your garage conversion plans, these things can be taken care of quickly, and soon you will have a complete plan for the ADU. This is where experience matters even more.

The right contractor

We have talked about the importance of a specialist contractor when drawing up the garage conversion plans, but this is even more crucial when the work begins. An experienced contractor who has delivered numerous garage conversion projects knows how to schedule and plan the work itself to minimize disruption and ensure a great finish while keeping to your budget. But with so many options to choose from, what do you look for.
Of course, it is easy for us to simply say, look for our name, but in general, you need three things from your garage conversion contractor. A track record of success in creating granny flats and ADUs, a friendly team who you feel comfortable with, and a transparent process that inspires confidence.
Experience, and in particular a track record of successfully completed projects gives peace of mind and a good idea of the quality of workmanship, but the other two are just as important. Because any alterations to your home means inviting people into it, you should always feel comfortable with those doing the work. Likewise, a great contractor will be able to lay out the work schedule and tell you what is happening when. This can make it much easier to work the garage conversion project around your life, and that makes for a smoother process throughout.


An accessory dwelling unit can be a great source of additional income, and with the right garage conversion Los Angeles residents can quickly turn their spare space into a business opportunity.
Thanks to recent law changes it is not nearly as daunting as many think, but it is still much easier to have Hillstar Construction garage conversion expert on hand to guide you through the process.

Saturday, September 15, 2018



Have you ever longed for a cool hangout spot or a personal haven only a couple of steps from your main house? Say, in your garage? Well, You're in luck. With the help of the recently passed state law, Senate Bill No. 1069, property owners in California are now in a position to legally transform their garages into smaller second homes.
For a Los Angeles resident to have the ability to appropriately do a garageconversion, he or she should meet a couple of straightforward requirements. These homes must be situated about one and a half mile from open transportation. It must not exceed 1,200 square feet or be more than five feet from the property line. A garage conversion can be a source of residual income but is in most cases overlooked by homeowners. Many of these home owners think they need to park their car in the garage, but the reality is that most homeowners rarely park their vehicles inside the garage. With rental costs soaring high as a result of the lack of new housing units, this bill was passed to enable full replenishment of supply. People who attempt moving into the city experience considerable difficulties getting a place at a decent cost. With this new bill, garage conversions will now be without hassle and quick, converting garages into units that can be leased off as low-salary housing alternatives for residents.
The recently passed Senate bill most definitely makes the process easier to add optional living units on your property, but this still needs to fall into a few basic requirements as already mentioned above.

 It’s definitely no secret that renting expenses in Los Angeles are one of the highest in the U.S. making it a nightmare, particularly for twenty to thirty-year olds to find a decent pad at an affordable price. As a result, state lawmakers formulated a bill that eases the problems of creating a secondary dwelling unit, now called ADUs (Accessory Dwelling Units), within your home's property. The idea is that you can rent these newly fabricated extra living spaces at a lower cost, making it more open for new LA residents to find a home. Faced with the above-mentioned issue, the Bill encourages and simplifies each step of the procedure to create these ADUs in your home. ADUs have been identified by the State as providing a vital alternative housing to both potential leaseholders and property owners. They usually cost less than various other kinds of housing, provide convenient housing to relatives, help ease an extreme rental housing deficit, maximize limited land resources and existing infrastructure, and help property owners with residual income.

For what reason would I need to convert my garage?
One has to be aware of the city's initiative to bring down the cost of renting alternatives and encouraging secondary living units. Here are a few reasons why a garage conversion is a wise choice for your family.

  1. Financial: You are already parking your car outside and need to make some additional money while raising your property's value, an apartment suite to rent out is a great alternative. Los Angeles is one of the most entrepreneurial areas in the nation, which implies that there are always new Americans moving to this lovely region in their quest for new financial opportunities. This sudden influx of new occupants gives a great chance to make some additional income from land. Furthermore, the good news is that you don't need to buy a flat to rent, you can convert your garage into one for around ten times less the cost of buying one.
  2. Family Housing: There are numerous reasons why an apartment suite or an additional room in your home could prove really valuable when family comes to visit. There is a myriad of examples for this case. Also, having this space in your garage will keep your home's privacy while having relatives close enough to appreciate the visit. Let's be realistic; even family visits require a lot of understanding, so having them in an ADU is a reasonable option. But if we consider hotel valuation, this ADU could be seen as being extremely lucrative if it is offered on platforms like AirBnb. Whether it is a nephew who will go to school in Los Angeles, your relative moving in, or Christmas gatherings, having your friends and family stay in your recently converted garage gives both of you improved security and more peace.
  3. Recreation Space: Everyone needs a man cave, and each family needs a large play-room. Various families may wish to have a completely loaded gym in each case; you would need to appropriate an existing space of your home while converting your garage into any of these won't just make that space more valuable but will also leave your home untouched. Regardless of intention, if you are looking for more space for various activities in your home, why not think about a garage conversion? Keep in mind, a home renovation, and particularly a carport transformation is only restricted by your creativity and your financial plan, but the possibilities of what you can do in that space are infinite. 
  4. Financial plan: Budget appropriation and distribution are crucial for the aim of converting your garage into an ADU. Nobody knows better than yourself the amount of money you can set aside for your garage conversion; in any case, it is always advisable to have a specialist evaluate how to assign better your budget.

Another factor that will modify your final cost is the fact that your new ADU will come with electric lines, water lines, and gas lines introduced; since this is particularly valid for an apartment suite conversion, where you will introduce another kitchen and restroom, driving up your price, but also your property's value. As with every rebuilding project, it is advisable to assign a contingency budget which will be 10%-15% of your total budget. Doing such will have you insured for any construction surprises that you may encounter all through your conversion.
e. Design Considerations: Garage conversions are great, but they present a challenge that most home expansions don`t. It is necessary, for a successful garage conversion, that your result resembles a normal part of your home and less like a converted garage. There are specific design considerations that you can't stand to overlook.
1. Exterior: You don't need your recently converted garage to stand out like a sore thumb in contrast with other parts of your home. You need to ensure that your brickwork, concrete, windows, and doors match those of the existing house and its existing exterior materials.
2. Floor Levels: In many cases, the garage's floor level is dissimilar to whatever is left of the house. So you need to refrain from stepping down to gain access to your newly converted space. If you need to do so, you need to make sure that it is done normally and that it doesn't affect the overall design.
f. Access: Garages are intended to fit cars and to provide easy access to the house. Thus, the arrangement of the doors is essential for your new conversion. Going with the current entry is usually the most stress-free approach, however not necessarily the best option. Your contractor shouldn't encourage you to run with the most direct option but the most functional. It always better to go with where the perfect position for the door would be. You wouldn't want to wind up with an awkwardly positioned door. 

g. Room Proportions: The extent of your new garage conversion is irrefutably one of the main challenges in the accomplishment of your task. Garages usually have an expansive square shape as floorplan, and if you need to make a flat, you need to position the kitchen and washroom strategically in order to get the best to out of your area. Furniture planning will also determine how your new space will look.
Considering storage is essential to the success of your conversion. Where are you going to store existing accessories and materials your garage? It is better not to end up with a beautifully converted garage and a packed and clustered home!
h. Natural Daylight: Garages are extremely dull spaces inside your home, so including windows is an absolute necessity! Think about your Lot's layout, because if your back wall faces your garden, adding a floor-to-ceiling window would be an attractive choice to gain some sunlight and give your conversion a more spacious appearance.
Here are a few essentials you will need for the ideal garage conversion:
1. Permits
2. Windows
3. Ventilation
4. Electricity and Plumbing
It is also crucial to have the right construction team do this job for you. A garage conversion isn't a do-it-yourself type of job. It involves building permits, complex piping and electrical work, and in most cases a total strip down of the existing building. You need to link up with a group of experts that will have the capacity to deal with the inconveniences of such a job. Having one team in charge of your permits, design, architecture, and development will speed up the entire procedure and shield you from any extra expenses.

In the present-day expensive Los Angeles, garage conversions are a lucrative opportunity for home owners to increase their property's value and the comfort of their home. Take advantage of the Senate Bill 1069 and transform your garage into your dream living space or into a rentable ADU.
That's why you need the services of hillstar construction for your high-quality garage conversion contracts.

Benefits Of Building An ADU in Los Angeles

Benefits Of Building An ADU in Los Angeles  Would you like to make extra money and create a rental income stream? Or more living space...