Accessory dwelling unit (ADU) is an affordable housing option that has remained in high popularity for many centuries because even the ancient Greeks built single-family neighborhoods to improve life quality. There are many ADU variations, e.g., granny flats, basement conversions, backyard cottages, attached ADUs, and more housing options. However, all of them are ideal for running home-based businesses.
In the process of constructing ADUs for this purpose, homeowners should pay attention to a variety of factors, including technology and connectivity considerations. In this review, we will talk about this component of creating an ADU, reveal additional requirements for the permitted stage, and also give some tips on how to improve the ADU for better business performance.
Building an ADU next to your primary dwelling unit can be the start of a great adventure, especially if you are burning with the idea of constructing a successful home-based business. However, even if you are planning to do something traditional, e.g., sewing or baking pies, you can not do without a fast Internet, because it helps to quickly find information and provides the opportunity to be in touch with the maximum number of customers. And if we are talking about a business that is related to programming, UX design, or analytics, then a high-speed Internet connection is also necessary as a building permit during construction.
We have collected five aspects that homeowners should keep in mind if they want to install high-speed Internet in attached or detached ADUs:
Just as many people confuse Natalie Portman and Keira Knightley, an inexperienced property owner may not have an accurate idea of the difference between connection and connectivity. The second term refers to Internet delivery tools in your existing single-family home, new attached ADU, or detached garage conversion. It can be a cable, satellite connection, remote connection, or wireless fiber.
If you want to get advice on building permits or impact fees, then you can contact a lawyer. And if you want to become the owner of an unusual detached single-family home near the primary residence, then you can contact prospective ADU builders; and if you need a powerful Internet, then you can not do without the services of an Internet provider. The market of Internet service providers is huge, so to find the perfect one, it is best to talk with property owners who have already had similar experiences.
You can use the fastest Internet to successfully work on a business project, but you will not feel this effect if the devices do not meet the technical requirements. Check the compliance between the Internet and your smartphone, laptop, Smart Home system, and other gadgets.
Another chain link in creating the desired Internet speed is devices that transmit traffic from the main channel to gadgets, most often a modem or router. Each of them has advantages and disadvantages that you can study yourself or consult with a specialist.
The final step and, concurrently, the last main requirement is the installation of software through which you can monitor the state of your Internet connection, traffic, or the number of connected devices.
Of course, by analogy with the same building permit, there exist certain hidden and additional requirements, e.g., the location of your ADU next to the communication towers or the size of the maximum wave of Internet distribution. Nevertheless, if homeowners follow at least the five requirements described above, then very soon, a fast Internet will appear in their ADU, which means an increase in business performance.
Many people have the opinion that modern technology makes people lazy and less responsible, and there is some truth in this statement. However, the correct disposal of technologies can make an island of high productivity out of an ordinary accessory dwelling unit. There are many options for improving the technological infrastructure of your ADU. However, we can say that you will not find a better option than a Smart Home system. A Smart Home can both directly and indirectly influence the development of your home business, and we will tell you more about this component in the next part.
An additional housing unit with an integrated Smart Home system is a big step in achieving success in your business. Most often, homeowners use this technology for two purposes, namely, to improve the standards of quality of life and entertainment. However, you can discover the whole functionality of a Smart Home only if you decide to use it for doing business.
Here are the five main aspects that will upgrade your ADU project:
On the whole, together with the Smart Home system, each square footage of your ADU will become as technologically advanced as in films about the distant future, where people organize a video conference with colleagues on one voice request from the sleeping area or receive a report on the progress of their business in 3 seconds.
The times when people got Internet access in a single-family home through long cables are covered in dust because today, all homeowners in their affordable housing units use wireless network coverage. It may seem that this question is not so significant because even in a forest, you can find the Internet; however, do not underestimate this factor.
For example, if your ADU has a common border with an electrical tower, then the Internet will be weak in certain rooms. In this regard, be sure to test the signal quality in each square footage of your ADU to make sure that your new construction has Internet access.
When people watch a hockey match, they admire the agility of the forwards, but few people note the amount of work that the defenders are doing. Similarly, it is with power and electrical systems which has a direct effect on your ADU business success. In this aspect, we recommend discussing with your general contractor the type of substation that will supply electricity to your ADU. It can be solar or wind energy, conventional electricity, or other resources. Be sure to test the transformer and separate utility connections.
Do not miss the factor of minimum and maximum ADU size, as well as the type of your business, because it is obvious that drawing pictures will require less electrical energy than graphic design.
We have partially touched on the issue of accessory dwelling unit security in the paragraph about the Smart Home, but since there is nothing more important than security, it is worth revealing this point in more detail. First, take care of the serviceability of your surveillance cameras so that they cover every location around your ADU. Secondly, set a strong password for your wireless network to avoid so-called parasitism when someone uses your Wi-Fi. Thirdly, if your business is related to documentation or work with personal data, then create a reliable shield against all cyberattacks using a Smart Home system.
The most important thing in the security context is not to violate the local rules in the course of building ADUs, so always keep in touch with your lawyer.
We don't have enough fingers on our hands to list all the historical moments when one timely call decided the fate of big companies, sports players, and show business stars because well-established communication is half the success. Today, every person who runs a business from an accessory or primary dwelling unit should take care of installing audio and video systems.
At this stage, we recommend homeowners pay attention to the following characteristics:
Overall, these were the minimum requirements for audio and video systems for doing business from ADU because technological progress never stands still, and large IT corporations release updates every year that you can incorporate into existing space.
If the property owners' electricity breaks down, then they use a spare generator; if the water service fails, then they resort to a backup reservoir; and if data is missing for some reason, then cloud-based storage solutions are irreplaceable. Agree that only in films about Steve Jobs or Mr. Robot do the main characters solve all complex problems with one attempt, when in reality, you always need to have insurance in case of failure. We recommend installing a cloud storage system in all housing options, including accessory dwelling units, because no one wants to lose valuable data.
In the process of working on various projects, property owners study a lot of content and information; however, many sites, forums, and other communities in many cities are blocked, and in this case, you cannot do without a VPN. Someone will say that you can install a VPN on a laptop and even on a smart TV; however, to avoid endless searches for the most suitable platform, you can embed a VPN into a single ecosystem of your ADU. As a result, on one request, your voice assistant will activate the VPN and select a location for a specific site. By connecting ADUs to an active VPN, you save valuable time and can distribute it for other tasks.
ADU project builders have the concept of the post-construction stage when specialists conduct testing of all life support systems from heating to water service, evaluate the design component of the accessory unit, and also verify all documentation on ADU permits. The same can be said about the technological equipment of the new living space for home-based businesses.
We recommend all homeowners to check the compatibility and interoperability of all systems. Check the Internet speed, all electrical elements, Smart Home, as well as communication and protection systems, and make sure that they all perform their functions without failures because it is better to make changes at this stage than to spend money on additional repairs.
The permitting process is the basis for the construction. At this stage, you and your lawyer need to study all zoning regulations, ADU ordinances, parking requirements, and minimum lot size requirements to be sure that the construction of ADU is completely legal. As soon as you pay the permit fees and form a package with documents, you can apply for a building permit.
ADU is a fully customized housing unit, so its price depends on many unique factors, e.g., the number of floors, the availability of one parking space or more, minimum lot size, as well as the cost of general contractor services. However, based on experience, we can say that the most budget option is garage conversion, followed by an attached ADU, and the biggest price tag has a detached single-family home, as you need to build everything from scratch.
Detached ADUs are located separately from the primary residence, which means no one will distract you from your business; in addition, you can always easily use them for short-term rentals. However, if the attached ADU has a separate entrance, then this is also a great option for a home-based business because it will be easier for you to create a single Internet system with a primary home.
The permitting process is always accompanied by certain expenses, at least for the lawyer services and the payment of permitting fees. However, if the property owner follows the principle of non-compliance with legal norms, whether it is a violation of parking requirements or non-registration of a building permit, then these costs will seem insignificant compared to the huge fines and permitting barriers, up to a ban on the construction of your single family home or a two-story attached ADU.