Pre-approved ADU designs now available in Monterey County


Staff member
Apr 16, 2023
It's great to see another instance of a building department making pre-approved building plans available. We recently discussed Windsor's roll out of pre-approved home designs. Now there's news from Monterey County, CA that their Building Division has started offering free, pre-approved ADU designs. The designs, which were completed by California-based design-build firm Workbench, include three different floor plans and two exterior architectural styles, as shown below.


The pre-approved standard plans have been reviewed and stamped ‘Approved’ by the Monterey County Building Division, meaning they meet California Building Code requirements. Workbench says that it strives to design "high quality, thoughtful architecture that is simple to construct and budget friendly for owners." The article mentions that Workbench has also pre-designed ADUs for the cities of Seaside, Capitola, and Davis, as well as Plumas County.

Many homeowners who install ADUs on their property do so for economic reasons, whether it's to provide affordable housing for grandparents or children or create a source of rental income. By enabling residents to save on ADU design and permitting costs, not to mention the time it would take to complete these steps, Monterey County is making significant financial benefits available to many residents for whom ADUs might not otherwise be an option.

Note that a building permit is still required before construction of the County's pre-designed ADUs can begin. Development of the pre-approved designs was funded by California's SB 2 grant program.
Monterey County, California, United States
These pre-approved ADUs will likely save on architecture fees for the new designs, as well. Having to design and re-design a building to meet the local building codes and all of the regulations in the area isn't free. Contractors will be able to study the designs and crank these out faster at lower cost. It looks like a win - unless the landowner doesn't like any of the preapproved ADUs, then it's back to square one.
These pre-approved ADUs will save money and time for everyone that's making use of it. There's nothing anymore like your design have been rejected for this or that because everything have been approved and stamped. It's just left for you to choose the design that best suits your need. Residents will always be grateful for being able to save on ADU design and permitting costs.
It's fantastic to see Monterey County's Building Division offering free, pre-approved ADU designs. This initiative not only streamlines the process for homeowners but also promotes more affordable housing options and rental income potential. Workbench's commitment to high-quality, budget-friendly architecture is commendable. Such efforts are essential to address housing challenges and encourage responsible development. While permits are still necessary, this move supported by California's SB 2 grant program is a positive step towards making ADUs accessible to a broader range of residents.