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Construction Of Backyard Granny Flats Booming In Bay Area During Pandemic

OAKLAND (KPIX) -- During the pandemic, living space has become an even more prized commodity, especially in the Bay Area. That's why many homeowners are looking at one particular Bay Area builder to create more room and get it done quickly.
Redwood City-based Abodu says interest in its accessory dwelling units or ADUs, also known as granny flats or backyard cottages, has more than doubled since the pandemic began.

A typical project can be done in as little as 12 weeks, from the day the permit is pulled.

The two-year old company made a showstopping delivery in Oakland on Tuesday. A brand new 335-square foot prefab studio was lifted from the back of a truck, and freshly installed on a foundation in the backyard of a century-old home in Oakland.
"We've seen lots of families solving for acute family needs, so mother-in-law, father-in-law that's in an assisted living facility. They're worried about the risk of COVID spread come the Fall, or children that are coming back from college, because college campuses are closed," said Abodu CEO John Geary.
Oakland homeowner James Jirn was looking for an extension of his family home.
"My wife and I, we have two young kids and my older daughter wanted her own space and my home office, because of COVID, I'm there a lot more now," said Jirn. "She wanted her own space, so I was getting kicked out of my home office."
After hiring an architect to look at building an ADU the traditional way, the route proved to be too costly and lengthy.
The Abodu studio unit, which comes with a bedroom area, full kitchen and bathroom, starts at $190,000. It includes construction costs, utility connections, delivery, and managing all permits with the city.

"It was like having your own concierge service, everything was taken care of for you. We didn't have to go out and make sure things were permitted, or documents were signed," said Jirn.
ADU construction in California has surged dramatically with the passage of new legislation in recent years.
In 2018, 5,911 permits were issued. In 2019, that number jumped to 15,571, according to UC Berkeley research.
"The benefit of building prefab is it takes the noise, and the stress, and the hassle, and the mess of construction out of the backyard, which for a typical site build could last 8, 10, 12 months," said Geary.
Tuesday's installation in Oakland was Abodu's first in the city. The neighbors said they have no complaints.
"Actually there's a neighborhood across the street from us who is rebuilding their house right now, and it is very loud and wakes my kids up frequently from their naps," said Oakland resident Kayce Thayer. "But this one was done in the day and very little disturbance."

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