ADU Buiders

El Cajon

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11 min read

A seasoned ADU builder in El Cajon is your best bet for great results.


In El Cajon, Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) have become an increasingly popular way to enhance property value, accommodate growing families, and address the housing shortage. Partnering with the right ADU builders in El Cajon is crucial for navigating the construction and rental process successfully. This guide outlines key rules for ADU construction in El Cajon and underscores the importance of selecting an experienced builder like Better Place Remodeling, which offers a comprehensive one-stop-shop for ADU projects.

Essential ADU Rules for El Cajon

What you can build

  • Maximum size

    Maximum size is 1200 sqft.
  • Side / rear setbacks

    Minimum of 4 feet is required from rear and side-yard property lines.
  • Two story

    Allowed, within the specific height restrictions of the zoning area.
  • Building separation

    A minimum of 4 feet is required.

Permitting timeline

  • Standard

    4-6 months.
  • Coastal

    Not required.

Choosing the Right ADU Builder in El Cajon

Selecting a builder with specific ADU experience in El Cajon is critical. A builder familiar with local zoning laws, design principles, and the nuances of navigating city regulations will significantly impact the project’s success. Better Place Remodeling stands out as a premier choice for El Cajon residents, offering unparalleled expertise and a streamlined process from concept to completion. Our one-stop-shop approach ensures efficiency and peace of mind, making us an ideal partner for your ADU project.

El Cajon ADU Construction Process

The construction process for an ADU in El Cajon involves several key phases:

  • Planning and Design

Work with your ADU contractors in El Cajon to create a plan that meets your needs while complying with local regulations.

  • Permitting

Submit your plans to the city for approval. Expect a general timeline of 60 days for permit issuance, though this can vary.

  • Construction

Once permits are approved, construction begins. Your builder will manage the project and adhere to city inspections and compliance requirements.

  • Inspection and Completion

After construction, the city performs a final inspection. If it passes, your ADU is ready for occupancy.

This overview highlights the importance of compliance at each stage, underscoring the value of an experienced builder.

Building an ADU in El Cajon

In El Cajon, detached ADUs need a 4-foot setback from rear and interior side property lines. Attached ADUs are subject to a 3-foot setback from rear and side property lines, ensuring a balance between privacy and efficient use of space.

Yes, El Cajon permits the construction of two-story ADUs, adhering to local height regulations and zoning laws. This flexibility supports diverse housing solutions while maintaining neighborhood aesthetics.

The permit approval process for an ADU in El Cajon typically spans around 60 days after submitting a complete application. However, timelines may vary based on project specifics and current workload.

ADU Size & Building Rules in El Cajon

Detached ADUs are capped at 1200 square feet and may not be larger than the primary dwelling unit.

ADU height can match the zoning of the underlying zone when within primary dwelling unit setbacks, allowing for two-story constructions. Outside these setbacks, height limits are: a) 20 feet with 5-foot setbacks; b) 16 feet with 4-foot setbacks; and c) 12 feet with 3-foot setbacks. Near a major transit stop or high-quality transit corridor, the height is generally capped at 18 feet, with up to 20 feet permissible to align the roof pitch with the primary dwelling. For ADUs on lots with multi-story dwellings, the height limit remains at 18 feet.

The allowance of roof decks on ADUs in El Cajon isn’t explicitly detailed and may require direct consultation with the El Cajon Community Development Department. This ensures that any rooftop additions comply with safety, privacy, and design standards.

Attaching ADUs is permitted, though not specified in the El cajon building codes. It’s recommended you reach out to the El Cajon Community Development Department for additional guidance.

El Cajon imposes no minimum lot size for ADU development, encouraging the addition of ADUs across a wide range of property dimensions to increase housing availability.

ADUs in El Cajon are required to closely match the primary dwelling in terms of materials, color schemes, architectural style, and roofing. This coherence enhances visual harmony within the property. Limitations on covered outdoor areas to 10% of the ADU’s floor area are also specified, promoting balanced development while preserving open space.

Renting Your ADU in El Cajon

Renting out your ADU in El Cajon can provide a significant income stream, but it’s essential to understand the local rental market, income potential, and legal requirements. ADUs can be rented for periods longer than 30 days, but cannot be sold separately from the main house. Considerations for utilities and addressing ensure that your ADU complies with local standards. Engaging with a knowledgeable ADU construction company in El Cajon like Better Place Remodeling can help navigate these aspects efficiently, maximizing your investment’s potential.

Neighborhoods: Blossom Valley, Bostonia, Casa de Oro-Mount Helix, Crest, Cuyamaca, El Cajon, Fletcher Hills, Granite Hills, Harbison Canyon, Lakeview, Rancho Park.


Calculate Your ADU Cost in El Cajon

Curious about the cost of your ADU in El Cajon? Find out quickly with our interactive calculator. This tool is designed to give you a rough estimate.

Attached ADU


Estimated Cost


*The costs we are calculating here are an average for time and materials. This calculator is meant to provide an estimate to educate you on the ADU building process, please note that this is not a final quote.

Detached ADU


Estimated Cost


*The costs we are calculating here are an average for time and materials. This calculator is meant to provide an estimate to educate you on the ADU building process, please note that this is not a final quote.

Garage ADU


Estimated Cost


*The costs we are calculating here are an average for time and materials. This calculator is meant to provide an estimate to educate you on the ADU building process, please note that this is not a final quote.
See the potential


Navigating ADU regulations in El Cajon requires a thorough understanding of local zoning laws, building codes, and the permitting process. By adhering to these regulations, homeowners can successfully develop ADUs that enhance their property’s value and functionality. For tailored advice and the most current information, consulting with the El Cajon Planning Department or legal professionals is highly recommended. Whether for rental income, accommodating family, or other uses, ADUs represent a valuable asset for property owners in El Cajon.


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