Finally starting construction on your ADU is an exciting moment! However, we’ll be the first to admit, no one likes the sound of construction in the morning, especially your neighbors. Now, it’s important to note that there’s nothing a neighbor can do to prevent you from building your ADU. You are well within your legal right to build. With that being said, this whole process will go a whole lot smoother if the neighbors are on board. 

Trying to maintain peace in the neighborhood? Here’s how.

Communicate with your neighbors throughout your ADU project

A few days before your construction project begins, let the neighborhood know. Whether you send a letter, knock on doors, or hang up flyers, your neighbors will appreciate the heads-up.

Explain that your project is fully legal and that you’re working with the city to dispel any concerns they may have.

Offer complete transparency if possible. This can include what you intend to build, start and end dates, or the building plan. This also gives them the opportunity to make any arrangements.

If you’re comfortable, leave your contact information. That way, neighbors can report directly to you if they have any questions or grievances and you can tend to them accordingly.

Keep them updated on how it’s going! Often times with construction the original schedule can be changed or prolonged. If you told your neighbors it would be done by May and they’re still seeing construction in June they might be a little frustrated. This can be easily avoided by keeping everyone updated on the progress!

How to Keep Your Neighbor Happy During Construction

Send a peace offering before you begin your ADU construction

Caitlin’s mother, Lynn, who is working on her own ADU project, had the great idea to bake bread for all of her neighbors. This shows that you genuinely care about their feelings and are trying your best to atone for the noise.

Not the best baker? We hear you, but don’t worry, get creative! Offerings can include gift cards, flowers, even just a candy bar shows effort.

Gifts to make their lives easier during construction are another great idea! To combat the noisiness, consider buying earplugs for all of your neighbors. Buy car wash coupons for surrounding occupants to compensate for the dustiness that your construction may cause.

Put up a fence around your ADU construction site

Putting up a temporary fence around your ADU will prevent any debris from migrating throughout the neighborhood. This will come as a benefit to you as well as it provides privacy during your project.

A construction site can be extremely dangerous so it’s important to have a fence around your project to prevent neighbors’ pets and children from wandering in and potentially hurting themselves.

Put up signs around the site to emphasize the hazards and save yourself from any costly lawsuits. Your neighbors will acknowledge your efforts to make your ongoing project as safe as possible for their families.

How to keep your neighbors happy during construction

Set rules for your crew

Make sure that your contractor’s construction crew knows the rules of the neighborhood. A few examples might be:

  • Music should be kept to a respectable volume, meaning it should not be heard by your next door neighbors.
  • Smoking should be prohibited or designated to smoking zones within the grounds of your property.
  • All trash and debris should be collected at the end of all working days.
  • Remind crewmembers that they should not be blocking driveways with their cars and equipment.
  • Above all, crewmembers need to stay on the grounds of your construction site at all times. They should not be wandering through the neighborhood for any reason.

Relay these rules to your contractor to make sure they are strictly enforced.

Also, communicate with the neighborhood to determine any other rules that they would like placed. This will make your neighbors feel like they have some control over the project which can alleviate any problems.

Set reasonable construction hours

It’s understandable that you would want to get your ADU project done as quickly as possible.

You may be tempted to work later into the night to get everything completed but save your neighbors and yourself the headache and keep your constructing hours to daylight only.

Even consider starting an hour or two later on weekends to give your neighbors a bit of extra rest.

Certain counties have permitted construction hours that all projects must be in compliance with. Your general contractor should be aware of these rules, but feel free to contact your local city ordinance office to find out what those hours are for yourself, or go to your local city council website.

Be present throughout the ADU process

If possible, be available to monitor your construction project.

Being present means that you can clearly enforce the neighborhood rules while also ensuring that your project is being completed professionally and efficiently.

This may require quite a bit of flexibility. Between having a job, going to school, or raising a family, your time may be limited, but it’s important to find that free spot in your schedule to do routine checkups.

Your presence will also prompt disgruntled neighbors to come to you directly with any questions or concerns rather than your contractor. Act as the human resources department of your project so that your contractor can focus on completing the project.

Still not happy?

Even after taking all of these precautions, you may still have a bit of a NIMBY (Not In My BackYard) neighbor on your hands and that’s okay. As long as you have all your required permits and you respect the community during your construction, there’s nothing your displeased neighbor can do.

The best thing to do is to just continue with your project and hope that their exasperation is resolved once your ADU is completed.

Have a Neighbor Story to Share? Comment below!