What is an ADU?

Accessory dwelling units are  defined as a “secondary dwelling”, as opposed to the “main dwelling” on a homeowner’s property. People build them for lots of reasons, but the most common goals, according to one study, are gaining income via rent and housing a family member. An ADU usually has its own kitchen, living area, and amenities. An ADU may be attached to a house or garage, or it can be built as a stand-alone unit, but it generally will make use of the water and energy connections of the primary property.

At Mancini Design and Development, our ADU design ideas involve creativity and in-depth planning. Our ADU floor plans take our client's lifestyle into account, while reducing environmental impact in every step of our process. Our aim is to create a passive, self-sustainable home designed to be comfortable to live in all year round. This is generally achieved through simple measures, such as; the orientation of the building, the amount and type of insulation used, shading devices and overhangs, glazing types and cross-ventilation. Applying these basic techniques to ADUs allow them to breathe; making it cheaper to heat and cool, and ultimately resulting in a healthier, comfortable environment.

Mancini Design + Development Adus

ADUs and Mancini Design + Development

Mancini Design + Development has been instrumental in learning and applying these principles, and would love to assist you with your next project.

Modular Architecture

As every professional in the building industry knows, construction can be a costly and endlessly time-consuming endeavor. Delays are almost more frequent than on-time construction and can be induced by extensive bureaucratic requirements, weather, other unexpected circumstances, inadequate planning, too few personnel, or a whole host of other causes.

Per the Modular Building Institute, the industry’s largest trade association and foremost resource, “modular construction is a process in which a building is constructed off-site, under controlled plant conditions, using the same materials and designing to the same codes and standards as conventionally built facilities – but in about half the time." Modular construction is also a bit of an umbrella term that includes a couple of different types of construction

Mancini Design + Development Modular Building

* Panelized construction is a process in which interior and/or exterior wall panels are built in a factory setting and then transported to and arranged on the building site. The rest of the building is constructed on-site.

The benefits of modular construction compared to traditional construction methods and its cost-saving. Modular construction certainly can save costs, but that isn’t its primary benefit. The primary benefit of modular construction is time saving and faster return on investment. Since modular construction allows for industrialized assembly that happens concurrently with site preparation, the total time it takes to build a structure can be dramatically reduced. Often by the time the site is ready (foundation leveled, plumbing in place, concrete poured, etc.) the factory-built modules are ready to be placed. A modularly-built hotel, for example, can open its doors and start generating revenue 30%-50% sooner than a traditionally-built hotel.

modular construction is sustainable.
Modular construction is considered a more sustainable option than traditional construction methods for a few reasons:

Less material waste. When building in a factory, waste is eliminated by recycling materials, controlling inventory, and protecting building materials.
* Improved air quality. Because the modular structure is substantially completed in a factory-controlled setting using dry materials, the potential for high levels of moisture being trapped in the new construction is eliminated.

Modular building types.
Any type of building can be built modularly. But to do so, the building has to be conceived of and designed as such. Modular construction is often chosen when time is of the essence or space is at a premium. For example, urban lots are very often constrained by roads and other buildings, so building traditionally (bringing materials and workers onsite for an extended period of time) can be prohibitive. With modular construction, you need far fewer personnel to erect the building in less time. And, in tight urban locations, the reduction of noise pollution is an added benefit.

Technical requirements.
Whereas traditional construction can be a more fluid process wherein design changes are introduced even after construction has begun (often causing delays), modular construction requires design professionals to collaborate and complete their work upfront. It’s during this process that modular construction—permanent modular construction, most notably—usually relies on advanced BIM to assess energy performance and identify the most cost-effective efficiency measures. The designs are then turned over to the manufacturer for industrialized prefabrication and construction.

As far as design constraints, modular buildings are built to the same building codes and specifications as traditional buildings and are virtually indistinguishable from their “stick-built” counterparts. From single-family homes to multi-story office buildings, modular construction can be used anywhere.


Prefab construction has been used in the industry for many years and, with the increasing popularity of modular construction, I want to clarify the difference between the two.

Prefab is a general term used for a prefabricated building or building component that is manufactured in a factory prior to its final assembly at the construction site, whereas modular refers to something built or organized in self-contained units—like building blocks. A modular structure is at least 70% finished in the factory prior to delivery to the construction site. All modular buildings are considered prefabs, but not all prefabs are considered modular.

Mancini Design + Development Modular Building
Modular Building