Answering a growing need in the realm of affordable housing, accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are enjoying increasing favor with state legislatures as well as county and local planning boards. They offer downsized quarters for seniors; professional workspace for the self-employed; and rental income for financially burdened home owners. These detached cottage-like structures ordinarily share a parcel with a single-family residence, offering additional rooms and accommodations, hence the term "accessory." Sometimes, an ADU is attached to a residence but, more often, it is a smaller detached edifice. In either case, more builders are taking note of this growing residential trend.

As noted in the previous posting, ADUs are thriving in the Silicon Valley and Pacific Northwest, all the while emerging more prominently in other regions as well. Whether it is in response to lack of affordable housing or simply the profitability in supplying new options, start-up ADU companies are multiplying across the United States. Architects, builders, realtors, appraisers and more are specializing in properties that have ADU components. Given the changes in state laws and municipal ordinances, keeping abreast of the rules governing accessory dwelling units is becoming a full-time job. Sometimes, established home builders are creating new ADU divisions within their organizations. Meanwhile, new firms are starting up to work solely on ADU development.

Home Builder Digest, an online trade journal, surveyed many of these enterprises for outstanding examples.

1. Acton ADU -- A subsidiary of Acton Construction, Acton ADU serves the San Francisco Bay area of California. From design to construction, this company emphasizes transparency with regard to cost and simplicity with regard to process. Acton has patented several designs based on the wishes of prior customers, thus can now offer them to new clients. Many of their units are basic studio homes though Acton routinely goes larger.

2.  Blackline Renovations -- This company specializes in home remodeling and reconstruction in North Texas. Twice the recipient of the Contractor of the Year Award from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, Blackline expanded its service portfolio from kitchen and room remodeling to detached garage and ADU construction. Peers in the business commend this firm for excellence in craftsmanship and the wide range of styles employed, from log cabin to Tudor to brick Colonial. Each of Blackline's designs is conceived in consultation with the customer.

3. Clarkbuilt, Inc. -- Portland, Oregon is headquarters to Clarkbuilt, Inc. While its original mission is to restore and refurbish houses built in the early 20th century, this organization also specializes in taking old out buildings and converting them to comfortable and ecologically sound -- it is Portland, after all -- auxiliary dwellings. Clarkbuilt's work is characterized by green building materials, energy efficiency and custom cabinetry.

4. Copper Sky Renovations -- Leaders in ADU construction and conversion are also found in the Deep South, where a plethora of older structures await restoration as livable domiciles. The design philosophy of this firm is to both renovate structure and function while retaining -- in fact, reviving -- the original character of an edifice. Whether attached or detached, renovated or built from scratch, an ADU by Copper Sky is designed to complement the entire property while augmenting home value.

Though these are just a few of the builders recognized as making quality contributions in the accessory dwelling unit industry, they represent established and brand new concerns throughout the U.S. that are getting in on this growing trend. Characteristic of them all is an understanding that an ADU offers manifold benefits to property owners while growing home value.