Getting an Accessory Dwelling Unit built in Taos, NM

Posted on March 31, 2023
  1. Research the zoning laws: First, you need to research the zoning laws in Taos, NM, to determine if ADUs are permitted in your area, and what the specific requirements and limitations are.
  2. Check for any permits required: You may also need to obtain permits for the construction of the ADU from the local building department, which can vary depending on the location of your property and the scope of the project.
  3. Determine your budget: Before starting the construction process, you need to determine how much you can afford to spend on the ADU, including construction costs, permits, and any other associated expenses.
  4. Hire a contractor: Once you have determined your budget, you can start looking for a reputable contractor who has experience building ADUs in Taos, NM. You should interview several contractors and get quotes to compare pricing and services.
  5. Develop the design: Work with your contractor and an architect to develop a design for your ADU that meets your needs and adheres to local zoning laws and building codes.
  6. Apply for permits: Once the design is finalized, you can apply for permits from the local building department.
  7. Start the construction process: Once you have obtained the necessary permits, construction can begin on your ADU. You should plan to stay in regular communication with your contractor throughout the construction process to ensure that everything is going according to plan and any issues are addressed promptly.
  8. Finalize construction and inspection: Once construction is complete, you will need to schedule a final inspection to ensure that your ADU meets all local building codes and zoning laws.
  9. Enjoy your new living space: Once the final inspection is complete and any necessary corrections have been made, you can move into your new ADU and enjoy your new living space.

These are the basic steps you would take in getting an ADU built in Taos.

However, here are some common permits that you may need to obtain:

  1. Building permit: A building permit is typically required for any new construction, including an ADU. This permit ensures that the structure is built to code and meets all safety requirements.
  2. Zoning permit: A zoning permit may be required to ensure that the ADU meets all local zoning laws and regulations.
  3. Electrical permit: If the ADU requires electrical work, you may need to obtain an electrical permit to ensure that the work is done safely and up to code.
  4. Plumbing permit: If the ADU requires plumbing work, you may need to obtain a plumbing permit to ensure that the work is done safely and up to code.
  5. Mechanical permit: If the ADU requires mechanical work, such as heating or air conditioning, you may need to obtain a mechanical permit to ensure that the work is done safely and up to code.
  6. Sewer and water permit: If the ADU requires a connection to the sewer or water systems, you may need to obtain a permit to ensure that the connection is made safely and up to code.

Okay. But what about the foundation? Slab-on-grade foundation: This type of foundation is a concrete slab poured directly onto the ground. It is a popular choice for smaller ADUs and can be cost-effective.


  • Cost-effective: A slab-on-grade foundation can be more affordable than other types of foundations because it requires less excavation and material.
  • Energy-efficient: The concrete slab provides thermal mass that can help regulate the temperature of the ADU, reducing heating and cooling costs.
  • Easy access: The slab-on-grade foundation provides a flat, level surface that is easy to access and can accommodate wheelchair accessibility.
  • Low maintenance: Because there are no crawl spaces or basements, there are fewer areas for pests and moisture to accumulate, which can reduce maintenance needs.


  • Vulnerable to moisture: Without proper moisture barriers, a slab-on-grade foundation can be vulnerable to moisture problems, which can lead to mold, mildew, and other issues.
  • Limited space for plumbing and electrical systems: Because the slab is flush with the ground, there is limited space for plumbing and electrical systems, which may need to be installed in the walls or ceiling.
  • Susceptible to cracking: If the soil underneath the slab shifts or settles, it can cause the slab to crack, which can be difficult and costly to repair.

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