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Building a New Home? What Bill 64 Means for New Homebuilders

Building a new home in Oahu means living near the world’s most beautiful beaches and scenic state parks, while enjoying a vibrant local community rich in diversity and culture. There’s a reason it’s the dream living destination for people from around the world, but the journey from dream to reality is certainly not for the faint of heart when it comes to building on the island. From the backlog of building permit applications and months-long waiting periods, to navigating the complex building code, it’s no wonder both residents and industry experts are eager for solutions in residential permitting.

On November 28 2018, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced his decision to allow Bill 64 to become a law— without his signature. Supporters of the new law hope it will expedite the permit process for new construction, while detractors fear that the strict regulations may actually increase delays. As for Caldwell, he wants to wait and see how the proposed resolutions impact residential construction, adapting procedures along the way in order to best serve the community.

What do these new resolutions mean for prospective homebuilders? Bill 64 included seven resolutions hoping intended to streamline the approval process for new building permits. Here’s what’s new, and what you need to know in order to take advantage of the new regulations.

  • Permits for one- and two- family residences will be issued within 60 days of their application through the One-Time Review process, eliminating a wait process that has previously taken several months.
  • Applicants submitted through a third-party reviewer will be approved without being re-checked by the in-house reviewers at the Department of Planning and Permitting.
  • The DPP will hire four new full-time plan reviewers, and two-temporary workers to address Oahu’s increasingly high demand for residential building permits.
  • Once a week, the DPP will close all one-stop permitting locations for a “Malama Mondays” pilot program, in which reviewers will focus solely on clearing the backlog of current permit applications.
  • The number of online permits issued for home improvements and renovations, such as electric, plumbing, and solar-panel installation will be increased by 10 percent.
  • The DPP will approve permits for retrofitting fire sprinklers on existing structures within 120 days.

While all of these resolutions hope to expedite the permitting process, the new guidelines also increase the level of quality required for building plans submitting for approval. Incomplete plans will be rejected immediately, and any plan reviewed and rejected more than three times will be barred from reapplication for twelve months. Since reviewing and correcting incomplete plans several times increases the workload for DPP reviewers, the new regulations hope to motivate builders and architects to only apply for permits if their plans are complete and ready for immediate approval.

With the help of qualified professionals and experts, creating plans that take advantage of the new streamlined permit resolutions means homeowners can expect to begin construction faster than ever before. Let Home Planning Honolulu connect you with the island’s best builders, contractors, architects, and third-party reviewers, and get one step closer to making your dream home a reality.

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