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Common Mistakes to Avoid when Applying for a Building Permit

Note: In response to COVID-19, the Department of Planning and Permitting is currently not conducting any in-person meetings or appointments. Meetings via video conferencing are available as needed. Fortunately, the building permit application and review process is all completed online through ePlans.

Navigating Honolulu’s permitting process for new construction is a complicated endeavor. While the application process is designed to ensure that all new homes are built safely and help preserve Hawaii’s natural resources and beauty, it can be intimidating to navigate the process for the first time. Fortunately, you can avoid delays and expedite the permitting process by avoiding these common mistakes:

Skipping the first step! Before you apply for a building permit, you must first complete an IBP (Internet Building Permit) application. This form provides you with the application number needed to submit your plans through the ePlans program.

Once you’ve submitted your IBP, a project will automatically be generated in the ePlans program, and you can begin preparing your electronic plans for review.

Mistakes to avoid when preparing electronic plans…

Disregarding the Residential Building Permit Plan Format Checklist provided by the Department of Planning and Permitting: As part of the If you submit plans that are not in accordance with this checklist, your permit application will be returned without review.

Using an alternate naming and filing system than the one provided by the DPP: The Department of Planning and Permitting uses a standardized naming and numbering system and provides guidelines for all ePlans submissions. Your plans will not be reviewed and a permit will not be issued if you or your architect/contractor use an alternate system.

After submitting your permit application online, receiving a permit application number, and preparing your electronic plans, you can log on to ePlans and upload your documents for review. Make sure to click the Upload Complete-Notify DPP button at the end of this process.

At this point, your plans will enter the pre-screening process. If your plans meet all the requirements, they will enter the plan review stage. If corrections are needed, your plans will be returned and you will need to upload corrected plans for an additional pre-screening.

Preventing delays when submitting pre-screening corrections…

Do not rename your revised or corrected files when re-submitting them again for pre-screening. Renaming files will disrupt the version review process in the ePlans program and cause unnecessary delays.

Once you have re-submitted your corrected plans, make sure to check the box stating “I have uploaded the corrected documents and/or drawings as indicated above” AND click the “Return to DPP” box at the bottom of the page. The DPP will not be notified of your resubmission until both these steps are completed.

Want to make sure your building permit is approved as quickly as possible? We can help. Check out our online Permit Process Resource Guide, and contact us for help finding a third-party review agency to provide a stress-free application and review process. Happy planning!