What we do


"We got tons of helpful tips on Home Planning Hawaii and we also got connected to a wonderful Honolulu architect who was very easy to work with. We are are very pleased with the quality of work and the cost of the project."

- John Smith, Airplane Company

Architectural Services

An architect is the starting point in designing your dream space. Whether in renovation or new construction, you’ll work in partnership with your architect to ensure that the space is optimized and the structure is sound.

Home Planning Hawaii is a free resource offering home owners valuable information on the architectural, home building or remodeling process. In addition, Home Planning Hawaii can connect you with a qualified and licensed architect or draftsperson that you can trust. Whatever your needs are, you can find help here, everything from drafting blueprints and construction management to interior design—and you can feel confident that your project will be completed on time and on budget. Architectural services include:

Design Studies
Drafting Services
Commercial Retail Design
Commercial Tenant Improvement
Feasibility Studies
Permit Routing
Remodels and Renovation
Residential Construction
Residential Additions


All architecture projects begin with a brief and complimentary on-site consultation to discuss the scope of your project. A proposal is generated based on your needs and a 25 percent retainer begins your project.

The rest of the process includes the following steps:


Fees vary based on the complexity and size of  the project and if the client wants full Architectural Services or limited Architectural Services. Within the industry, full architectural fees range from 10 percent to 12 percent of the construction cost for new homes and 15 percent for remodel projects.

Full Architectural Services includes oversight of the contractor and design during construction. Limited Architectural Services excludes oversight of the project during construction.

Fees are based on one of the following options:

  • A percentage of construction cost
  • An hourly rate
  • A lump sum based on work involved
  • A lump sum plus expenses

Involve your architect from the beginning! You’ll benefit from better project design and quality, modifications to optimize your space, and potential opportunities for cost savings. Plus, the architect serves as a liaison between client and contractor and ensures a smooth and positive process. Your architect will budget approximately 15 to 20 percent of the scheduled fee for the construction phase.

Initial Meeting

The complimentary initial meeting lets you meet those who will be involved on your project and answer the following questions:

  • Did you like the designers you met?
  • Do you understand the process, costs, and time required to complete your project?
  • Was the firm receptive to your ideas and desired outcomes for your project?
  • Were you offered insight to the strengths of your ideas or potential conflicts with building structure, building codes, or budget issues?

Fee Proposal

Following the initial meeting, your architect will tailor a fee proposal to your particular needs. The fee proposal is a line‐by‐line itemization of the phases of your project.

  • A percentage of construction cost
  • A project fee based on work involved
  • A project fee based on work involved plus expenses
  • An hourly rate

Documenting Existing Conditions

This phase serves as backbone to the schematic design phase. Your building and site requirements are detailed and documented (which can even include special furniture or art), functioning as a kind of “before” sketch of your space.  In fact, you’ll receive computer‐generated drawings, called “as‐builts,” that fully describe your existing home.


Next, your architect will determine project feasibility by interpreting your wishes and ideas. Welcome are any media that helps represent your vision: photos, magazine clippings, napkin sketches, design ideas, etc.

Site Analysis

A home on a steep slope will be designed differently than one on a flat site. You will be advised on all of the documents, from various entities, that your site will require. Mandated site surveys and soil reports, for example, are very common.

Schematic Design

This is where  dreams unfold and take shape on paper. Your architect will interpret your needs and wishes into freehand sketches, models, digital drawings, or 3D digital models. Then you and your architect will sit down and talk story, working out the details, a preliminary budget, and a schedule. This is the official scope of your project.

Design Development

The sketches and quick models that you initially discussed with your architect begin to morph into drafted versions, whether freehand or digital, and here’s where your architect begins to give size and shape to your dreams. These drawings will eventually be your permit drawings and the drawings that contractors will use to bid your project.

Key decisions are made in this phase, so it’s important to review your priorities. This phase sets forth preferences for every aspect of the design. Rooms are given particular sizes and elements such as window placement, cabinets, and finishes are determined.  If you feel the renderings do not adequately portray the space you desire, now is the time to make it known.

Construction Documents

Construction documents consist of final drawings and specifications for your project. These drawings are used to permit and build your project. Requested specifications, such as product, finish, and quality level are documented here.


The City and County of Honolulu require all projects over $1000 in value to have a building permit. Your architect has the experience in permitting and includes this service in the fee proposal. Permitting time can range from a few weeks to a few months depending on the complexity of the project. Fees required by the City and County of Honolulu are a factor of construction cost.

Construction Administration

Construction can be a nerve‐wracking phase for homeowners. To minimize those worries your architect may offer construction administration services. This will assist you in keeping your project on budget, on time, and maintaining the design intent.

Since residential projects are very personal to the homeowner, having a third party to assist in the details of construction allows for a much more positive relationship between owner and contractor. From assisting in design modifications in the field, resolving disputes, assisting in price negotiations, or any other of the multitude of issues that arise, your architect will be there to help.


  • Do I really need an architect? Find the answer to this question and others on our FAQ page.
  • Who comes first, the architect or the contractor? The answer is on our FAQ page.
  • What questions should I ask my architect? Head on over to the FAQ page for the list.

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