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Honolulu Permits 101: A Quick Guide to the Basics

Permits Hawaii

Ready to start building or renovating your dream home with Home Planning Hawaii? Creating the perfect dwelling is fun and exciting, but it is important to make sure your dream blueprints receive the proper permits, and that you use only licensed and experienced contractors and architects.

Oahu’s permitting process for new residential builds can sometimes be confusing, and neglecting any part of the process can cost you valuable time and money. To help you navigate the permitting easily and as quickly as possible, here’s a quick intro to the permitting process on Oahu. Happy building!

Wondering when a permit is required? Check out this short checklist from the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting. According to the DPP, you need a permit if for:

  1. Construction or demolition of a structure
  2. Electrical or plumbing work
  3. Driveway or curb work
  4. Sign work
  5. Temporary structures
  6. Curb, retaining wall or fence
  7. TV or radio antennas
  8. Painting, cabinet work, or floor coverings
  9. Tool or storage shed
  10. Home maintenance

Since most of this list is standard for any new residential build or renovation, you’re almost guaranteed to require a permit, even for relatively simple renovations.  Fortunately, blueprints and architectural plans can now be submitted to the DPP for approval electronically. If you submit plans electronically, you can check the status of your permit via the DPP website. This allows you to make sure your approval isn’t being delayed due to a lack of proper paperwork or misplaced plans.

Whether you submit hardcopies of your plans, or submit electronically, most delays can be avoided by ensuring your plans are complete before submission. Incomplete plans are first delayed, and then returned without approval-forcing you and your contractor or architect to begin the process over again. To avoid this pitfall, review this comprehensive checklist considered “vital” by the DPP.

Another time-saving measure to consider? As of January 4th, 2016, the DPP offers a “One Time Review (OTR)” building permit process for Single Family Residential permits. This allows applicants the option to have their plans reviewed and approved only once by the DPP. This saves both builders and applicants time, but does require applicants to recognize that the Honolulu DPP is not liable for any property damage or loss during the construction process. Working with a skilled and licensed architect and/or contractor can help you determine if the OTR process is right for your project.  For more on the OTR process, read the information packet here.

For help navigating the complexities of home building and obtaining the proper permits, Home Planning Hawaii specializes in third-party permit routing, in which we help you and your architect review all blueprints before they are submitted, and help expedite the approval process. This allows you and your architect to focus on creating your dream home. Contact us today to find the best professional for your home building needs, and visit our free Architectural Design and Plans Calculator to help begin planning your project.