FAQ: Getting a Building Permit

From building an ADU to the benefits of hiring a third-party to review your building plans, we've got answers to your frequently asked permitting questions.

How Do I Apply for a Building Permit? Online! In 2013, the Department of Planning and Permitting required that all plans for new builds be submitted electronically. But before you apply for a permit online, make sure you check out the DPP recommended permit checklist (link), a preliminary guide for the basic information required for permit approval.Do I need a permit to build an ADU?Yes. In order to build an “Accessory Dwelling Unit,” or secondary living space on property zoned for a single-family residence, you must obtain a building permit. The Department of Planning and Permitting provides another useful checklist (link)for determining what documentation you need to provide in order to be eligible for a permit. The good news? If your existing property meets all zoning, water, and building codes, approval for an ADU building permit should be granted quickly.Is the OTR Process Right for Me?Possibly! The One-Time Review process helps expedite the permitting process, so long as the plans submitted are complete, high-quality, and compliant with existing building ordinances.In Oahu, the One-Time Review process entails submitting completed plans to a plan reviewer at the DPP, who provides a one-time review with comments regarding any required changes to the building plans. The architect or designer then resubmits corrected plans, and if they are accepted by the reviewer, a building permit is issued.If additional corrections are discovered during the course of construction by the owner or an inspector, the owner must ask the architect to revise and resubmit plans to the DPP for approval, and property owners are liable for any losses or damage incurred if corrections are not made after the permit is issued.If you are working with a residential development company to build your new home, your architectural design plans are most likely part of a design series, and should already be in compliance with most building codes, and require few, if any, corrections. However, even one-of-a-kind home design plans can benefit from the OTR process, so long as you are using licensed professionals to design and build your home. Furthermore, proposed changes to Honolulu’s permitting laws hope to streamline this process further by mandating that all OTR applications be processed within 60 days.Can a Third-Party Review Expedite the Permit Process? Yes. Hiring a licensed third-party reviewer to facilitate the permitting process helps ensure that all required documents and plans are in compliance with state code before they are submitted to the Department of Planning and Permitting. In another attempt to expedite the permitting process, Honolulu is considering a law that would allow permits utilizing third-party reviewers to be approved without spot-checking by the DPP.Hiring the right professionals can make the permitting process significantly easier. Let Home Planning Hawaii connect you with qualified third-party reviewers, architects, contractors, and designers capable of making the home-building process efficient and stress-free.

Phone Number

(808) 222-4069

Opening Hours

Mon - Sat 8:00 - 5:30,
Sunday - Closed


2051 Young St., #33
Honolulu, HI 96826

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