Building costs/fees/hassle on Oahu

5 Replies

My question is whats it like to build on the Island. I am in Wa State now and thinking about putting my needs/lumber ect into a container and shipping the whole house over and build it there. I know there is a shortage of workers and may even import my guys. How are the permitting and rules over there? I would build in the Kaneohe area. I am wondering about concrete costs and how are the permitting fees? I plan to build a 2 story with a lower level to rent VRBO or something like that.  Any info is appreciated.

Building in Hawaii can certainly provide some unique opportunities, your plan to ship over home and especially your own workers will greatly reduce issues, but be sure to have it overseen by a licensed Hawaii contractor.

First step I would suggest is contacting a local contractor.  

@Jay C. I think importing your guys and material will reduce cost by a lot.  Good contractors/workers are hard to find.  Its so busy that they will all over bid and you either take it or leave it.  Some dont even get back to you if you want them to bid because they dont need your money, plenty of other jobs out there.  Dont know the laws on if you need someone local though.

You cant do short term rental in Kaneohe.  I think if you get busted the fine is something like $1000/day.  Plus its not a tourist town like Kailua, Haleiwa, or Waikiki.  

Permits can take a while. I heard some people take almost a year to get approved.  The city is so backlogged and under staffed that it just goes in a pile. Then the person approving it makes corrections and gives it back to you. once you made those corrections, it goes back in the pile.  Its best to know what is needed and get it right the first time.  Good luck.

@Royce Talbo

Thanks for the reply. I have read about the short term rentals but everyone does it there. You just cannot be flagrant about it.  The prices there have exploded so building looks like the only way. Thanks

@Jay C. Just came across your post, curious to how your plan came out? Did you end up building? If so where? How hard was it to get all the permits?

I'm looking to do something similar. Only difference is that I'm already on the island and may be renovating substantially and building an ADU.

Let me me know, I’m very intrigued.

@Daniel A Lee Kim

I have not started. Its still in the works as I learn more. I have done several projects where I live so the overall scope is not that big a deal. The issue is permit navigation over there for me. I hear your system is very backlogged and honestly slow. I have found it very slow and difficult to get some easy answers. The benefit over there is any structure doesn't have to have near the thigs I do over here. I think I can build cheaper there honestly if I do it myself. I have built two ADU over here. They are very simple to do. The challenge can be sewer/water/power hookups depending on your lot. Identify those service points first to determine what's involved to service your ADU.

Best of Luck

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