Top Ten Pinterest Home Improvement Boards for DIY-ers

Share

The Oddest Place You Will Find Home Business Success: Teaching Success with Our System

 

As everyone already knows, we are living in a home improvement do-it-yourself era. Even those who have never held a hammer are taking small home improvement projects on and are doing a pretty good job. It’s also a well-known fact that Pinterest is the place to go for everything you could ever possibly want to know about almost anything. So we decided to share 10 of the most popular Pinterest boards that have to do with home improvement to get your creative juices flowing and your tools out on the table.

1. Visiting Shelley Creed’s board called Architectural Salvage is like taking a short course on how to incorporate salvaged windows, doors, and trim into the house you are building or remodeling. The pins on her board are beautiful, and the ideas you glean from her pins will inspire and intrigue you.

2. On the board Home Decor & DIY, Sarah McKenna of Bombshell Bling shares suggestions about paint, room make-overs, upcycling furniture, home offices, painting vinyl shutters, backsplash ideas, Ikea hacks, adding personality to a simple space, farmhouse finds, and more. Sarah’s board is colorful and sassy and well worth a visit.

3. Lucy, at Craftberry Bush, has 21,901 followers on her home improvement board. She includes many helpful and useful tips, such as types of molding, removing popcorn ceilings, home decor charts, and many DIY tutorials. You will find hundreds of ideas on Lucy’s board.

4. Jenny on the Spot Home has a home improvement board that contains everything from home exterior ideas to installing barn doors. She has tutorials for picking colors for your home, bathroom design, lighting, fabrics, outdoor living areas, choosing the right fence for your home.

5. For terrific ideas on designing shelves, stenciling tile, or building a pantry between the studs in your kitchen, visit the Allred Design boards dedicated to DIY tips for your home. With 17,400 followers, Allred Design is doing something right. Their home improvement board includes how to make open pipe shelving, open, floating shelving, crown molding templates, paint a concrete floor, and other stunning projects for your new home.

6. Lauren@Bless’er House offers a truck load of advice on her “how-to” board, including her favorite “peel and stick” vinyl tiles, farmhouse window trim, and DIY feather finish concrete counter tops. She also has pins on how to paint kitchen cabinets and the cheapest and easiest DIY Board and Batten.

7. Great ideas for home design are the focus of Jacqueline Tan’s home improvement board. She shares pictures of innovative and creative improvements you can incorporate into your new house. This Amsterdam homemaker has wonderful ideas for organizing, DIY projects, gardening, and interior design.

8. Tam P offers the kind of down-to-earth tutorials a DIY homeowner will need, like how to whitewash brick and how to create ship-lap wall covering. All her boards are chock full of ideas, however, and you might just get caught in that Pinterest rabbit hole we’ve all fallen in before.

9. The Savvy Saving Couple has found ways to cut costs on almost every type of new home project. They show examples of bathroom renovations, cottage-style design ideas, and styling a small space.

10. And best of all, the DIY Network Shows has boards of its own. The pins you find will allow you to travel behind the scenes with the hosts of your favorite DIY Network television shows. Watching these videos will be like getting your Ph.D. in home improvement.

Owner Built Design, LLC of Oahu is ready to get you started on building a house or adding an addition or other home-improvement for you and your family.  We will provide you with permit-ready designs and be available to you in many ways as you take on this exciting task.  Call or text for more information.

Share

Do I Need an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan?

Share

If you plan to do construction on your property such as building a home or other structure, it’s important to understand the new regulations set forth by the Department of Permitting and Planning. These regulations pertain to the erosion and sedimentation of your property and the property surrounding it. Here are the details of what is expected of you as the homeowner.

Who needs an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan

For any type of construction work that will disturb the land, you must submit an Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan. The following are examples of the type of work that falls into that category:

  • Pouring a foundation
  • Constructing a retaining wall
  • Creating a driveway
  • Installing a sidewalk
  • Demolition work
  • Installing utilities
  • Trenching
  • Grading the land

This is only a partial list.

What is an Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan (ESCP)

In simplest terms, the ESCP is a document that explains how you plan to prevent or reduce erosion during the construction process and “minimize the impacts of sediment, turbidity, and hydrologic changes off-site.” In other words, how will you ensure your construction project will not harm the environment, lands, or waters off-site? You may be wondering who is responsible for this documentation. The answer is the homeowner is.

Why is this necessary?

Any time the land is disturbed there is the risk that dirt, debris, and other waste will end up in the water sources. For example, when you dig a foundation for a home, it stirs and exposes soil. Then later when it rains or water is used during the project, the loose soil washes away from the site and ends up eventually in lakes, streams, and oceans. This wreaks havoc on our water. Protecting the oceans and streams from pollution is important for the community.

How long does my control plan have to be?

There is no set length for your ESCP but it must be thorough enough for the project you’re doing. If you are doing extensive construction and will be disturbing large quantities of soil, then your plan will be more extensive. If you are doing a relatively small amount of work, then the plan would likely more simple.

Category 1A and 1B control plans

Projects that involve disturbance of less than one acre of ground are put in a separate category as larger projects. The types of activities that fall within this category include:

Swimming pools

Retaining and CMU Walls

Foundation Repairs and Reconstruction

Sidewalk and Driveway Repairs and Reconstruction

House Demolition, Addition and New Residential Construction

Utilities

The Department of Permitting and Planning categorized projects because different rules apply to projects that are not in 1A or 1B.

What do I need for my ESCP if I have a Category 1A or 1B project?

According to the rules set forth by the department, you will need the following components in your Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan:

  • Checklist: The checklist must indicate that you have followed appropriate steps to ensure minimal erosion, sediment control, and best practices for managing the project. Templates are available to help you understand what is necessary.
  • Map of the site: This map will show some of the measures you’ll take to comply with the plan. For example, your map may include a silt fence that will be used to keep the soil contained.
  • Construction Schedule

The checklist is the more comprehensive piece you will complete. It outlines all of the necessary measures you will take to comply.

As you prepare to construct your next project, remember to begin with making your Erosion and Sediment Control Plan. We will be posting more information about this topic in the near future, so stay connected. For more immediate information, please contact us today!

Share

The Benefits of Building an ADU on Your Property

Share

Owning a home in Hawaii is a wonderful experience. It allows you to build memories and make alterations however you choose to on your land. Many people will buy a single family home and make a number of small to extensive renovations like remodeling the kitchen, taking out interior walls between public living spaces, and adding new rooms to the existing structure. Of course, not every renovation has to make use of the current home at all. You could construct outbuildings, design the perfect play ground, or landscape the garden into something fantastic. One of the most useful and potentially lucrative changes you can make to your property is the addition of an ADU or Accessory Dwelling Unit.

What is an ADU?

Knowing what the acronym stands for (Accessory Dwelling Unit) doesn’t actually explain what an ADU really is. These are extra buildings or extensions to a single-family home that can support an entirely separate resident and are particularly popular in crowded Hawaii neighborhoods. They are commonly referred to as ‘granny flats’ or ‘in-law apartments’, but you certainly aren’t required to keep your aging parents and parents-in-law in one if you build it. In fact, many ADU owners and builders are putting them on the renter’s market, becoming landlords without having to buy new investment property.

Unlike normal home extensions, each ADU includes its own kitchen and at least one private bathroom. They are often built as outbuildings in a separate section of a large home lot but can also be built as a comprehensive addition to the current structure. They can even be a conversion of an older section of the house or accessory structure in the yard.

Providing a Source of Income

There are many potential uses for an ADU. If you didn’t build it for a specific relative in mind, you can put the property to use making money to pay for its construction costs, provide extra income for your family, retirement, or perhaps to pay off your mortgage on the overall property. Most people who build an ADU do so with the intent to rent, which can make a big difference during the current housing crunch.

Alleviating Overcrowding

Because there are so many more people living in Hawaii than there are available single-family homes, it’s quite common for extended families to live together. Building ADUs can give everyone a little extra breathing space by providing separate accommodations. Simply by adding an extra kitchen and bathroom to the property, you can reduce the amount of waiting and jostling in a busy home. ADUs also create flexibility, as the added privacy allows you to rent out space to a non-relative if it’s not currently needed.

Encouraging Aging in Place

Most people, as they age, need less space to take care of and often end up downsizing in order to save the money and energy it takes to maintain a full-sized house. However, an ADU can help seniors who love their homes ‘age in place’ by moving into the smaller residential space and renting out the main house to an eager new family.

Opportunity to Help the Families in Need

There is a serious problem in Hawaii with perfectly capable and hardworking families facing homelessness because there simply aren’t enough affordable houses available. Building and renting out an ADU creates an opportunity for private homeowners to contribute to a solution. Families with nowhere to stay will be more than happy to have a freshly built private apartment and access to single-family neighborhoods. By renting your ADU out at an affordable rate, you can help keep a family out of homelessness while making a good long-term investment.

There are half a dozen reasons to build and ways to use an ADU, it’s simply a matter of preparing for the construction costs and choosing a design. Build it the way you like it, with an efficient floor plan and an exterior that compliments your landscaping. Once it’s done, you can share it with relatives or rent it to a grateful family looking for a new home. For more information about building a new ADU on your Hawaii property, please contact us today!

Share

What’s the 411 with Hawaii ADU’s: The FAQs Continued

Share

If you live or even occasionally visit Hawaii, you’re probably already aware of the intense housing crunch going on, especially when it comes to affordable rental properties for working families. While homelessness is usually something that happens to people who can’t or won’t work, it’s an unfortunate fact that many families are finding themselves without proper lodgings because there simply aren’t enough homes to go around. For this reason, Honolulu has recently authorized home-owner residents to build small secondary residential homes on their property in order to rent to families in need. These residences are known as Hawaii ADU’s or Accessory Dwelling Units and are a great way for home owners to both alleviate the housing crunch and make a little extra money for their own mortgages.

In a previous post, we covered a few of the FAQs about ADUs from defining our terms to how they compare to ohana units. Today, we’re picking up where we left off to answer more important questions about how you can contribute to the local effort against homelessness.

Frequently Asked Questions Pt 2:

Q: Are owners required to live on the property?

The short answer here is yes, but in truth, it’s a little more complicated. You cannot rent both the main house and the ADU at the same time, but the named owner doesn’t necessarily have to live on the property. In order to rent your ADU, the main house needs to be occupied by a relative by blood, marriage, or adoption to the property owner. However, a designated authorized representative is also allowed.

Alternately, you or a relative can choose to live in the ADU and rent out the main house, which also counts as using your ADU to alleviate the housing shortage. This is a great option for retirees who want to downsize for ease of lifestyle without leaving their family home behind.

Q: Is there a minimum occupancy period for each ADU tenant?

In order to ensure that Hawaii ADU’s are actually being used to help with the housing problem, tenants need to stay at least six months (180 days to be specific) with each lease. This prevents both landlords and tenants from misusing it’s intended purpose, but that also means that it’s inadvisable to Airbnb your ADU between tenants.

Q: Is there enough local sewer and water capacity?

It’s true, not every neighborhood has the infrastructure available to support doubling up on sewer and water needs. For this reason, you’ll need to get approval from all the usual sources including the Department of Planning and Permitting, Wastewater Branch, Traffic Review Branch, State Department of Health, Board of Water Supply, and the Honolulu Fire Department. If they all agree that a new residential structure is OK, you can proceed with building plans.

Q: How much parking is required for an ADU?

Hawaii ADU’s only require one off-street parking spot. This sets them aside from ohana units which require two and therefore permits home owners with smaller yards to contribute to the housing effort.

Q: How big can Hawaii ADU’s be?

It may be tempting to build yourself a near-duplex residential buddy, especially if you have the yard space to spare, but ADUs are, in fact, limited in size based on the size of your lot.

  • Lots 3500 – 4999 square feet can have an ADU of up to 400 square feet
  • Lots 5000 square feet and up are limited to an ADU of 800 square feet.

Q: How many ADUs can I build?

The answer here is only one, but it’s slightly more complex in practice. ADUs fill a secondary residential slot, but can only do so if you don’t already have a secondary residence on your lot. Therefore ohana dwellings, guest houses, and multifamily dwellings like duplexes disqualify a lot from having even a single ADU.

If you’re considering building an ADU on your lot, you’ll need an expert designer who can get your plans through approval the first time around. I have decades of experience and specialize in permit-ready drawings and would be delighted to ensure your ADU project hits the ground running. Please contact me today for more information or plans to build!

Share

What Does It Take to Get a Building Permit on Oahu?

Share

Need a building permit to build a single family residence, accessory dwelling unit (ADU) or Ohana unit on Oahu? An awareness of all relevant regulations and requirements is important. Precise planning increases the chances of a project that smoothly proceeds from conception to completion.

Although the permitting process may present a challenge on occasion, it important to realize the importance of building permits for project owners and neighbors alike. The process helps to ensure quality construction while respecting the rights of neighbors.

Obtaining a building permit is sometimes more challenging on Oahu due to the sheer volume of projects compared to the number of those on the other islands. The use of experienced and qualified service providers is one key to success.

Building Permit Application

To expedite the process, Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) provides a “Checklist for Building Permit Application.” Use of this form helps ensure that all plans and blueprints are complete before they are submitted. It is helpful for those submitting plans either digitally or in writing. Digital submissions require completion of an Internet Building Permit Application. Each project is assigned a number. Internet submissions save time normally spent in line and at the counter at the DPP.

When plans are incomplete, delays are followed by a denial of approval, and this can further postpone a project for a significant period of time.

One Time Review Option

Commencing on January 4, 2016, the Honolulu DPP initiated a “One Time Review” (OTR) process for obtaining a building permit for single family residential projects. The OTR building permit is only reviewed one time by the DPP, which may save some property owners a considerable amount of time. Since the OTR process may raise liability questions when there is a loss during construction, it is important for owners to fully understand the implications of the OTR process.

Building permits are required for a wide range of remodeling and new construction projects, including:

  • Demolition of any existing structure
  • Construction of any temporary or permanent structure
  • Retaining walls and fences
  • Plumbing and/or electrical
  • Erecting antennas
  • Driveways and/or curbs
  • Interior cabinets, floor coverings, and painting

Section 18-3.1 of the revised ordinances of Honolulu provide more detailed information as to when a building permit is required and when it is not.

When a building permit is neededHawaii Business suggests that proper plans are a key to expediting approval, “The speed of the process largely depends on the quality of your plans. This is true whether a project is commercial or residential in nature.

Accessory Dwelling Units

A special case in residential construction is the accessory dwelling unit (ADU). The ADU became legal in Honolulu when Bill 20 was signed into law on September 14, 2015. It is possible to build an ADU on a lot occupied by a single-family residence, subject to certain restrictions. This unit may either be rented out or occupied by family members.

The first step in considering an ADU is to determine if your property is eligible. The DPP has a pre-check form which can be used to help determine eligibility. Zoning, lot size, a minimum lease term and available parking are a few of the factors. For example, ADUs are only allowed on lots at least 3,500 sqr-ft in size.

When you need help in dealing with the complexities of getting a building permit on Oahu, look to Owner Built Design LLC for expert design and drafting assistance. I am a specialist in residential design, engineering, and third-party permit assistance. I can provide you with permit-ready drawings for your single-family residence or ADU on Oahu. Take advantage of my professional architectural degree and my three decades serving clients in Hawaii.

Please contact me today!

Share

How Hard Is It To Be An Owner Builder And To Act As Your Own General Contractor?

Share

A typical property owner who wants to embark on an ADU project as an owner-builder finds the advantages very compelling – reduced project costs followed by a new revenue stream from rental income, potential tax benefits, and increased property value. However, there are pitfalls that can quickly erase or seriously postpone the hoped-for gains.

In many ways, an owner-builder is essentially his or her own general contractor, so one has to comply with the same laws that a licensed general contractor does. In Hawaii, owner-builder permits are exclusive to residential construction – they are not available for commercial or industrial projects.

Once you are granted owner-builder status, you can proceed with your project without a licensed general contractor. However, you are responsible for ensuring that all work is “up to code,” and that all building inspections occur as required.

1 Year Wait for Sale or Lease

There is one key difference between the owner-builder and a licensed general contractor. Unless the value of permitted work is less than $10,000, an owner-builder cannot sell or lease, or attempt to sell or lease, the structure for one year. There are two exceptions when 1) a sale or lease during the first year is to the owner builder’s employee, or 2) a hardship exemption is granted by the Contractors License Board.

Risks and Responsibilities

Success as an owner-builder hinges on maintaining a laser-sharp focus on pertinent detail, along with full adherence to regulations. To that end, the Regulated Industries Complaints Office (RICO) has published a guide for owner-builders entitled “Risks and Responsibilities of Being an Owner-Builder.” RICO is a part of Hawaii’s Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

Here are some key risks and responsibilities for owner-builders:

Licensing – The subcontractors you hire must be properly licensed. For example, electrical and plumbing contractors must be licensed under Chapter 444 of the state statutes. Whether you intentionally or unwittingly hire an unlicensed subcontractor, you could find yourself paying the medical expenses of an injured worker affiliated with that unlicensed entity.

Finally, it is important to beware of unlicensed project managers. Sometimes, an unlicensed individual “assists” an owner-builder to the point that he/she is, in effect, managing the project. In such a scenario, the owner-builder assumes responsibility for the activities of this individual.

Worker status – Any person who is not either a subcontractor or working for one is your employee. Therefore, some owner-builders have to withhold federal (FICA) and state income taxes. They also have to maintain workers compensation insurance policies.

Timely payments – An owner-builder is responsible for making timely payments to all suppliers and contractors involved in a project. An owner-builder who fails to do this may find that a lien will be placed on the property by any unpaid vendors or contractors. A lien effectively prohibits the completion of a sale of the property until the supplier or contractor is paid. Interest and other costs may add significant sums to the amounts owed.

Recordkeeping – State law requires an owner-builder to maintain records related to the project for up to three years, including:

  • Copies of building permits
  • Copies of contracts with all persons involved in the project
  • Proof of payments to employees, subcontractors, and suppliers

Dire Consequences for Violations

RICO advises prospective owner-builders to carefully read the owner-builder permit application. They are also advised to read Chapter 444 of Hawaii’s revised statutes.

Non-compliant owner-builders may face severe sanctions:

  • A fine of either, 1) $5,000, or 2) 50 percent of the permit value of the work to be performed, whichever is greater
  • A prohibition against filing for new owner-builder permits for a period of three years

Repeat violators face even harsher penalties. They are subject to the greater of 1) a $10,000 fine or 2) 60 percent of the permit value of the work to be performed.

At Owner Built Design LLC, I help owner-builders avoid the expensive consequences of non-compliance with laws and regulations. For prompt, friendly and professional assistance, please contact me today!

Share

Why Are ADUs So Important in Hawaii?

Share

Housing affordability has long been an issue on Oahu. The challenge remains, according to the 2017 Housing Affordability Table compiled by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. According to the table, urban Honolulu is the 54th largest metro area in the country but has the most expensive single-family homes.

Honolulu Leads Top 100 Cities

In fact, only 19.6 percent of all households can afford the housing costs associated with the median selling price of $707,100. And, just 9.0 percent of renter households could afford to purchase a home at the median selling price. That is the lowest percentage of any of America’s top 100 metropolitan markets. Only greater Los Angeles and California’s Bay Area come close. Just 12.4 percent of Los Angeles renters would be able to afford the median selling price in that market. In the Bay Area, including San Francisco and Oakland, 13.6 percent of renters have the income to purchase a home at the median selling price.

Recession’s Impact

Following the recession of 2008, new construction dropped precipitously in Hawaii. One year later, only 6,000 housing units (including condos and single-family units) were sold in Honolulu County. Since then, sales have rebounded, but they are still nowhere near the boom years of 2003-2005.

Certainly, more work remains to be done. Today’s $700,000+ median selling price of a single-family residence is more than double the median selling price recorded for 2000.

Many people who cannot afford such prices will still need housing. In a report entitled “Measuring Housing Demand in Hawaii 2015-2025,” it is estimated that Hawaii will need another 64,700 to 66,000 housing units between 2015 and 2025. At the same time, the report states, “Wages and incomes have not been growing as fast as housing prices, making it harder to afford real estate in Hawaii, especially for younger and lower-income households.”

Ohana Units Help Somewhat

In the late 1980s, the ohana unit first addressed some of the state’s affordable housing needs. However, the impact was somewhat muted because only relatives of those residing in the primary residence can occupy these units. Nonetheless, they are great for multi-generational households. Ohana units are often occupied by adult children of homeowners or seniors in the family, and they must be physically attached to the primary residence. The location is fairly flexible because they are possible in agricultural, country and residential districts, although they are prohibited in areas zoned R-3.5.

ADUs to the Rescue

In 2015, Honolulu introduced accessory dwelling units (ADUs) to further address the shortage of affordable housing. Given the statistics noted above, the future of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) appears bright. ADUs offer local governments some of the advantages of duplexes, but at a lower cost. Both types of dwellings increase housing density without putting an undue strain on infrastructures like sewer, water, and roads. In particular, these units tend to spread out across metro areas like Honolulu. And, governments can refuse an ADUpermit if the construction will unduly strain existing infrastructure.

ADUs are not just a Hawaiian phenomenon. According to Hawaii Appleseed, they have been used to address shortages of affordable housing in across the continental U.S. as well, from Lexington, Massachusetts on the East Coast to Portland, Oregon, and Santa Cruz, California, on the West Coast.

Qualifying homeowners renting out ADUs find they can generate a new and valuable revenue stream. ADUs can increase the overall value of the property, aiding asset accumulation in the process. If there is eventually a decision to sell the property, the seller may find that some prospective buyers value the ADU for the same reasons.

Owner Built Design LLC is your source for residential design, engineering and permit processing on the island of Oahu. I bring three decades of local experience to my work on behalf of homeowners and owner-builders. To better determine if the construction of an ADUis right for you, please contact me today.

Share

Why ADUs Make Financial Sense

Share

The accessory dwelling units (ADU) is an increasingly popular idea which benefits homeowners, tenants and local governments alike. On Oahu, ADUs provide much-needed affordable housing.

Hawaii Life reported on September 14, 2015, signing of Bill 20 by Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. By mid-January of 2016, there were already 29 ADU applications pending. Since then, interest in ADUs continues to surge, in part because of the financial benefits.

Benefits for All Parties

There are key financial reasons why homeowners, tenants and local governments find ADUs attractive:

Homeowners – Whether it is detached from or attached to a primary residence, an ADU makes financial sense for homeowners in a number of ways. First, the rent paid generates a new revenue stream. Second, many expenses related to an ADU rental unit are tax-deductible. Third, it is an ideal way for a homeowner to build the asset value of their existing property. Since an ADU must be sold together with the primary residence, the homeowner benefits if and when the property is sold. A wide variety of prospective buyers may be attracted to a property with an ADU, including those that like the potential rental revenue and those that need space for another family member like a senior or retiree.

Renters – ADUs are popular, first and foremost, as a source of affordable housing in an expensive market. Also, for some prospective renters, ADUs make financial sense because they mesh with modern lifestyle choices. More and more Millennials, for example, are comfortable living in less than 800 sqr-ft of space at a modest cost, because they would rather spend more available cash on travel and other outdoor leisure activities.

As long as they have the basics like a kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom, a fair percentage of prospective renters on Oahu are comfortable with a smaller living space. Widespread interest in so-called “tiny houses” across the country demonstrates that many people are willing to embrace the idea of living in a home with several hundred square feet of living space. Vaulted ceilings, bay windows, and uncovered lanais help create a feeling of spaciousness.

Local government – ADUs also offer local governments a way to address overall housing needs at modest cost. Since ADUs are dispersed across greater Honolulu, they require only incremental improvements to infrastructure. This compares favorably to the significant investment in infrastructure often required when major housing developments are constructed.

Bill 20 Stipulations

Bill 20 carries stipulations that exclude some properties from ADU development. For example, ADUs are not allowed in planned communities, or in those subject to governance by an association. Also, lots must be at least 3,500 sqr-ft in size. ADUs up to 400 sqr-ft are possible on lots of 3,500-4,999 sqr-ft. ADUs up to 800 sqr-ft are allowed on lots measuring at least 5,000 sqr-ft.

Bill 20 also requires that there be at least one off-road parking space, although there is no such requirement for ADUs within 0.5-mi of a rail station. Finally, ADUs are only possible when there is sufficient infrastructure in place for sewer and water. Since leases must be at least six months long, ADUs are not intended as seasonal vacation rentals.

An article in Hawaii Home Remodeling quoted Harrison Rue, an official with the City and County of Honolulu, suggesting that ADUs are “really trying to address the dire need for more affordable and workforce housing.” He also said it is “one of the first pieces of the housing strategy.” This strategy offers clear financial benefits to all parties involved, including property owners, renters, and local governments.

Owner Build Design LLC is your source for the knowledge and expertise needed when developing an ADU. I bring over three decades of experience to my residential design and drafting services in Hawaii. I offer everything from permit processing services to permit-ready drawings. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss how an ADU could work for you. Please contact me at your earliest convenience.

Share

What’s the 411 with Hawaii ADUs?

Share

Honolulu’s mayor signed a provision for accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in September 2015. Now, qualifying owners of freestanding, single-family homes have a new way to generate revenue – by renting a secondary residence situated on their property. ADUs are a response to the Mayor’s Affordable Housing Strategy, developed in response to the shortage of inexpensive rental housing on the island.

It is important to understand that ADU approvals, design and permitting requires adherence to very specific standards. Honolulu’s Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) discusses frequently asked questions about permitting related to ADUs at this link.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here we discuss some of the most common questions about ADUs:

Q: What is an ADU?

The DPP specifically defines an ADU as “an accessory or second dwelling unit, including its own kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom facilities, attached or detached from the primary dwelling unit on the zoning lot.”

Importantly, an ADU is subordinate to the primary residence. However, it does not have to be detached from the existing home. While many ADUs feature new construction, it is possible to remodel some existing single-family homes to create them. However, every ADUdesign must include a kitchen, a bathroom, and at least one bedroom. Current building codes apply to such renovations/additions.

ADUs are usually found to the rear or side of the existing dwelling, and they are subject to strict size limitations. For example, an ADU on a lot from 3,500 to 4,999 square feet (SF) in size must be 400 SF or smaller. On a 5,000+ SF lot, ADUs can be up to 800 SF in size.

Q: In what ways are ADUs important?

ADUs help address Honolulu’s chronic housing shortage, and they provide aging residents a convenient way to downsize.

Relieve Housing Shortage – It is no surprise to those living in Honolulu that the cost of living is substantial. In fact, one site ranks Hawaii’s capital 4th out of 66 U.S. cities, although it is still 14 percent less expensive to live in Honolulu than New York City. However, with rent for a 900 sqr-ft furnished apartment averaging more than $2,000 per month, and utilities averaging more than $250/mo, many workers struggle to find affordable housing. ADUs address this need.

Aging in Place – ADUs also offer aging homeowners a unique opportunity to downsize while remaining on the very same property that likely hosted endless parties and other memorable family events over the years. A senior can “age in place” by eventually moving out of the larger primary residence and into the smaller ADU. The homeowner can then rent out the larger home to generate potentially substantial rental income.

Q: Where can an ADU be built?

Zoning is crucial to ADU development. Although there is an important caveat, an ADU may be built on lots zoned R-3.5, R-5, R-7.5, R-10 or R-20. Construction of an ADU is also possible in a Country District with a lot measuring 3,500 SF. The caveat? Even when a lot is appropriately zoned, there must be adequate utility infrastructure in place, and the ADU cannot conflict with existing restrictive covenants. This effectively eliminates ADUs from consideration in master planned communities or those with homeowners associations. The ADUmust also comply with any land use provisions that come with the specific zoning.

When eligible, only a single ADU is possible on a lot with one single-family home on it. This excludes lots with duplex homes as well as those with an existing ohana unit or guest house.

Q: How do ohana units and ADUs compare?

These two kinds of living spaces differ as to maximum size, occupancy, and parking. ADUs are subject to size restrictions, while ohana units are not. Only family members may live in an ohana unit, while there is no such restriction with an ADU. Finally, ohana units must have two off-street parking spaces, while ADUs only need one (those less than a half-mile from a rail station have no parking requirement).

It is also important to note that the property owner (or appropriate relative) must live in the primary residence or the ADU. Exceptions exist for serious illness or active military deployment. Leases for ADUS must be at least six months long. When a property is sold, the primary residence and the ADU must be sold together.

Owner Built Design, LLC is a key resource when you are looking into an ADU. Let me put my decades of experience to work for you. Please contact me today.

Share

Foundation Erosion and How to Deal with It

Share

Foundation erosion is a common problem in Hawaii.

For a number of reasons, not the least of which are rising sea levels and frequent flash floods. Whether your property is beachfront or inland, and no matter which island you live on, foundation erosion is one of the most devastating things that can happen to your home — and many homeowners don’t even know it.

Fortunately, there are a number of preventative actions that you can take to protect your home. The following are some proven methods to prevent foundation erosion; take note of them today to avoid tragedy tomorrow.

Maintain Your Drainage System

Keep an eye on your gutters and downspouts and remove any blockages that might prevent proper water drainage. Rainwater should always drain away from your house so that the soil under your foundation remains firmly in place. If you suspect that your gutters are undersized for the home, have an expert look at them. You may need to replace them.

Fix Cracks Immediately

Repair any cracks in your home’s foundation immediately. Cracks will allow water to seep into the inside of your home’s foundation, eroding it more quickly; additionally, internal deterioration will be harder to detect until it’s too late.

Plant Wisely

Certain types of grasses and bushes can more effectively hold soil in place. You may also need to use a special type of compost if your soil is sandy. Even so, using plants to protect your foundation from erosion is often cost-effective and cost-efficient.  It can also be aesthetically pleasing.

What If I’ve Already Noticed Erosion?

Illustration of micropile repair due to foundation erosion.Many foundation erosion problems can be repaired using micropiles. Micropiles are created by drilling a hole into the soil, inserting a strong bar or pipe, and filling the hole with grout. These holes can be anywhere from two to eight inches wide depending on the size of the property and the damage incurred. A good foundation repair contractor will use micropile technology in conjunction with other foundation repair techniques (such as slab leveling, slope stabilization and tieback anchors).

However, if your home has serious foundation erosion problems, you may need to consider “amputating” a portion of your house and replacing the foundation to protect the rest from further damage. Of course, this is a last resort that should only be done in consultation with an expert, as it’s expensive and time-consuming to remove and rebuild a portion of your home.

Foundation erosion can cause significant damage. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to do everything possible to prevent erosion on your property. Planting the right vegetation, maintaining your gutters and drainage system, and regularly inspecting your foundation for cracks can prevent headaches and hardship.

At the same time, discovering signs of potential foundation erosion doesn’t mean you’ve lost your house. Seal the cracks and establish sturdy erosion control barriers (such as concrete pavers or liners). Then talk to an expert to see what type of foundation repair is in order to prevent more home damage.

Share

Owner Built Design, LLC ~ We've provided Hawaii Residential Design & Drafting Service on Oahu Since 1988.

Theme Tweaker by Unreal