Hawaii Building Permit Backlogs

Hawaii Building Permit Backlogs: Why & What’s Being Done

Hawaii Building Permit Backlogs

A backlog in obtaining a building permit is causing distress for many parties involved. This includes builders, contractors, drafting service providers, remodelers, and other building-related entities in Hawaii. The problem, in many people’s opinions, is at the crisis stage.

Let’s take a look at the process of securing a building permit, in general.

The Ins and Outs of Acquiring a Building Permit

Before a resident of a county, town, or municipality can begin renovations, construction, or remodeling, the homeowner must receive a building permit. The reason: it’s required to enforce building codes. Codes are crucial because they ensure all properties meet at least the minimum structural and safety standards needed for a particular area.

For example, the District of Columbia is currently experiencing what the city is calling the “Illegal Construction Blitz.” In June 2018, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs issued over 20 “stop work orders” (SWO) which halts all work on a project and includes significant fines, as well.

Naturally, no one wants to face unexpected and unnecessary costs in the middle of a remodel or renovation. When a licensed contractor causes a homeowner to suffer financial loss due to a failure to obtain a building permit, financial protections exist.

In most states, once engineering and architectural plans are submitted, the project requires not only building permits, but also plumbing permits, mechanical permits, and electrical permits.

In fact, according to The Washington Post, here’s what to do if you’re renovating your home:

  • Learn local permitting requirements.
  • Have your contractor share copies of all your permits with you.
  • Exhibit copies of your permits in a front window so your neighbors will be aware that you are following all associated laws.
  • Hire licensed and bonded contractors.
  • Rather than “pulling” permits yourself, have a permit-processor service company assist you in obtaining your permits.

Time Frame of Building Permit Process in Other Areas of the Country

But while Hawaii is experiencing lengthy delays in permit processing, other regions of the US are not.

  • Typically, in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida, a small project with one builder or designer, has its permit processed in one to two days. In other, more significant projects, the permit processing may take one to two weeks.
  • The turn-around time for permits in New Mexico for residential work is between three to four days. Commercial project permits often arrive in five to ten working days.
  • New York City residential building permits are a bit complicated, but the processing generally finishes in a week or two for small projects, and more complex projects permits might take six months or more.

Hawaii Building Permit Conundrum

So, receiving building permits promptly is possible, even in highly-inhabited, red tape-happy locations like New York City. What can Hawaii do about its dramatic backlog of much-needed building permits?

In an article written way back in 2015, George Atta, director of the DPP at the time, shared his opinions on how the delays in processing permits might decrease.

His ideas included:

  • Encouraging more business owners to speak on the record about their permitting problems
  • Ensuring that permit-processing employees at the DPP are better supervised
  • Fostering a better understanding of the complexity of the land-use regulations and building codes
  • Hiring more inspectors
  • Hiring more permit processors
  • Pushing for more cooperation between Planning and Permitting
  • Streamlining, streamlining, streamlining

Owner Built Design

The goal at Owner Built Design is to provide residential design, engineering, and permit processing services on the island of Oahu. Our focus: to deliver permit ready drawings that are easy for the homeowner to understand. For 30 years, we’ve focused on single-family, wood-framed construction.

So you can always trust Owner Built Design has your best interest at heart. In fact, our former clients, fellow designers, and building supply companies are all excellent friends and supporters of our business. Our reputation is solid, and our work ethic is solid.

Call today for more information.

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