Tag Archives: Owner-Builder in Hawaii

In It Together: Building a Duplex So Two Families Can Live the Dream

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This entry is part of 7 in the series Pinterest

 

If you’ve made it this far, no doubt you’ve noticed that there’s a serious housing crunch in Hawaii. The challenge of finding a nice, reasonably priced home in a convenient location is so difficult to be downright impossible. It’s no wonder so many people have decided to build ADUs and multi-unit homes. Of course, with the space for homes getting tighter and the cost involved with building a new one, even families who can see an answer may have difficulty reaching it.

The Thought of Sharing

But what about teaming up with another family? One thing many young people and extended families are doing is buying a home together either in groups who plan on sharing the space and the proceeds if they eventually sell. This practical theory can also be applied to new constructions as well. Rather than paying for the entire construction yourself, you have the option of splitting the costs with others who also want a new home in the neighborhood you’ve chosen and with a duplex, you don’t even have to share your personal residence.

Two Private Residences, One Set of Costs

The beauty of a duplex is that there are so many savings to be made in a construction by building two homes for the effort of one. Using efficient construction techniques, you can share one foundation pour, one roof, and one last-mile set of connections to the water, power, gas, sewer, and cable. That’s already thousands of dollars saved compared to building two separate houses. While a duplex construction may be more expensive than a single family home, together both families will save money by going in together.

Maintaining Your Privacy in a Duplex

One of the major concerns with duplex and, indeed, any shared living situation is that there won’t be enough privacy. Let us reassure you that your duplex can be as private as you want it to be. You can have a shared yard if you like that or put a privacy fence right down the middle. You can share a central garage or have them separate with a hedge down the middle of your driveways. The central wall will be insulated to protect you from sharing unwanted sounds and you can even select a design where the front doors don’t leave in the same direction of your lot is oddly shaped.  Of course, you can also go the other way and share as much as possible if you really enjoy the family you’re building with.

Who to Build With

Deciding to build a duplex with another family is the easy part but the key to residential bliss is finding someone who you’ll really enjoy splitting the bill and the lot with. One way to do it is to build with a close sibling or friend who is at the same point in their life, living as neighbors and raising your kids together, possibly even in an openly shared backyard. This is a great way to never be lonely and ensure that your children will have other kids about their age nearby without even having to cross the street for play dates.

Another way to go is to buy with your parents. Many Hawaiian parents are trying to help their children get into the housing market and building a duplex creates what one might consider the ultimate granny flat. This ensures that your parents will be amply repaid in a lovely new home for helping you financially, you can easily help them keep the place up as they get older, and you will most likely inherit the other half of the property in due time.

Finally, if you would rather not live with family or build a double-family with a close friend, you still have one very good option. Find another family either locally or online who is ready to buy or build and wants to live with just as much privacy as you do. In fact, you can even draw up a private contract between the two of you guaranteeing a mutual respect of privacy and ensuring that even if you become friends over the course of the construction project, your separate families maintain the right and ability to remain separate on opposite sides of the duplex.

Building a duplex is an incredibly astute financial decision whether you’re building with friends, family or a friendly stranger. But, of course, it’s also not your only option for efficiently using a single residential lot. For more information about building a custom duplex, designing an ADU, or embarking on a big DIY renovation project, contact us today!

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How to Calculate the Slope of Your Property for the ESCP

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This entry is part 4 of 4 in the series Erosion & Sediment Control Plan (ESCP)

 

Lately, on our blog, we have been discussing the new Erosion and Sediment Control Plan requirement. The Department of Permitting and Planning recently handed down the new requirement, which directly affects all [amazon_textlink asin=’0867186453′ text=’construction jobs’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’ownbuilddesig-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’16f2a278-e67d-11e7-806e-dda523a2c4bd’]. If you’ve been following our blog, you will recall that we discussed who all needs to have a plan and what needs to be in the plan. In case you’re new and just joining us or you need a review, let’s go over the basics.

As stated in our previous blog, anyone who plans to do a construction job that will disturb the property must submit an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan. The type of plan you submit will depend on the answers to these two questions: How much ground will you disturb? What is the slope of your property? Plans will fall in either Category 1A or 1B for our purposes.

  • Category 1A plans are for residential jobs of less than 1,000 square feet and a slope of 15% or less.
  • Category 1B plans are for residential jobs that are larger than 1,000 square feet but less than an acre or they are less than 1,000 square feet but the slope is more than 15 %.

The slope of the land is one important calculation you will need to have before you submit your Erosion and Sediment Control Plan. Without this information, you may fill out the wrong form.

Calculating the slope of your construction project

If you notice your property has a slight grade to it, then you will need to measure it to determine the slope. Unless it is completely flat, measuring is the only way to make sure you are accurate about the degree of slope. If your disturbed area covers quite a distance, you may need to measure the slope area in sections and then add up the parts. However, if a regular tape measure will reach the area, then follow these steps to find the slope:

Step 1:

Measure how high the slope is. This is called the rise and will be a vertical measurement. You will likely need someone to assist you with this. You may need to use a string or another tape measure to extend out from the top of the slope so you can measure straight up to the appropriate height. When done, mark this number as the “rise.”

Step 2:

Next, measure the distance from the top of the slope straight across to the end of the slope. This is the horizontal run of the slope. However, do not measure along the slope itself or it won’t be accurate. The tape measure should be held straight out at the top of the slope and extend over to where the end of the slope is. Use a [amazon_textlink asin=’B00PQ4PJYC’ text=’level’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’ownbuilddesig-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’438576d2-e67d-11e7-a118-774e19e748fe’] if necessary to make sure the tape measure is straight. This number represents the “run.”

Step 3:

Finally, divide the rise by the run and multiply that total by 100. For example, if your rise is 20 feet and the run is 60 feet then your slope would be 33%.

Now that you have the slope measurement, you will be one step closer to finalizing your Erosion and Sediment Control Plan. If your slope exceeds the 15 % then you will need to fill out the appropriate plan templates for Category 1B. However, if your slope falls below 15 %, then fill out the paperwork for Category 1A.

Keep updated about the regulations for your construction job by checking our blog regularly. We will continue to post about the guidelines set forth by the Department of Permitting and Planning. Connect with Owner Built Design, LLC today for more information about all your home design plans.

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What are the Risks & Responsibilities of Being an Owner-Builder in Hawaii?

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Construction costs are soaring across the country, but Hawaii remains one of the most expensive places to build or add to an existing home. Becoming an owner-builder is a cost-saving solution some homeowners are actively considering in order to make their [amazon_textlink asin=’1401603521′ text=’dream home’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’ownbuilddesig-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’9edacf5c-e67d-11e7-a534-9b22438b752d’] a reality.

If you are thinking about going that route, you may want to know what an owner-builder is and what will be required of you if you become one.

What is an Owner-Builder?

According to the State of Hawaii, an owner-builder “is a property owner [or lessee] who has an owner-builder permit from the county to build or improve residential or farm structures for use either by the owner or his/her grandparents, parents, siblings or children.” This just means you can (with the right permits) build or make improvements on a residential property you own or rent for yourself and your family to use.

Why You Would Consider Becoming an Owner-Builder

The biggest reason people consider taking on the role of an owner-builder is financial. Getting a general contractor (or GC) to do the work can be an expensive proposition when construction costs are only climbing higher. If doing the work can save money, they want to do that instead.

Another thing you will need to consider is how much control you want over the construction process. If you think you can handle all the work that being an owner-builder entails, it might be worthwhile for you.

What You Are Responsible for as an Owner-Builder

When you become an owner-builder, you are taking on the role a GC would normally play in building or adding to your home. This means you are responsible for everything a GC would be responsible for if they did the work. That includes:

  • making sure you comply with all of the laws and rules licensed contractors are required to comply with;
  • supervising the construction work yourself;
  • hiring all of the subcontractors who will be completing the work and making sure the subs are licensed (especially important for electrical and plumbing contractors because they cannot perform a job without being licensed in Hawaii);
  • purchasing materials for the project and coordinating deliveries so they arrive in time for your contractors to do their work;
  • ensuring all of the work done on your home is up to code and passes inspection; and
  • keeping accurate records of everything that happens on the construction site

There is (Much) Risk Involved with Becoming an Owner-Builder

An Owner-Builder who is knowledgeable about construction in Hawaii is the exception, not the rule. When you decide to take on this responsibility on, you are accepting certain risks (some much greater than others), like:

  • Additional expenses that can blow your budget and significant delays because of things you do not know;
  • Not being able to hire the best subcontractors because some will only work with general contractors;
  • Subcontractors and suppliers putting a lien on your property if you do not pay them in a timely fashion;
  • Paying out of your pocket to replace materials that have been damaged because of fires/accidents/vandalism/etc. or for [amazon_textlink asin=’0323222315′ text=’medical care’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’ownbuilddesig-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’11e88be8-e67e-11e7-92b2-370521950f9f’] for workers who have been injured in these types incidents because you have not taken out the right insurance policies;
  • (in Hawaii) Not being able to sell or lease what you have added or built for at least a year after you’ve finished the work;
  • (also in Hawaii) Not having access to the Contractors Recovery Fund if something goes wrong while the structure is under construction because the Contractors Recovery Fund is not available to owner-builders; and
  • having to pay penalties and fines for not complying with the requirements for an owner-builder.

How Owner Built Makes Being an Owner-Builder Easier for You

We’ve been doing residential design and engineering work on the island of Oahu for nearly thirty years. Our focus is on creating permit-application ready drawings that are easy for you to understand. You want to build spaces for your home that your family will use for years to come, and we want to help you do it well.

If you have any questions or are ready to start building, contact us today.

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The Benefits of Building an ADU on Your Property

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This entry is part 8 of 13 in the series Accessory Dwelling Unit

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 [amazon_textlink asin=’1561584827′ text=’remodeling the kitchen’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’ownbuilddesig-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’a5e3e5ee-9efd-11e7-bb23-c5ef1967877b’], 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 [amazon_textlink asin=’0812929896′ text=’extra income for your family’ template=’ProductLink’ store=’ownbuilddesig-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’cfe1b6e7-9efd-11e7-bcbf-81db1592f226′], 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!

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