Building an ADU in Hawaii

Building an ADU in Hawaii? What to Do Yourself and What to Leave to the Pros

Building an ADU on your Oahu Hawaii home property is one of the best things any homeowner can do for their community. Your ADU can provide a home for your extended family or for others who need an affordable place to rent.

Now, while you can buy a premade tiny modular home, most Hawaiians are independent minded. You see, many would much rather DIY their own ADU to express their own individuality and needs.

DIY Building an ADU in Hawaii

The question is, how much of the ADU construction can your average handy homeowner safely build?

Chances are, you’ve never actually put together a complete home. Yet, to be livable, an ADU needs to have certain levels of professional quality in terms of foundation, structure, insulation, utilities, and fixtures.

Just like home renovations, there are many things about an ADU that you can safely and enjoyably build for yourself. However, most homeowners should seriously consider working with professional custom contractors to take care of the most important and skill-intensive aspects.

Today we’re here to help you draw that line. When building an ADU in Hawaii, consider the following tips on what you could do on your own and what needs to be handled by the professionals.

What You Can Safely DIY

If you want to DIY the vast majority of your new accessory dwelling unit, it’s important to assess your own skill, resources, time, and what you actually want to do yourself.

There’s a big difference between hand-engraving the kitchen cabinets and laying all the pipes for the kitchen, bathroom, and utility plumbing.

Think about building your ADU the same way you would consider a major home renovation. DIY what is fun and safe to take on yourself and make sure the integral features are done well or at least inspected and approved by professional builders.

If you’re wondering where to draw the line, here’s a quick list of ADU building aspects that can be safely taken on by most handy DIY-ers:

  • Custom Cabinets and Counter Tops
  • Laying Tile, Wood, or Carpet Flooring
  • Painting, Staining, and Sealing
  • Door hardware
  • Faucets, Shower Heads, and Handles
  • Light Fixtures
  • Built-in Shelves
  • Railings and Bannisters
  • Deck or Lanai
  • Landscaping
  • Weatherproofing
  • Medium to Small Appliance Installations

Most of these tasks require a certain amount of carpentry, plumbing, or electrician skill. But, if you were thinking about building the entire ADU yourself, it’s likely you have at least the basics in each category.

If not, think about taking a few weekend courses to achieve your desired level of expertise.

What to Leave to the Pros

As much fun as it would be to build your own ADU from the ground up, there are certain steps in the process that are very very important to get right the first time.

You see, this isn’t like throwing together a storage shed. Your ADU will, in fact, become a real home for a family and it will need to be safe and livable.

In most cases, you’ll want to contract professional builders to set up the important infrastructure. From the foundation to the roof, they’ll provide a sturdy, efficient shell that can act as a template for your artistic DIY completion.

Actually, here’s a quick list of things you will likely want to contract with professionals before you start your DIY adventure:

  • Site Preparation
  • Utility Connections
  • Pouring the Foundation
  • Frame, Exterior, and Walls
  • Insulation
  • Roof
  • Wiring and Plumbing to the ‘Surface’
  • Large Appliance Installations

The Perfect Balance of DIY Personality and Professional Quality

Your ADU should reflect the personality of you, your family, and the land you’re building on.

Because you’re building it, your ADU will be different from every other unit in the world! You’ll find that your future tenants will take notice. In fact, they’ll appreciate all the thought, effort, and expertise you put into the construction.

But that doesn’t mean that you have to build the entire ADU with elbow-grease alone. By knowing when to call in professionals, you can make sure your ADU is cozy, energy-efficient, and guaranteed safe while at the same time giving yourself plenty of room to build custom features inside a well-made shell.

If you’d like a more personal consultation on customizing your dream ADU, contact us today. We’re always ready to help a new family realize their vision in the most enjoyable way possible.

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