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How Long Does It Take To Secure A Building Permit?

Many changes have been instituted at the HPPD to help make plan processing more efficient. This PDF contains a series of slides used as a presentation to a major real estate sales office regarding permitting.

Permitting and Project Design 30+ yrs

Important To Know

Every Project Over $1000 in total value (materials and labor combined) is required by the State of Hawaii to be permitted. Contractors regardless of trade or license class are also required by the State of Hawaii to secure a building permit before begin of work. 

Benefits to Property Owners Who Secure An Approved Building Permit


You will have the work inspected by a ‘dis-interested’ third party authorized by the State of Hawaii to affirm the work performed as to completion and meeting codes but the State of Hawaii does not guarantee in totality for everything performed and or supplied (their statement) ;

  • The proposed work shown on the application drawings has been completed: means you do not have to take anyone’s word ‘Ok, I’m all done’. If any work has not been completed according to any code then the inspector(s) will not declare the job is complete and will instruct the contractor to perform any and all outstanding work – and will be re-inspected to verify. However, final ‘fit and finish’ of work IS NOT part of their inspections. Acceptance of Final Fit and Finish is up to you.
  • Additionally, the inspector(s) will check out the compliance to building, electrical, plumbing, and other applicable codes for the work and even certain materials as being in compliance to the current stipulations by the State of Hawaii.
  • Certain items may require ‘testing’ or ‘verification of operation’ and the inspector(s) will affirm correct function of these items; example: the ground fault interrupt circuit (GFIC) style wall plugs must demonstrate the electrical circuit does shut down in event of a short.
  • You will receive a ‘final approval’ from the State of Hawaii showing the permit is ‘closed’ which means nothing left to do and you can use the renovated areas.

Your home owner’s property insurance policy typically contains statements pertaining to you obtaining building permits for alterations, remodels, and a variety of repairs which allows the benefits of your policy to be applicable to you in event you need to make a claim.

  • If anything happens (i.e. uncontrollable or un-intentional) that causes any form of damage to your property and/or persons that may be related to an alteration or installation of some apparatus then the first question asked ‘can you show me the permit for the work done?’​
  • If the answer is ‘no’. Then usually the adjuster cannot do anything for you, and you are on your own.
  • Please check your policy.

If you decide to sell your property a disclosure statement is required to be completed at the time of listing your property for sale with a realtor asking if any alterations, changes, renovations or other work has been performed on the property.

  • Generally, you can select; YES, NO, DON’T KNOW; (or similar)
  • Then the next question will ask if the work was permitted.
  • Again, you can select; YES, NO, DON’T KNOW; (or similar)
  • If work was performed and you select either NO or DON’T KNOW; then a title company may search the building department for permits for your property. If the search does not show a permit(s) then they have to report their findings to all parties. Sometimes such news can be disconcerting to all participants.


What are the steps to secure a building permit?

First step is to collect information regarding

  • What you want to do
  • What does your property look like 
  • Assess the details which need to be included in your permit application
  • Research State Building, Fire, Electrical, Plumbing + other Codes That Will Apply To Your Project
  • Who will be the players to perform your project

Second step is to prepare the permit application drawing set

  • Title Page showing project description, location on Oahu, etc;
  • Site Plan conforming to the HPPD required information
  • Demolition Plan listing any / all demolition work
  • Remodel Plan listing & detailing all remodeling work
  • Prepare work details for Electrical, Plumbing, Mechanical, Grading, etc
  • Interior & Exterior Elevations - Sections as required

What Contractors Are Saying

"Trager Design makes permitting easy and affordable"

Jahnke Construciton, LLC;   Spencer Construction, LLC;

© 2019, Trager Design

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