About Construction Projects in Honolulu, HI
Contractors who are building a home in Honolulu, Hawaii, need to know all the licensing and permit requirements before they start. Every state has its own rules and regulations for the construction industry, and Hawaii is no exception.
The First Step: Permits
The City and County of Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting have online resources you need to check before submitting a construction application. A checklist shows everything you need for residential building permits. Once there, you can submit your information online and calculate fees, which stem from the value of the work.
If you can’t send the plans and application online, ask for a number on the real-time system. You can then take your application to the Building Permit Center. There is an office in Honolulu and Kapolei. Using the online system reduces your waiting time. You need four copies of the project plans for any new construction. An architect or structural engineer must stamp the plans for one-story buildings over $40,000 or two-story buildings over $35,000.
If you’re working on a residential project, you need a license. Hawaii doesn’t recognize any reciprocity agreements. This means all applicants must go through the licensing and exam procedures. The deadline for submitting a license application is the 20th of the month. This is key for consideration on the next month’s Licensing Board agenda. Note, the board doesn’t meet in December.
Once you have application approval, you must pass the proper licensing exam and submit your license fees. You also need proof of liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance. Fees are $50 per application and $75 for each part of the exam. Most exams have at least two parts. The license fee is $545 if licensed between Oct. 1 of the even-numbered year and Sept. 30 of the odd-numbered year. The fee is only $415 if licensed between Oct. 1 of the odd-numbered year and Sept. 30 of the even-numbered year. There is a $275 contractor renewal fee.
To receive a license, you must register with the Business Registration Division. You also need a good reputation for honesty, truthfulness, financial integrity, and fair dealing. It’s important you have liability and workers’ compensation insurance too. Finally, you need to hire a licensed person designated the Responsible Managing Employee.
Insurance Coverage Requirements
In addition to the usual general liability insurance, contractors need builders risk, commercial auto, and tools and equipment insurance coverage. Your tools coverage can’t exceed any hand tool item over $500. Equipment insurance covers the large items and heavy equipment. Many contractors choose to rent boom lifts, scissor lifts, forklifts, and manlifts from dealers like BigRentz. Even so, you must have insurance coverage for any equipment damage.
Builders Risk Insurance covers the property under construction. Lenders need this type of policy before approving financing. Workers’ compensation should also have a provision for subcontractors not covered by another work comp policy. Any auto used by the contractor for business purposes needs a business auto insurance policy, not just personal auto insurance.
A vacation home in Hawaii is a desire for many people, but the Building Permit Center says there are many applications from people trying to build it themselves. The Center recommends hiring only professionals to do the job. This can save homeowner’s time and money in the long-run.