How to Build a House in Hawaii


Building a home on a paradise island such as Hawaii is a dream come true for many families. Classified as the "most isolated place on the face of the Earth" due to its distance from other land masses, the state of Hawaii is not only a popular tourist destination, but also a popular relocation destination. With a population growth of 0.6-percent between 2008 and 2009, the population of Hawaii is close to 1.3 million in 2010, and growing. If you want to build a home in Hawaii, first realize that the cost of living is higher in Hawaii than in other states, so this will naturally increase your overall building expenses.

Things You'll Need

  • Construction loan if needed
  • Residential lot
  • Architect
  • Building materials
  • Subcontractors
  • Plan your construction project. Most construction projects begin with finding a general contractor to aid in the planning of the construction of the home. General contractors control and facilitate the construction of structures for the benefit of a property owner or developer. General contractors hire subcontractors who specialize in various trades needed for construction. These trade people include masons, carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and any other trade specialist that your particular project requires. The contractor also orders the materials needed for the project. General contractors will normally charge at least 25 percent more than the cost of construction to cover their fees. It is not uncommon for homeowners to self-contract, and hire their own subcontractors and order the materials that the subcontractors specify. If you opt to self-contract, you will need to obtain estimates from the subcontractors for materials and labor based on the home's proposed square footage.

  • Secure construction financing if necessary. If you are self-contracting, find a lender who has experience with self-contractors, and who offers both the construction loan and the mortgage loan in order to avoid extra fees. The lender will request a cost breakdown for all labor and fees related to the construction. The estimated labor and material costs quoted by the subcontractors in Step 1 is entered into a cost breakdown form supplied by the lender. Construction loans are issued in payments known as "draws," which are made directly to subcontractors and material vendors at the various stages of the project.

  • Find a lot for your new Hawaiian home. Decide which of the islands is most appropriate for your new home. While real estate agents are known mainly for finding homes for potential homeowners, they also assist in the buying and selling of land for home construction.

  • Hire an architect to design the home and provide blueprints containing the dimensional details about the home. It is best to work with a Hawaiian architect who is more likely to have knowledge about state-specific codes, material preferences, and other issues particular to building a home in Hawaii. For an additional fee, your architect will supply a small-scale model of the home. Architects normally charge between 8 to 15 percent of the home's finished cost.

  • Manage construction of your new Hawaiian home. Educate yourself on the general details involved in each subcontractor's assignment, and asked educated questions pertaining to the work being done. Make sure to enforce the deadlines for all jobs performed, frequently evaluate the effectiveness of subcontractors' crews, and discuss ways to save time and money with the subcontractors if you think things could be done more effectively.

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  • Photo Credit New home construction site on clear summer day image by Vaidas Bucys from
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