Getting a Kauai Building Permit and Building a Home

Has it always been your dream to own a home on Kauai, but you would rather build your own home than buy a home? You may be surprised to find that building a home is not as difficult as it may seem if you follow the proper steps to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

Many consider right now a very good time to build because the cost of property as well as the cost of building the home has been decreasing. In the last few years there has been a drop in the price of lumber and drywall as well as other construction materials.

The goal is to build your own high quality home while also saving money and creating just the right structure to suit your needs and budget.

Beginning the Kauai Home Building Process

The first step in building a home on Kauai is to figure out what type of home you want to build, how much it will cost, and if you can afford it. To do this you need to also research land as well as building costs and your eligibility for a construction loan.

Typically the largest cost involved in building your own home is the land, and right now there are many lots available for much lower prices than just a few years ago. Work with your Bali Hai Realtor to find the right piece of property on which to build your home.

Have some discussions with local contractors or building consultants. They may be able to show you some projects they worked on and discuss the costs of various options.

By obtaining some estimated cost for different home styles, sizes, and features, you will be able to formulate a realistic plan that fits with your budget.

Applying for a Kauai Building Permit

Once you have property and are ready to build your home then you need to file a Contractor’s Statement with the Kauai County Building Division to apply for a Kauai Building Permit.

On the Contractor’s Statement you need to declare whether you are going to build the home yourself (Owner-Builder), or hire a licensed contractor.

At this point you will also provide Blueprints for your home. These technical drawings will include all of the various specifications required to get through the permitting process including separate plans for the foundation, framing, electrical, plumbing, house elevations, and various structural details.

When you apply for a building permit, multiple sets of the Blueprints must be submitted along with the permit application. An Architect or Structural Engineer must stamp these house plans even if you drafted them yourself or used a non-licensed drafter.

Hiring a Kauai Architect

Using a local, respected architect is also a good way to facilitate the building permit process as the inspectors will see that the plans are being submitted by a trusted architect and thus can be relied upon to follow all of the many required local specifications for Kauai homes.

Using a licensed architect can save you money in the long run by avoiding many of the common pitfalls and delays that can occur during the process of building a home.

An architect can also help you work within your budget and find ways to save money without sacrificing quality.  Consult with your architect about how much certain features will add to the cost so you have an understanding of what you can afford.

Receiving Your Kauai Building Permit

Once your plans have been submitted to the County of Kauai then they go through a series of reviews to be approved by the various departments including Engineering, Building, Planning, and Water departments as well as Wastewater Management. Other agency approvals may also be necessary if you are in an area with special regulations.

You will also need a grubbing and grading permit if you are clearing a large area of trees or moving a significant amount of dirt. Consult your architect about any special permitting requirements for your particular piece of property.

A Building Permit may take two to four months or more for all of the department approvals and the issuing of the permit.

You can track your permit online and see it move through each department. If it is stalled in any one department you might want to give them a call and see if any more documents are required.

Hiring a General Contractor to Build your Home

With less homes being built in the current market, there are more contractor’s available at increasingly competitive rates. Thoroughly check the references of any potential contractors you may hire.

The best way to find a trusted contractor is through a personal recommendation followed by more background checking for license and insurance as well as their standing with the Better Business Bureau. If you already have an architect you trust they will very likely know some good contractors they may have previously worked with.

Ideally you will find a well-trusted and very experienced local contractor who will give you a fair price for a professional job. Hiring a good local contractor also has the benefit that the contractor will likely have their own trusted team of subcontractors including carpenters, plumbers, electricians, drywall installers, painters, and roofers who work together to protect the quality of the overall project.

Understand Financing Options for Custom Homes

Do some research on the process of financing when you build your own home. Typically you will first secure a construction loan for the property as well as the construction. This usually works like a line of credit that is provided in “draws” as you complete each phase of construction.

Once the home is completed and you are ready to move in then you can convert the loan into a permanent home mortgage loan.

You may also get a construction-to-perm loan, essentially being approved for both loans at once with the advantage that you can lock in a desirable interest rate on your permanent mortgage and thus protect yourself against a rise in interest rates while you are building your home.

Enjoying your Custom Home on Kauai

By following all of these steps you can ensure that you have exactly the Kauai home you desire in the location you desire. All that is left to do is enjoy your new Kauai home!

For information about buying a property on Kauai please feel free to give us a call. The Bali Hai Realty staff will be happy to help you. Also see our Kauai Real Estate Galleries or use our unique Map-Based Kauai Property Search.

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