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Navigating the Building Permit Process in Hawaii:

Navigating the Building Permit Process in Hawaii: A Comprehensive Guide

Undertaking a construction or renovation project in the Aloha State is an exciting endeavor. However, before you can begin work, it is crucial to obtain the necessary building permits. To help you navigate this process, we’ve prepared a guide to understanding the building permit process in Hawaii.

What is a Building Permit and Why is it Important?

A building permit is an official approval issued by the local government agency that allows you or your contractor to proceed with a construction or remodeling project on your property. It’s designed to ensure that the project plans comply with local standards for land use, zoning, and construction.

Obtaining a permit helps to safeguard the life, health, property, and public welfare by controlling and regulating the design, construction, quality of materials, use, occupancy, and maintenance of all buildings within the jurisdiction.

Steps to Obtain a Building Permit in Hawaii

1. Understand the Requirements

First, you need to understand whether your project requires a permit. Not all projects do. However, most structural, electrical, and plumbing work will likely require one. You can check specific requirements for your project at the Department of Planning and Permitting (DPP) or your local county website.

2. Prepare Your Documents

You will need to prepare several documents to submit for your building permit application. These typically include a completed application form, site plan, and construction drawings. The specific requirements may vary depending on your project and local county rules.

3. Submit Your Application

Once your documents are ready, you can submit your application. In Honolulu, for example, you can submit your building permit application online via the DPP’s ePlans system. For other counties, check their respective websites.

4. Review and Approval

After submission, your application will undergo a review process. This will involve various departments, including Planning and Zoning, Building, Electrical, and Plumbing. They will check your plans for compliance with local codes and regulations.

If your application is incomplete or not up to code, it will be returned to you for correction. Once corrected, you can resubmit it for another review. The status of your application can usually be tracked online.

When your application is approved, you will be notified, and you can then pay the required fees to obtain your permit.

5. Construction and Inspections

With the permit in hand, you can begin your project. However, remember that you’ll need to schedule inspections at various stages to ensure the work complies with the approved plans. Once the project is completed and has passed all inspections, you will receive a final approval.


Obtaining a building permit in Hawaii can seem like a daunting process, but with understanding and preparation, it becomes more manageable. Be sure to check with your local county website or office for the most accurate and updated information. Doing so will save you time and hassle and ensure your project proceeds smoothly and safely. Happy building!

Celester Thomas

Company Blog – Soldier to Soldier Hawaii Realty

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