How To Get A Hawaii Building Permit

An Overview of the Home Building Permit Process

File An Application and Contractor’s Statement

  • The first step in getting a Building Permit is to file the proper paperwork with the Building Division at the Department of Public Works on your island.

House Plans / Blueprints

  • You will be required to submit up to five sets of blueprints. The number varies on the different islands and also depending upon the purpose of the structure (e.g., residential, commercial).
  • Blueprints need to be stamped by a licensed structural engineer or architect.
  • Blueprints will include a plot plan and floor plan as well as details of the foundation, framing, elevations, and electrical and plumbing plans.

Who Approves Your Permit

  • Your plans will have to be approved by various county departments including the Planning Department, Department of Water, Department of Health, Engineering Division, Fire Department, Wastewater Management, and the Building Division, with some exceptions/additions based upon the location and purpose of the structure.


  • You will be required to follow all zoning requirements in the area where you are building, as well as any other rules that may apply (e.g., Special Management Area rules, Shoreline Setback requirements, etc.)
  • You may also need a grading or grubbing permit if you are moving a significant amount of dirt or clearing a large area of land.

The Waiting Period

  • Once your plans are submitted and the proper forms are completed, you will typically wait from four to eight months for approval.
  • Sometimes home plans get lost or paperwork is missing. Any one of the various departments might have a problem with your permit application, and you may not be called in a timely manner to rectify the situation.
  • To expedite the process and/or to avoid lengthy delays, regularly check the status of your application online and also keep in touch with the reviewing agencies.
  • As soon as it seems like there may be a delay (e.g., a particular department has the plans for an several weeks without action), try to keep things moving along smoothly by gently prodding the department for information on the status of your permit.
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