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Big Island The Island of Hawaii
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Old 06-03-2010, 09:55 PM
 
9 posts, read 29,790 times
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Aloha!
I am moving over to the Big Island this fall and plan to build a small cabin on some property I have in Fern Acres. What are the building permits needed, and how much does it usually cost to get the permits? I also need the land surveyed and am searching for a quality, competent surveyor, any recommendations?

I would like to use as much recycled/freecycled materials as possible when building, so if anyone has information on these avenues I would appreciate it.

Also looking to purchase a small pickup truck for under $1000 has an old rig laying around.

Mahalo
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Old 06-03-2010, 10:03 PM
 
Location: Moku Nui, Hawaii
6,000 posts, read 9,808,891 times
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How to Obtain a Building Permit (http://www.co.hawaii.hi.us/permits/how_to_get_permit.html - broken link) is the basic information on how to get a building permit and when you need one.

Depending on what you are building, you may be able to incorporate some recycled/freecycle materials in the structure, but you are supposed to use new stamped and graded lumber for the structural parts. PM me if you have specific questions, drawing blueprints and helping folks get permits is what I do.

You may only need a pin finder or a metal detector to find the existing pins on your property instead of a land surveyor. Pin finders and metal detectors are a lot less expensive than a land surveyor.
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Old 06-06-2010, 12:31 AM
 
Location: Hawaii-Puna District
3,755 posts, read 5,903,914 times
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Good luck on finding any trucks under $2000, even junk ones. The low end of the used vehicle market here is ridiculous. If you do find something that cheap, make sure that it is:
1. Not stolen
2. Back registration (taxes) are not owed and sticker is current (and not stolen)
3. Safety Inspection is current (and not a stolen sticker)

Do you see a common theme there? Do not buy any used vehicle on a weekend, without checking with the police and tax office first.
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Old 06-06-2010, 02:44 AM
 
9 posts, read 29,790 times
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Thanks for the info!

Hotzcatz, do you know approximately how long the permitting process takes? Also can it be done from Alaska so that I can start building as soon as I get over there in August?

I am planning to keep it simple with post and beam construction, roughly 3-400 sq ft. My biggest concern would be getting the structural stamp of approval using concrete pier blocks as the foundation... Is this fairly common in Hawaii for small buildings?

I am still working out the financial estimates but I am hoping to keep construction costs under/around $10k, is this even remotely possible?


mdand3boys, if the vehicle hasn't been registered in several years do you have to back pay for the years that it wasn't registered before being legal again?

Mahalo and I'm sure I will have lots more questions to come...
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Old 06-06-2010, 04:25 AM
 
Location: Moku Nui, Hawaii
6,000 posts, read 9,808,891 times
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The permitting process is a variable thing, I think it is around several weeks to a month at the moment, but I haven't been keeping specific track of it. Construction has been very slow for the past several years so I haven't had a whole lot of clients taking plans through the building department in a rush lately.

It can be done from Alaska if you have someone on island to take the paperwork around the different offices for you and send it to you when it needs a signature. Usually there is a lot of work to do such as locating contractors, supplies, clearing, etc., that you will be able to keep yourself busy while waiting for the permit paper to process. Also, unlike Alaska, we can build year around. There is a rainy season, but even then folks can still build.

300 to 400 square feet is doable, although on the small side. Many folks like to build under 500 square feet for their first building on the property and then later if they decide to build a bigger house they do a "change in use" on their first house and make it a guest house and then build a bigger house. A guest house has to be 500 square feet or less.

Concrete pier blocks hold up mansions in Hawaii as well as small buildings. They are one of the most liked foundations since they allow the breeze to blow under the structure and keep it cool. Getting them approved is no problem at all.

Is the $10K just for the building materials costs? If so, then yes, you can do it for that amount. If the $10K has to be stretched to include the groundwork, cesspool/septic system, electrical system and appliances, then more than likely it will be stretched past the breaking point.

Yup, you have to pay up the back registration before it can be legal again - unless the person surrendered the plates. That keeps the registration fees from piling up.

Depending on where you are building, you may not need a pickup truck. I've built several houses using an old Dodge Dart as a construction truck. It did have air shocks for the rocky roads in Hawaiian Acres as well as a roof rack for carrying large sheets of materials. Every time I went into Hilo town, I'd pick up something for the construction project and drag it back up the hill. That suited my finances at the time as well as kept any extra material from laying about where it might have gotten stolen.
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Old 06-06-2010, 05:54 PM
 
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Hey Alaska, where you from?

My husband and I are building in Eden Roc this winter, and we've found the permitting process to be pretty crazy (by Alaskan standards) but do-able.

The only problem I see is with your post-and-beam--- large dimensional lumber is VERY spendy on the Big Island, about twice the price in Alaska, sometimes more. It might be a good idea to get lumber from the mainland if you are going the post-and-bean route, as it could save you a bundle in the end.

Have you decided to do electricity or not? We're currently investigating outhouses vs. biolets right now, do you have a bathroom "strategy" in mind?
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Old 06-09-2010, 12:29 AM
 
9 posts, read 29,790 times
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Akgrown,

I am from the Palmer area, where are you folks from?

I am drawing up my own plans and trying to keep it as basic and economical as possible. We don't need much room as we plan to explore the island more than lounge around the home. I haven't spoke with any of the lumber supply stores yet but am planning on using 4x4's for the posts and then 2x6's for the floor and 2x4's for the roof. In my head and on paper the numbers are looking like they won't break the bank, but I still haven't gotten prices on anything yet.

How big of a structure are you planning to build?

I am still trying to decide whether to power or not, leaning towards power though, from my understanding there is a power pole across the street so the costs shouldn't be too high... I hope. It sure makes building go smoother and also we are attending college so the electricity is almost necessary. I am researching composting toilets, even some do it yourself strategies and have a fall back plan of a very rudimentary composting toilet consisting of a bucket with a seat and saw dust chips... My strategy currently is to buck the "american norm" of flushing your problems away and return to more basic means of waste disposal.

My newest challenge that arose is what to do with the 'grey' water from the sink and shower.... any ideas?

Mahalo
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Old 06-09-2010, 12:54 AM
 
577 posts, read 930,120 times
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When my brother moved there they ended up shipping a car over, as it was actually fairly cheap and they couldnt buy over there for less. It did take awhile though, so send it before you need it as it goes on a ship and takes a few weeks.

Also have you considered a yurt? They are pretty amazing and might be less permit hassles ...especially if you plan on building something else later.
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Old 06-09-2010, 12:57 AM
 
Location: Hawaii
1,707 posts, read 4,168,793 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlohaAlaska View Post
Akgrown,

I am from the Palmer area, where are you folks from?

I am drawing up my own plans and trying to keep it as basic and economical as possible. We don't need much room as we plan to explore the island more than lounge around the home. I haven't spoke with any of the lumber supply stores yet but am planning on using 4x4's for the posts and then 2x6's for the floor and 2x4's for the roof. In my head and on paper the numbers are looking like they won't break the bank, but I still haven't gotten prices on anything yet.

How big of a structure are you planning to build?

I am still trying to decide whether to power or not, leaning towards power though, from my understanding there is a power pole across the street so the costs shouldn't be too high... I hope. It sure makes building go smoother and also we are attending college so the electricity is almost necessary. I am researching composting toilets, even some do it yourself strategies and have a fall back plan of a very rudimentary composting toilet consisting of a bucket with a seat and saw dust chips... My strategy currently is to buck the "american norm" of flushing your problems away and return to more basic means of waste disposal.

My newest challenge that arose is what to do with the 'grey' water from the sink and shower.... any ideas?

Mahalo
It sounds like you are planning on building a non permitted structure.

FYI, electric from the utility is dependant on the proper building permits being requested and approved by the county.

PS: Crapping in a bucket or gray water discharge is a no go.
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Old 06-09-2010, 01:14 AM
 
9 posts, read 29,790 times
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I am planning on a permitted building, and I am aware that power hookup is dependent upon permit approval. My goal is to have a permanent building that is safe and secure when I am not there. My biggest issue with a Yurt is moisture and mildew concerns, as well as the relative insecurity of them.

What do people do with the gray water then? I am still researching the specifics of a cess pool.

Is there a code that says you can't shat in a bucket? Seems odd to me, I doubt the county cares where I do my business, as long as it's on my property. If I want to go in my woods and give back to the ecosystem that supports me I really don't see any issues with that...

Thank you all for the helpful information!
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