101 Pauahi Street, Suite 7
Hilo, HI 96720
Phone: (808) 961-8331
Fax: (808) 961-8410
Permit Intake hours
7:45 AM - 3:30 PM, Monday-Friday (Except Wednesday)
Sign in by 3:00 PM
7:45 AM - 12:00 PM, Wednesday
Sign in by 11:30 AM
74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Highway
Bldg E, 1st Floor
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740
Phone: (808) 323-4720
Fax: (808) 327-3509
Permit Intake hours
7:45 AM - 3:30 PM, Monday - Friday (Except Thursday)
Sign in by 3:00 PM
7:45 AM - 12:00 PM, Thursday
Sign in by 11:30 AM
- Website Address
- Creating an account
- Logging in
- Checking Plan Review Status (no longer supported)
- Accessing Your Permits
- Changing Password and Logging Out
Web Application Process/Step by step tutorials
- The Planning Department will examine all Applications for compliance to Land Use and Building Permit requirements.
- Incomplete Applications that do not meet land use or building permit submittals will be returned to the applicant with instructions on how to resolve outstanding issues.
- Once an Application is accepted and created into the “Magnet” software system, the application is reviewed by different agencies involved in the application/plan review process.
- After review of an application is complete, the Building Division will contact the applicant for signature, collect permit fees and print permit placards for posting at the job site.
- Building permits under construction by general contractors expire after:
- three years from date of issuance, or
- 180 days from date of issuance if construction is not commenced by such date, or
- if construction is abandoned or suspended for a period of 180 days after the work has commenced.
- Building permits under construction by owner-builders expire after five years after date of issuance. If construction is abandoned or suspended for a period of 180 days after work has commenced, the owner-builder upon written request and approval may have the building permit suspended until ready to re-commence.
- Electrical permits expire if construction is abandoned or suspended for a period of 120 days. However an electrical permit issued for work on construction having a valid building permit will only expire when such building permit expires.
- Plumbing permits expire if construction has not commenced within 120 days from the date of issuance, or if construction is abandoned or suspended for a period of 120 days after the work has commenced. However a plumbing permit issued for work on construction having a valid building permit will only expire when such building permit expires.
- Sign permits expire if the work authorized under a sign permit is not started within twelve months after the date of issuance, or if work is suspended for more than ninety calendar days. Any sign installed, constructed, erected, relocated, or altered under that permit is in violation.
Upon expiration of a permit, all construction work must cease and must not recommence until a new permit is obtained.
For building permits, if there is a change in the designation of any contractor for any phase of work subsequent to the issuance of a permit, the permit holder must submit a letter addressed to the Building Division requesting approval to transfer permit from contractor to another contractor, from contractor to owner as the owner-builder or, for owner to owner as the owner-builder and include a non-refundable payment of $25 addressed to the County Director of Finance. Building permit transfers are allowed from owner to owner as the owner-builder and from owner-builder to the contractor only if the transfers are requested prior to framing inspection.
Building permit transfer requests must include tax map key for the property, proof of ownership, building permit number(s), contact information, license numbers of the current and new contractor, and signature of the new contractor in the letter addressed to the Building Division. By signing the letter, the individual accepts responsibility in the Hawaii Revised Statues Chapter 444. Electronic mail or copies are unacceptable.
So you want to build your new home.
The following are some suggested tips to help you get started.
Step 1: Plan your budget.
How much can you afford to spend on the project? This generally requires finding out how much you may be prequalified for in terms of a construction loan.
Step 2: Know your property.
Find out from Planning Department what is allowed. What land use is allowed based on your zoning restrictions? Verify what your site setbacks are. Contact the Engineering Division to determine if there are specific construction flood requirements for your specific property.
Step 3: Obtain your house plans.
Select your plans or design and develop them based on your property limitations. Generally this requires working with an architect and/or engineer(s) (structural, civil, electrical, and/or mechanical) depending on your scope of work. Determine what your costs for materials, labor, and permit fees will be.
Step 4: Apply for your construction loan.
Step 5: Assemble your construction team.
Hire a general contractor or if you plan on managing the project yourself (i.e. Owner/Builder) hire your sub-contractors (Building, Electrical, Plumbing).
Be sure you know your risks of being an Owner/Builder and be certain to hire contractors with valid licenses.
Resource: Risk Responsibilities of Being an Owner-Builder
Brochure from State of Hawaii - Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA)
Step 6: Apply for a Building Permit.
Work with your construction team in completing the building permit application(s). This may also require gathering additional required documents that will need to be submitted with your permit application(s). Examples include: Solar water heater variance, Individual Wastewater System (IWS) Approval Letter, IECC Certificate, etc...
To ensure your permit application will be accepted by the Building Division, ensure that all items on the Building Permit Applicant Checklist has been completed and/or included.
The County Building Division as well as other building permit reviewing agencies (i.e. Planning Department, Engineering, State Dept of Health, etc..) will review the application(s) and plans to ensure the construction design is according to the current building code and other applicable codes of the reviewing agencies.
The approval process can take anywhere between 3 weeks to a year depending on how complete your application(s) and plans are, the requirements from the various approving agencies, and the volume of applications already in the approval queue. Current average for residential permit approval is 3 months.
Step 7: Build.
Once your permit is approved and issued, you can begin construction.
Step 8: Inspect.
During the construction process, inspections conducted by Building Division inspectors will need to be completed to ensure construction is proceeding as planned and in a safe way.
Inspections for Electrical and Plumbing work will need to be requested by the contractor performing the work.
Step 9: Completion.
Once all construction is completed, a Final Inspection by the County is required to confirm your permitted work is complete.
Note: Residence, structure, and/or tenant improvement is not to be occupied until the project passes the final inspection.
When a Residential Building Permit is required:
- To erect, construct, enlarge, alter, repair, convert, move, or demolish any building or structure.
- To install or entirely replace energy saving devices such as a solar water heater and photovoltaic (PV) system or relocate panels from the roofto the ground or vice versa.
- For Water tanks or catchment systems for potable household use regardless of height or size.
- For Retaining wall (concrete, CMU, rock, or other) 4 -feet or higher.
- For “As -Built” structures, constructed without permits, will require companion applications from Hawaii state licensed electrical and plumbing contractors. Note that where electrical wiring is over 200 amps or concealed an electrical engineered drawing may also be required.
- To change the use and occupancy classification of a structure i.e., from Group R-3 Residential Single Family Dwelling to Group ” B” Real Estate Sales and Management.
Refer to page 7 of Residential Building Permit Guidelines for more details as to when a Residential Building Permit is NOT required and other related information.
HCC § 5-19.1(a)(18) Exception from Building Permit Requirements Further Explained
When a Residential Electrical Permit is required:
- For any electrical work with the following exceptions:
- Installation of any portable motor or appliance energized by means of a cord or cable having an attachment plug, provided the cord or cable is permitted by Chapter 5 - Electricity.
- Repair of any fixed motor, water heater, air conditioning controls or other appliance, or replacement with another having the same horsepower rating and situated at the same location.
- Replacing receptacles and switches.
- Maintenance work by a licensed electrician per Chapter 448E, Hawaii Revised Statues.
- Emergency electrical work performed by an individual to whom a permit will be issued for the work completed and/or is ongoing.
- Provision of the foregoing exceptions shall not apply to any repairs or replacement of electrical devices, apparatus, or appliances originally installed without a permit or when energized by or a part of any hazardous or illegal wiring system.
- For single-family dwellings, plans and specifications prepared by a professional electrical engineer registered in the State of Hawaii is not typically required provided:
- The installation must not be located in a rain water, sea water or a flood zone; and
- Service size disconnect does not exceed 200 amperes. Exception, as-built electrical work concealed without an inspection may require drawings prepared, stamped and signed by an electrical engineer licensed in the State of Hawaii.
Refer to Residential Building Permit Guidelines for more details.
Electrical Permit Application (print on green paper)
When a Residential Plumbing Permit is required:
- For any installation, removal, alteration, repair or replacement any plumbing, gas or drainage piping work or any fixture or water heating or treating equipment with following exceptions:
- Any repair work involving stopping of leaks in drain, soil, waste or vent piping provided that said piping be or become defective and necessary to replace the same with new in any part where a permit and inspection are required.
- Clearing stoppages or, repairing leaks in pipes, valves, or fixtures when such repairs do not involve replacement, rearrangement of pipes, valves, or fixtures.
- Replacing or repairing disposals, faucets and fixtures, including sinks and water closets, for non-commercial residential and County government occupancies only. Permits however shall be required when such repairs do involve the replacement or rearrangement of valves or pipes.
- For single-family and two-family dwellings, plans and specifications prepared by a professional architect or mechanical engineer registered in the State of Hawaii is not typically required.
Refer to Residential Building Permit Guidelines for more details.
Application for solar water heater
Installation of solar water heater tank on the roof of structure
Solar Water Heater drawing requirements are as follows:
- Solar water heater should be identified on the floor plan.
- Panels on the roof should be shown on the elevation drawings.
- Panels on the ground should be located on the site plan and complete drawings would be required for a structure.
- If both water tank and panels are to be placed on the roof, elevation drawings shall show location. Structural support details are required. Plans for tank on the roof require an Architect or Structural Engineer’s approval.
If a variance from the State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) requirements has been obtained, please remit a copy of the approval with your submittal. If a variance request is pending approval from the DBEDT office, note next to the proposed water heater, “Pending approval of solar water heater variance from DBEDT.
Building Permit Applicant Checklist
Building Permit Worksheet
Electrical Permit Application (print on green paper)
Plumbing Permit Application (print on buff paper)
Sign Permit Application (print on blue paper)
Temporary Structure Permit
State Historic Property Certification: (SUBMIT WITH BUILDING PERMIT APPLICATION FOR PROPERTIES OVER 50 YEARS OLD) - For more information, go to the State Historic Preservation website at dlnr.hawaii.gov/shpd.
Brochure: Risk Responsibilities of Being an Owner-Builder - State of Hawaii - Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA)
The Importance of Hiring a Licensed Contractor, Owner Builder Permit (includes link to video)
State of Hawaii’s Professional & Vocational Licensing Search
Residential Permit Guidelines
Plan Review Guidelines
New Building Division Procedure: R-3 (One & Two-family home) minimum footing depth.
Continuous Footing Detail at solid rock
Solar Water Heater Exemption Information
Photovoltaic Roof Mounted System Guidelines - UPDATED June 9, 2017
Structural Evaluation Worksheet
Installation in High Risk Flood Zones
IECC 2015 Notice - IECC 2015 Residential Compliance Form Residential Roof-Mounted Panel Installation Acknowledgment - v.3.4 8.28.15
How can I tell if I'm on county sewer?
Please contact County of Hawaii Department of Environmental Management Wastewater Division (DEM-WW) at 961-8338 or visit Hawaii County Wastewater .
How do I check on the status of my building permit application?
If you are the applicant, you can check on the status of your permit application by contacting the office where your application was submitted. Hilo Office: (808) 961-8321 / Kona Office: (808) 323-4720.
If you are working with an agent in obtaining a building permit, first contact your agent to check on the permit application status. The permit application may be still in Building Division for review or it may have been already issued to your agent or the application may have been returned to your agent for corrections.
How do I obtain a variance for the solar water heater requirement?
Information is available on Hawaii State Department of Business, Economic Development, and Tourism - Hawaii State Energy Office's website regarding Solar Water Heater Variance (http://energy.hawaii.gov/resources/solar-water-heater-variance).
How do I transfer a permit?
Transfers are allowed for Building Permits only, prior to Final inspection. Transfer forms are available in the Hilo and Kona Building Division Office. If you are transferring from owner to owner, you will also need to get the design professional’s signature.
How long does the permit process take?
The permit processing time varies depending on the scope of work, thoroughness of provided plans and how many plans are currently in the processing queue at the time that plans are submitted.
I want to put up signs for my business, what are the regulations/requirements?
Sign code information can be found on the Permit Information page in the Sign Section of the webpage. If you have a specific code question, please contact one of our Building plan reviewers either in the Hilo or Kona building division.
I'm planning on selling my home, how do I close out open building permits?
Contact Building Division at either our Hilo Office (961-8321) or Kona Office (323-4720) to verify the status of the open permits. Some old permits may have information in Building's paper files of inspections that were completed or a letter requesting that the permit be voided.
If it is found that the final inspections have in fact not been completed and no letter exists, there are two options. Either void the permit or complete the construction.
If you plan on voiding the permit, a letter from the owner(s) must be submitted to Building Division advising of the intent to void the permit. Depending on the project, building division may need to inspect to see if unfinished work is in a safe condition to be left as is or if additional work is need to make it safe.
If you wish to complete construction on the permit, a request to transfer the permit may be needed if work is to be completed by a different contractor or if you were not the original owner of the permit.
What is the process for obtaining a Building Permit?
Please consult your design professional to obtain building plans. Once your plans are in order, submit 2 sets for Residential construction (one set wet signed by design professional) and 3 sets for Non-Residential construction (one set wet signed by design professional) along with a completed worksheet to the Building Division in either Hilo or Kona. You may also apply online at http://papaaukahi.hawaiicounty.gov, however, please note that processing will not start until the plans are provided to either the Hilo or Kona Building Division.
Where can I find more information regarding Short Term Vacation Rentals?
Please contact County of Hawaii's Planning Department at 808-961-8288.
Why do I need a building permit?
Poor electrical wiring can cause fires, poor plumbing can cause health and safety issues, and building and structures constructed with improper material and methods can cause injury and/or death to owners and/or occupants in addition to property damage and other risks to neighboring properties.
To help ensure building and other structures are safe for the owner, occupants, neighboring owners and residents, the Building Division regulates construction within the County through the issuance of building permits and performing inspections.
The Building Division's overall goal is to promote public welfare through the establishment and enforcement of minimum construction standards (adopted by state and county) that protect public health and safety and safeguard property.