After deciding on the ideas for your new home or building in Maui, your architect may indicate that some may not be feasible. A feature may be physically possible, but not allowed by Maui’s building codes. Your permits may also not be approved without alterations to your submitted plans.
Maui has a series of building codes that regulate what can be built, as well as how. Here, we’ll discuss what they mean in terms of your new construction or renovations.
The Purpose Of Building Codes
On a basic level, building codes are minimum specifications for the construction of different types of buildings. The purpose is to protect the public health, safety, and welfare that’s related to the construction and eventual occupancy of homes, buildings, and other structures. They’re enforced so that buildings can better withstand natural disasters.
The first set of building codes in the US outlawed the use of thatched roofs and wooden chimneys in Boston in 1631. North Carolina had the first written formal building code in 1788, and the City of New Orleans was the first to require inspections of public places.
Because a building foundation may be in place for 50 years or more, it’s vital to not only have a standard for building that will last the life of the building.
In Maui, the building codes also take into consideration the landscape, which can include high winds from hurricanes, occasional earthquakes, heavy rains in some parts of the Valley Isle, as well as dryness along some coastal areas. Height requirements are also included.
Codes are updated periodically as needed. For instance, the advent of the “smart home” with Internet-connected systems means that current building codes may not address minimum standards for things like home automation systems and connectivity that could ultimately lead to actual losses from damage.
What This Means For You
In many cases, codes are changed or updated in response to something that has already happened elsewhere and involves a structural or safety issue that needs to be addressed.
Because building codes are always evolving to include improvements to structural integrity, as well as safety to the electrical, plumbing, and mechanical systems, your design may have to be modified accordingly. This may also include energy efficiency, particularly on Maui.
As someone building a new home or commercial structure, a building code may limit—or eliminate—a design element that you’ve decided to include. Ultimately, this may lead to not only limiting your design options, but it may also increase the cost of construction.
But a home that isn’t in “code compliance” can be most easily dealt with at the permitted level, where it is relatively inexpensive to remedy. After a structure is built, renovation for “code compliance” will be much more expensive, especially for an “after the fact” building permit.
After construction, the owner probably won’t have to “update to code” unless the structure is truly out of compliance. But renovations or construction projects like sheds and ohanas will require code compliance from the planning stage and throughout the end of the project. This can also mean that different parts of the property were constructed according to different building codes.
Finding Building Codes
The County of Maui puts its building codes right on its website, easily accessible to anyone who is interested.
Additionally, you can find the State of Hawaii’s building codes on UpCodes. This free-access site is designed for architects but on the open web. (A paid tier is also available.)
Accessing Maui’s building codes means that you’ll know what may and may not be permissible in a design, as well as understand your architect’s concerns when creating.
Call Pro Draft For All Of Your Architectural Design Needs
Interested in remodeling your existing home or commercial property? What about building a new one? Let Pro Draft help with architecture, drawings, blueprints, permits, and everything else. We’re happy to answer all of your questions before construction starts and throughout the process. We’ll work to make sure your project is done to your specifications and your needs.