July 30, 2016

Subject: Building Costs

We saw several lots on your site and we were wondering what the current cost is per sq.ft. to build on the Big Island.

Aloha,

I get this question all the time. The first time it happened I asked a friend who is a building contractor. First of all, I knew in advance that there was not just one fee that all contractors charge to build a house. But I didn’t know how complicated it was. My friend explained that it depends on if the home is on a slab or post & pier. Single wall or double wall. If it’s single wall, it depends on if it’s fir, cedar or redwood. If it’s double wall, it depends on the type and quality of the exterior wall material (plain plywood, T1-11, stucco, vinyl, etc.). It also depends on the type and quality of the floor covering. It could be carpet, linoleum, laminate (various grades), real wood (solid-various species, veneer, bamboo, tile (ceramic, porcelain, travertine, quartz, etc.). There is a wide variety in the type and quality of the cabinets (plastic covered particle board, solid wood (price varies by species and if the entire cabinet wood or just the face-frame). Counter tops could be Formica, quartz, Corian or Corian type, granite, etc., and the brand and quality of the counter tops also varies greatly. Likewise the brand and quality of all the kitchen and bathroom fixtures & appliances varies greatly as well as the type, brand and quality of the windows and doors. Even the quality of the hinges is a variable factor. You might be able to build a house for around $135/sq.ft. using all the cheapest materials, and you can easily spend over $1,000/sq.ft. and up if you use only the finest and/or rarest of materials. So what my friend told me was: “Give me a set of plans and a materials list and I’ll tell you how much I will charge to build the house.” That’s what every contractor I have ever posed this question to has told me.

So the best I can suggest is to call either HPM Building Supply or Honsador Lumber and ask how much, in their experience, have local contractors charged to build some of their kit homes.
HPM: Address: 74-5511 Luhia St, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740 Phone: (808) 334-4200, http://hpmhawaii.com/
Honsador: Address: 73-5580 Kauhola St, Kailua-Kona, HI 96740 Phone: (808) 329-0738 www.honsador.com/
But if you want a custom home, you are going to have to find a contractor and provide him with a set of plans to find out the price per square foot.
Mahalo, Harry