Adventures of a Freelance Architect

For the last few months, I have been designing and drafting plans and details for additions and alterations to an existing 1960s single-family residence in East Honolulu.  Included in this work are:

  • Alterations to a second floor bedroom and bathroom connected to the existing residence by an interior stairway.
  • Converting the second floor to an Accessory Dwelling Unit with
    • + another bedroom
    • + full kitchen 
    • + closing off the interior stairway 
    • + adding a separate entry

Work to the existing residence included:

  • a new bedroom and bath
  • kitchen alterations
  • removing and replacing windows
  • a new garage to house a very large van

After submitting the ADU Precheck Form to DPP, it was approved in about 3-4 weeks.  Our contract was signed before the ADU was settled so, the homeowners are quite pleased with our efforts.  The homeowners are negotiating the construction with only one contractor (after their original one fizzled), making adjustments to the drawings (alterations to the laundry to the main house, moving the ADU laundry from outside the house to inside the patio, cutting off some roof overhangs (to keep cost down), and moving around the main entry stairway to make room for a wheelchair lift.

I have done two additional design sketches while the plans are being routed at the Building Department for final approval to issue the building permit.  Without collaboration between all parties, moving forward with this project would be difficult; it is requiring real world “give and take.”  The project is a basic, “plain vanilla” design for average, working-class folks, a young couple with steady jobs and a young child with special needs who will require extraordinary care for quite some time. 

And just when I expected the permitting process to be in its final stages, the building plan examiner today sends over an email saying, “Floodway Permit required” from the Zoning Branch; “Please call Mario for further information and direction.”  And yes, double-checking the flood designation, a portion of the lot is in the AE Floodway and who knows how long more the permit processing will take with the added requirement. 

After years of experience though, I’ve learned, be calm, expect the worst but anticipate that everything eventually works itself out, and please remember, “do what I say, and not do what I do.”

Photo by Sasha Freemind on Unsplash