What’s the message? Relationships & Current Work

I look around, there’s homeless on the left, financially better off on the right, and all around, struggling to get ahead.

What’s happening? What’s right, what’s wrong? Is there a right? Is there a wrong?

It’s hard to keep from being negative and/or running-off­-at-the-mouth about the world’s injustices. Who knows if there is an answer? “Free Will”.

Moving on to things more substantial.


I get joy and a sense of fulfillment when previous clients are interested in more work. But how often do homeowners require building plans, details and permit processing? Once or twice. Small business owners and contractors I’ve known for years, like Stan and Leona Higuchi of Woodstock Builders and Cary Shimamoto of Construction Systems Hawaii are some of my best referral sources.

Current Work

The Floodway project: Forms have been filled out by our trusty structural/civil engineer, the owners got a big relief, and we are assembling required drawings for Zoning Branch review of the Floodway Permit application.

A fee proposal was sent out. The property is in Flood Zone X. Good news except that it is a Slide Lot and required clarification from the Supervisor of the Permit Issuance Branch. Before he responds though, my son, who is cc’d all items of interest since he’s also an architect, says, “go see Civil Engineering Branch”. I do so. He’s younger, knowledgeable, and has good sense.

I “go see Civil Engineering,” mention the property being a Slide Lot with work planned being new concrete parking pad, and remove and replace the existing driveway.

Answer: a Grading Permit is not required if any retaining walls are less than 36″ high. Good news. Then, I hear back from the Supervisor saying that a Soils Report is required; a building permit application will not be processed without one.

This appeared to be an administrative decision based on recent news about projects with unstable soil conditions causing various problems. This leads to permit processing taking longer and additional fees involved, despite the homeowner assuming all liability.

We submitted another fee proposal; a small, +-$100K project and included a 4-page description of the Scope of Work. This is rare, but thought to provide a level of assurance that comments and concerns would be translated to the actual plans and details for the contractor to follow through with in a timely manner, rather than through Change Orders due to unforeseen circumstances.

Here we sit, looking to provide more hand-drawn designing, drafting and permit processing services to all who care about their home improvement projects.

Featured image by Michael Lee at Unsplash.