Doing your homework will help you have a more successful experience. Use this checklist to help you select a home builder or home remodeler to work on or build your home:

• Contact the Building Industry Association of Hawaii for names of its member builders and remodelers: email, or go to You can also ask family and friends for recommendations.

• Make sure the builder or remodeler has a permanent business location and a good reputation with local banks and suppliers.

• Find out how long they have been in the business. It usually takes three to five years to establish a financially sound business.


• Check out the company’s rating and if there have been any complaints filed with your local Better Business Bureau ( or the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (

• Make sure the builder has sufficient workers compensation and general liability insurance.

• Ask the builder to provide you with names of previous customers.


• Ask if you can see the builder’s work, both completed and in progress.

• Do you feel you can easily communicate with the builder? Remember you will be in close contact with them throughout the construction process and afterward.


• Make sure the builder provides you with a complete and clearly written contract.

• Be cautious of unusually low-priced bids. If the builder is unable to pay for the materials and labor as the project proceeds, this may indicate a potential problem.

• Make sure your progress payments that identify when payment is due upon completion of the specific phase of the work are spelled out. Make sure you sign a lien disclosure statement with the contract. Make sure the Notice of Completion is filed in the newspaper. This starts the 45 days of the lien period. Make sure you get a Certificate of Occupancy and the permit is closed out.

For more information contact me: or 847-4666 extension 7502.

Karen Nakamura is CEO of the Building Industry Association of Hawaii.