Thinking about building or renovating a home on Oahu?

You might be considering the traditional design-bid-build method of construction, for which you’d hire an architect to create a design, and then solicit bids from building contractors and subcontractors.

But if you’ve never managed a large project, design-bid-build can be intimidating and stressful. This method demands deep involvement from homeowners at every level of the project, especially for projects that are complex and intricate.

Proven to be efficient, streamlined and cost-effective, the design-build delivery method may be well worth your consideration. With design-build, the homeowner will typically work with a single company, which handles the design, estimating and construction functions.


“When we take on a project, we’re responsible for everything: design and specifications, pricing, scheduling, and building, which includes coordinating sub-contractors,” says Evan Fujimoto, president of the award-winning Honolulu design-build firm Graham Builders. “With design-build, you don’t have to vet subs, vendors and general contractors; your costs are generally identified during planning; and you aren’t financially responsible for errors and omissions in plans. This can save you time and money in the long run.”

With more than 33 years in business, Graham Builders has completed projects in every residential area of Oahu. As locals know, Oahu has its own “climate zones” — areas whose weather is different from the sunny stereotype.

“Some properties get a lot of rain, wind or salt spray, which must be considered,” says Malia Yee, the company’s senior designer. “And properties with no particular climate challenges might be located on a busy corner or near a bus stop. Every home should be designed for its own unique surroundings.”

The firm offers expert knowledge in areas that are of strong relevance in Hawaii.

“We’re intimately familiar with city and state building, zoning, energy, environmental, and health and safety codes and regulations, and we have extensive experience with projects in flood zones and special management areas,” Fujimoto says.


Graham Builders’ team includes architectural designers, engineering consultants, project managers, estimators, and construction professionals and craftsmen, as well as specialized professionals who are certified aging-in-place specialists for projects involving kupuna and certified green professionals for sustainable building projects.

“We also have long-standing relationships with reliable subcontractors and suppliers,” Fujimoto adds. “This enables us to accurately estimate costs for materials, labor, permitting, utilities, landscaping and every other aspect of a project.”

Design-build projects typically are turned around faster than traditional builds because communication flows faster when all players are from the same team, Fujimoto explains.

“It’s inherently more efficient. We can efficiently manage timelines and make decisions quickly,” he says. “And if the need arises during construction, we can modify plans and coordinate changes with sub-contractors and vendors.”

Founded in 1990, Graham Builders remains the only local general contractor honored with Better Business Bureau Hawaii’s Torch Award for Small Business Ethics. The firm’s next free Building Your Home for Life seminar is at 9 a.m. on Jan. 27. Register now online at or call 808-593-2808.

CONTACT 808-593-2808