Actually, some of these are things you should know even before you choose your lot.  But since it's probably too late for that, we suggest you at least hold off on selecting your building site until you have read what follows.  View is important, but it isn't everything.

You may assume you don't need to worry about all this stuff because your architect and contractor will think of everything and tell you what you need to know.  Bad assumption!  We are often amazed at some of the things that get built in Hawaii by people who should know better.

So obtain as much information as you can on your own, interview several professionals to see how knowledgeable they seem, and ask plenty of questions.  In hiring an architect, carefully review what services are to be provided for a specific fee before comparing it with fees of other architects.  Are you paying for design only or for job supervision as well?  How often will the architect show up at the job site?  Are the services of civil and structural engineers included?  Full service, exclusive of landscape design and interior decoration, normally runs 10-12% of construction costs.

Before you hire a builder, architect, or other contractor, you may want to call the Regulated Industries Complaints Office of the State Dept. of Commerce & Consumer Affairs at 1-808-587-3222 and the Better Business Bureau at 1-808-941-5222 to see if there are unresolved complaints against that person or company.  If there are, ask the architect or contractor to explain them.  It's possible the complaints are either not serious or not justified.  Request references, so you can check out other work they have done and find out what other clients think of them.  We are in the process of compiling information about various service providers the residents have dealt with.  In the mean time, we'll be happy to tell you what we know about anyone you're considering.

Read the Kohala Ranch design guidelines and supply a copy to your architect and builder.  It is very important that you follow the guidelines and obtain approval of your plans from the Architectural Control Committee before you begin work on your home.  What follows here are some considerations that you will not find in the design guidelines.  Some of them are the sorts of things you learn by actually living here, so we have called upon the experiences of residents in compiling the list.

First of all, be aware that Kohala Ranch spans a vertical distance of about 3000', which makes for very different conditions in the different parts of the Ranch.  When we contrast the upper and lower areas in the discussion that follows, remember that the Meadows falls somewhere between the extremes in characteristics as well as in elevation.

Regardless of where your property lies, it's a good idea to talk to some of the residents who live in that section to see what their experience has been and what advice they would give you.  Talk to a number of people, to get as broad a perspective as you can.  We can put you in touch with such residents, if you like.  Most of them are happy to be here and glad to talk to others about it.

Here are the eight topics covered in these tips:

This material is published by the Concerned Kohala Ranch Property Owners for personal use only.  It may not be copied, in whole or in part, for any other purpose without permission.  Printed copies may be obtained for $3 from: Concerned Kohala Ranch Property Owners, 59-148 Olomana Rd., Kamuela HI 96743.  Phone:  808-880-1033;
e-mail:  ckrpo