Author Archives: bigislandhomebuilders

About bigislandhomebuilders

Bobby Nakamura is the owner and president of Big Island Homebuilders and has been in Hawaii construction for over 15 years. He is a "Big Island boy," born and raised in Hilo, on the East side of the Island and now living in Kona with his wife and two teenage children. Bobby has done a variety of work over the years, working for awhile as a cook (for Peter Merriman, of Hawaii Regional Cuisine fame) and also as a personal chef for some of the celebrities and luminaries who own luxury homes and retreats in the expensive enclaves on the Kona-Kohala Coast. As a chef, Bobby was creative, worked quickly, paid attention to detail and turned out dishes that were enjoyed by some of the most discerning and veteran restaurant patrons. Today he might be a talked-about chef, had he not decided to oversee the building of a spec home back in 1990. That got him started and he quickly gained experience in the field working on-the-job for other contractors. Although he did not have extensive Hawaii custom homes building background in his family or by training, he found he liked it and was good at it. So, about 15 years ago Bobby started building custom Hawaii homes himself. It was a natural, and something in which, like cooking, he could take tremendous pride in the final product.

Kitchen Remodeling Tips From A Hawaii Construction Company

For some of us the idea of getting a new kitchen is extremely exciting. Many a cook would simply love to have their Dream Home. Numerous magazines discuss ideas and design strategies for these plans, but the fact is Hawaii remodeling can be far more difficult than many people think. Our Hawaii Builders want to give you a few quick things to think about before you decide to remodel your kitchen or anything for that matter.

First off you need to think about how long you intend to stay in the house you wish to remodel. A kitchen can cost a lot of money and take up a large amount of time. If you own your home and will be there for years to come then chances are it is worth it.

Secondly you need to figure out how much what you want is going to cost. Do some research and make a detailed list of expenses. It is also beneficial to contact a realtor and look into how much a new kitchen will raise the worth of your home. See if you or anyone you know has the equipment needed for the job. That said doing it yourself or pay a friend who knows what they are doing can reduce the cost as well, but be careful if either you or your friend lack the know how. The last thing you want to do is botch the job and have to pay more money for someone to come in and fix it.

Next you should think about the size of your kitchen. You can optimize the space that you have or even use various methods to increase the size of the space you have to work with. This is important when planning your hawaii remodeling job. It also wouldn’t hurt to contact a hawaii contractor and find out if you plans are even possible and get recommendations.

You should also look into your major house systems. IF you have any problems with the heating, electric, plumbing, or gas it might be possible to fix it while you are tearing things up. Changing these systems can add a lot to the cost of the project but may be worth it depending on the need.

Finally do your windows and doors need changing? If the ones in your kitchen are dated and are in need of a change now is the time to do it. If you choose to do this make sure you get high quality that won’t need to be replaced for a few years that hopefully help with heat insulation and let in lots of light.

Some of these things seem to be a little out of place but the fact is doing things all at once and getting them out of the way can sometimes be more cost effective. If your hawaii contractor will do all of it you may get a lump discount where the labor might be full price when they are done separately.  A new kitchen is a wonderful and exciting thing, but the fact is it takes a lot of planning and can be very expensive so don’t be afraid to get some help.

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Saving Money On Your Hawaii Dream Home

When you make the decision that you want your dream home there are many things to consider. One of the biggest stepping stones can be the cost of the project as a whole. Your Hawaii builders want to offer some tips on how you can save some cash when building your dream house.

First off you need to consider selling your home For Sale By Owner, or at the very least partially. Sites like forsalebyowner.com are great for bringing in some good traffic to your home. Be prepared to spend some time on it, while avoiding a realtor can save you money, it can burn a lot of your time.

You need to make sure you know what you want your dream home to be. Look around at other houses, new and old, and get some ideas. Make sure you know what you want when you walk in or else you may be paying more for changes.

Make sure you have a good architect. A good architect will be able to help you design the ideal floor plan for your lot. If you are not sure what you need and there is some doubt, don’t hesitate to get some help.

Make sure that you know your builder and his style. It never hurts to check out their previous works and see what kind of building they have worked with. A good builder is crucial to the whole project and you want to make sure you get exactly what you need.

You need to communicate with your builder in a way you haven’t ever communicated before! If they do not know what you want, they can’t build your home as you envision it. Make an effort to get on the same page and once again, communicate!

One of the best ways to save is to get a good banker. See a trend here? Your banker is crucial to getting you the best loan and interest rate that you can get. Working with them to ensure the lowest rate at the right time can make all the difference.

Abuse that free online shipping! If you are shopping online and see sites such as ebay or amazon that offer deals for free shipping, jump on it. Shipping costs can rival the product if you are not careful.

If you are handy with a hammer or know your way around a saw, don’t be afraid to get in there and do your part. With friends and family pitching in you can save thousands by doing some work yourself.

Lastly make sure you know what furniture and appliances you need and have them picked out in advance. If you discover that you forgot a bed and need one asap, you could easily miss out on deals and savings that you may have gotten by pulling that trigger at the right time. Planning is very important.

When it comes to building your dream home you don’t want to miss out on the best parts. Reducing the overall cost as much as you can may open up options that were previously out of the question. Bobby Inc. is a Hawaii home builder that not only builds your house precisely as you want it, but they also can be your architect offer you financing, and even assists with savings! Regardless of your needs Bobby Inc. can make it happen.

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Green Plumbing Tips From A Hawaii Construction Company

In today’s world “going green” is not just for the environmentalists. There are many “green” practices that are not only good on the environment but will save you a good chunk of change as well. It’s all about efficiency in the market today and we are just now starting to realize the importance of conserving water and energy. These are a few tips from a Hawaii Construction Company that will help you turn your plumbing “green”, and not the color.

Getting a high efficiency toilet is important. If your toilet is from 1992 or earlier chances are it uses 3.5 to 7 GPF (gallons per flush). Replacing your toilet can reduce that number to less than 1.3 GPF which is a 60% decrease, without compromising performance. That said, more than a few modern toilets have the option to give a half flush or a full flush. This saves even more water and money.

Fix those leaky faucets. A single leaky faucet can waste as much as 20 gallons of water per day. If you are worried that you may have a leak anywhere in your plumbing, call a plumber to check it out. The cost to fix the issue will save you a lot of money in the long run and even more if you have multiple leaks.

Low flow shower heads and aerators for sinks are wonderful for limiting the water flow as well as saving you money. A shower in particular gushes water at an alarming rate. Reducing shower time is another way to ease the pain to the wallet. Even if you cut a single minute per shower you can save up to 700 gallons per month.

Many homes are built with essential pipes running through exterior walls, which is rather inefficient. In colder states this means that the water is being cooled before it comes out of the faucet or shower and therefor takes longer to heat up. Fixing this can be as easy as insulating your pipes or even eliminating the pipes through the exterior walls.

Tankless water heaters are becoming all the rage. A tankless water heater works great in a warmer climate. Unlike water tank heaters the tankless heat only the water that is needed at that moment rather than heating a large portion constantly whether it’s used to not. This saves you at least 40 to 50% on your energy costs. That’s some huge saving.

“Going Green” is the new thing in our society today. Some people still scoff at the idea which can be a mistake. “Going Green” is no longer just for the environmentalists. The money conscious and the practical are starting to realize the benefits of a simple lifestyle or appliance change. Hawaii is a great example of this as the building materials needed are light but are storm resistant. Not only do Hawaiian residents need to worry about storms and wind, but humidity and bugs can be a big problem that needs to be addressed and this can all be done with a Hawaii Home Builder with the right mindset.

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Things To Consider When You Build Green

Now and days if you are thinking about building a home, it would be wise to consider going green. Green building helps maximize your building choices and has made Hawaii construction easier than ever. Green houses take advantage of everything from sustainable design to lasting building materials. These are a few things you should know before you make your decision.

Lifestyle is important. The first thing you should do is take a look at your family’s habits. Working on things like leaving the TV on or using the AC instead of opening the windows on a cool day are the first step as occupants habits are the largest culprit to raising energy costs.

Next you need to realize that you are not alone. Your local green hawaii home builders association will be more than happy to not only build your house, but plan it out. These associations are up to date on methods, techniques, and products. These guys know their stuff and they are here to help.

If you find a small urban lot with great schools and neighborhoods don’t fret. Smaller houses are actually better if the design is correct. There is a rising trend towards cozy over large and designing a house from scratch allows you to completely control the environment.

Using correct orientation is very important. You need to take advantage of the sunlight to light and heat your house. This can cut back on costs drastically. This can be difficult depending on your time zone so don’t be afraid to ask your Hawaii builders what the best way to do this is.

Prevent the buildup of moisture. There are numerous ways for moisture to get in and the results from all of them are not pleasant. Not only to they create mold, but moisture in your home can affect the temperature as well. Not only do you have to watch for the water getting into your home, but you also need to protect your house and foundation from runoff.

Materials play a big role in green building and it is important to understand them. There are obviously other factors that play a role, but what materials you use are extremely high on that list. Sometimes the best materials for your home are not always the greenest, but the important factor is that your house is safe, protected, and has longevity. Using rapidly renewable resources sometimes can be the wrong answer with Hawaii custom homes.

There are many factors to think about before building a green home and not all of them are obvious. There are numerous people out there to help with this, at times, overwhelming task. Remember that Hawaii construction is important to do right and you shouldn’t skimp out on the details. For the best product now and days going green with a  new home is as simple as designing an energy efficient house and will save you dollars and the environment a few trees to say the least. It is important to at least consider going green with your next Hawaii construction project.

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Air Conditioning Advice from a Hawaii Construction Company

When it starts to get hot, we all want to feel comfortable. In order to keep you from sweating the temperature and the relative humidity need to be below a certain digit. There are places like Arizona that can be 80 degrees and hot but it is comfortable but if you are in Florida, 80 degrees is simply oppressive. These are just the basics of keeping cool during the summer, but here are a few more from a Hawaii Construction Company.

First off you need to dress for the weather. Keeping the humidity down helps but one of the most basic and simple tips for keeping cool is to wear less and let the A/C set a bit higher. Wearing shorts during the winter or jeans during the summer is unnecessary. Wearing layers to stay warm or shorts and a tee to stay cool is a smart way to control you bodies heat without hitting your wallet too hard.

Secondly, control the humidity in your home. There are a few ways to do this but best way is to seal up any air leaks you have in your home. This can be a big project that isn’t a DIY fix. If this is the case a Hawaii Contractor or maybe even a Hawaii builder to do it for you or at least advise your best course of action. Getting you RH below 50% is important. Most A/C units have 2 stages, the first cools the air, and then it dehumidifies. But if your unit is too big for the area it is trying to cool it will shut off before it dehumidifies so make sure you get an appropriate A/C unit.

Third, turn on a fan. When you have a fan blowing on you the air moving over your skin makes you feel cooler. Be careful though as if the fan is not on your skin the motor is actually creating more heat in the room.

Next, close your blinds. Sun shining in through you windows actually heats up your home. You might even benefit from using exterior shades to prevent the heat from ever reaching your home.

Lastly, open your windows and doors once it cools off. During the day when it is hot keep that A/C going but once it cools off turn it off and let some of that naturally cool air in. Depending on the insulation in your home can turn off the A/C earlier in the afternoon and it will stay cooler and have it stay cool as the sun goes down.

Everyone wants to save money and everyone wants to stay cool, but sometimes these are not in sync. These are a few easy to understand things you can do to stay cool and perhaps save a few dollars. For some it is worth it to have you’re A/C on all the time and to wear those jeans. For more information on A/C and staying cool check out our Hawaii construction company and see if we can help you out.

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Picking Out Energy Efficient WIndows With A Hawaii Construction Company

All homeowners, in one way or another, would like to improve an aspect or portion of their homes. This is part of what makes Hawaii remodeling so exciting for home owners and Hawaii builders alike. An improvement can be a simple aesthetics upgrade or what a section of the home looks like on its exterior. Improvements can also be more in the field of efficiency in energy consumption, which can raise costs if not done.

A big point of focus in most Hawaii construction projects, especially in the green building trend, is the windows. This involves using materials such as low-e glass that is designed to reduce energy usage by preventing heat loss. When a material has lower emissivity it is less susceptible to transferring heat and reflects heat back at its source. A low-e glass window prevents hear from escaping and thusly reduces the workload on heaters and furnaces reducing fuel costs.

Maintaining good window condition is extremely important. Windows are the most noticeable section in the home and are the primary portals to and from the house. A dull and lame looking window does not create good impressions and that reflects negatively against homeowners.

Window care should be practiced for more reasons than just to make them look good. Windows contribute to a large reduction in the energy costs in a home. This accounts for at least 25 percent of heat loss in homes. Investing in energy friendly windows, like low-e glass, are well worth it as the savings gained tend to add up quickly.

The best way to make sure you are getting the right windows is to sit down with a Hawaii home builder or Hawaii contractor and talk about the look you want for your home and the best way to reach that goal. If you are looking for ideas on what you want, try going to showrooms or model houses and check out the different innovative trends in window design. If these are not available the internet is always a good substitute.

Make sure before you make a decision that you take a look at the Energy Star ratings on the windows. The rating system gives you an unbiased assessment on how energy-efficient your possible windows really are. This can help you chose a few from a massive array of types and choices of windows.

Picking the best window according to your needs is the best place to start that will get you on the right track. Building the best look and feel for a room or a home is rather reliant on your windows so make sure to knock out two birds with one stone and get something that both looks good and will save you money.  For more info check out a Hawaii construction company.

 

 

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How do we know if its “green” or not?

To understand Green building we first need to define what “green” is. The basic idea is that green building uses materials, methods, and technology that create an eco friendly home. This article will discuss what it means to be “green” and what this means to our Hawaii home builders.

Because every building project is different and individual reasons for building green vary you need to set some priorities before you start building. Where one location you might need to be worried about overflowing landfills and in another it is contaminated stormwater runoff, these both have different methods to handling the problem so you must make a priority to solve it. Understanding the differing priorities is key to choosing materials for a project. In Hawaii you want to focus on airflow and stability due to the heat and storms.

The next aspect to green building is the design. For example, products that deal with energy such as a a dual-pane, low-e window is not green as far as its materials but if used correctly it can reduce energy use by maximizing the collection of winter sunlight and blocking out the summer sun. This can be very important as the right strategy will help achieve your goal.

No one material is perfect when It comes to green choices, there is always a trade off. Building materials can have positive and negative impacts on our environments. One way to assess the impact of the materials is the Life Cycle Assessment, which looks at the full range of the products impact from resource extraction to installation and ending at disposal. All of these are important when making a comparison to decide which material is best for the specific project.

Global Green has done us a favor and divided products into 5 basic categories. The First is Save Energy, which covers products that either reduce heating or cooling loads, use less energy, or products that produce energy. The next category is Conserve Water, these products conserve water above and beyond what is required by law or consume less water. Examples of these are double flush toilets and native landscaping. Our next category is Contribute to a safe, healthy indoor environment. Products in this category don’t release significant pollutants into the building, block the spread of or remove indoor pollutants, or warn occupants of health hazards. After that is the Protect Natural Resources category which focus on recycled content, products made from agricultural waste material, reduce material use, are made from rapidly renewable resources, or wood products from sustainably managed forests certified by the FSC. Our last category is Reduce Buildings Impact on the Community, such as products that mitigate the effects of stormwater runoff, provide easy access to alternate modes of travel, products that don’t require chemical pesticides, or don’t contain PVC.

All of this leads to the answer of what does green really mean. A product that is green ultimately is specified according to location and need. Use of a product can also determine “greenness” alongside 5 categories that divide up the market into easy to understand segments. Our Hawaii Home Builders hope this helps you understand green building a little more and maybe easy your mind on green building in general.

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Going Green with Hawaii Builders

All over the world and specifically Hawaii, people are turning to green options when it comes to Hawaii custom homes. Basically this means people are changing their homes and personal environments to be more eco friendly. We will cover what “green” home building really entails, how it is done, and why you might want to think about going green yourself.

Green home building in a nutshell means that your house is built out of foam. That’s right, foam. The Saebi Alternative Building System, or SABS, is a multi-patented composite building that utilizes recycled foam as the core material for the walls, roof, floor, and ceiling of the home. Additionally the green building efforts are focused on conserving water consumption, maintaining existing flora and fauna, retrofitting homes with energy efficient appliances, improving indoor air quality by upgrading ventilation systems, and using materials like recycled countertops, reclaimed wood, and non-toxic substances.

Now that we know what a going green entails we will talk about how it’s all put together. The foam panels at first appear to look and feel like the Styrofoam used for coolers, but these panels are much thicker, denser, and are fire-resistant and termite-proof. The frame is made without straps, tie downs, nuts, or bolts. It is then sprayed with a shell of cement mixture of sand, cement, glass fiber, and other similar materials. This is to ensure that your home is solid and hurricane proof. It is also resistant to salt spray, water penetration, mold, and rust, just a few of Hawaii home builders favorite hurdles to jump. All of this is done according to the Hawaii construction code. On of the few changes in lifestyle can include that you have to use a drill and a masonry anchor instead of nails when hanging artwork.

So what do you really get out of green home building? First off it is shockingly cheaper compared to regular building methods. The completion time is accelerated as the materials are easier to handle. There is a highly reduced risk of injury. The materials are widely available all over the world and are all nontoxic. For the green lovers it is 99% recyclable EPS foam as well. There is no requirement of wood or the farming of rainforests. The materials are flexible which frees up some unique building designs. The finished home is air tight and there are greatly reduced energy costs. It is capable of withstanding up to category 5 winds, adding a good amount of hurricane resistance. The materials can withstand earthquakes up to 3 times worse than California’s worst. It is Class A fire resistant, as well as mold mildew and water damage resistant. There is a decent amount of sound resistance between rooms and it is also rodent and termite resistant, which is perfect for all the annual damage caused by them in Hawaii.

This all sounds too good to be true, right? The good news is that it is not. Not only is there construction but it is not difficult to incorporate green building in your Hawaii home remodeling plans. Our Hawaii Builders are more than willing to work with you to get you the end product that you desire and we sincerely hope that you give this some serious thought during your next project. For more information contact our Hawaii contractors.

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10 Lawn Care Tips from Hawaii Builders

Having a beautiful lawn can be hard work. Keeping up with the task and making sure you do things the right way is imperative to success. These 10 tips from a Hawaii Builder should make things easier.

  1. Seeding. New Home owners can be quick to put down new grass seed to thicken up the lawn. This is something best done in the fall when the rest of the grass is going dormant for the winter rather than the spring.
  2. Fertilizing. Timing is crucial when it comes to keeping your lawn healthy. Make sure that you have an experienced professional tell you what fertilizers to use and when to make sure your lawn is the best it can be.
  3. Wrong plants and wrong placement. Region has a huge impact on what plants can grow and how well. Make sure you contact a lawn care expert to match your lawn with the right seen.
  4. Watering trouble. Watering your lawn the proper amount can be tricky. You don’t want to over water your grass, but need to make sure it gets enough. A slow steady water once a week is a good estimate that plays on the safe side. Lawns need 1 inch of water a week, so be mindful of the weather as well.
  5. Aeration. If you have too much thatch it can hinder the amount of water and nutrients reaching the roots. If neglected it can bring about weed and disease problems and we don’t want that. You should aim to aerate and dethatch once a year.
  6. Misconceptions with mowing. Many homeowners try to reduce the amount they need to mow by lowering the mower blades and cutting the grass shorter. This can shock your lawn and allow weeds and insects to invade. That said dull mower blades can increase the water loss from plants and will need more gas to run.
  7. Improper pesticide use. Make sure you read the label. Did I say read the label? You should read the label. Pesticides are dangerous and can be devastating to non-target organisms. A pesticide is not a silver bullet. They should be used appropriately and with care.
  8. Bagging your clippings. Lawn clippings are great for your soil. They add nutrients that would otherwise be missed. Instead of bagging your clippings, recycle them back into the soil.
  9. Misdiagnosis. A well meaning do it yourselfer can cause more harm than good without meaning to if they misdiagnose the problem in the lawn. Consulting a specialist instead of assuming the problem will help you prevent mistakes and keep your lawn happy.
  10. Trimming trouble. Trimming too close to the base of a tree can kill it. Be aware of the trees and shrubs in your lawn.

Lawn care is a constant task that requires constant attention. Make sure to keep up with the work and don’t get behind. A happy lawn makes for a good looking house. So from your Hawaii Builders, happy lawn keeping! If you have any questions visit our FAQ.

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Idea’s For New Years Resolution From a Hawaii Home Builder

New Years Resolutions are great and sometimes we all need a little help thinking of them. Here is a helpful list of popular resolutions that may give you some ideas from a Hawaii Home Builder.

1. Spend more time with your family and friends. This is a common one that is very beneficial to you and your happiness. All it takes is making plans to meet up for dinner or a movie. It doesn’t take much and everyone will enjoy it.
2. Everyone wants to enjoy life more. With our typical stressful lifestyles as Americans we could all use some relaxation. You can pick up a new hobby or an activity that you enjoy, or even take a trip to the spa. Its something that should be easy and everyone can do it.
3. Keep the house clean. All it takes is 15 minutes a day. A quick clean up on a daily basis will ease the load on everyone in general. There are some very easy things you can do that will prevent the hours long binge cleaning.
4. Read a big book. In general we do not read enough as a society. We have all heard of great books and not actually read them. Reading is a great stress reliever and increases your vocabulary. You never know, maybe you really like reading and didn’t know it.
5. Conquer a fear. Everyone is afraid of something and the best and cheapest way to overcome these fears is to confront them. So maybe you want to make the resolution to face your fears and beat them down.
6. Travel. Maybe you haven’t traveled out of the country, or even the state. Traveling is great for vacation and relaxation. So maybe travel to someplace new should be your resolution.
7. Exercise more. Walking for 20 minutes a day does great things for your happiness and health. It’s easy and not time consuming. It’s great for weight loss and many other things so give it a try.
8. Eliminate unnecessary expenses. Maybe you spend money that you shouldn’t for things you don’t need or use. Cutting back on the spending can save a good chunk of money. It adds up.
9. Open a savings account. With all that money your saving with the spending cuts maybe you should put it into an account. Putting just a little money in it weekly, bi-weekly, or even monthly can add up and help you save.
10. Use your computer a lot? Maybe what you should do is resolve to clean up your computer and remove the clutter. Organize your files, pictures, and programs. Put them into folders and run through a series of defrags and other computer care programs.
11. Quit Smoking. Not only is smoking bad for your health but it makes a nice hole in your pocket. By quitting you will not only feel better, but you will be shocked at the amount of money you spend each year on cigarettes.

New Years resolutions are great for giving yourself goals, but they are only good if you go through with them. So this year give yourself a goal and stick to it. Better yourself and increase your happiness. Our Hawaii builders hope this helps.So Happy Holiday’s from your Hawaii Home Builder!

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