How Long is My Project Going to Take? / by brent gomes


The majority of people I meet have no idea how long a project takes. When asked this question, my most common reply is, “It depends.”  Every project is different. Every home is different. Will you be renovating an apartment? Your home? Is your home two stories? Is your home on a concrete slab or is your home built on post and pier? Will you be living at the project during construction?  This article will give you some information that will hopefully help you have a better understanding of how long your project will actually take to complete.

In Hawaii, the majority of building supplies must be shipped here—cabinets, windows, plumbing fixtures, and tile usually take 6-8 weeks to come in. The best way to get your project completed fast is to have everything selected before you start, don’t change things mid-way, and have a good plan. Ask your contractor lots of questions to make sure they are on top of everything, and have a clear schedule in mind.

We do lots of kitchens and bathroom renovations. In Hawaii, due to the cost-of-living, most of our clients are living in the home during the renovation.  I have found that it is in everyone’s best interest if we can get out of their home in under two months.  The first month people are excited, the second month the stress levels start to build and the third month people tend to “break.”  (It may not sound very nice to say people break, but this is the harsh reality.  It is extremely stressful not having a working kitchen or bathroom. Living in a half-built house with a bunch of strangers in there can be overwhelming to some people.) We consider ourselves unwanted guests in people’s homes, and do everything to get in, do a quality job and get out as fast as possible without cutting corners. Moreover, if we can get out of someone’s home fast, they usually like us better, and have nicer things to say about us to their friends.

New homes can take anywhere from six months to two years to complete. There are definitely extremes on both ends of the spectrum.  A typical home can be built in roughly 11 months.  A simple single-story house can be built and completed in three months or so, though this is not typical.  If you have a small home on flat ground with easy access, you can be looking at maybe six months if your contractor is good.  On the other hand, some “extreme” homes and large mansions can take three or more years to complete. 

As ADUs and extended living are popular in Hawaii due to the high cost-of-living, many of our clients are interesting in building additions or ADUs.  How long will the construction take for these additions?  Again, it will depend on many different variables. How complicated is your addition? A safe estimate is six months, though it really depends on the job. There are many different tradespeople involved in an addition, and many phases. Additions are usually more complicated than a new build because you have to work around existing structures that have to blend together with the new.

What about remodeling a kitchen or bathroom?  I usually tell my clients to expect their bathroom to take six weeks.  Kitchens typically take 8 weeks.  For both the kitchen and bathroom, the countertops really add to the length of time on a project. If you are using an off the shelf bathroom vanity purchased from Home Depot, you can knock off 2 weeks because you won’t have to wait for custom countertop fabrication.

On a side note, a lot of people think that they can redo a bathroom for $10,000.00. Yes, it is humanly possible, though not likely.  You can get a cheap vanity, a cheap tub and plastic surround, cheap plumbing fixtures, and cheap flooring and use a handyman or cheap contractor.  However, if you are using a licensed experienced contractor, just redoing your shower could cost you $10,000.00. (Believe it or not, that’s on the cheap end.)  High-end, luxury bathrooms can cost as much as kitchens, as plumbers are expensive.