Import regulations for wooden prefab houses for the Hawaiian islands have been tightened over the last year. The following shall be adhered to:
1. Design works
2. Mandatory roof insulation
3. Tropical hardwoods which are restricted from being used
4. Termite resistance
5. V-legal export and import system
ADDITIONAL INFORMATIONFOR THOSE WHO WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE PARTICULAR HAWAIIAN PROCEDURES AND APPLICATIONS
A. ARCHITECTURAL AND ENGINEERING REQUIREMENTS
For customers wanting to build their house in Hawaii require to submit official architectural plans and structural calculations based on the IBC + amendments which differ per island. Customers also may require the services of a registered architect and/or structural engineer. These professionals can assist owners in meeting the requirements of the city or county building department having jurisdiction over the project site. Their services may include review of our drawings, structural calculation reviews, foundation design reviews, lateral load resistant design assessment and preparation of plans for building permit approval. In such cases we will work together with an established architect/engineer from Hawaii. We maintain very close relations with the county of Hawaii (big island), whereas our company is also in good repute with the counties of Oahu and Maui.
B. MANDATORY ROOF INSULATION
Hawaiian customers shall be alerted that it is mandatory to have the roof fully insulated. The insulation index may differ from island to island and we would be happy to advise you on this. Any prefab home, - made anywhere in the world -, without proper insulation installed or without the possibility to locally insulate the roof will not be eligible for a building permit. We use the latest development in insulation technique using furring strips creating an air gap of a certain predefined depth. An air gap with the proper depth will be far more effective than any other insulation material. The furring strip system which we introduced in 2013 has been approved by all Hawaiian Counties and in fact is now preferred due to its environmental friendly application above other insulation systems using chemically produced insulation materials.
C. NOT ALL INDONESIAN HARDWOOD IS ALLOWED TO BE USED IN HAWAII.
Wood species used for structural purposes in buildings in Hawaii must meet the provisions stated in the Residential Building Code (IRC) and/or other adopted or specific codes and provisions in-force by the County, or have been approved by the County having jurisdiction over the project. We contacted all Counties in Hawaii to verify this statement and this was their unambiguous answer: "All hardwood species for structural use (*) from Indonesia are disallowed by the Counties of Hawaii, except that only Bangkirai and Merbau is approved by the City and County of Oahu and Bangkirai heartwood (not the sapwood) has been approved for Maui. Our company has recently been granted the use of normally graded Bangkirai for the Big island (County of Hawaii.) Use of any other Indonesian wood species for structural purposes (except Bangkirai and Merbau for Oahu, Bangkirai heartwood for Maui and normally graded Bangkirai for the Big island) requires obtaining approval for use by the County having jurisdiction over the project". It is noted that the Counties Kauai and Molokai may well adapt their regulations in the near future and allow the use Bangkirai for structural purposes. Our company has all documents in place for the use of Bangkirai for projects in Oahu, Maui and the Big island.
(*) This may include flooring if this is used as decking material and needs to span, hence being a structural application.
In the event that an Indonesian hardwood will be used other than mentioned above an approval is required and may involve having an independent testing lab conduct structural tests and write a report, filing the report, forms, and other required documents with the County. Such a process could require considerable time and money and approval is not guaranteed. Since each County may have differing requirements, whereas these requirements are subject to change at any time without notice, those contemplating undertaking such approvals are advised to check directly with the County for which approval is sought as to required procedures, and to verify which, if any, Indonesian wood species are meanwhile approved for structural use. A lab report may well cost over USD. 50,000
In conclusion: Projects not using the type of hardwood for the structural elements as per County code are at risk not to be approved and be rejected for import. Containers may be returned to the country of origin at Owner's cost.
D. SPECIAL APPROVAL REQUIRED FROM THE COUNTY OF HAWAII.
Notwithstanding the permission to use Bangkirai hardwood for the big island (county of Hawaii) the supplier must have a signed permisson letter in possession issued by this particular county that the supplier is allowed to use Bangkirai hardwood. We have such letter in possession.
E. TERMITE RESISTANCE AND WHY THE HAWAIIAN COUNTIES ONLY ACCEPT BANGKIRAI AND/OR MERBAU HEARTWOOD FOR ALL STRUCTURAL ELEMENTS.
Most Indonesian wooden prefab house manufacturers state on their web sites that Bangkirai and Merbau are documented to absolutely termite resistant. We are of the believe that these companies should do their home work again and shall carefully read what is written in the following laboratory reports:
J. Kenneth Crave and Carrie H.M. Tome from the University of Hawaii evaluated the resistance of Indonesian Bangkirai to the attack of the dangerous Formosa termite. Their investigation revealed that "as with all durable tree species only the heartwood and not the sapwood of these species is reputed to be durable". See page 504, 2nd paragraph of their report which can be downloaded via https://www.ctahr.hawaii.edu/gracek/pdfs/212.pdf This report supports our claim that the only termite resistant part of Bangkirai is heartwood and not sapwood.
A technical data sheet from the Australian timber base sheds some light on the termite resistance of Merbau and can be found at https://www.timber.net.au/?option=com_species&name=Merbau&Itemid=441 This article clearly indicates that only the heartwood of Merbau is termite resistant.
F. V-LEGAL EXPORT AND IMPORT SYSTEM
The initial test shipments of timber from Indonesia backed by its V-legal proof of legality licensing system are now en route for destinations around Europe and the USA, opening the way for its first exports to be licensed under the EU FLEGT VPA scheme in 2013.
The V-Legal documents, which became compulsory for all timber exports in January 2013, are issued by the independently accredited Indonesian Timber Legality Verification Bodies and form part of its legality verification system. The V-legal system has been developed in response to increasingly rigorous anti-illegal timber legislation in key markets, including the upcoming EU Timber Regulation and Australian Illegal Logging Prohibition Bill, the US Lacey Act, and Japan’s Goho Wood system.
Our company is registered for V-legal timber shipments which is a client's guarantee that we have all export papers in place, the timber is felled legally and that reforestation will take place. The Indonesian Government who is tightening the grip on hardwood exports has contracted SGS (locally called Sucofindo), a Swiss based company which undertakes inspections, verifications, testing and certifies on behalf of the Indonesian Government. SGS will reject any container ready for shipment if the company papers are not place and/or the timber does not comply with the compulsory V-legal system. In conclusion: The shipment will NOT go. Import into the USA will require the official documentd that were issued by SGS. Without these documents the shipment wll be confiscated at the port of entry and be shipped back to the port of origin at client's cost.
G. WHICH BUILDNG OPTION TO BE CHOSEN TO COMPLY WITH ALL THE ABOVE
The lowest priced option that we offer which complies with all the requirements of the counties is our Standard build + upgrade (100% termite resistant and cyclone rated). The Basic and Elementary build option willl not be accepted. The more expensive options will be the Premium build + upgrade or the Superior build. A comparison between the build options can be found <here>. The extra cost for the upgrades are not mentioned on our price list. You may contact us for a quotation.
H. EXAMPLE OF THE APPLICATION OF PROPER HARDWOOD
BALI PREFABWORLD © successfully completed the architectural and structural design for a 525 m2 (5,650 sqft) villa for a client in Maui, based on the County's codes and requirements using Bangkirai heartwood for the structural elements. Our drawings and structural calculations were approved without any comment. Our company has recently obtained written approval for the mandatory use of Bangkirai tropical hardwood for all structrual elements from the county of Hawaii (big island).
I. SHIPPING TO THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS
Over the last few years shipping to the Hawaiian islands has become increasingly expensive, in particular for LCL (Less Container Load) shipments. While a 20 ft container may cost USD. 8,000 (effective stuffing volume 27 m3, or 950 qft) the price levels for LCL have now become far beyond reality.
Example: A gazebo or small prefab unit costing USD. 10,000 with a volume of say 10 m3 (353 qft) will cost USD. 5,500 on LCL shipment. This is per cubic meter or cubic foot more than 1.8 times the price compared to a 20 ft container. In addition LCL shipments can only be made to Honolulu harbor and not to the other Hawaiian harbors. This implies that addition costs need to be made to transfer the LCL shipment to islands other than Oahu.
The remedy? Contact a local cargo forwarder on one of the Hawaiian islands. Ask them for an LCL quote from Bali to Hawaii. You will most probably get a much lower rate, up to 30% lower !!!!