Argus Building Supply 808-933-9441
Argus Building Supply                          808-933-9441

Happy new year to all!!



I changed prices on all our packages to reflect the cost of plywood on the roof and the more robust framing needed to support it. The prices may look lower than they were but that is because I have separated the cost of plans and engineering from the estimates. It will now have to be an additional cost that is based on the real cost of drafting, engineering, printing, plan submission, etc. Everybody along the way has raised prices to reflect the burden the new building permit process has placed on them. It sounded so easy! Maybe there will be improvement with practice, but right now our plan and permit process is taking 6-8 months.

   I have been talking to the building department about pre-approved plans that would be much faster but would not allow any changes to the plans. I have always encouraged my customers to make changes and get what they want, but I am beginning to think people are more interested in speed. I haven't fleshed out what the time savings would be, but I will work on it. I would be interested in comments about the subject. Just send me an email with your thoughts,





Well! There have been a few problems in the building department. The one that concerns me most is the backlog of applications that are languishing in some kind of black box. Kind of like container ships off Long Beach except they are not floating out there for all to see. It is a serious disruption to the orderly conduct of construction that has everyone unable to act (spend money). Lots of people waiting and waiting and waiting some more

    We did get a new code. Only added to the burden of providing reasonably priced housing. All new construction now has to have roofing plywood and the structure that is needed to support the plywood. On the other hand, we are temporarily relieved of the insulation requirements for "unconditioned structures". Without the added weight of unnecessary insulation, we may be able to go back to smaller rafters that we used to use before insulation was required.

     The new code has made it very difficult and costly to build on a wood floor, particularly if a lanai is involved. The footing has to be continuous and buried 12" deep. The shear walls have to have plywood inside as well as outside.  The length of the shear wall has to be calculated including the open space under the lanai. The total shear requirement for a long wall is calculated as a percentage of the total wall length. When a lanai is added sometimes the calculation requires practically solid walls. The other problem is keeping water out of the small shear panels that are required at the perimeter of the lanai itself when the open decking drains water. There are so many considerations that we think builders are going to raise prices for that type of construction.

     The solution we have begun to recommend is the use of CMU blocks as the supports for the beams used on the elevated floor. A slab is also an option.


     We have been involved with a few projects recently that have used a type of treatment (ACZA) that is not readily available here but can be special ordered easily. The material is treated for ground contact and exterior use. If you or anyone you know need some special or hard-to-find product, give me a call. See what we can do.

     My thanks to all the loyal customers that support us. We will continue to work hard to have the products you need and provide the service you expect.




Updated 6/24/21

  Everything I said in my last update still applies today.

The building department is preparing now for what they anticipate will be a faster review process of submitted plans. The object is to review plans electronically rather than wrestle with printed plans. I have doubts that it will speed anything up, but I am encouraged that they seem to think the present process is not efficient and are trying to make it better.

  The other news is that the long-awaited migration to a new building code is now supposed to happen in August.

  Wow! New process and a new code within a month. What could possibly go wrong?  Seriously, I hope it is super successful.

  Because the new code is going to require new things, the drafting process at the moment is uncertain. Because of the backlog of projects already begun, we will probably be unable to start any new ones that don't include the new code requirements. The most notable one is the requirement to use plywood on the roof.  There will be added costs! We are told, however, that the changes will result in much safer and stronger homes.

  Pricing of a package right now, that won't be permitted for months, is probably just a guess. Continue to use my posted prices as a "ballpark for preliminary planning purposes only".

  One request I would like to make: when sending me a contact email, please include a phone #. I can accomplish so much more with a conversation rather than email.

  Thank you for your continued understanding of current conditions.




*Updated 3/20/2021 

 The continuing volatility of the lumber market

 and ongoing mysteries at the county building and planning departments has made it impossible to post firm prices for our home packages. I  have posted a new updated list  that should be used  for preliminary planning purposes only.

We expected a new code to be adopted last November but it was postponed. Still Lord only knows what new requirements will be imposed at the whim of "the building official".

Plans continue to be "resting" in the building department awaiting permit. Once we have a plan approved we can develop a quote based on the materials needed. Sorry I can't be more positive. In answer to the the question a lot of people ask, no, I can't speed up the process  by charging more. The county apparently processes in order of submission.

Thanks for your understanding

House Packages

The goal at Argus Building Supply is to help you select a plan for a house you want and then help you get it built. We start with plans that are very simple and inexpensive to build just the way they are. We encourage you to make modifications, so the plan is precisely what you want. If our plans don't fit your needs, we can work with any sketch or idea you have to make a custom package.


     When we get through the plan selection stage, we provide construction plans, complete with all the drawings and engineering stamps required by the building department. Plans are then walked through the permit process for you. At the same time, we develop a list of materials to be sure  it includes any changes you have made. From this list we arrive at a total cost for the project.


     When you are ready to begin construction, we help schedule deliveries so the material you need is on site when you need it. Throughout the entire process, we want to be involved with your project. After all:

                          " YOUR PROJECT IS OUR BUSINESS".


To check out what we offer, just click on the appropriate link below. If you don't see what you want, please call for an appointment and we will be happy to show you what else is available.




Click for the BBB Business Review of this Building Materials in Hilo HI

Contact us

Argus Building Supply

107 Makaala St.


Hilo, Hi  96720


Phone: 808-933-9441

Fax:     808-933-1531



Please include a phone #

Business Hours

Mon.-Fri.      7:30 to 4:30

Saturday and Sunday.            CLOSED for family time

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