Builder proving quality, quickness can go together

KALAHEO – The first home to be completed in the new Kakela Makai residential subdivision here, designed and being built by Justin Thain’s Puuwai Design & Construction, will be a model home in many ways.

It will be an entry into the annual Hawai’i Building Industry Association’s Parade of Homes design, construction and landscaping contest, a model to draw people into the subdivision, and example of how things can get done fast without sacrificing quality.

Currently nearly two weeks ahead of schedule, the home in this subdivision off Puu Road near Kukuiolono Golf Course is in the middle of a process Thain has orchestrated to go from design to occupancy in just 14 weeks.

The Ohia, as this model is called, has already drawn offers from buyers, though nothing has been finalized yet, said Thain. Puuwai’s Maile model home in the Koloa Estates subdivision took first place in 2000 in one Parade of Homes category.

The Ohia has 1,760 square feet of living space on a 10,049-square-foot lot, three bedrooms and two bathrooms, 500-square-foot enclosed garage, 600-square foot lanai with the sunset lanai portion screened, and 2,800 square feet under roof.

The master bedroom contains its own door out to the sunset lanai, and a large bathroom including his-and-her sinks, a walk-in shower and separate hot tub.

Thain, president of Puuwai Design & Construction, is the one-story home’s builder and designer, assisted in the design by architect Ian Costa, currently the acting county engineer.

The three-month, two-week time frame from design to completion includes the permitting process, and is something Thain as a life-long builder who even in his teens had an eye for design hopes can be a prototype of a quick-build home that doesn’t sacrifice quality in the process.

As long as the materials keep flowing on schedule from the West Coast, the home should be done by Friday, Sept. 20, just in time for the Parade of Homes judging on Monday, Sept. 23, Thain said.

Thain, who has worked in construction, initially with his father from age 13, began nearly that early on looking at design styles and features with an eye for versatile styles that would be easy to build.

That had him considering a career as an architect, something he was preparing to study in college. Then his family came along, and he realized he was spending more time on the jobsite and less time in the classroom.

But his passion for design never wavered, and today Thain designs around 80 percent of the homes Puuwai builds.

“I’m always thinking about value engineering,” he said, also considering pricing his products to meet market demand in an equation that he feels leads to great design, construction and price.

He was linked up with the owner of the Kakela Makai 75-acre parcel through Makai Properties, which is doing most of the sales and marketing for what will eventually be a subdivision of around 200 homes.

Subdivision owner Dan Verdoorn of Kakela Makai Partners I said he was looking for quality builders for his project, and in doing market research for the project determined there was a large market for finished homes.

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