Costa Rica Pre-Fabricated & Modular Homes
Sales manager, Jorge Patiño, was very patient with me as I wandered over the large showroom, trying to look intelligent about the samples of concrete slabs strewn upon the floor, foundation blocks stuck with rebar and acrylic plaster finishes.
When you think about it, though, it is very simple. Like a giant jigsaw puzzle, the pieces slot together and make a neat and very sturdy whole and that is their big selling point: solid, anti-seismic homes that can be built in mere weeks.
Costa Rica Prefabricated Homes
The system used complies with Costa Rican and American Concrete Institute anti-seismic specifications.
This company has over ten years experience in the market and can offer the full package of services helping with land purchase legalities and building permits, and Jorge has a wide variety of designs on show.
However, the company will also simply sell the materials if clients prefer to use their own contractors. The factory lies behind the main showroom in Escazu; with a neat little 42 square meter model house in the back to show clients the complete procedure from start to finish.
Pre-fabricated vertical concrete panels of various dimensions reinforced with steel bars provide a fast way of house assembly that can cut construction time by over half when compared to traditional cement block-built systems. Panel widths vary between 25 to 50 cm with a uniform height of 2.75 m and 6.35 cm thickness.
Internal wall height is 2.45 m. Since the steel reinforced corner columns are the same 6.35 cm thickness, they do not jut out from the wall as often happens in other pre-fab houses giving smooth uniform interior wall surfaces. Interior walls can be made either of the concrete panels or a cheaper option is lightweight gypsum.
The foundation is made up of a 25 cm thick concrete frame reinforced with rebar at 250 kg/cm2 resistance. Steel rebar angles embedded in the foundations literally hook the wall panels to the platform, which insures an integral strength in the whole construction.
The main joists joining walls to roof can be made of wood, perling or cement. The hollows created by the half moon channel ends of each panel are filled with a fine mortar mix or expanding concrete to fuse them and insure impermeability.
Costa Rica Prefab Homes
Panel joins are unnoticeable once covered with a smooth cement-acrylic plaster that comes either pre-stained in a choice of colors or plain to be later painted or papered.
Using various dimensions of panels means horizontal design sizes are not limited although they do not build over two floors. Assembly is simple, normally requiring only one site foreman and three labourers thus reducing costs.
Costa Rica Prefabricated Homes
A fairly straightforward single-storey two-bedroom house takes about sixty days to complete from the time the contract is signed to moving in, as opposed to five to seven months with block and beam. Cost per meter for a completed house with all wiring and plumbing, basic kitchen and bathroom fittings and tiled flooring is around $330 x m2. (Please note that prices will change)
That pretty little 42 m2 one-bedroom show house with sitting/dining area, kitchen and bathroom with good sized patio out front and laundry area in the back is ready to go at around $14,000. All that's missing is the bit of paradise to put it on.
Affordable Prefabricated Homes in Costa Rica:
Here are some more examples of companies with websites who specialize in providing prefabricated housing systems in Costa Rica:
- Facoli S.A. Facoli has detailed their construction process here and you can see their video here.
- You can see the prefabricated home designs of Inprefa S.A. here.
- Soluciones Modernas Prefabricadas
- Prefa Construcciones S.A. You can see their available home designs here
- You can see the largest prefabricated home for MTS Sistemas Prefabricados here and their prices here.
- ConPreCasa is another prefabricated home company.
- Grupo Vivienda S.A.
- You can see the examples of the prefabricated house of Concrepal here.
Written by Vicky Longland - Vicky Longland has spent all her adult life in Latin and Central America originally as head of the translation department for an international human development organisation and currently working as a freelance translator and writer for several national and world-wide publications, specialising in people's issues, the environment and lifestyles.