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  • in reply to: Estimating home build project value #161832

    Only members of the CFIA can present construction plans on-line for evaluation and permitting. So sooner or later you’ll need to trust a local architect or engineer to present your plans for review and they will explain the fees that you will need to pay.

    in reply to: Estimating home build project value #161830

    The current CFIA fee percentages are as follows:
    1. Anteproyecto: 1% of estimated project value (1.5% if the project stops at this stage)
    2. Planos de construccion y especificaciones tecnicas: 4%
    3. Inspeccion: 3%
    4. Direccion Tecnica: 5%

    in reply to: Superbloque #199900

    I have been building housing for over 30 years, with the last 20 years in Costa Rica and I’ve utilized both CBS and EIFS construction methods.

    I feel that the traditional concrete block with steel reinforced monolithic concrete columns and tie beams, commonly referred to as CBS construction (Concrete Block Structure), makes a lot of sense in Latin America because the majority of the Latino tradesmen fully understand this method.

    The Superbloque’s are larger than the standard concrete blocks and more difficult to handle. The local tradesmen don’t like the Superbloque’s because they are heavier and difficult to lift up and over the steel re-rods that we install inside the concrete block walls.

    I’ve found that when building projects in foreign countries, it’s best to try and adapt to the local customs, rather than trying to re-invent the wheel. If you have a construction site that is challenging and traditional concrete blocks are not practical and light weight construction methods must be utilized, then the best alternatives are steel-stud tubing like METALCO.

    Exterior DUROCK laminates, when a BASECOAT stucco finish is desired. NOTE: If you do not use the exterior plaster compound recommended by the manufacturer of Durock, (USG), you will eventually have to deal with exterior cracking and water infiltration into the wall cavity of the dwelling.

    If the architectural design is compatible, PLYCEM exterior siding is a reliable material that is durable and doesn’t require the materials or labor to apply the (repello) stucco finish. Exterior vapor barriers like TYVEK and PRODEX. Interior wall and ceiling insulation like FIBERGLASS COLUMBIA or OWENS CORNING. Interior SHEETROCK or PLYCEM wall and ceiling laminates.

    in reply to: Hiring a Home Builder Question #200133

    Constructing housing is much more like conducting an orchestra than buying a car.

    The builder/conductor is responsible for bringing every member of the team as well as all the products together in harmony.

    A professional builder’s participation is to commence and complete the construction of the client’s project up to their expectations.

    In order to do this, the client needs to know what they want installed in their project.

    An experienced builder understands that a fixed-price contract with a client is fruitless, because 99.9% of the clients change their minds during the construction process and this disrupts the building schedule and therefore the fixed-price contract becomes void following the first change by the client.

    And believe me, there are usually much more than a few changes. So the intention and the legality of fixed-price contracts in home building is unproductive for both the client and the builder.

    A cost plus agreement allows clients to change their minds whenever they wish and the additional costs are paid for when the new materials arrive and the additional labor is paid for in the weekly payroll.

    Neither the client or the builder is damaged by changes to a cost plus agreement, versus the fixed-price contract does not allow for changes.

    in reply to: Hiring a Home Builder Question #200131

    While were on the subject of contracting to build a home, I thought this information about different types of contracts might be of interest to some of you.

    Fixed Price Contract – a phrase used to mean that no bargaining is allowed over the price of the goods or services included in a contract. Fixed price contracts require significantly more time in advance, for all parties involved, to determine the price of each item to be included in the contract.

    Additionally, each fixed-price item must be specified in an addendum to the contract in order to determine the exact value and scope of the entire project. Once a fixed-price contract has been agreed to and the contractor has begun the project, making changes to the contract and/or the materials and work specified, becomes difficult for all parties because the purpose of a fixed price contract is to establish a specified price and items to be included for that price.

    Cost Plus – Time & Materials Contract – a standard phrase for a construction contract in which the buyer agrees to pay the contractor based upon the cost of all work performed by the contractor’s employees and subcontractors as well as all materials used to complete the construction; plus a percentage of all costs to compensate the contractor for his management and supervision skills.

    With a cost plus contract, the owner never pays more to the contractor than what he receives and this keeps the overall costs manageable and predictable. Furthermore, it allows the owner to specify and change the building materials and installation procedures to complete the project up to his/her standards and personal tastes.

    A cost plus contract is common when the original contractor abandons the work that was detailed in a fixed price contract, and the owner needs to locate a new contractor to repair damage caused by the first contractor and complete the remaining work specified in the original contract.

    However, when this situation occurs, the owner has usually paid a substantial advance deposit to the fixed price contractor to cover payments for the purchase of building materials. This unfortunate situation causes the owner to absorb the losses paid to the fixed price contractor after he abandons the project.

    Cost Reimbursement Contract – a contract where a contractor is paid for all of its allowed expenses, plus an additional payment to allow for a profit. Cost-reimbursement contracts contrast with fixed-price contracts, in which the contractor is paid a negotiated amount regardless of incurred expenses. Cost-plus contracts first came into use in the United States during the World Wars to encourage wartime production by large American companies.

    Cost Plus Fixed Fee (CPFF) – contracts pay a pre-determined fee that was agreed upon at the time of contract formation.
    Cost-Plus-Incentive Fee (CPIF) – contracts have a larger fee awarded for contracts which meet or exceed performance targets, including any cost savings.

    Cost Plus Award Fee (CPAF) – contracts pay a fee based upon the contractor’s work performance. In some contracts, the fee is determined subjectively by an awards fee board whereas in others the fee is based upon objective performance metrics.

    in reply to: Hiring a Home Builder Question #200130

    I do business straight forward and build housing in the central valley on a cost plus 20% basis.

    In my 30 years of constructing housing, I’ve found that this is the only method for the owners to obtain the type of dwelling that they are dreaming of.

    I’ve never completed a project for a client that was built according to the original plans and specifications. There are always changes and additions, most of the time based on the owners personal desires and sometimes based on the property characteristics and mother nature.

    During the past 20 years of building in Costa Rica, I’ve become a serious realist and enable my clients to achieve their housing needs. I never support unrealistic dreams or lie to my clients.

    This allows me to remain friends with the owners after their construction has been completed. This friendship and my reputation are more important to me than money.

    If you find a local contractor that you are comfortable with, I will be happy to provide construction progress inspections and reports which detail the work being completed by contractors on your behalf.

    With my inspections, there will be no way that your contractor can cut corners and not provide you with the materials and labor that are specified in your construction specifications.

    I have plenty of satisfied clients here in Costa Rica who are happy to provide recommendations.

    If you would like to see photos of construction projects I’ve completed in Costa Rica, visit;

    in reply to: Construction costs in Costa Rica #159942

    The bottom line is that building costs per m2 are determined by the quantity and quality of the building materials that an owner wants to install in his/her dwelling.

    We refer to the document that details building materials selections as “Construction Specifications” and they are like the recipe that you use to prepare a meal.

    Without a specific recipe (Construction Specifications) as well as careful planning for the installation of the building materials, by a builder who has years of experience in CR, the costs usually end up increasing as the construction process progresses.

    In Costa Rica, the construction problems that can cause delays and end up costing you more money are not predictable problems anyone from another country could have anticipated based on knowledge acquired elsewhere.

    Additionally, construction costs vary depending on the location of the building site.

    You can begin the process of selecting the construction items that you wish to install in your project by going to the “Documents” page at; and select “Construction Specifications,” in order to view options that will determine your total costs to build.

    in reply to: Costa Rica’s government issues Dengue warning #199325
    in reply to: Costa Rica’s government issues Dengue warning #199324

    Mosquito prevention recommendation from Texas;
    How to Mosquito-proof your property
    HCPHES continues to encourage residents to eliminate mosquito breeding habitats around their property.
    Remove or empty all outside containers that may hold water such as flowerpots, tires and toys.
    Bird baths and pet water bowls should be changed at least twice a week.
    Clean out gutters and make sure windows and doors have proper screening.
    Do not “feed” the storm drains. Sweep up lawn clippings, leaves and tree limbs from sidewalks and driveways and dispose of them properly.
    Prevent mosquito breeding in boats
    Cover your boat and store it in a covered place.
    Drain any standing water and make sure the bilge pump is working.
    Turn over canoes, kayaks and small boats to store upside down.
    Personal protection
    Historically, in Harris County, July through September is the peak timeframe for disease transmission to humans. To reduce the likelihood of being bitten by mosquitoes, practice personal protective measures.
    When outdoors, use an insect repellent containing the active ingredient DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535 and apply as directed on the label.
    If possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.
    For additional information and/or maps of West Nile Virus activity in Harris County, visit

    in reply to: Costa Rica’s government issues Dengue warning #199323

    I read a Facebook post from California friend about the mosquito problems they are currently having there and in Texas. The public fumigation is of concern to residents there.

    in reply to: Costa Rica’s government issues Dengue warning #199322

    DENGUE VIRUS is a serious problem this year in Costa Rica. To date this year there have been 24,316 cases reported and the cases are increasing at about 2000 people per week. This epidemic will increase during the rainy season from Sept. to Nov. There are no approved vaccines for the dengue virus. Prevention thus depends on control of and protection from the bites of the mosquito that transmits it. Educate yourself to stay helathy.

    in reply to: RE: House Hunters International #202179

    Cabletica – HGTV, chanel 406 – Monday, July 15, 2013 – 8:30 pm Tico Time – House Hunters International – Rebecca Clower of Blue Water Properties of Costa Rica – A Woman Trades the Corporate Grind for Eco-Friendly Paradise in Playa Conchal, Costa Rica –

    in reply to: Foreign Investment in Costa Rica #200046

    I perform at least four construction inspections per month for North Americans who are purchasing homes here with cash. The trend from my small business perspective has been increasing buyers with cash during the last year. Certainly this does not account for a $377 million dollar surge in the 1st quarter of 2013. The data I shared on WLCR came from statistics that the Costa Rican Central Bank published in La Nacion. Perhaps there are differences in the official data provided by the Costa Rican National Registry, the Central Bank and Google Trends.

    in reply to: Foreign Investment in Costa Rica #200043
    in reply to: Foreign Investment in Costa Rica #200041

    I have been conducting construction and land inspections for foreigners in Costa Rica since 1992 and can tell you for a fact that now, more than ever, North Americans are bringing their money down here to invest.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 251 total)