Building In Belize

New Home Construction Project 2007

Construction Log ♦ August, 2007

Lot 8 - #13 Consejo Beach Trail
Consejo Shores, Belize

Building In Belize

Week 8

Monday July 30: Mostly sunny Full Moon

Stucco work has started on the archways. You can see the shallow hip roof taking shape on the upstairs room. The bush pole supports for the verandas were removed. The charts show the concrete will reach a strength of 30 MPa (4350 psi) after 7 days. That is more that strong for these short spans to to support themselves. When fully cured, the concrete in the roof should be at 36MPa (5300 psi)or more.


Tuesday July 31: Sunny

The steps were formed as was more of the upstairs room's roof.

The roof is not forming up the way I had in mind. Paul was not on the site, so I discussed my concerns with his foreman. The problem is that they were planning on carrying the slop only to the wall then make a 2 foot shelf for the overhang. I want a continuous pitch from peak to edge. I will have to work this out with Paul tomorrow.


Wednesday August 1: Sunny

We got the roof slop problem resolved. Like most such problems, it was just a failure to communicate. In the process, we realized that no provision had been made to protect the stairway from the rain.

I thought we should just continue the roof out 8 feet. Joyce said that would look stupid. She is an artist, so I always defer to her judgment on aesthetics. The cover will be tied directly into the ring beam and run flat for 8 feet to a cross beam. There will be a 2 foot overhang that will carry the garage roof slope. Joyce says it will look good. I hope she's right!

The stairs were poured today. A lot of exterior finish work was done. 3 loads of marl to level the back yard were delivered.


Thursday August 2: Sunny

Forming the stair roof and exterior finishing outside, along with removal of bush poles and forms from the Master Bedroom, MBR closet, the hallway, both baths, and the laundry room inside, kept everyone busy today. A tractor was used to level the marl in the backyard.


Friday August 3: Sunny

Forming the cover for the stairs is taking longer than expected. Paul wanted to pour the last div of roof tomorrow, but that will have to be delayed until at least Monday. We probably couldn't have poured concrete tomorrow anyway as a large, active tropical wave is headed our way. We could use the rain.

A lot of exterior and interior finish work is being done, so the delay with the garage roof will not really set the schedule back too much. Some stucco work was done in the master bedroom, some of the door and window frames were dressed and the first of the "color coat" was applied to the rear veranda. None of this work photographs very well. A load of rock was delivered to be used to fill the area between the sea walls.


Saturday August 4: Rain and T-storms

The crew got about a half of a days work done before the heavy rain hit. It is too bad the main roof isn't ready to catch water, this storm would have put a few thousand gallons into the cistern.


Building In Belize

Week 9

Monday August 6: Mostly sunny

Forming of the garage roof is almost finished. Theelectrician will install the rough electrical tomorrow and we will pour on Wednesday, if all goes well.

Finish stucco work continues inside and out. Some cleanup of the job site was started.


Tuesday August 7: Mostly sunny

The final framing was completed and the steel mat fabricated on the garage roof. The pour is on for tomorrow.

Mostly interior stucco work was done today. Some of the rock was moved to fill the 'beach' area. There was almost no breeze until about 2PM. It was a very hot work day.


Wednesday August 8: Mostly sunny

Pouring of the garage roof began at about 8:30. There was some concern about the dark clouds, but they were just part of a squall line that stayed off shore.

At 11AM the pour is about 2/3rds complete.

At 1:30PM this last large pour was finished. The roof, tie beams, ring beams and support columns carried 100 bags of cement!.

Meanwhile, finish work inside continued.


Thursday August 9: Mostly Cloudy

The proper way to shape concrete on a roof is to float the it smooth during the initial pour, in the proper pitch and contour for the rain water to flow to the roof scuppers. The normal "Belize" way is to pour the roof getting it pretty close and leaving the surface rough. Then 1-3 inches of cement/crushed stone/sand mix is applied and shaped to the proper pitch/contour, similar to how the walls and ceiling are done. It works, but I prefer to "do it right, once!"

The interior work is progressing smoothly.


Friday August 10: Mostly Cloudy

The view from the top is pretty nice. Contouring of the garage roof continued, as did interior finish concrete work. More site clean up was done also.


Saturday August 11: Mostly Cloudy

This morning the crew dug out and formed the approach to the garage. After laying a steel mat, the "driveway" was poured. They also set a couple of small posts and hung the "For Sale" sign.

We ordered the Garage Door, the Railings for the stairwell and the 80 gallon butane tank today. It was sticker shock revisited.


Building In Belize

Week 10

Monday August 13: Showers New Moon

It rained off and on all day. All the work was inside, which just doesn't photograph well. Concrete is just so grey!

So when the sun came out this afternoon I couldn't resist taking another picture of the awesome view of Chetumal Bay.


Tuesday August 14: Showers

Lots of rain last night and this morning. Again, not much visible progress, just applying finish stucco to the walls and ceilings. 

Between showers, work was done on finishing the main house roof. This involves applying finish concrete to properly slop the roof toward the two 4 inch scuppers. We have made finishing this a priority. The rains have finally arrived and we need to get the 18,0000 gallon filled.


Wednesday August 15: Mostly Cloudy

The main roof now has the proper slop to drain the rain water to the scuppers that feed the cistern. Next a thin, smooth coat of white cement will be applied to seal the surface and make it white to draw less heat from the sun.

Yes, there was more inside concrete finishing done today. There will be 3 sets of 8' steps onto the veranda. These were formed up and are ready to pour.


Thursday August 16: Mostly Sunny

This is the most difficult part of the construction process to photo document. A lot is accomplished each day, but it just doesn't make a very impressive photo.

This picture is of the work being done in the Garage. They are applying the stone-dust color coat, so you can actually see something has been done.


Friday August 17: Mostly Sunny

Today was more of the same, finish stucco work inside. The poles on the upstairs veranda were removed.


Saturday August 18: Mostly Sunny

I don't seem to be able to get the guys to clean up the lot, so I did a quick cleanup using PhotoShop, just to give a hint of the beauty the setting. I thought adding the grass was a nice touch. The view of the ocean through the side veranda is fantastic. The second picture is the unaltered version.

Most of the support poles were removed from the exterior of the upstairs room. You can really see the results of the stairway cover retro fit. I'm not sure I could have designed it better!


Building In Belize

Week 11

Monday August 20: Hurrican Dean

HURRICANE DEAN ADVISORY NUMBER 31
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL042007
500 PM EDT MON AUG 20 2007

A HURRICANE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR THE ENTIRE COASTLINE OF BELIZE...ALONG THE EAST COAST OF THE YUCATAN PENINSULA FROM THE BELIZE/MEXICO BORDER NORTHWARD TO CANCUN...AND ALONG THE WEST COAST OF THE YUCATAN PENINSULA FROM SOUTH OF PROGRESSO SOUTHWARD TO CIUDAD DEL CARMEN. PREPARATIONS TO PROTECT LIFE AND PROPERTY SHOULD BE RUSHED TO COMPLETION.

Dangerous Category 5 Hurricane Dean is on track to strike the southern Yucatan just north of Chetumal, Mexico. If that forecast track holds, we should see 60-100 MPH winds in Consejo, Belize. If the storm doesn't make the expected jog to the NW, we could get the storm's full 145 MPH+ furry. Most of the folks in Consejo Village have evacuated inland. If storm surge was a consideration, those of us with well built concrete homes would heading inland also. Storm surge is a problem on the north side of major hurricanes. Even if Dean passes over or to the south of us, most of the surge should be absorbed in the expanse of Chetumal Bay.


Tuesday August 21: Hurrican Dean

It was almost a direct hit. Fortunately for us, Hurricane Dean made landfall 10 miles north of Chetumal (25 miles north of Consejo, Belize). There was severe damage in many small villages and town of the Southern Yucatan as well as in Chetumal.

Here in Consejo, Belize we received 100-120MPH top winds with no storm surge. Consejo Shores, Mayan Seaside and Wagner's Landing received mostly tree damage. Consejo Village suffered some roof and structural damage due to the lower quality of construction.

Our Consejo Shores home on Pelican Pathway had 48 trees fall, creating over 12 truck loads of debris. According to Bill Wildman of Consejo Shores, Ltd. there are over 30,000 trees down in the Consejo area. For more details of Hurricane Dean's effects on Consejo Shores, visit the Hurricane Dean Page.

We will resume construction next week, if the power is restored. In the mean time, the construction crew will be helping remove all the downed trees.


Building In Belize

Week 12

Sunday August 26: Mostly Sunny

Five days after Hurricane Dean slammed into the Southern Yucatan and Northern Belize, power was restored to Consejo Shores. We were the last area affected by the storm to have power restored because we are at the end of the grid. Only a few remote homes remain without power in Belize as a result of Hurricane Dean.

Most phone service was restored a couple of days ago. My phone is still out because the almost 1/4 mile of phone line that feed my home is down. I have been assured this will be repaired very soon.

For Details of Hurricane Dean's effects on Consejo Shores, visit the Hurricane Dean Page.


Monday August 27: Mostly Sunny

After 5 days of cutting trees and hauling debris, the crew decided they would rather do construction work. There are plenty of men working on the clean-up, so we have resumed construction.

Today was spent re-staging supplies and doing more interior finish work.


Tuesday August 28: Mostly Sunny

Some stucco was applied to the garage exterior was started. Bush poles and framing was removed from the room above the garage. Interior finishing work continued in the main house.

The cabinet makers came by to measure for the kitchen and bath cabinets.


Wednesday August 29: Rain

Finish concrete work is hard to photograph. The stone dust color coat was applied to some of the exterior of the main building. Interior finish work continued.

Today's rain, added to the rain from Hurricane Dean has put about 15000 gallons of water into the cistern. One more good rain and it should be full.


Thursday August 30: Mostly Cloudy

More finish work was done inside and out on the main building. Interior blocks were run up to the ceiling in the room above the garage. The electrician began pulling wires.


Friday August 31: Mostly Cloudy

The veranda color coat is finished. Work was done in the upstairs room as well as interior finish work in the main building.


August Recap

Even with last minute design changes and a major hurricane, the house is only a few weeks from completion after only 12 weeks. Our hope of a September 1st delivery has been quashed by the week lost to Hurricane Dean and may be delayed further by a developing shortage of materials.