Building In Belize

New Home Construction Project 2007

Construction Log ♦ July, 2007

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

Building In Belize

Week 4

Monday July 2: Mostly Cloudy

The first course of wall blocks were being laid this morning while the cistern ring beam and top, along with the rest of the veranda were being poured. Once the veranda was complete, concrete was poured into the bottom of the garage cistern.


Tuesday July 3: Mostly Sunny

The walls are rising fast. Forms were fabricated and set for the pillars that will support the arches around the veranda. We walked the floor plan to be sure the windows and doors are where I want them. In the process, I added a window to the kitchen because it seemed it would be too dark without it.

The first photo was taken at 9am, the second at 1pm and the last at 4pm. I really like this part of the building process. You can see a lot of progress at the end of the day.


Wednesday July 4: Mostly Sunny

The Forth of July is, of course, not a holiday in Belize. The little cistern that will hold the runoff from the garage roof and/or "Wildman water" was formed and the sides poured. About half of the arch support columns were poured and the rest were being formed.


Thursday July 5: Sunny

The arch support columns on the back and side are ready. The front columns are being formed and poured today. A lot of block is in place, but there is a lot more to be laid. The garage foundation is being filled with marl in preparation for pouring that slab.

We were supposed to receive the first load of rock for the sea wall today, but the truck developed a hydraulic problem, so it will be next week, maybe.


Friday July 6: Mostly Sunny

More block was laid. Some window lintels were formed and poured, as well as a few of the wall/roof support columns. Also, the top of the garage cistern was formed. Rough plumbing for the upstairs apartment was laid out.

I had the pleasure of spending the day in Chetumal having a root canal preformed on a molar. I am happy to say it was an absolutely painless, one hour procedure. The endodontist, Dr. Enrique Ferra? Peraza, was very professional and amazingly efficient. This 3 root procedure cost less than $100 US!


Saturday July 7: Mostly Sunny

The Garage floor and cistern top were poured. Several more door and window lintels were also formed and poured.

Most of the block is up in the main house. The middle picture is the view seen standing the kitchen. The next one is the view from the Master Bedroom.


Building In Belize

Week 5

Monday July 9: Sunny

The garage walls started going up, forms for the back veranda arches and ring beam were started, more block was laid in the main house and the more window lintels and door headers were formed.

The palm tree you see behind the garage in the first picture will have to come out as will the sea grape tree seen at the end of the veranda in the second picture.


Tuesday July 10: Mostly Sunny

Work continues on the garage walls. Breather Block is being installed to help keep the garage cooler. Forming of the arches and ring beam continues. Inside, the interior door headers were formed and poured.

The first load of rock for the sea wall was delivered, finally.


Wednesday July 11: Mostly Sunny

Today we went to Belmopan in search of tile, fixtures and other stuff. Once again we found a beautiful tile, tried to place an order only to find it had been discontinued. The experience at Builders Hardware was less then disappointing, they have simply the worst service of anyplace I've tried to do business in Belize. We ended up at Creative Tile in Belize City were we found a tile we liked that was actually in stock.

Work on the house progressed as expected, with forming of the arches and blocking of the garage walls. More rock for the sea wall was delivered.


Thursday July 12: Sunny

Work on the Garage continues, as does the forming of the arches and the outside ring beam. Inside the house, work started on the roof structure with the framing wall ring beams and of some of the center support beams.


Friday July 13: Mostly Cloudy

Work has begun on the sea wall. A lot of rock has to be moved by wheelbarrow down to the waterline. The wall will be 4 foot wide and about 4 feet above mean high tide. The area between the new sea wall to the existing concrete wall will be cleaned out, partly filled with rock, leveled with marl and topped with sand. It should make a very pretty beach.

Forming of the ring beams and roof continued on the main house. The last of the blocks were laid for the garage. Steel reinforcement was fabricated and installed into some of the finished ring beam forms. A trench was dug and the main electrical power line was brought to the garage. The telephone/internet line will be laid in the same trench.


Saturday July 14: Rain New Moon

Progress was made on building the sea wall. A fairly heavy and much needed rain started about lunch time. The crew decided to pack it in for the day. They were able to get a bunch of bush poles supports in place and complete framing most of the remaining beams before they left.


Building In Belize

Week 6

Monday July 16: Mostly Sunny

Winds this morning were ENE at 15 knots, a bit too rough to do any work on the sea wall. Forming the roof and support beams continued. The roof pour is scheduled for Saturday.


Tuesday July 17: Mostly Sunny

Work on the sea wall resumed. The area inside the sea wall where the water is will be filled with rock a well.  The forming of beams and roof supports continued.


Wednesday July 18: Mostly Sunny

Visible progress on the house is difficult to photograph at this point. Every day we see more and more bush poles in place. This is a tedious process but it is almost complete.

The Sea Wall is coming along nicely. It looks a lot bigger than what I envisioned, but keep in mind that the area between the walls will be filled to create the "beach". I intend this to become the nicest sea front in Consejo Shores.


Thursday July 19: Mostly Sunny

Just a few more spots of the roof to form and then the electrician can begin the rough electrical. The roof pour is still on for Saturday. No work was done on the sea wall today.


Friday July 20: Mostly Sunny

Once the steel is in place and the rough electrical is complete, 3300 square feet of roof will be ready for concrete! This will be a huge pour, over 300 bags of cement. These photos were taken at 3:30PM, there is a lot of work to complete, but Paul says it will be ready to begin pouring at 5:00AM tomorrow.

Work on the Sea Wall is delayed because we ran out of stone. The stone truck will deliver 2 more loads "Right Now!" (Maybe Monday....or Tuesday)


Pouring The Roof

Saturday July 21: Mostly Sunny

5:30AM: it looks there is still some prep work to be completed before the concrete can flow. Some of the steel mat is incomplete as is some of the rough electrical.

 

6:20AM: the first bucket of concrete goes up the ladder.

 

8:00AM: The electricians are scrambling to finish up the rough electrical.

Meanwhile, concrete is being poured, relentlessly, one bucket at a time. The span across the veranda roof from where this photo was taken is about 60 feet.

10:00AM: A 12 X 60 foot div of the roof has been poured. That is about 1/5th of the total. It should be noted that we are not only pouring 3300 square feet of roof but all the ring, tie and support beams as well. Some contractors prefer to pour the beams separately. That is an acceptable practice, however, we believe that a single pour and the resulting seamless structure is more structurally sound.

Noon: About 1/3 of the pour is done.

2:30PM: A little more than 1/2 of the pour is complete.

 

4:30PM: All but the last 3 feet of the main house roof is done. This last bit, like the first few feet, will take more time because the ring beam includes the arches, requiring a lot of extra concrete. The sky has clouded up providing welcome relief from the oppressive sun and heat.

 

6:30PM: The ladders were moved to facilitate completion of the main roof and to allow the garage roof/apartment floor to be poured.

 

9:00AM Sunday: The pour was completed under flood lights about 8PM. The finish on the garage roof is less than perfect, but sincethis will be covered with tile, it makes no real difference.


Building In Belize

Week 7

Monday July 23: Rain

The four large Casuarina Pines at the front of the lot have to come down. The trees are near the end of their life cycle. We have watched many large branches break off and crash to the ground, creating a serious safety hazard. Also, needles cover the ground around the trees with a turpentine laden blanket that almost nothing will grow through.

 

Our good friend and tree falling expert Bob Wright tips the first tree. Our safety fears were born out when the rotten center of the tree was exposed.

After Paul's crew hauled off the mess from the first tree, Bob dropped the second. We were not surprised to see it too has a rotten core.

The third tree came down in two parts. It's center was not as bad, but the tree was definitely sick.

Bob tipped the final tree when I wasn't looking! All that remained was to cut the stumps off and clean up the mess. Bob Wright did this work as a favor, which we very much appreciate. He did leave with some very nice chunks of wood that he will turn into some of his fabulous Wright Turns Carved Bowls.

One of Bob's bowls made from Casuarina Wood. This wood warps a bit as it dries, creating a very unique look.

While most of the crew were involved in the tree falling and cleanup, some construction work was done. Several courses of block were laid for the apartment and more rock was set on the sea wall.


Tuesday July 24: Mostly Cloudy

Construction of the apartment above the garage is moving rapidly. The plan is to pour that roof by late next week. You can now begin to see how the finished front elevation will look. The main house will maintain the flat roof design while the apartment will have a shallow hip roof. While the main house has 10 foot ceilings throughout, the apartment will have 8 foot exterior walls with the ceiling rising to about 11 feet at the center beam.


Wednesday July 25: Mostly Cloudy

With the walls of the room above the garage almost finished, I pointed out that 2 windows were left out. There should be a double window on the wall facing the house and a single window in the wall facing the street. Oops. Since the ring beam will double as the window lintels anyway, these windows will be cut out after the roof is poured. The pedestal for the stairway landing was formed.

The rear elevation, with its 12 foot wide veranda and multiple arches is looking real good. The one course containment around the main roof is finished. All the bush pole and framing was removed from the cistern and it is cleaned out and ready for finishing. The outside sea wall is almost done.


Thursday July 26: Mostly Sunny

There was not much visible progress today. The apartment door headers and support columns were formed. The electrician did some prep work, including installing the telephone/internet drop. Finish work began in the cistern. There was a change of plan regarding the missing windows, they will be knocked out and proper lintels will be poured.


Friday July 27: Mostly Sunny

The ring beam on the room over the garage was formed. The front elevation is coming into focus. Only the room's shallow hip roof remains to give us the complete picture.

Most of the finish work was completed in the cistern. When the finish surface is put on the main roof next week and we will be ready to catch water. Measurement of the finished tank computes to 18,700 gallons capacity. The little cistern under the garage works out to about 1800 gallons.


Saturday July 28: Mostly Sunny

Some stucco was applied to the exterior. The outside sea wall was completed and some marl fill was delivered. The last photo is the rear elevation as it appears from atop the sea wall.


July Recap

Progress in July surpassed all expectations. With unseasonably good building weather, not a single day was lost to rain. We progressed from slab to roof in just 3 weeks. The second story apartment roof will be poured in a few days. The sea wall structure is complete.

Because this web page has become so large, I decided to put the last two days of July on the August page.