Building In Belize

New Home Construction Project 2007

Construction Log ♦ June, 2007

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

Building In Belize

Week 1

Monday June 12: Mostly Sunny

Plot Map

Floor Plan

Construction officially began with the survey of the lot and plotting the floor plan. Some steel, block, sand and gravel were pre-staged during the past week or so.


Tuesday June 12: Mostly Sunny

Digging the foundation footings began as soon as the layout was complete. Rebar for the foundation footings is cut and assembled in the shade.

While digging the cistern, no cave was found but the ocean seepage was noticeable at about 9'. This should allow for a 6 X 30 x 11' cistern that will hold about 1950 Cubic Feet or 15,000 gallons of water.

The septic tank was dug also. Consejo Shores, Ltd. now requires all construction sites to complete the septic tank and install toilet facilities for the crew as quickly as possible.


Wednesday June 13: Mostly Sunny

A trench was dug to bring "Wildman Water" to the house. This is the community water that is used to flush toilets and water the yard. The first load of base rock was dumped into the cistern.


Thursday June 14 - Friday June 15: Mostly Sunny

Consejo Shores, Ltd asked us to stop general construction until the septic tank and toilet facilities were completed. The septic tank foundation and floor were poured Thursday morning. Blocking up the walls was started in the afternoon. By Friday Noon the stucco had been applied to the interior. The cover was poured Friday Evening.


Saturday June 16: Mostly Sunny

The toilet was set on the septic tank this morning and the shelter was built. We can now resume general construction on Monday.

We decided to add a small (1,000 gallons) cistern under the garage. This will be filled with rain water from the garage roof or with "Wildman Water" as needed. This should give us a little better quality water for the toilets and allows the use of a pump to increase the pressure to the toilets and outside faucets.


Building In Belize

Week 2

Monday June 18: Mostly Sunny

Digging of the foundation footings was completed and the first steel was laid. More bedrock was delivered and spread in the cistern. Several loads of sand and gravel were delivered.


Tuesday June 19: Mostly Sunny

Rebar was set in the footings and cistern. The footings and the cistern floor will be poured tomorrow.


First Concrete Pour

Wednesday June 20: 8:00 AM Mostly Sunny

One of the lessons from the first project was to get the butane gas lines in under the slab. The actual line for the kitchen stove is reinforced tubing inside the orange "Poly-ducto" conduit. The mixing of concrete and pouring of the footings began promptly at 7 AM.

Noon

This is a large pour, over 250 bags of cement, being done one wheelbarrow at a time. The the house has been engineered to support a 2nd story, should whoever buys the house decide they need more room.

2:00pm:

Work was progressing nicely until the chain on the cement mixer began jumping one of its sprockets. The crew took a needed break while the mixer was repaired. 20 minutes later work resumed.

4:30PM:

About 3/4ths of the footings had been poured by 4:30. The crew worked until about 7:00PM to get all the foundation footings poured. The cistern floor will have to wait. 


Thursday June 21: Mostly Sunny

Even after working until almost dark yesterday, the crew arrived bright and early to begin laying foundation block.

 

And they wasted no time getting block laid. These pictures were taken at 9:30AM

 

After laying block for several hours, the crew went back to the backbreaking job of mixing and pouring concrete. The cistern floor will be 5" thick.


Friday June 22: Scattered Showers

Not much visible change. A lot more foundation blocks were laid.


Saturday June 23: Thundershowers

The last of the foundation blocks were laid. You can now make the shape of the house, with the 2 courses of blocks marking the veranda and garage while the 3 courses of block outline the main house. This was another lesson learned from the first project, the veranda should to be lower than the main house.

The piles of dirt inside the foundation have been spread out. There should be enough dirt from the cistern and septic holes to finish filling the foundation.


Building In Belize

Week 3

Monday June 25: Sunny

When we decided to add a small cistern under the garage for "Wildman Water" the plan was to have a backhoe dig this hole. Unfortunately, no backhoe was available in time, so it is being dug by hand.

As mentioned earlier, the veranda will be lower than the main floor. Since we are using 8 inch block for the foundation, it is necessary to cut a bunch of these block in half to make the desired 4 inch step.

Steel for most of the columns was tied in place. Also, you can see part of the cistern form at the back of the house.


Tuesday June 26: Sunny

A small tractor was used to move marl and dirt into the foundation. 5 additional loads of marl were ordered to supplement the tailings from the foundation and cistern excavations.

 

Forming the cistern walls was completed and pouring of the 8" walls was started in the late afternoon. The crew will stay until this pour is complete.


Wednesday June 27: Mostly Cloudy

Not much to show for a long day of digging holes, moving dirt and breaking down forms.

The wife and I drove to Belize City to pick out fixtures, tile, etc. Serious Sticker Shock! Everything is 40-50% more expensive then a year ago. I think we will be a bit over budget. The per square foot cost on the building will be at least 30% higher than on the 2006 project.


Thursday June 28: Rain and Thunderstorms

Thunder boomed all night, and the rain started at 5:00 this morning. It looks like it has settled in for the day. This will be the first day we lose to weather. I expect there will be more.

The good news is the cistern at our Pelican Pathway home is full for the first time since January!

 

A few of the crew braved the rain and completed forming the cistern "ring beam". Paul brought a few more guys over after the rain stopped around 1:30. They moved more dirt into the foundation and unloaded more concrete blocks.


Friday June 29: Mostly Cloudy

Most of the rough plumbing was laid. The rebar mat was being  fabricated over the Visqueen vapor shield.

Most of the cistern top, which is part of the rear veranda, was formed.


Pouring the Slab

Friday June 30: 8:00 AM Mostly Sunny Full Moon

The crew worked quickly to finished the rough plumbing and fabrication of the rebar mat for the slab. You can easily see that we did not skimp on the steel.

11:00 AM

Once all the prep work was complete, pouring of the slab commenced.

1:30 PM

Work continues on the cistern cover. The forms for the slab have to be removed before the cistern top and veranda can be poured.

Meanwhile, the pour of the slab is about 1/2 complete.

4:00 PM

The last few wheelbarrows of concrete were poured into the slab around 4PM.

I have recently seen a few contractors cutting back on the amount of steel they use. Concrete has no real strength without the steel. As the above photos prove, we have not reduced the amount of steel reinforcement used on this project.


June Recap

This project is moving along rapidly. So far the weather has cooperated, only costing us a few hours of construction time. After 18 days we have the foundation and slab in place. Monday the cistern and veranda will be poured and walls will start to rise.

As with our first project, no corners were cut, no "good enough" measures were taken. The foundation, cistern and slab are properly engineered and professionally constructed. Our only concern at this point is that the cost of materials, fixtures and amenities have escalated beyond our expectations.

Last June was one of the wettest on record. We were in the last weeks of construction on our first project and the wet weather caused little delay. This June was one of the driest on record. At this stage of construction, dry is good. Once the roof is on, we won't mind some more rain.