Building In Belize

New Home Construction Project 2007

Construction Log ♦ October, 2007

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

Building In Belize

Week 21

Monday November 5: Mostly Sunny

The finishing work is taking quite a bit longer than anticipated. It looks like we may be done with the main house and the water front this week. The driveway, walkways and other lot improvement tasks should be finished the following week. The upstairs room will require one additional week for construction of the cabinets and counters.

Today, the Kitchen Sink was installed so only flowing grout into the counter tile and installing the stove are needed to complete the kitchen. The closet in the Guest Bedroom was installed, completing that room. Part of the Master Bedroom Closet was installed. The Guest and Master Bathroom vanities were installed.

The interior sea wall is really a retaining wall. It is about 10 years old and had a few large settling cracks in the concrete. Whoever built this wall managed to build it without reinforcing steel. The wall has been patched and smooth coat of stucco applied. While it looks great, this is only a cosmetic repair. It could last forever, but without reinforcing steal, new crack are likely over time. The two palapa roofs have been thatched. They require trimming around the edge and the tables with benches need to be built.


Tuesday November 6: Mostly Sunny

The steps into the sea were formed up. If they can get the steel in place in time, they will pour these at low tide tomorrow morning.


Wednesday November 7: Mostly Sunny

The cabinet makers began installing the Master Bedroom closet shelves. Tile was laid on the Guest Bath vanity top and started on the Master Bath vanity. Grout was flowed into most of the Kitchen counter tile. The stove/oven was delivered.

On the water front, they missed low tide, but the steel is in place and the "dry" steps were poured. Just the lower pad and the columns for the safety rails remain to complete the steps. Most of the unused thatch was hauled away.


Thursday November 8: Sunny

The water front palapas were trimmed. All but the bottom most step into the sea was poured. The house is supposed to be complete tomorrow. It will not happen, there is too much left to do and too few men working too few hours. Paul and his crew have done a great job up to now, but I am a little disappointed in the time it is taking finish this project.

The Master Bedroom closet shelves are not what we ordered and will have to be partially redone. The guest bedroom closet looks good, but the installation work is not up to standards. It is the finish work that separates a quality custom home from a production house. This truth has been re-emphasized.


Building In Belize

Week 22

Monday November 12 - Friday November 16: Mostly Sunny Rain Mostly Sunny

The Main House is complete except for cleaning and touchup. We are calling it done.

Work was begun on the driveway and walkways in the front. Only the bathroom counter is missing upstairs. As soon as that is installed, early next week, tile can be set and the sinks plumbed in. That will complete the upstairs.


Project Recap:

We learned a few lessons on this project. Big houses take longer to build than smaller houses. The rainy season and hurricanes will cost you time. Custom hardwood cabinets take longer to build than we thought. Basically, we were very optimistic in our original, revised and re-revised construction schedules.

None the less, I can't say I am unhappy with the results. The house is stunningly beautiful. We built it in less time than most houses take in Belize even with a direct hit from a Category 5 hurricane and a near miss from a second! There are still houses in Consejo Shores that were started before or during our first project that are not yet finished.

We also learned to buy all the major construction material in bulk as early in the project as possible. Given the increases in the cost of steel, cement, wire, fixtures, tile, sand and gravel, not to mention fuel, I believe it would cost 25-30% more to build this house if it were started today. About the only cost that hasn't risen dramatically is labor. I expect to see that expense to go up in the near future.