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Author: Subject: Construction in San Juanico
BobbyC
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[*] posted on 1-20-2020 at 01:16 PM


Congratulations on your purchase. I can share some advice based on my own experience of building down here many years ago and there are some very valid tips offered by some members here.

I bought my lot here in La Paz shortly before retiring and first attempted to build my home while still living in Long Beach, paying a contractor to follow the provided design plans and my expressed (written) instructions. That didn't go so well as he often either overlooked important details (outlets, toilet/drain locations, window heights) and several times completely veered off from the plans in a completely different direction. By the time they had completed the "obra negra", I had placed my home up north on the market and rented an apartment a few blocks from my home build site.

So I decided to keep working with the original crew but was on site every single day with the builders to be able to oversee build corrections (where possible) and then completed enough for me to move in. I did most of the remaining finish work myself with some help at times from day laborers. That took about another 3 months.

What I learned after the project was done and talking with many other expats down here who went through a similar process is that you basically have 2 choices if you want to get it done right:

1. Be your own job supervisor and closely follow all work progress, or

2. Hire a professional architect or civil engineer to supervise, under contract

Also, take a lot of time to consider the weather, home orientation and your lifestyle into how they will incorporate into your build. Post construction remodels are a lot more difficult and much more expensive down here if you build with block/reinforced concrete.

There is a very good video online of a home build in San Quintin that you can watch. I was especially impressed with how they used the local rock elements and designed their water management system.

https://www.facebook.com/TalkBaja/videos/10157578343487320/
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BajaTed
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[*] posted on 1-20-2020 at 02:15 PM


Design suggestions:
Underground water pilar near the street edge.
Recessed front doors behind iron gates that leads into a courtyard and the house entrance is built in security.
Cinder block is COLD.
The bigger the shower space, the colder it stays in the shower.
Consider hydronic floor heat system for bathroom and kitchen.
(warm tootsies:D)
Fireplace with forced air heat exchanger
Best Fung Shei is a south facing entrance.
Prominent spot for pink flamingo's to signal daily c-cktail time




Es Todo Bueno
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DBaja
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[*] posted on 1-20-2020 at 02:58 PM


So much good information, I’m so thankful. Keep it coming!
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BajaParrothead
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[*] posted on 1-20-2020 at 05:14 PM


Here is a book that was very informative for me and helped me pick the right contractor for ME.
https://www.amazon.com/This-Ol-Casa-Building-Laymans/dp/1440...

For what it's worth, I had none of the aforementioned problems with my build. The contractor sat down with me to get a basic floor plan and layout. He then emailed me a rendition with elevations. After three or four emails back and forth, I approved the final plan and it was sent to engineering.

During the build, I only made one visit to the site and that was at about the 10 week mark. The builder sent weekly photos to keep me updated. There were no deviations from the plan, other than some small changes i requested after the visit.

Good luck!
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DBaja
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[*] posted on 1-20-2020 at 07:11 PM


I love a good success story, thanks for the input. I just bought the book, thanks
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Udo
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[*] posted on 1-21-2020 at 12:16 PM


You are exactly correct about being there every hour of every day. From my past experience, there may be one out of a thousand construction contractors that you can trust and be capable of handling your work. My experience, as well as that of many of my friends, is that you will get screwed by short cuts that the contractor takes (or at least his workers). In my specific instance, it cost me over $60,000 USD to redo what my previously "trusted" contractor did. The problems? Shallow foundations, incorrect plumbing, incorrect wiring, incorrect roofing.
And in my instance, I was on site three days a week on weekends. What the guy did the rest of the days, I did not find out for three years!



rquote=1178011&tid=93903&author=4x4abc]I have built in Baja
I have seen friends built in Baja
I have watched projects built in Baja (I have a construction background)

quality construction work is almost impossible in Baja
including what I have seen from US and other foreign contractors

companies who value time and quality have crews brought in from mainland Mexico (OXXO, Walmart, Home Depot, hotels etc)

I have pictures of the Nopolo project in Loreto. You do not want to see what's under the plaster!

However, i have heard from friends who were very happy with the results of their builders (La Paz area). So, good work seems to be out there. Somewhere.

from my own experience - if you are not on site every day, every hour of the process, you might get something you did not order for more money you wanted to pay.
Remember, there is no recourse in Baja if things go wrong.

I like the Gomez book - reality is much worse.
[/rquote]




Udo

Youth is wasted on the young!

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thebajarunner
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[*] posted on 1-21-2020 at 07:42 PM


"God and Mr. Gomez" was a classic, but that was a very long time ago.

Try "Gringos in Paradise"
The much more modern story about newcomers figuring out the process while building just north of Puerto Vallarta in the surfing community of Sayulita.

Fun read, and very very informative on the process. Stressing all of the important issues from lot location, to design, to searching for a builder and how to live with those decisions.

Plus a fun read to boot....
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DBaja
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[*] posted on 1-21-2020 at 11:24 PM


I have to say, This Ol’ Casa is a wealth of knowledge. Straight to the point Baja build advice. Burned through it in one day. The more adventurous books are next, thanks for the recommendations!
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BajaParrothead
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[*] posted on 1-21-2020 at 11:43 PM


The only other thing that I can add, is check all the references that you can dig up. I stumbled onto my builder through town talk, but then I started digging into his previous builds. Found a 100% total satisfaction! Seemed too good to be true, but it all panned out as hoped.
On the other side of the coin, he wasn't the only one I checked into. The others had much shadier reviews and seemed to be more of a crap shoot.
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