Building Construction Methods
Site Planning - Design & Construction - Utilities (From Start to Finish)
The First step is to properly identify the needs of your family. Make a list of your needs, and a secondary list of your wants. Once you have decided on the elements you want included in your new home, it is time to locate a good piece of property. Do you want to live in the city or in the country? In a newer neighbourhood or an older, established one? Take your time and shop around. Don't feel pressured to buy right away. You will be much happier in the end, if you purchase a property that your family will love..
SELECTING YOUR LAND SITE
When deciding on which land to purchase do ensure that you consider the restrictions present especially in regards to land size. Do ensure that land property you purchase may accommodate the construction of septic tanks, water tanks etc.
PLANNING THE HOUSE
Belize is a very hot country and it is very important to keep this in mind during construction. If you are seeking to enjoy the outdoors (your garden, your farm land etc.) you may wish to build a covered verandah which is rather popular in the country. Most country or farm land homes are usually built with air flow in mind especially where natural breeze is found such as in Cayo or any coastal property.
Plans with full cross-ventilation are recommended. Most energy saving properties are built in the style of the Mexican Homes which provide half wall structures throughout the property. AC or Ceiling fans are easily found in the country at most hardware stores if you desire them.
RAISED HOME OR ON THE GROUND
Pros of building a raised house: Greater protection from floods (not really present), Better view of the outdoors and neighborhood, helps keeps insects and animals away, and unrestricted access to airflow for your rooms. Nevertheless do keep in mind that it is a more costly venture
Most individuals once they have constructed a raised home proceed to utilize the space below their home for storage area, garage area (shelters the vehicles from the effects of the heat and rain) or as a workshop. This saves time and money.
CONCRETE or WOOD
This is a concern of personal preference. Constructing your home with wood is far less costly than concrete construction; however, maintenance is a must which at times becomes costly. Similarly, some prefer to have a wooden home as they claim it is a lot cooler in the midst of the high heat in Belize during the summer. Also, wooden structures do not seem to hold up very well in the instance of a hurricane.
To construct your home with concrete is a bit more expensive but requires less maintenance. Should you purchase a property and require a quickly built home on it, you may always purchase a Mennonite home built from wood. These are easily purchased starting at $10,000 USD and can be prepared on site or built in the Cayo District and then reassembled on your property within a week.
Design and Construction
BLUEPRINTS, BUILDING PERMITS, ETC.
Professional plans can be purchased easily in Belize City. These plans do however need to be sent in to the local town board for approval. Requisite documents include: elevations, floor plans, engineering and a site plan (where the home is to be constructed on the property. You can obtain an application for your building permit from your local Town Board or Local Building Authority.
Submit according to town guidelines. Fees for submission are low, and if your plans are complete and within guidelines, approval can be expected without delay. The planning board meets monthly, and tries to review all plans submitted.
An architect is the one professional who has the education, training, experience and vision to guide the design and building process to a positive end. This expanse of knowledge helps architects focus individual home owner's needs to maximize their investment in liveable square footage, on time and within budget. Architects stay abreast of advances in modern building materials and construction techniques to ensure a smooth, long lasting and cost-effective building process.
An architect will make certain that your building will be what you want and function the way you need it to. An architect will listen, ask questions and find out exactly what you want. An architect will be responsive to your needs.
You should consider hiring somebody locally for the construction of your home. This is easier and less costly. The reason for the construction to be less costly is that usually the locals can purchase material at a lower cost from construction suppliers at great discounts and not only that but they have access to all the equipments that you may need (which saves a lot of time).
Don’t feel that your work is done as soon as you get a contractor. It is suggested that you keep abreast of the construction process or have someone down here do it for you. Do ensure that you request references and see examples of their completed work.
WHAT WILL IT COST FOR CONSTRUCTION
As suggested above the cost depends on the size of the building and the materials you wish to construct it with. Also access to the property and construction material is very important. Different districts carry different construction fees. Insist at all times that estimations by contractors are made in writing. Utilities
Water & Power
If service is available, call and get connected.
This is always a possibility. Most farm owners or country property owners seek this route especially if their acreage does not come complete with a all year spring. Its cheap, easy and efficient. Usually found in the Western (Cayo) and Southern districts.
Rainwater is free and plentiful in the country of Belize. Usually locals and foreign home owners choose to build their homes with gutters leading to a cistern. This is a very smart idea especially since Belize has a long rainy season. You can build a vat with concrete locally or you can purchase a plastic fabricated cistern from the local hardware store for about $250 USD. You can always add a water purification adapter should you need to. However, most locals choose to drink from the cistern directly - the purest water there is.
Note: You may always purchase water if you need to.
If there are power lines around your property you can always contact the electricity board - BEL (Belize Electricity Board). If not choose one of the following: Solar Power Units, Gas or Diesel Generators. Do consider using a battery pack charger for your system.
Wind Power (Not generally used except on large estates), Propane Gasis used for refrigeration and cooking (Stoves), water heaters and laundry machines. Here at Buy Belize, we have washers and dryers for sale that utilize propane.
We highly recommend the following Contractor for the construction of first class homes or condos in Belize.
Visit his site at www.oneworldbuilders.com.