OMG, after five months, we finally have CBA Approval to build!
Those little blue stamps in the corner on the architect’s plans allow you to build.
The fact is, you really shouldn’t start building on your lot until you have approved and stamped house plans from the Central Banking Authority of Belize. If you do, there’s a chance that your building site will be shut down and you may have difficulty getting your home completed, or maybe paying additional funds. In the long run, I believe it’s just not worth taking that gamble, mainly because once you start breaking the rules here in Belize, your life could get difficult. But then again, it’s up to you.
Starting to designate the exact house location.
And so after waiting months, the guys start locating the corners of the house they are building.
Driveway installed in prep for heavy delivery equipment.
One thing for sure, especially at this time of year, it can rain heavily for days. As soon as we got our approval to build, my builder had his guys work on the entrance driveway. Heavy rocky dirt was layered fairly deep, with a thin layer of sand on top and packed down with bobcat treads. The last thing we wanted was having a delivery truck with a heavy load, sink and get stuck.
Case in point, here comes a load of “iron” on a heavy flatbed truck.
Delivery truck shows up with a load of rebar that will be used as support inside the 10-12 foot high concrete posts. There will be a total of twenty concrete columns supporting the main house, not counting additional support columns for front and back decks.
Location of concrete support columns for under house.
So let me tell you about my construction crew. They show up in the morning around 7:00 am, many taking the local bus or hitchhiking to the job site, and home at the end of the day, around 6:00pm. These guys arrive with smiles, and get right to work. I have four workers running lines and using tape measures to plot out exactly where the house will sit. They don’t have expensive laser sighting equipment or GPS plotting instruments. To mark the corners, they use hand-cut tree poles, dig holes, and pound them in the ground with a sledgehammer. And I might add, they swing that sledgehammer all day long in 80+ degree heat.
Banging in poles to mark house layout…with a sledgehammer !
And then there are the holes where the forms will be placed to pour the concrete upright columns. Unlike in the U.S. where they would use a handheld motorized post hole digger or tractor with one attached, these guys will dig every hole by hand.
Digging one of the first of about thirty holes for upright concrete columns.
Finally, I want to talk about the importance of selecting a builder that stays on top of things on the building site. In my past life in the United States, I had experience in this process when living in Connecticut, and having my custom home built. Although I tried to get out in the country every few days to watch what was happening, I still have many major issues with my builder. In fact, I had to have him take walls down and move rooms which were put in wrong positions because he wasn’t on-site half the time.
One of the reasons I had chosen my original “builder” was I had heard he kept on top of all his projects, visiting each building site daily. Early into the building process, especially when I saw things going wrong, I had to call him to get things back on track. Many times I gave him the benefit of the doubt, but as you will learn, later on, things were not as they had originally appeared.
My original “builder” in a rare moment in a “Plan Huddle” with his guys, going over approved plans.
My “Little Foreman” in his “deck chair”, preparing to watch the construction below.
Until the next installment of the continued saga of building our dream here in Belize,
May you dream of future realities, the Rum flow freely, and when the crew digs your post holes, they find a sea chest of pirate gold! One can only dream of our realities.
It’s a Pirates Life for me…