Building our new home in Belize, the story continues.

All about site prep and building a good foundation.


Loads and loads of rebar!

As I watched load after load of monster bundles of steel rebar arrive on site, I had no idea how it would all be used. Sure, I already knew that the concrete would be reinforced with steel, but wow! You have already seen photo’s of the up-right rebar towers going up where the concrete towers will be poured. But then the crew, of nine guys, by the way, have been bending rebar into additional towers, and assorted other shapes every day.

The crew has also been digging channels between the towers, as well as across the building site. Little did I know that these extra rebar towers would be laid down in these channels and connected to the towers, so concrete could be poured and everything would be connected.


Trust me when I say, this house ain’t going nowhere man!

So now its time for my first “bad” in the “Good, the Bad and the Ugly in the story of my build.


Are you getting your whistle on?


When the 20 tower bases were filled with concrete, with the steel towers embedded in them, I was fascinated by how precise this process was going to be. I walked the homesite, impressed by the exactness by which the guys had aligned perfectly, and spaced equally the 20 towers to support the house. Anticipation was high to see the steel towers encompassed with cinderblock and cement poured around them.


All iron towers in a row, equal distance.


And then the day came when I watched as the guys started cutting some of the steel rebar towers down at their bases, and moving the tower to different locations, then tying them in place with small rebar “horseshoes”.What on earth would they be doing that for?


Cutting the bases of the tower to re-locate incorrect positions. See the sparks from the metal saw?

As my curiosity got the better of me, I pulled out my master copy of the house plans, the ones finally approved by the CBA. Low and behold, there is a page that clearly shows the location of all the upright concrete support posts, and it was clear, eight of the originally installed towers were in the wrong place.


Plans show “2 then space, then 2, then space, then 1”

At this point, I would like to say that I am living on-site to watch the building of our new home, help out where needed, and be here to give advice and answer questions when they arrive. Just a couple weeks ago when the site planning was going on, Kevin my builder came to me with the question about the location of the house, and specifically, where the front steps would be. As it was planned, the steps would be to close to the cabana, and he wanted my advice on how far we should actually move the house toward the ocean, providing better stair location.

That’s the main reason I am here. I’m not the “foreman on-site”, making decisions on implementing plans. I’m not the one double-checking where everything goes, and what goes where, going by the plans, watching everything closely”. That’s what you hire and pay well for a builder, to take those responsibilities. The placement of the foundation columns are extremely important, and these should have been checked against the final plans by the builder before being placed, and they were not!


                                                             But I am now.

It wasn’t a really big deal, the misplacement of the steel uprights, but if they had poured the columns before noticing, it sure would have been. I will say that the job site Foreman, Nelson did come to see me after the towers were re-located, to explain what had happened, what they had done to fix the issue, and he took responsibility for the mistake. Of course, that was after all this, and after I had already figured out what had happened.

Here I will interject on two points. First, it was the then “General Contractor”, Kevin Brodski of Southern Belize Builders who was responsible for all this and should have checked on the positions and layout.

The second, Nelson Montalvo, I later learned was not the “Foreman”, but actually, the Belizean Builder, hired by Kevin, to build my house, which I did not learn until later. All along, Mr. Brodski called Nelson and his crew who built my house, “his guys”. More about that in a separate chapter.


Like I said, it’s not a big problem, however, remember, the strength of the entire project rests on the foundation.


 Master plans…at the ready!

The master plans are no longer rolled up, with a rubber band around them, and contained in the plastic bag to keep them from rotting, in my closet! They are more accessible and will be checked daily until the day we move into our finished home.No matter where you decide to build, who is building your home, and how much you trust him or her, this is what you should be doing.

Everything now is fine, the bad has morphed to good, and onward and upward we go. Everything including the wood frames around the base and columns is in place, ready to pour concrete.


The end to a “rocky road” week now paved in smiles, this is how every week should end, WITH RUM Matès! Arrrrrrrrr….!

Wait today Friday? Who knew! Trust me, tomorrow the crew will be usual.


Cheers, all!

The Pirate…Gary


Me diving with giant Manta’s



About storiesbygary

I am a Freelance Writer / Photographer, writing travel related articles for international magazines, blogs and websites and my own published books.
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