Building our new house in Belize, the Good, Bad and yes Horrible that can happen.

When he said we would be moving in for the Christmas Holidays, we forgot to ask what year ?

So it’s December 16th and my wife Marsha arrives on her one way ticket to Placencia, Belize to start our new retirement life here. When we first started this building process, we said our “target date” to be in and living in our new house in Maya Beach, Belize, was the Christmas Holidays. Kevin our builder back then in November of 2016 told us that wasn’t going to be a problem and we would be in by then.

marsha and boys

Marsha at Portland Airport being  put on plane by a ex-co-worker and her cousin.

Newsflash! Nothing and I mean nothing is ever “on-time” in Belize, especially when it comes to construction and building your house! Like they say..”shit happens”, mainly delays from suppliers and distributers, purchasing/ordering conflicts, house design flaws and my biggest complaint to date, the wrong supplies being delivered and installed.

And then there is “equipment failure”, like Kevins Bobcat. It’s awesome that he has his own and doesn’t rely on renting or sub-contracting some to do site work. But like anything else, things break. I lived with about ten loads of lagoon sand all over the property, waiting to be graded out, for two weeks. Then the glorious day arrived, the bobcat I mean. Of course, three quarters of the way thru the grading, the bobcat broke down and was taken away for repairs. That was over a week ago,


Piles of lagoon sand waiting to be leveled

My last blog post almost two weeks ago I told you how the large folding glass doors, and large kitchen folding windows were installed, and we discovered neither were what we had ordered, and paid for. We aren’t talking a few hundred dollars, but many thousands of dollars for top of the line Cat 5 glass. For over two weeks I have been asking Kevin my builder for updates on when these installers from Guatemala Glass are coming back to replace these. Each time he has told me they don’t return his calls?


The incorrect “open in” doors

Last week I sent the “main guy” from this door and window distributor, telling him I needed him to rectify this situation. I have not heard back from him either. My main issue with these doors/windows, is I can’t secure the house, because nothing locks! Plus the fact that they open in instead of out!


Our cabinets “in process” at woodworkers in Hopkins. Belize

When their cabinets and finished and installed, he will move on to ours. On a good note, Marsha will be on-site to inspect every cabinet to be sure they are all exactly what she designed.

If you remember, the one sliding glass door built by Peters Glass, and installed in the bedroom to deck, was very sticky and difficult to open and close. I happened to run into the installers last week in the village, and asked them to take a look at it. They came to the site that afternoon and spent two hours working on it.

It works perfectly now.

Did I tell you what a smart decision it was to purchase the Pirates Cabana and place it on our lot last year? Not only have I been able to live in it all year and keep an eye on my construction.


Luckily we have a Cabana to live in, and this is our “front yard”

And now, Marsha and I can live in our cabana until our new house is actually completed, which instead of December 2017, will probably be more like Feb 2018.

Now as I try to keep composed, I will say, some things just naturally work out, and this build is one of those. Our fully packed ocean shipping container, sitting at the docks in Portland Oregon, will probably not arrive until February 2018, probably when we are finally ready to move in.


All our stuff is in that container, to hit the ocean and arrive in February.

Ending on a pleasant note, the outdoor shower is really looking fantastic. Kevins choices of material and construction is spot on, and we are both thrilled with it.


Stonework in outdoor shower.

After a whole year on-site during construction of our new house here in Belize, I can give you the following advice.

Nothing is ever done on time here in Belize, so never plan on a specific date for anything.

Services and deliveries are almost always never on time, so take a daly “chill pill”, because you will need it.

Be here during the entire construction faze of your new home. Review your house plans every day and physically inspect your building progress every day. Question everything and make sure you get clarification when needed.

Don’t assume that the workers building your house know what they are doing, because as I know for a fact, there are operations in construction of your house, that they probably have never done before. Make sure you check with them and your contractor o be sure he has experienced workers, and r has given them instructions, or showed them the process.

The guys building your home are not architects, and quite possibly, have no idea what things on your drawings mean. That is up to your builder to be sure they understand what is to be done. Question everything.

Make sure you go into heavy detail with cabinet maker including actual pictures of what you want.

Never pay anything or anyone “in full” until the project / item is complete, and you are totally happy with it.

Give yourself a few extra months for completion of your new house, so you can relax and enjoy the ride, with flex-ability. Remember, when they say “next Tuesday”, have them clarify what month and maybe what year!

Just FYI, my construction workers just informed me they were told to shut down for the holidays…from December 20th until January 8th. So, my prediction of our house being completed and ready to move into was correct, February or maybe March.

Cheers and happy holidays,

The Pirate…Gary






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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