Building your home in Belize, the Good, Bad and yes Ugly that can and does happen.

          The journey is finally coming to an end, or so we thought ?


When I last posted we had moved into our new house on the beach here in Maya Beach, Belize. Many of the issues were resolved from our original “builder” / General Contractor,  including reversing the large folding doors to the outside deck. We had ordered the new large folding kitchen window from a better source than was previously done, and this time not only will it be the correct window, but also “Cat 5 rated”, like the original was supposed to be. However, it will be another two months they say, until that one arrives and is installed but at least we will finally have the correct window.


Ac Unit looks pretty, is large, but not functional to today’s standards or needs in a hot climate.

There are some things that you cannot know is wrong with your house build in Belize, even if you are watching the builders install or build them until of course, you move in and experience a problem. Our previous “general contractor” had ordered a large “Delta” air conditioning unit for the great room, and a smaller “Delta” for the bedroom. He had explained the larger one would be needed for the large room and high ceilings.


Units under the house that probably will need replacing also.

Well, we are moved in and hot weather upon us. Our living room couch is sitting where it was planned to be, directly under the force of ice-cold air from the AC Unit in the living room. You may think that is terrific, but it really isn’t. The fact is the AC unit installed is the “bottom of the line” “El Cheepo” AC unit, which has only one function, blow cold air straight down on the couch. The better units have many functions, including moisture removal, and especially, directional controls, so you can adjust where the air is blown. It’s the same damn thing in the bedroom.

So here we go again, having our “actual builder/contractor” ordering and replacing the brand new AC Units, with ones that should have been installed.

Why did this happen you might ask? Because the AC Units fell into the “allowances” category with the previous “general contractor”, and he chooses the cheap units.


Instant hot water gas system, “el cheapo”, not what was needed for our house.

So while I am on a roll, let me tell you about the propane system and especially the whole house “instant hot” water system. After moving in and finally having everything connected so we could actually test things out “real time”, we were excited to test our beautiful “outdoor shower” and “rain-shower head.”The only problem is the “instant hot water” system purchased by our original “general contractor”, is too small for out hot water system in our house, and in fact, is a relatively unknown brand. We are waiting about five minutes for hot water in the shower and kitchen sink, and then get about two minutes of hot water before it goes cold again.

When I asked my Builder / Contractor Nelson Montalvo about this problem, he informed me that the instant hot water system was provided by my “ex-general contractor”, and not the brand he is used to installing in his new homes.

Enough said we are having the unit replaced with the correct one, that should have been installed in the first place.


New garage walled in, tow wood custom doors, and our glass blocks for lighting at the rear

So now let’s talk good things and the work that’s being done by my Builder / Contractor Nelson. The garage is almost completed below the house and we are thrilled. Nelson’s woodworkers build two beautiful doors and installed glass blocks to bring in light from off the sea.


Showing the glass block window and three-foot dod wall.

His crew also finished building the three-foot wall on the south side of the house and around seaside stairs, for security and dog’s area. All that’s left is the installation of a white Bayco line.


The dog’s side area as well as the three-foot wall on the southern border, awaiting Bayco fencing.

Once the shipping container arrives next week and we get it emptied, Nelson and his crew will proceed to finish the landscaping, add beautiful clean sand on our beach, and Marsha can start planting exotic plants and trees, to finish our building project.


The beachfront entry, awaiting thatched roof.

It’s been a long road this past year and a half, especially when it was supposed to be completed back before the Christmas holiday 2017. I really don’t regret much of what we have done, other than making the major mistake of choosing my original “general contractor”, and not going with a local experienced Belizean Contractor, that had many years building in Belize, and had his own building crew. I’m not alone in this experience, as many have started out with a U.S. or Canadian “general contractor”, thinking they had their own experienced crew to build their dream home. The fact is, they don’t, in fact, they farm out for bid to local Belizean builders, and seek the lowest bidder to build your home, and still charge you the higher amount they quoted you.


New wood wall in front of the whole whose generator for sound control and looks.

I actually know Expats on the Placencia Peninsula, who still think their homes were built by a “gringo builder” as they say here, and in fact, were built by my builder Nelson Montalvo.


Seaside stairs and top gate.

So I leave you with this thought when you start interviewing your builders. When they show you homes “they built”, ask to see their employees, their crew that built it. Ask to see their sign’s, “This home built by …..”, ask to see who’s names on all the heavy equipment used to build those houses.

Find out who is actually building your house, and hire them, and save 20-30 % at least on the cost of building, because the houses here are built by Belizean Builder / Contractors, and that’s a fact. The fact is, my actual builder was and is Nelson Montalvo here in Maya Beach, and not only did he go to school to become a builder/contractor, he continued his school to get a degree in Architecture also.

If only I had known this two years ago.


Cheers, all,


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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