Building our new home in Belize, the Good, the Bad and the Horrible!

“Being here during construction, key to escape unwanted surprises on “move in day”?


Ok…so maybe a time or two getting “Tipsy” 😉

As you probably have noticed it has been a few weeks since my last post, not because the Pirate was out partying, but for actual good reason. We were at a point when we needed to start getting the walls and roof structure built, so that there would be a structured roof before the big rains of June and July hit Belize.


Building in Belize, you always better see those shiny metal “Hurricane Straps” securing the roof!

As the span of the roof is pretty major, Kevin my builder had to arrange with lumbar yard some special / specific heavy and long timbers custom cut for the house. We were all, Kevin, my crew and self, waiting for a week past delivery date. Then every couple days we were told there were delays. Finally, we heard that a major piece of equipment at the mill had broken, and they had ordered the part, to arrive in a “few days”. Well, that turned into almost a week, and then once they got the part, they had to finish our order.


Custom Lumber arrives.

Have I ever told you that ordering ANYTHING special in Belize, takes forever! Case in point, my builder/contractor Kevin, owns a really sweet Ford truck used for business. The transmission went eight months ago or so, and a new one was ordered. He finally got his truck back this week! Note to self…”bring a spare for everything important with you!”.

So finally the truck from the lumber yard arrives with the timbers and associated needed lumber.


Those “cross” boards are actually “walkways” to stand on. Notice the heavy beam from right cornet spanning to house center of roof.

Very quickly the crew get to work on the roofing structure. They began earlier assembling “platforms” 12-14 feet in the air not only around the outside of the house, but up above the concrete floors.When I asked the foreman, he said thats what they use for scaffolding! They actually walk on these, varying and lifting extremely heavy beams into place for roof! One mistake and its a 15 foot fall to the concrete below!


Roof timbers / structure pretty much installed.

During the next week between raindrops, they guys erected the entire roof structure, including the thick wood rafters which will be exposed to viewers below in the entire house. As they were putting them up, I noticed how warped some were and asked the foreman how they were going to straighten them before roofing was installed. No worries he said, they actually run this boards across the roofline and bring them all to perfectly straight, then screw on roofing.


Notice the “bows” in some the rafters?

That was accomplished and all the exposed beams are looking good.


Left side deck/walkway, and corner where shower is going.

And then one morning sitting with Mr. Oliver on the Cabana porch, I noticed that the left side of house, where the exposed outdoor shower is to be located might have a issue. The roofline timbers come out halfway over the side deck, and by our Architects drawings, a separate roof was to be built under the roof on that side to cover the shower area. What I saw was that if in fact we stuck to the approved drawings, that 2nd roofline would drop the showered I purchased to with 12 inches or less from my head!

Houston, we have an issue!


Different view, from bottom of rafters to concrete floor, 8′ 2″. No room for 2nd roof under it.

I did the physical measurements, and although we made a slight change to angle of the houses roofline, where it extends over the shower area on deck, it was only off a couple inches. So, it appears that it was an issue with the original design, not taking into consideration the large shower head dropping down, and my height.


We have now after discussions with Kevin and Tracey our Architect, and my wife Marsha, who isn’t happy about this, solved the problem. We are instead of building a second roof under the overhang of the house roof, extending the entire roof out to end of deck over the shower. That will facilitate plenty of room for the flat 18 inch rain showered above me in the shower ;).

roof panels

Truck arrives with roof wood panels.

Keep in mind, that had I not been there, watching the build of our house, this might have gone un-noticed, We would not have been happy campers had we come down after the build, and found the second roof over shower, with our designer shower head sitting to low, because at that point, we would be starting our “first remodel” before even moving in.

So all that left before installing the wood roofing is building the front deck over the entry. As I am writing this blog post, I was wondering if I should message Kevin on when we can expect that delivery of roof material? And then I heard the large truck breaking and starting to back into my driveway! Yep! Here’s the roofing wood !

Can you say Ya baby ? !

old masters

So on a “sweeter” note, this Friday thru Sunday is the exciting celebration of the return to lobster season! Lots of crowds, music, drinks, and of course lobster! Since i didn’t decide to enter the “twerking contest in my thong” with the ladies at the Barefoot, I accepted an alternative.

I have been asked, and accepted the position of “Official Taster and Judge” at the Tipsy Tuna’s Old Masters Rum Punch Competition”!

It may be a while before you her from “The Pirate” again. Stay very thirsty my friends 😉

Cheers and “No Worries” everyone. Shit Happens when building a house in the U.S. or Canada, as I know from experience, so why would you not expect it here in Belize?

Cheers everyone,

The Pirate…Gary