How does a house starts to be built?

Hello everyone! I am very excited to announce the beginning of what will be a very exciting process, that some of you might want to follow.
My client, the contractor and I started to build a compact 2 story single family home with a steel frame structure and drywall system.
Why is this attractive? Why will I post every single detail about building this home and why is this interesting for you? Because you might want to build your next house in a simpler, faster, environmentally friendly way, in a tropical modern style. Prove us wrong if we spend more than 4 months building a compact but comfortable  126 squared meter space for living in one of the most exclusive places of the world: Costa Rica mountains in the Central Valley.

When you visit Concepcion de San Isidro de Heredia, you will find yourself at breathtaking views to south San Jose, and all the central Valley. You can actually see Irazu Volcano from here, backed by the Braulio Carrillo National Park transition area. From here, a natural little town that appears to have taken another way rather than globalization, you can enjoy a sunny warm morning and a very rainny fresh afternoon in the same day.

You can also buy local organic vegetables and fruits directly from the farmers. I do that generally after my inspections! Nothing like eating something you know has no chemicals and good for your body!


As an official beginning of the construction,we started to draw general measures of the house on the ground. Since 3 days ago, men are working on the site. They built a storage place and a back hoe cleaned up the ground. Now, with the help of nylon lines and wood posts our work is to locate all the axis of the house within the correct distances fro property lines.

It is a very delicate job this drawing up.You have to make sure your lines are angled at the correct measure indicated on the plan. In this case we don’t have one single squared angle to which reference one line. We took the neighbor’s wall as a reference and we started from there. We also made sure we were at the appropiate distance from the property line, what we call ” retiro” following what the plan says. This will be something the Municipality will check in their further visit.

When your lines are ready, and you double checked that all measures are exactly what the plan says, then you are ready to touch ground. We wanted to see what the soil looked like, so we excavated a small area as a sample. The lines are not supposed to be moved. They will be are only reference for future revisions.

Now men are prepared to continue digging some holes. Next time I will double check what the soil looks the same in other locations of the house, and inform my structural engineer just to make sure that what we designed is according to what we see now.
Previous test soils are the best way to design an accurate foundation. But you also have to make sure these soil tests are representative of all the locations, not only a sample. In Costa Rica you can encounter many surprises in terms on soil conditions: you can find unexpected rocks, or changes of color that indicates different compositions of the soil, water, that will make your foundations go deeper or more superficial than what you planned in your design.

This is something we will check next week. We will also define the lower level of the house.
Weather conditions have been great despite the scattered rains we have had.

Hope you are enjoying and learning, same as me, from this simple construction process. We want a clean, hassle free process and that’s why we are working with a responsible and experienced contractor who has previously guided us on budget, construction details and simplifying the building. The house is small, but deserves attention to details. Not because they are complicated, but for what these details are going to contribute in architectural and constructive quality.This is both ,our contractor and me, main objective: 100% client satisfaction by high quality construction.

Until next time and hope you want me to keep you posted about this construction process.

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