So far the process of building a house in Costa Rica has been quite the journey, from a architect who seemingly fell off the face of the earth, to having to change builders part way through - these are two things that you wouldn't typically expect to have to go through if you were building a house in North America...but alas, building in Central America has proven to be a little different. We knew things would be a little challenging either way, and we're learning that we just need to kind of go with the flow and learn to have a little more patience - all in all it's coming together and the end result is going to be amazing.
At times it seems like the entire build is going in slow motion, and truthfully, it has been but, of our own doing (we'll get to that in a future blog - so stay tuned.)
Needless to say, the construction continues; the retaining walls that went from being of reasonable size turned out to be far bigger and more involved than what was expected...to the tune of about 3 meters to get to solid ground - yikes! But, better to find out at the beginning stages of the construction than to find out a few earthquakes and rainy seasons later when the house has decided to become a mobile home and relocate a few hundred feet west of where it's supposed to be. And I have to admit, now that the house has really started to take shape, those retaining walls really add to the overall look of the house and give it a much bigger presence on the property (not sure if that makes any sense, but you'd have to see it to for yourself I guess - or stay tuned for progress updates and photos).
After months of watching the retaining walls go up, and all the rebar get formed, plumbing and electrical conduits put into place, it was finally time for the foundation to be poured. "Lets brace ourselves, this is going to be expensive", or so we were told. We weren't sure what to expect in terms of the cost for the foundation, but had been warned that it was going to be a pretty big bill, as concrete is expensive in Costa Rica. "OK, expensive compared to what?" Part of what we've been learning throughout this experience is that often (always), people are comparing the costs of items / work in Costa Rica to be so much more expensive than what you would expect if you were coming from the United States. Well, guess what, we aren't coming from the United States, we're coming from Canada - and I'll be honest, things in Canada are way more expensive than they are in the good ole' United States of America. Our 3,000 square foot foundation (which includes "Air conditioned" space, outdoor patio space, and car port) ended up being about $14,000 USD - it certainly wasn't cheap, but it was significantly less than what I was expecting it to be. So I call that a bit of a win, considering we went over budget on the damn retaining walls. Keep in mind, this is all based on our experiences and the team we now have working on our project. This does not necessarily represent other's experiences of building in Costa Rica. Things can be very expensive - it just all depends what you need for your build.