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dboisclair

Cost to Build

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It is so hard here to give an answer. I've seen building projects where no one over the age of 15 ever worked on the house. There are so many areas where builders routinely cut corners, especially steel and cement, second grade tiles and the list goes on. Reputable builders who can be trusted to do the job they are being paid for, cost.

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dboisclair asks a key question and appears to have an answer.  The next logical question might regard recommendations for engineers, architects, contractors, etc, again, perhaps just for general background and to consider options.

As someone who is planning to build a small house on a steep hill Lakeside, I have searched this webboard and similar sources for over a year, going back into archives and using whatever relevant information was found to frame tangential searches of all manner of online sources.  All this is a kind of preliminary orientation alerting me to hidden 'gotchas', which I despise.  

I have come across and saved reports of incompetent surveyors, which, in conjunction with no use of 'metes and bounds' on deeds, could conceivably contribute to profound 'original sin', along with claims about prominent architects who are said to "cut corners", tales of contractors creating conditions where salitre would result, or seismic stupidity, plus other problems with design, materials and methods which could have been avoided thought informed vigilance. Add to these issues questions about the neighborhood, local building codes protecting the viewshed, designing out the possibility of burglary, determining dependable internet access, barking dogs, having only minimal Spanish, hedging the Peso during the twilight of the USD, and the knowledge that I will not be able to truly control all such externalities, along with a thousand design decisions which I take upon myself as someone who almost became an architect, and what you have is an ultra complex decision system fraught with uncertainty.  So identifying the right local professionals is key, but the whole Rubio Goldbergo scenario ultimately is on little old me.

My ability to take my time, visit and live in the area in advance of the decision, know what to look for at each critical phase, be on site constantly and visually document construction, as I have during visits for the foundation systems of neighboring homes under construction, provide better odds of an ideal outcome, which is impossible, but which for me justifies the effort because I'm learning something, growing my brain just for the exercise and may end up living in a sculpture of my own design in a setting reminiscent of the SF bay and Mt. Tam views I grew up with in the Berkeley hills , at just the cost of the artists' materials.  Or I could forget the whole thing and buy an existing place in SMA, where I've spent a lot more time over the years.  The only way I can decide is to look into everything, figure out what the appropriate checklist would be, and then tick each item off.  

By  the way, there is some intimation in posts on this webboard over recent years that there is some sort of scam (my term) involving the recommendation of contractors, and the local  labor economy seems very highly networked.

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Look, the simple truth is that we are in Mexico, and building here is completely different from back home. (I would never undertake to build my own in Canada.) Standards, contractors, the concept of time, inspections... everything is very hit and miss. You'd have to have balls the size of Kevin Spacey's to do it yourself. Why fight it?

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Building in Mexico is different than the US and Canada mostly due to codes and restrictions plus the common building materials and the way jobs are bid are very different. Also contractors and specialization is not as clear as NOB. I just finished a design build home for a client in Ajijic and a ballpark figure would be between $8,000/sq mt and $9,000/ sq mt. including design, permits, construction and IMSS (which this last part you do have to be very careful that it gets paid and closed at the end of your construction) . Hope it helps.

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14 hours ago, NachoOE said:

Building in Mexico is different than the US and Canada mostly due to codes and restrictions plus the common building materials and the way jobs are bid are very different. Also contractors and specialization is not as clear as NOB. I just finished a design build home for a client in Ajijic and a ballpark figure would be between $8,000/sq mt and $9,000/ sq mt. including design, permits, construction and IMSS (which this last part you do have to be very careful that it gets paid and closed at the end of your construction) . Hope it helps.

Just an FYI, my current IMSS payment for 4 workers is just under &1000 MX pesos a month. I make my payments directly to IMSS. Fired the "contractor" who s

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20 hours ago, NachoOE said:

Building in Mexico is different than the US and Canada mostly due to codes and restrictions plus the common building materials and the way jobs are bid are very different. Also contractors and specialization is not as clear as NOB. I just finished a design build home for a client in Ajijic and a ballpark figure would be between $8,000/sq mt and $9,000/ sq mt. including design, permits, construction and IMSS (which this last part you do have to be very careful that it gets paid and closed at the end of your construction) . Hope it helps.

Nacho really helpful. Thanks.  Although we are in San Miguel, that is the price we have received here, in Manzanillo and Cuernavaca with 8000 / sq meter being common and using an architect. That is 727 p / $40 a sq ft. That is for a house with items I noted on my web site and granite counter tops, proper windows and doors with seals as found at Home Depot or better and wiring / plumbing to Canadian / American codes. http://www.soniadiaz.mx/real-estate.html Even on smaller homes, we are also seeing a lot more concrete delivered in cement trucks (sometimes being pumped to roofs and second floors) which gives consistency and it is much faster.

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16 hours ago, zerbit said:

Just an FYI, my current IMSS payment for 4 workers is just under &1000 MX pesos a month. I make my payments directly to IMSS. Fired the "contractor" who s

That seems to be extremely low. You should probably make sure that your workers are registered accordingly to the risk factor for construction. For 4 workers you should be paying about $6000 one month and $8000 the next month when Infonavit is charged. In either case to get the finiquito there will probably be an adjustment if you underpaid.

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3 hours ago, NachoOE said:

That seems to be extremely low. You should probably make sure that your workers are registered accordingly to the risk factor for construction. For 4 workers you should be paying about $6000 one month and $8000 the next month when Infonavit is charged. In either case to get the finiquito there will probably be an adjustment if you underpaid.

http://www.nominax.com/calculadoracuotaimss

https://idconline.mx/seguridad/2017/01/09/factores-para-cuotas-y-aportaciones-2017

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I've done research on building a custom home, somewhat upscale and I've received from 6,000 to 9,000 Pesos per m2. A good average would be around 8,000 Pesos m2. These do not include appliances, solar panels, pool or anything very fancy.

Another issue is cost of land. It's NOT cheap. Price will depend on view, which town, which development, etc. If you have a nice view, you'll pay between 2,000 to 3,500 Pesos m2. 

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All,

Just received a bid for $9960 m2 for Mano de obra only. The labor came in at 3222 m2, but the cost of materials came in at 6738 m2! This is for the West coast north of Sayulita and San Pancho. Will update with future bids as they happen. Also, this is only for the shell of the structure. This excludes practically everything: plumbing, electrical, tile, paint, counter tops,  windows, doors, permits, inspector fees, wood work,,,,,etc, etc.      

Unfortunately for them, I'm not a sleeping gringo.

 

 

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On 1/17/2018 at 3:49 PM, Pablo13 said:

All,

Just received a bid for $9960 m2 for Mano de obra only. The labor came in at 3222 m2, but the cost of materials came in at 6738 m2! This is for the West coast north of Sayulita and San Pancho. Will update with future bids as they happen. Also, this is only for the shell of the structure. This excludes practically everything: plumbing, electrical, tile, paint, counter tops,  windows, doors, permits, inspector fees, wood work,,,,,etc, etc.      

Unfortunately for them, I'm not a sleeping gringo.

 

 

Haha love the sleeping gringo part. That does seem quite excessive and expensive. Even in Sayulita where you might have to pay a premium for almost every material.

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Newbies rarely understand that it's not a matter of throwing a pre-mix sack of concrete/cement and some water into an electric mixer.  And the "sand" here is awful.

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On 1/17/2018 at 3:49 PM, Pablo13 said:

All,

Just received a bid for $9960 m2 for Mano de obra only. The labor came in at 3222 m2, but the cost of materials came in at 6738 m2! This is for the West coast north of Sayulita and San Pancho. Will update with future bids as they happen. Also, this is only for the shell of the structure. This excludes practically everything: plumbing, electrical, tile, paint, counter tops,  windows, doors, permits, inspector fees, wood work,,,,,etc, etc.      

Unfortunately for them, I'm not a sleeping gringo.

 

 

You can save a lot of $ by purchasing materials yourself and having them delivered to the building site, if you are so inclined. Contractors routinely mark up the materials. If you have a relationship with a building supply business in your area, they will often run an account for you, and you go in and pay weekly for what you have purchased.

For this to work, you either need to be present near the end of the day at your construction site to find out what materials they will need for the next day (another load of block, 30 bags of cement, rebar, etc- have a check list of all the things they are using, as they will often not realize that they are almost out of something) or have a designated worker or foreman or the contractor, who is organized and reliable to relay the list to you.

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P.S: labor costs and materials should be about equal when you are talking about raw construction (not the stainless steel fixtures, the tiles, or the finish work) unless you are getting really cheap labor.

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On 12/9/2017 at 8:59 PM, NachoOE said:

Building in Mexico is different than the US and Canada mostly due to codes and restrictions plus the common building materials and the way jobs are bid are very different. Also contractors and specialization is not as clear as NOB. I just finished a design build home for a client in Ajijic and a ballpark figure would be between $8,000/sq mt and $9,000/ sq mt. including design, permits, construction and IMSS (which this last part you do have to be very careful that it gets paid and closed at the end of your construction) . Hope it helps.

For a very small house, without much of anything in it, $8000 or $9000 is on target.  Lakeside, that is the exception, not the rule.   That also varies if you are talking about the Mexican community or the foreign community.   If you want more accurate information to get a better idea of this area, hopefully others will continue to respond, or you can repost.   However, those that are busy running a business and working typically are not posting on this board or other boards.

 

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On 12/8/2017 at 8:30 AM, HarryB said:

It is so hard here to give an answer. I've seen building projects where no one over the age of 15 ever worked on the house. There are so many areas where builders routinely cut corners, especially steel and cement, second grade tiles and the list goes on. Reputable builders who can be trusted to do the job they are being paid for, cost.

i've seen some low bids ... and from one of the posters on this page.  From personal experience, you get what you pay for, or in his case that was the situation.    It is hard enough here to get good work, and honest contractors, at a going rate which is more typically 10% to 12%, not 8% ...  based on cost-plus or even a contract rate.

 

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My husband thought he was well-equipped with his 33 years experience in building his own houses in Canada. In Chapala area, we took a contractor to build our house because we did not have any contacts with the trade people, and we did not know what was involved with permits, IMSS, payrolls, material buying (best deal around) etc. So we trusted the contractor, who had been well recommended by someone finishing his house with him. We found out after, that those people had gone over budget around $15,000 US, and it was a smaller house than ours-- (4100 sq feet). They did not ask for granite but medium quality.

Our house (4500 sq. feet) took 8 months to build (considered fast) and my husband lost 22 pounds in the process. He was on the site every day from morning until the last worker was out at night. In fact, he had to be there to watch for quality and direct the workers as the contractor was too busy to do his job. He even skimmed on everything on top of asking more money in between for items that should have been included in the first place. We did the shopping for bathrooms, light fixtures, floor tiles, etc. (without him) as he was going to install scrap. We, of course, paid extra for medium quality, which had been detailed in our contract agreement as high quality in the first place.

The arguments with him were not worth our time and money. We were not going to take legal procedures (big deal here) so we paid a total of $18,000 over and above we had planned—not included the lot and gardens.

Now that we know better, we would not build with a contractor, and my husband would never build himself here. No way!! Friends shopped around for a house, and they (with my husband) inspected the places with a fine comb. Their experience was so easy and fun. Of course, it’s not their own design, but they like it enough, especially knowing that they saved themselves lots of headaches.

Our case is not unique. We were advised about building our own house before we started, but we did not really believe it would apply to us as we knew construction enough to avoid their problems. 🤐 NO MORE COMMENT

P.S. We wanted to sell our house last year, but we were quoted by RE agents below what it costs to build it now. We have improved the quality and, over the years, added the extra we did not have with construction. Unbelievable! It’s cheaper to buy now than build. You can still figure out to make a few changes, but you would know ahead of time.

Good luck for what ever you decide.

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On 12/7/2017 at 8:54 AM, Ferret said:

Right on Pappy! And, if the architect is paying IMSS and permits, you will want to have the Official Receipts for those IN YOUR HAND for every single payment that takes place. The IMSS payments are very important. Without them, a finiquito for the house will not be issued and you will not be able to register the house.

Very good advice. Not only in your hands, but verify that you are not getting fake receipts. 

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There is a very talented "alternative" builder living in San Miquel Allende. I am familiar with many of his techniques, such as spraying lightweight concrete on metal mesh with a mortar sprayer (invented and made in Mexico!). He also uses a lot of vault construction, the weight of the material holds the arches, without the use of rebar, etc.  This should bring down the building prices considerably.This style of construction is hardly new historically, and in Mexico, many contemporary architects have used it for world famous structures. His name is Steve, and here is his website. Don't be turned off if some of the stylings look to "hobbit house" or Gaudi, he can, and has built many less sculptural homes. The only criticism I might have is that curved walls may look beautiful, nearly all furniture, appiance, etc. are built for square homes.

http://www.flyingconcrete.com/

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I had a very different experience from Bonbon building my home in Mexico. I had some construction experience, especially with cement, concrete and tiling work and am a designer. My house is small- 1000 square meters, but not just a box- I designed it like small houses need to be designed- with a lot of planning, so that there is no wasted space (like hallways) and so the space doesn't feel cramped at all (lots of windows and high ceilings) and it "flows". So, no architect, no contractor- I hired a local crew who were recommended, I spoke simple but understandable Spanish (the crew were always correcting my Spanish, which I appreciated and which improved my Spanish quite quickly, altho it's hardly high-class Spanish)), ordered all the materials myself, and did most of the finish work, like painting and tiling myself. I was wheelbarrowing stuff around, tarring my foundations while they were blocking up the walls- they'd never seen a woman do things like that before, so they showed me a lot of respect. My plumber/electrician was an American friend who had many years experience in that, so all was done so that it could even pass NOB building codes and I've never had issues with any of it. I won't say the building project was painless- there were many frustrations and things I would do differently if I had it to do again, but me and the guys also had a lot of laughs, I learned some building techniques from them and they learned some from me. It was all very amiable for the most part, and my head maestro invited me to his wedding, even though it was 2 months after my construction was finished. I was on site every day, and if I had to be elsewhere for half or most of a day, I'd return to find something not measured correctly, or misunderstood, or they hadn't organized themselves well or moved on to something when they hadn't completed the previous thing- that was the frustrating part.

Funny that bonbon mentioned her husband losing 22 pounds- I also lost weight from the stress of it all- about 12 pounds, and I was slim to begin with, and I've never been able to gain back the weight. Which most people would be happy about, but I'm too skinny.

*** CORRECTION, thanks to sharp-eyed Bisbee Gal and bmh- 90 sq. meters,, i.e. 1000 sq.ft.

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All hail mudgirl and her intelligent and boots-on-the-ground approach to engineering her own satisfaction.  Precise and eternal vigilance, design and technical expertise focused where appropriate and consistent personal involvement - hopefully all contributed to the daily pleasure creative people enjoy seeing good ideas and values concretely realized.  Adding design domains including telecom, solar and energy systems, future-proofed viewsheds, and impenetrable security also contribute to an optimized quality of life.

A world-famous source for design ideas from the late 70s, is "A Pattern Language", useful IF you're a fanatic with time on your hands.  (I studied with one of the co-authors and I haven't more than browsed it.  But I will use it carefully in my own pending project.)  See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pattern_language

The full text is free online (at over 1000 pages) at http://library.uniteddiversity.coop/Ecological_Building/A_Pattern_Language.pdf

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