Building In Belize

New Home Construction Project 2006

March 2006 Construction Log

#71D Consejo Beach Trail
Consejo Shores, Belize

Week 1

Tuesday March 14:

Plot Map

Floor Plan

Construction officially began with the survey of the lot and plotting the floor plan.

Wednesday March 15:

Ground was broken the next morning. While digging the cistern, the "cave" was found at about 6'. This will allow for 4' underground and about 2' above ground under the rear veranda. The cistern should hold about 15,000 gallons of water.

Thursday March 16:

The first loads of sand, gravel and rebar were delivered. The lining of the cistern floor with bedding rock was begun. The foundation lay out was completed.

Friday March 17:

The first load of 8" block for the foundation and exterior walls was delivered along with more sand, gravel and rebar. 18" of rock was bedded into the bottom of the cistern and marl packed on top. Also, the digging of the foundation footings began. This is done by hand. It takes 10 times as long as using a backhoe, but costs about half.

They also started bending the rebar. This too is all done by hand, no hydraulic benders here!

Saturday March 18:

More digging of the foundation footings. A backhoe could have knocked this out in a few hours. Like I mentioned above, it takes longer this way but cost less. And we employ 4 or 5 guys for a few days. More block, gravel and sand were delivered.

Week 2

Monday March 20:

Today they finished the digging of the foundation footings and began laying the rebar in the cistern. Electrical service was brought to the property but will not be connected until the permanent electrical panel is installed.

Tuesday March 21:

Still fitting the rebar into the footings and cistern. More sand, gravel, block and cement were delivered.

Tuesday March 22:

Pouring the Footings


Pouring of the footings began early. Concrete is mixed and poured by the wheelbarrow load.  The concrete looks a little wet to me. Paul says his mixes have tested at 5000 psi.


By noon the footings are about half poured.


The pour moved to the cistern floor about 2PM. Work for the day was complete by 5PM. The first of 3 major concrete pours was completed with no problems.

Thursday March 23:

3 courses of block are laid on top of the footings.

Friday March 24:

Finished laying the foundation blocks and began filling with marl.

Saturday March 25:

While part of the crew continues packing the foundation with marl, the rest begin the job of forming up the cistern walls. The original plan had construction beginning this coming Monday, so we are 2 weeks ahead of schedule, so far.

Week 3

Monday March 27:

Not much progress can be seen, and its a shame. Moving marl a wheelbarrow at a time to fill the foundation or standing all day out of the cooling breeze in the cistern pit building the forms makes for a day of  hard physical labor with little visible result.

Tuesday March 28:

The rough plumbing installation was begun. My first disagreement on the project was with the 'plumber' who wanted to place the toilet drains 12" from the center of the wall. It should be 12" from the edge of the finished wall, or 12 1/2" from the block. Paul agreed with me, so the drains are now properly placed.

Forming of the cistern walls went quicker than expected. Pouring of the walls began just after lunch and proceeded without problem.

Wednesday March 29:

We spent most of the day in Belize City buying electrical parts, plumbing fixtures and tile. It was raining in Belize City and as far North as Orange Walk Town. No rain in Consejo so work continues toward to goal of pouring the slab on Friday.

More problems with the rough plumbing. The plan specifies for the toilets to be supplied with "Wildman Water" as the community water provided by Consejo Shores is called. Even with 15,000+ gallons of rain water in the cistern, one doesn't want to flush their soft, sweet, and delicious rain water down the toilet. A couple can easily flush over 1200 gallons per month!

Thursday March 30:

Not much visible progress, but a lot was accomplished. The forming was pulled off the cistern walls, and a start was made in forming the cistern ring beam, or "chain" as the say here. A lot of time was spent compacting the marl. Lots of rebar was delivered to be used to create the steel reinforcement for the slab.

There is a lot of work yet before we're ready to pour the slab. Paul now says Monday. That will be a tough schedule to meet, but these guys don't mess around. I have never seen a harder working crew.

Friday March 31:

Supports for the cistern cover were fabricated and installed. "Bush Poles" are used to hold the supports at the correct height. The Visqueen vapor barrier was laid over the marl and the beginnings of the rebar mat were in place.

The toilet water supply was corrected. The toilets will now be fed by the community water supply, taking a 1000+ gallon per month strain off the rain water supply.

March Recap:

This project began on March 14th. In just 16 days we are within two days of pouring the slab! No corners were cut, no "good enough" measures were taken. This is a properly engineered, professionally constructed foundation and cistern. If this quality of the work and speed of construction continue, this house could become the new standard for construction of North American style homes in Consejo.

See next month's log: April '06 Log