Joan California, USA
The Steps of the Construction Process
1. Choose and Buy Land
Many of our clients find us from our real estate office and have purchased land through one of our realtors, so all their paperwork is correct but if this is not the case then you will need to make sure that all due diligence was done on the property and the land was closed upon by a Notary. The Deed must be recorded in the new owners name (Fideicomiso or Corporation) in order that we can obtain all the permits.
2. Project Design, “Ante Proyecto”
We have architects in house, we can recommend other architects depending upon your project or we can work with your existing architect. The architect of your choosing will meet with you and go over your ideas and specifications and begin designing the project. The architect will create plans that will show the basic layout and elevations of each floor. These plans will show living room, dining room, kitchen and kitchen layout, bedrooms, bathrooms and any special design features such as niches (in Spanish "nichos"), floor details, ceiling details or any other design detail. These plans will show the general design idea for the project and will also show the entire floor plans.
This stage of the project normally takes 2 - 4 weeks and afterwards the clients normally have a very good idea of the finishes and details they require.
2. A. Preliminary budget
At this point we can give you a preliminary budget for the project and a schedule, it is not as accurate as the final budget but with our experience its pretty darn close.
2. B. Virtual Design
We highly recommend taking advantage of our Virtual Design department. Its a state of the art 3D computer modelling program, whereby you can "walk through" your new project, just like being in a video game. We use this ourselves on our own developments, by walking throughout the building you are able to understand the size of the rooms, the layout and practicality of the project. We can see the construct-ability of the project and see any problems before they come up. Its much easier and cheaper to resolve issues on paper than it is on the construction site.
3. Executive Project (3 - 4 weeks)
“Plano de Construcción Ejecutivo” or Executive Building Plans. Once you have agreed upon the project design with architect all the plans for construction must be made by the architect and all the Engineers and specialists for each concept.
We have broken down the Executive project into each concept so you can understand all the details involved.
3. A. Architectural Building Plans - “Planos Arquitectónicos”
These are the final building plans for the design of the project which will have all the measures, sections, elevations, levels and from these plans the civil engineer can begin work as well as the other concepts.
3. B. Structural Engineering Plan, “Memoria de Cálculo Estructural”
The certified civil engineer will do all the structural calculations for the architects design. Its a very specialized field and an area that one must not try to cut corners. He will require a soil core test "Estudio de Mecánica de Suelo" and a copy of the site survey "Levantamiento Topográfico". The civil engineer will detail everything from size of rebar to be used, cement mixtures for all the foundations, footings, anchors, columns, beams, cement slabs, floors, trusses, joists, retaining walls etc.
A final set of plans can now be printed and the certified civil engineer will now sign these plans "Memoria de Cálculo Estructural" and will be responsible for the structural design. He is now called the "Perito" and legally liable for the structural integrity of the building for the local conditions. In our case hurricanes.
3. C. Structural Building Plans, “Planos Estructurales”
These plans show us how to build your project. They detail exactly all dimensions, sizes, materials to be used for all structural elements from the foundations, footings, cement slabs, beams post and columns. The architect will do these plans together with the certified structural engineer. They will typically go back and forth a few times until they get the final design completed.
3. D. Hydraulic & Sewer Engineering Plans, “Plano Hidrosanitario”
These plans show all the hot and cold water lines, water pressure pump, drainage lines , sewer lines, any water filtration system, water heater systems. These plans will detail type, model and size of each element.
Note: Don't forget that even though its a warm climate here a swimming pool heater is a great asset from mid December to April.
3. E. Electrical Installation Plans, “Plano Eléctrico”
These plans will show all details of interior and exterior electrical. From the breaker box details to all lights, outlets, switches, TV, internet, alarm system, CCTV, audio and phones.
3. F. Propane Installation Plan, “Plano de Gas”
These plans show where the gas lines will be run. Typically these are for cook tops, ovens, water heater, clothes dryers, outside BBQ or swimming pool heater.
Note: Although many folks in Mexico use gas water heaters the "on demand" and tankless water heaters are a great energy saver.
3. G. Air Conditioning Plans, “Plano de Aire Acondicionado”
These plans show all installation details including plumbing and electrical.
There are 2 types of air conditioning systems to choose from either central air or mini-splits. Central air is a little more expensive since it requires drop ceilings to hide the units whereas mini-splits have the units exposed on the wall. Either units work great.
3. H. Carpentry Plans, “Plano Carpintería”
These plans will show doors, closets, kitchens and any custom furniture that you require. It will detail type of wood to be used and finish. Our carpenters will make a sample of a finish to be approved by you before they begin work.
3. I. Window Plans, “Plano Cancelería”
The type of windows that you choose really depends upon your budget but this need to be chosen before hand so that a final budget can be agreed upon. This concept will also include hurricane shutters should you choose to install them.
3. J. Finishes, “Detalles de Acabados”
These plans are for all the remaining details such as choosing sinks, toilets, faucets, light switches, sockets, ceiling lights, exterior lights, paint colors, tiles and tile patterns etc.
4. Construction Permits (3 - 10 weeks)
All projects in Mexico must have a construction license before they can begin. We will advise you which permits we need and we will handle obtaining all of them for you.
If the project is not on the water this process is pretty simple because all you have to do is deal with the local municipality. The process typically take about 5 - 10 weeks to have final approval.
If the project is on the water then we have to obtain an environmental impact survey, “Manifesto de Impacto Ambiental”(MIA) and this will take about 6 months since it requires hiring a biologist and him doing an extensive survey. Then the permit is submitted to the federal government.
5. Final Budget and Construction Contract (2 - 3 weeks)
Whilst we are waiting for the construction permits, work can be completed on the final budget. A complete budget is made detailing every concept and sometimes refining an architects design ideas to be more practical and hence more cost effective. We call this cost management, financial.
Clients decide upon which type of contract they would like to enter into.
- 1.Fixed Budget - A fixed price is given to the clients with a timeline and schedule.
- 2.Admin Fee - We charge an administrative fee on top of the cost of the materials and labor. Typically we charge between 12% - 15% depending on the size of the project.
As part of the contract we agree upon a payment plan and how the clients will send the payment.
6. Construction (6 - 12 months)
Depending on the location, size, details and sometimes weather conditions (i.e. rainy season) or time of the year (i.e. Easter or Christmas periods) the project could take as little as 6 months or as long as 12 months.
Each week, first thing on a Tuesday morning we will email a cost report detailing bills of materials and labor and percentages of work complete for each concept. We will also send photographs for your review. Monthly reports will have the same details as the weekly reports but will also detail any “Change orders.”
7. Inspection for Completion of Construction, "Finiquito de Obra"
At the end of construction the local municipality will come to the project and sign off that it has been completed according to the building permit. We will hand to you the "Carta de Razonabilidad de Pago" otherwise known as "Finiquito de Obra" which terminates our construction.