WryAwry

Free advice offered.

20 posts in this topic

Really. Free. Not even $9.99 Balboas.

Don't hesitate to ask for expert (but remote) advice about your construction/building project -- especially plumbing needs. 

It's what I do. Maybe I can help you save a few bucks.

 

Dav 

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Hi Dav

I am happy to see your help is available for such a price. While researching a build outside volcan it becomes evident to me fleshing out of options will benefit by getting your input.

To be on page l can share that l have good exp in the trades in the US.  And need pointers a bit at a time Pana style and practices accordingly. Can you help out? maybe tell me who out this way is a good contact for a practical approach?

Thank you. Phil 

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Hey, Phil,

First, get current, local recommendations and referrals for architects/builders. Excersize all due diligence prior to starting. Something that nearly nipped us was adherence to labor laws. Talk to your abogado about ensuring that everything is a lawful -- and SPECIFIC -- subcontract unless you want to find yourself an employer. Every detail should be in writing. Your expectations will be meaningless unless the specifics have been negotiated in writing in advance. Plan on supervising every trade for every step, and pay for nothing up front without specific performance guarantees. There seems to be an unfortunate tendency to take the money and run. If you can General your job vis-a-vis material requisition, you can be money ahead as long as you can effectively estimate quantities and critical-path scheduling.

It was long ago that I was involved with construction projects down there. Specific issues that I experienced were mostly structural: concrete and steel. Batch mixing was unheard of at the residential construction level, necessitating careful observance of continuous structural placement. I specified my own reinforcement schedules based on experience with an eye toward seismic integrity and comprehensive bonding. You may wish to consult with a structural engineer or at the least with an architect well-versed in structural elements. I saw projects with structural concrete lintels and beams poured over ensuing days with cold joints mid-span. Yi! 

As far as plumbing goes, it seemed routine to encase piping without pressure testing -- just stupid, in my experience. PEX water distribution had not happened yet, I'd be curious to know if this product is now available, as it should be. There also seemed to be a casual ignorance of venting drain lines. I wonder if mechanical air vents have been adopted down there yet. Plan for adequate surplus  water storage and treatment as necessary. It goes without saying that sanitary drainage should be very carefully -- and preferably professionally -- designed.

Undertake careful planning for anticipated electrical loads, and be prepared to ensure adequate outlets are designed-in. You may need specific professional planning for data/media cabling. Consider LED lighting and even small-scale 12v solar back-up lighting.

Lastly, personal security is really job one. Everything needs to be nailed-down until it's nailed-up, and contingency planning needs to be a priority in every step of your design work. Secured fuel tanks, secured power supply, secured storage, plenty of security lighting, defensible space, etc.

 

Enjoy the pursuit of the "Seven P 's".

 

Dav

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Thanks this at all helps a great deal Dav. I especially needed reminders on the severity of labor laws and general work habits. I can add this to my files and be aware, a bunch 

more in here is valuable... One question l have is where to find the water and electric guys and importantly when I can get either, I heard a sort of catch 22 is involved, in that you need a structure to get services.? 

 Another one l have is on permit interaction. That is when I have septic and slab plans, I find the municipal engineer 

 submit it, get it stamped & have the guy dig the holes do a perc and install within a week or so?      

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Questions for those who have most recently jumped thru the hoops. Anybody?

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jumpingthruhoops.gif.280982105353cf1be2d

W H A T ' S   B E S T ?

Left to right

Right to left

Coriolis this way

Coriolis that way

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Just from 8 3/4 years of living here....speak and understand Spanish if you consider building.  If you do not speak Spanish then you might consider a contractor who is bilingual.     Trust.  Who can you trust?...............construction theft here is big-time and the very guy you trusted might be the very one you shouldn't have.  This goes from fronting $ to theft of electric wire by your qualified electrician ( both stories are one's my friends experienced...$8000.00 gone on fronting to the most trustworthy fellow on earth and spools of electric wire in the electrician's duffle )   Many folks here hire a man to watch your site at night.  Done assume you can trust that guy either.

The details of engineering problems that Dav alluded to are big issues and generally areas that can cause major headaches.  

Design-in your general home security....whether you decide on window bars, security screens and perimeter walls; IF you are planning to live in a fairly isolated area these things have to be considered here.  Even in populated areas...home invasions are a reality here and it will not be going away soon. 

Building a home here is a daunting task .....expect the road to be rocky.

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11 hours ago, Brundageba said:

Just from 8 3/4 years of living here....speak and understand Spanish if you consider building.  If you do not speak Spanish then you might consider a contractor who is bilingual.     Trust.  Who can you trust?...............construction theft here is big-time and the very guy you trusted might be the very one you shouldn't have.  This goes from fronting $ to theft of electric wire by your qualified electrician ( both stories are one's my friends experienced...$8000.00 gone on fronting to the most trustworthy fellow on earth and spools of electric wire in the electrician's duffle )   Many folks here hire a man to watch your site at night.  Done assume you can trust that guy either.

The details of engineering problems that Dav alluded to are big issues and generally areas that can cause major headaches.  

Design-in your general home security....whether you decide on window bars, security screens and perimeter walls; IF you are planning to live in a fairly isolated area these things have to be considered here.  Even in populated areas...home invasions are a reality here and it will not be going away soon. 

Building a home here is a daunting task .....expect the road to be rocky.

 

Having in the construction business all my life and being an emeritus member of the Panamanian Construction Chamber I could tell you some other hints and tips.

 

Some people in this site and the other site has always recommended and advised people that speaking and understanding Spanish is a must if you are going to be involved in any kind of business.   You must understand the maximum possible of the language to understand about laws, permits, materials, specifications, wants and desires in your construction project.  Even if you use a bilingual contractor you should at least understand what it is being said, what it is being written, etc.   

First you will need to make drawings or planos of your project.   Hire a good architec and explain him/her all the stuff you wanted in your house.  All the specs you wanted, the type of materials, the quality of the materials, the roof, the electrical wiring, the spaces needed, etc.  It is here where you should place all the details for your dream house.  One set of drawings will be for the contractor and the other set of drawing is for you to keep safe in your possession.  

There are good and very bad contractors.  So use formal companies with good references and reputation.   Small contractors are full of problems, are not good administrators, they don't manage well their finances and your money could be lost paying the losses he got from other projects or mismanaging yours.   So it is very important that you ask him an estimate for the job you are requiring and write a contract - IN SPANISH.  The legal language in Panama is still spanish and it will be solved by any legal instances in Panama quicker and easier.  Cover everything you may consider important in the contract.  Very clear.   If the project has some high cost I would recommend to ask the contractor for BONDS issued by any insurance company to you as the customer.   There are : Fianza de Cumplimiento - Performance Bond, and there are other Bonds you could ask him for quality, payment, etc.  Contact your insurance agent for more information about the bonds.  If you are required to give the contractor and advanced payment you could ask him a Bond to protect that payment.   It could increase a little the project because the contractor will include the cost of the bonds in the price given to you (interest and handling) but you will sleep deep and happy knowing that you are totally covered.  Money is a very precious asset you should take care jealously.

Quality of materials:  State in your contract that the contractor should ask you for the approval of the material he will use in the project.  They should submit you the material before being bought and installed.  Written and signed.  

Payments: state in your contract that you will be giving the other payments according to the percentage of the advance of the project.  Not more not less.   For example: you you gave a 15% to the contractor as an advanced and initial payment.   You will give the contractor another 10% when he reaches 25% of advance of the project.   You will give the contractor another 25% when he reaches the 50% of the advance of the project.  Next 25% will be when he reaches the 75% of the advance of the project.   When the contractor reaches the 100% of the project you will give him a payment of 15% of the total owed and will retain a 10% to be paid after 30 days of your final inspection and acceptance of the work done.  This will cover you for any quality issue, repairs and correction to be done in the project, cleaning of the job site and waste disposal of the debris and trash, and for the contractor to get for you the Permit of occupation of your new home.

If the contractor is going to do this job for you he should hire a watchman because he will leave tools and equipment and the construction material on the job site and he will have to cover for it if they are stolen.  It is not your fault.   

 

I am not a lawyer but I am almost one after working in this trade business for many years.  I am not a contractor but a construction repair material specialist and have done this before when installing or applying my materials in a project.

 

Hope this helps

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I will explain this pic that talks about problems in communication in any project

 

1.  How it was explained by the customer

2.  How it was understood by the project leader

3.  How it was designed by the Analyst

4.  How the product was programmed

5.  How it was described by the business consultant

6.  What is actually documented of the product and the project

7.  What has been installed for the operation

8.  What was charged or invoiced

9.  The product support

10.  What the customer really needed.

 

COMMUNICATION IS A MUST.

 

 

Diseno.png

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The English-speaking online community is very fortunate to have you as a friend, Roger. Thanks and Feliz Navidad.

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I agree with Keith Woolford, Roger.  Many thanks from me, too.

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2 hours ago, Keith Woolford said:

The English-speaking online community is very fortunate to have you as a friend, Roger. Thanks and Feliz Navidad.

From us too.

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What a blessing Roger followed us  and came over here to CL.   

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22 minutes ago, Brundageba said:

What a blessing Roger followed us  and came over here to CL.   

Yes, what they said.

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I do really appreciate your kind words.  I almost feel like family with most of you that have exchanged messages since day one I joined BN.  

I am so glad to help you with information and knowledge of some things about Panama and Panamanians.  To help you understand us a little bit more.... and for you to love us just a little bit more.  

Thanks people and.... Feliz Navidad y un Prospero Año Nuevo para todos.   

 

Edited by Roger B
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Exellente! y muchas gracias Roger, . clear & calmly described issues and answers that I'll need. y tambien feliz nav y prospero nuevo para mi!

I am considering perfab people out of PC at this time, even prior to reading the above good qualifiers.  

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Is there a decent prefab or modular company that you have heard of?

 I see a few websites out there and would guess as larger older companies that have a history, my only move now is to get info

about who is and who is not a going to be a good experience. And Roger, a dream home I wish.. lol, not so much for me, just a simple, nice and safe

place to be and enjoy the beauty of life.

thank you in advance

  

Edited by Philco
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It is a good feeling to know that the building where you spend lots of time is safe for your habitation. An important aspect of a safe building is how the water is managed. Water is life and it is critical that the water that you use in the building is safe for your use. It is also important that the waste water leaves the building safely to ensure that the environment is kept safe and adheres to health standards. Professional plumbing services are therefore a must in order to have proper water and waste management. Plumbing ensures that we are comfortable when we are in our homes or in any other building.

Edited by JohnnieHammond
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I would have to say....ability to speak and understand Spanish well would be a valuable asset.   I agree with Roger 100%

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