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House Building

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Shaz124
8/10/2016 13:36 EST

Hello my is Shaz I am living in England at the moment but I am considering building a three bed room house in Jamaica. Have anyone got an idea how much this will cost. Nothing too fancy seeking a comfortable home to live in.

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LoriB
8/10/2016 15:33 EST

Keep in mind, this is just my opinion...No one will ever say how much it costs to build a house! I don't think many people 'do it that way'. They start with a home design and go from there. The devaluation of currency and fuel pricing affects the materials costs.

Same way, you will never get a complete list of materials for any stage of work or specific project of the work. Sometimes that's good, as you don't want to have too much supplies on property that have to be guarded. And you can't buy cement in advance because it doesn't store for long (hardens). On the other hand, you will be grieved when the same tradesman sends you back to the hardware store for more screws, washers, wire, board, etc.

Again, only my opinion, labor is 'cheap' compared to a developed, regulated country. However, you must be absolutely diligent to oversee everything that is going on, and at times TELL them how you want something done, not just let them run with their repetitious ways of doing things.

They have much skill and experience and they can make anything 'work' but, they don't always know how to do things properly. Examples: drop-in kitchen basins and the back flange of a bathtub.

It will be most helpful if you have some previous construction/remodeling experience yourself. Even if you have a contractor handling the project, you will need to oversee his work and be the overall contractor of your own project.

You will be able to negotiate pricing of some of the work, materials, delivery fees. However, you will also be viewed as having more ability to pay because you have had more ability to earn.

In the end it may cost more or less than you anticipate. It may take LONGER than you think.

And if you don't yet have a piece of land well, that's a work in itself. :)

Forum members, did I cover the basics?

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luvvinlife
8/10/2016 15:40 EST

Yes, that's a GREAT answer and not one piece of it should be left out. I've seen many being built and been around for some of the blunders. Very well done.

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Gardis
8/10/2016 19:41 EST

Lori, yes that was an excellent and comprehensive answer. I would caution this person also that living abroad and having a house built in Jamaica is, perhaps, not the wisest idea. She should definitely not only be on the island, but living on the site! Stealing of construction materials is a major problem that must be addressed. Personally, I would recommend just buying a ready turn key property. Save yourself a lot of headaches.

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luvvinlife
8/10/2016 21:14 EST

Yes, even better...buy one, rather than build...simple is good.

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RickBlaine
8/11/2016 10:27 EST

http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/business/To-build-or-to-buy_8561297

Although the article is 5 years old it does provide some good information with building cost (in 2011) being $10,000 to $12,000 (JMD) per square foot.

Personal experience: I built a house back in 2004 in a Chicago suburb. I was the general contractor and I subbed out a lot of the work (I did the interior floors and tile work). It was a nightmare!!! I would never do it again... and that was in the states. Unless you don't have the funds and have to build it yourself (doing most of the work) you'd have to be insane to build a house here (or you will be before the house is finished.)

My wife's cousin is building his own home. He's in his early 30s and has a shell with living room, one bedroom, small kitchen and bathroom. He works on it when he has the time and money. So far it's been a 4 year project with at least that many more years to completion. Just Food for Thought.

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Gardis
8/11/2016 17:53 EST

Rick that was an excellent post, very informative. Another controversy with building is that Jamaica has a squatting problem. You could be in the middle of building, leave the island for a few weeks, and then come back and there are squatters on your land. Very big and serious problem to get rid of. Someone needs to be on site every day to have it work.

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isme888
8/12/2016 10:29 EST

Hi
We live in Canada and are building a house just out of May Pen. And like every one says costs fluxuate and so expect to pay more than quoted. And Yes you really need to have someone like VERY close family to overlook things. We pay them to keep an eye. Otherwise if your not robbed supplies then things disapear. We also hired a night watch man who is not part of the building crew so a less likely-hood he will turn a blind eye to his builder friends stealing. Also our builder sends us whats up video posts. Which is so fabulous and a definite MUSt as we can always say show me this or that.
Good luck.

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Shaz124
8/15/2016 06:54 EST

Hello, Thank you for your input however I still don't have an idea on the cost of building a three bedroom house in a rural area in Jamaica, I have now come to realise that people do not let you know what they paid. I don't understand why not I guess that it is a taboo subject, Thanks for replying to my request
Best Wishes Shaz

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RickBlaine
8/15/2016 08:21 EST

Shaz!! 30 seconds on Google and I found your answer!!! According to two articles I found; one in the Jamaica Observer from 2011 and the other in The Gleaner - 2012.

"To build a 1,000-1,200 square feet lower-middle income two-bedroom cottage such as are available in Portmore costs around J$6,000-$7,200 per square feet or just over J$7 million with typical building finishes, such as post-formed countertops and alu-steel roofing, the quantity surveyor said."

and the other

"Typically, our research indicates that the cost of building a home (in Jamaica) will cost somewhere between $10,000 to $12,000 per square foot,"

So there... you have a range of J$6,000 to J$12,000 per square foot and if you can't convert JMD that is 36 to 73 GBP or $47 - $95 USD.

A typical 3 bedroom house is on average 1200 - 1300 square feet. That translates to J$7.2 million to J$16 million. OH, let me convert that for you too.. 44,000 GBP - 98,000 GBP.

Now of course all this is subjective to your tastes, location, design, availability of materials and/or finishes you desire. Understand that you could spend $10 for a light fixture or $300 for one. A sink is not a sink, nor is a toilet.

Understand that it's most likely people on the forum didn't ignore your question cause the subject was "taboo"... perhaps they have no experience in building a house!!!

This is Jamaica, and "It Is What It Is" my friend. So if you ARE considering relocating & living here just accept the way things are otherwise you'll be miserable living on the island.

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Shaz124
8/15/2016 11:05 EST

Hi Rick Thank you for the information it was very formative I appreciate the time you took to explain things to me hopefully the information will help others like me at least now I have an idea on how much I may be having to spend love Shaz

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lala718
8/16/2016 11:37 EST

Hi Shazz,
While you will not receive such personal information as to how much one paid to build their home, let me add that the cost of land should also be factored in. Saying u want to build a 3 bedroom still isn't enough info. Bedroom sizes, #s of bathrooms, kitchen, storage, etc has to be included. A contractor is your best option. They will do the drawing, get it passed (can take a while to get parish council's approval), then u can begin your foundation. I built a beautiful home there from scratch n I have no regrets. I can recommen the contractor too. Best of luck. You can pm me if u need further help.

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