Progress Update – Week 02

First, the bad news. We lost the mature Guanacaste tree near the street. It was on the hill above the driveway entrance. Apparently the earth work cut in to its root zone too far. It fell over this week. I knew there was a possibility we were disturbing its roots so much that it might die…slowly. At least this way it’s done and it fell onto open ground so it did no harm. Guanacaste is the national tree of Costa Rica. It is one of the protected trees and a favorite of all three species of monkeys, sloths and many of the interesting birds so we are sad to see it go. We will definitely plant a few more on the property to honor it.

On a much happier note, the crew got lots of work done this week. They finished the rough cut for the foundation. They got the house marked out with string and began digging trenches for the structural beams. They also made progress in preparing the steel cages that will be part of the structure of the house.

In several of the photos you’ll see the strings running from the hillside over to a rather makeshift looking wooden frame. Those represent the level of the floor in the bedroom wing. It’s difficult to see but it does give an indication of how high the house will be above the driveway.

One other important note about the job site… you’ll see there are very few power tools or other labor saving devices on the site. While the rough area was cut out with a backhoe, all the trenches are being dug with shovels and the rebar is being bent by hand. When you build in Costa Rica you really do get a hand made house.

Progress Update – Week 01

The first week of construction began with a few minor issues regarding the fact that the electric meter for the neighboring lot was directly in the middle of what is to be the entrance to our driveway. He had been informed many times over the last year that it needed to be moved but had done nothing to remedy the situation as of the Friday before our construction crew was to begin. He had his crew out over the weekend so that on Monday our crew could begin. Nothing like waiting till the last minute.

Our builder, Fernando, made excellent progress. They had to clear some undergrowth and cut temporary steps into the hillside to ease access to the build site. They constructed a short wall between our property and the neighbor to insure rain runoff does not flow across their driveway and into their pool.The crew began construction on the ‘bodega’, a small temporary structure that will be used to lock up equipment and it will be the residence for the onsite security guard for the duration of construction.

Fernando brought the surveyor out early in the week to mark off the perimeter of the house and driveway. On Friday, they rolled in with the backhoe. In one day they completed the rough cut of the driveway, cleared all the undergrowth from the footprint of the house and began cutting in for the foundation of the house. They also started assembling the steel rebar that will go into the support columns.

After all the waiting it is really very exciting to see so much progress in just one week.