We passed our Spring Break in San Pancho. We rented a whole house, similar in quality to what we are building on our lot. The weather was amazing, the people of San Pancho as always welcoming and friendly with great tasting food.
The house we rented in San Pancho is in a similar location to our lot. Not far from the beach and relatively close to the village of San Pancho without having to deal with the loud noises from the San Pancho tourists and vacationers.
We walked to our lovely jungle lot and we are so excited, we can’t wait for our Selva Suites home to be ready. The building permit has been given, we have purchased the first materials and are almost ready to hit the ground.
We have received from our engineer some building estimates. Prices can and will fluctuate depending on many factors such as the global commodity exchange of raw building materials, exchange rates, your choice of engineering manager, architect etc. As a result, I am not going to report the exact prices in this blog. However, I will report high-level expectations and actual.
From our prior research, we had received estimates and were expecting a wide range of $50 to $200 per square foot. We have now landed on an approximate estimate of $100 per square foot. This level is with good quality, experienced project manager, but not necessarily one of the “famous”, “big-name” building companies in the area who will charge a hefty premium for that brand big famous name. Also, this estimate is with very good quality building materials, cement and rebars, Hebel/Aircrete for the walls, one of the best quality and durable PVC plumbing piping, ecological applications such as solar energy, solar water heating, and custom architectural design such as ours.
It is important to have the assistance from people who can manage the whole project from the beginning to the end. You have continuity, communication and knowledge transfer among the different parties working on the project when it is managed by a single company.
After researching a lot we went with Evolutionary Consulting Solarium Vita ( www.EvolutionaryConsulting.com/build.php ). They have long experience both in the US, the Mexican and particularly the San Pancho, Sayulita and Lo de Marcos markets. The combination of this market experience was important because they know both the legal requirements and materials offered on both sides and can make smart recommendations based on facts on the ground.
At a previous post, I discussed the materials to be used for the walls. We had the choice of regular cement blocks or bricks, the Convitek and later we were looking at Hebel and Aircrete.
Hebel and Aircrete are brand names companies in Mexico making a building material mixing cement, other materials and air. The production process created a building block which is lightweight, very tough when you hit it directly, yet soft enough to be able to be cut using a hand-saw. Installation time is very fast, using simple adhesive on all sides. The air pockets within the building block functions as a sound and thermal insulation system. This eliminates the need for additional installation of other materials for sound and thermal insulation. The building material is also able to withstand being in direct flame for four hours.
On a overall $250,000 to $400,000 building cost, the cost difference using Hebel/Aircrete vs regular cement block is estimated at $15,000. Taking into consideration the value and benefits it is a no-brainer and makes absolute sense to use Hebel or Aircrete.
We have also had some long meetings working on several building details. We have made 90% of the decisions for the number and locations of the electrical outlets and light switches. We have decided the route and functionality of the water supply piping, water storage and distribution, gas storage and distribution, gray water treatment.
Water and gas lines along with their respective controlling valves will be easily accessible for fast and easy access when there is a need for a repair.
The property has the appropriate surface inclinations so that the rain water can be collected and drained into the quite large cisterns. We are looking at one or two-cistern system with a range of 115 m3 to 180 m3 water storage facilities. This should provide us for quite a healthy safety large quantity of water supply in case of government water shortages
The stored water will be maintained and treated with chlorine and filtration both while stored in the cistern and with a whole house water filter before the water enters the house for consumption for shower or cooking.
Our engineer will be working in the coming weeks to create the project labor calendar and line up the builders. So everything is shaping up and is falling into place to be ready to break ground and start construction by the time the building permit is issued in about a month’s time from now.
We are still in search of the ideal material to build Selva Suites. In this earlier post, I discussed the Convitec material. While Convitec might be economical with some thermal and sound insulating properties, we are concerned about its stability, strength, and durability. I read in some forums of some people who had the unfortunate experience of mice or critters getting within the walls, under the stucco, eating away the material. In some cases, it was attributed to bad workmanship. However, what would be the long-term maintenance to keep this hermetically closed, so that critters do not get it? This is a concern.
An alternative that we are considering is a relatively new technology of synthetic cement blocks. These type of cement blocks were initially created by mixing concrete with ashes, creating air bubbles within the block. However, the challenge with this is that the recipe must be very accurate to produce a good and consistent-quality result. The technology evolved and new formulas which appear to be more stable producing a more consistent result. Every country and cement producing company markets the same material under a different brand name. In Mexico, there are two companies Aircrete and Hebel.
The material they sell has some amazing results and properties. The Aircrete and Hebel blocks are very light compared to regular cement blocks. It is easier and cheaper to transport. It appears to be easier and faster to install than regular cement blocks. Because of the air bubbles within the block, it provides extreme thermal and sound insulation. It is hard and solid, yet it can be cut easily even with a regular manual saw and it is extremely easy with an automated saw to cut through the lines for water and power. The installation videos available on YouTube appear simple. The material can withstand to be exposed to a continuous fire of four hours!!
We have requested more information and quotes from these companies. We hope the price is going to be appropriate for our budget and comparable to regular cement blocks.
This is the latest 3D Video Render of the Selva Suites home. Good things are coming. We will be getting a more precise construction cost analysis and we are collecting now all necessary documents for the building permit. Enjoy the video.
Enjoy the Drone video footage of our lot in San Pancho where Selva Suites home for rent will be built. Look at the amazing ocean and jungle views we will be having and look at the quiet beach which is only 4 minutes walk from our lot.
Xmas and New Year Vacation in Puerto Vallarta and San Pancho (San Francisco, Nayarit), Mexico
We have had a great time for our New Year vacation in San Pancho and Puerto Vallarta. We spent several days in San Pancho. The village was busy, but not too busy and this is the charm of San Pancho which has just the right amount of activity to make it pleasant, as opposed to the saturated and overcrowded Punta Mita and Sayulita.
The restaurants were in full swing, there was live music and people danced in the streets. The beach was busy only at the main point at the end of the Tercer Mundo street leaving both sides/edges of the San Pancho beach with sparse specs of vacationing tourists.
In the opposite spectrum you have Punta Mita and Sayulita which get so crowded that you can hardly walk the streets. You can easily get into a stalling traffic waiting for about 30 minutes to get a parking spot. I was told that one Easter (Semana Santa) Sayulita was so crowded that the police closed its entrance and would no longer allow people to enter the village!!!!
We walked along the San Pancho beach with the kids all the way to our lot. The kids were really excited as it was their first time to visit the lot and our youngest 7 year old was surprised that there was not already a house built! 😊 LOL
We took a great drone video of the lot from several points of view and it will give you a perspective of what the lot looks like the surrounding lush jungle and the amazing views to be enjoyed once Selva Suites is built and ready to accept vacationers. I am in the process of editing the drone footage and adding some music. The drone video includes footage of the nearest beach area only 3 minute walk from Selva Suites. I will be posting the video soon on YouTube.
Building Project of Selva Suites in San Pancho.
We have concluded these steps: Closed the property purchase with the Title (Escrituras). Completed Topography, Land and Soil Survey, removed some trees, Architectural Design, Environmental Impact analysis happy to already have it.
The next step will be the Structural analysis. We are receiving three quotes for this. Based on the prior steps, the Structural
Analysis will be done to provide the recommended quantity of materials (cement, rebars etc) needed to built our dream place. This will be created and signed by a Civil Engineer who will ultimately be legally responsible for the safe and sound structure of the project, so this is an extremely important step. Also based on this analysis, we will be able to get a better cost estimate of building the home and the vacation rental rooms.
Also we have started deciding in the interior and exterior wall finishes.
They will be flat, clean, contemporary, minimalistic. They will be primed, painted and sealed with special liquid used on beachfront homes to withstand the salty ocean winds.
We are also now starting to consider potential building materials for the walls for our Selva Suites in San Pancho. We want it to be cost efficient, easy to manage and build, long lasting
and environmentally friendly. While in San Pancho the construction of the walls that I have noticed, has been done with traditional cement
blocks and steel rebars for seismic reinforcement, our architect has recommended a material he has used and after researching
in various forums and websites, it appears to be a great option. It is called Convitec. It is Styrofoam reinforced with a structurally advantaged steel mesh. The theoretical advantages of this material are:
Structural Strength and Integrity
The diagonal zig-zag steel mesh is supposed to be stronger and more flexible than a traditional square/cube design in case of an earthquake.
These “walls” come in prefabricated sizes and are installed on-site. They are easier and faster to install. They are lighter to transport than cement blocks. It provides integrated enhanced insulation to what I have read is about R25, therefore saving on energy bills.
Risks of Convitec
Some of the potential risks that I read were that the workers must have experience working with this material. They must know the installation process and be monitored carefully that they do a good job. Part of the process is that the walls are covered with cement. That cement coverage need to be sprayed adequately so that it dries properly. If it is not done correctly in read that within a couple of years the wall may develop cracks on the surface.
Another cautionary information is that the steel wire mesh must be reinforced with additional rebars spaced appropriately. The wall corners where two walls meet must also be reinforced with additional wire mesh and steel rebars shaped in L form.
Finally, I read that it must be covered in cement completely and be done well, so that critters, mice or rats do not manage to get within the wall and eat away the insulating Styrofoam.
The encouraging news is that I have been reading that this material is used extensively in Latin American countries such Costa Rica, Panama, Ecuador and Mexico, places which have similar warm and humid climate as we have in the Banderas beachfront area which include Punta Mita, Sayulita, our vacation rental accommodation suites in San Pancho and Lo de Marcos.
Do you have any experience with this building material? Please comment below.
We are also starting to be looking into other finishes like tile flooring, plumbing details, vanities and more. This year of 2019 will be extremely busy and exciting!
This is an example of a flower you would be encountering on your walk from Selva Suites rental property to the beach or the village of San Pancho.
While most people look for vacation rentals in Sayulita or Punta Mita, they forget to look into the quaint and posh village of San Pancho.
As soon as our Selva Suites is ready, it will have amazing views and incredible nature sounds with all the modern comforts.