I already bought a lot, now what?
To successfully achieve your project it is important to be clear about all the parameters from start to finish. In this article, we are going to explain all the steps to be prepared for how the different stages work and what one can expect in terms of time and costs to make their dream come true.
First of all, it is important to choose your architect, that professional will be your privileged interlocutor throughout the process. It is important to have a good connection with him since he will be in charge of understanding him and translating his ideas into a concept and plans that will soon form a space that he will have to appropriate.
STEP 01. The site visit
During the first meeting with your architect, you will be able to talk about what you want to do and plan on your lot. Here you can come with a lot of clarity about what you want or still be a little lost, do not worry because the architect’s mission is to guide you throughout this process to achieve something that you like. Once you have the land purchased, it is important to define what can or cannot be done. Having the land use at hand (document that is requested in the municipality of the locality of your land) you can make a site visit where the architect will have the opportunity to visualize the space and understand the urban or environmental context in which you will find and analyze the orientation and views.
At this stage it is good to define what your budget is based on your needs. If you have no idea how much the work costs, the architect can give you an estimate depending on the complexity of what is going to be planned and the type of finishes you want to install.
STEP 02. Preliminary Studies
In the preliminary visit, if you already know where you want to place your project, it will be defined if soil studies are required and thus know the capacity of the land to receive the construction, which is essential to define the depth of the foundation. Depending on the density and composition of the soil, it can greatly influence the cost of construction. In case of having a steep lot, the study of the topography should be contemplated, that to obtain the contour lines. These studies are usually carried out only in the area where the project will be carried out since they are quite expensive. In the event of a river, stream or simply being near a primary forest, environmental impact studies may be required. To prepare the documents for the presentation of permits you will need:
– Availability of water, with AyA (Costa Rican Institute of Aqueducts and Sewers)
– Availability of electricity, with the ICE (Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad)
– Cadastral Plans, in the municipality
– Literal certification of ownership, with the BCR or in the national registry
– Good billing views, Payments to the day of land taxes, with the municipality It is advisable to have these documents before starting the construction process, since each one takes time.
STEP 03. Preliminary draft
In order to arrive at an architectural quality project and for you to have all the satisfaction, it is important to spend a good time on the preliminary project. Each architect has a unique creative process in which you must have your space to interact, comment and define what you like and what you don’t.
The architect has the arduous mission of translating an idea into a three-dimensional model that reflects his identity and tastes in a work that makes sense. Hand in hand with the architect, we recommend that you verify that the spaces are in order, that they are of an ideal size and that the distribution and circulation are comfortable and functional.
It is essential to ask questions about what you do not understand, the more interaction, the better the project will come out because you will have been part of the process and you will live your project with greater understanding. At this stage, the architect must provide you with a distribution plan, representative images of the project and an approximate estimate so that you can visualize your investment.
STEP 04. Construction Plans
From now on, a slightly more technical phase begins, no panic, we will guide you so that you can maintain control. First, the set of architectural plans will be made, these will allow defining the finishes and details of the project, as well as the lighting system. You have to validate these plans because based on them the construction work will be carried out. After that, you have to hire the engineers who will carry out the structural plans (civil engineer), the electromechanical plans (electrical engineer and mechanical engineer) and the monitoring of the work. You have the possibility of hiring the engineers individually or within a company, who usually also offer the construction of the work. It is better to have few interlocutors to avoid getting lost in the process. To choose the engineering and / or construction office, you can ask for a recommendation from your architect who works hand in hand with trusted engineers. They can also check with various companies to get an idea of construction costs and make sure they meet your needs. We advise you to sit down with each engineer so that they can explain the specifications of the plans and that you are clear about what is to be done, even if it is synthetically.
STEP 05. Detailed budget
The detailed budget is essential to obtain a loan with a bank and ideal to be clear about the investment for each area of construction and have better control over prices. It is useful to avoid surprises during the work, especially if it is not a turnkey project, a modality according to the CFIA in which the finished work is delivered to the client since the professional makes all the purchases of materials and directs the construction.
STEP 06. Permissions
The set of plans will be presented digitally to the CFIA (Federated College of Engineers and Architects), they will assess the total value of the project and on this estimated amount of construction the value of the CFIA permit will be provided (0.33% of the total value of the work) it must be paid to receive approval in a fairly short time. Then the payment to the INS (National Insurance Institute) must be canceled to insure the work during the construction process (1.33% of the total value of the work). The third step is the presentation of the plans to the MUNICIPALITY to receive the construction permit where a 1% tax will have to be paid on the amount of the work. You will have to arm yourself with patience during this stage since the times for obtaining permits vary according to the municipality. Your project may require obtaining permits with SETENA (National Environmental Technical Secretariat) this study is carried out if there is a large amount of earth movement, if there is a river or nearby natural parks. It is also carried out for the construction of a hotel infrastructure. This process can take much longer to obtain permits. For this permit, a deposit of 1.5% of the value of the construction will be made, an amount that will be credited at the end of the construction. The detailed budget is essential to obtain a loan with a bank and ideal to be clear about the investment for each area of construction and have better control over prices. It is useful to avoid surprises during the work, especially if it is not a turnkey project, a modality according to the CFIA in which the finished work is delivered to the client since the professional makes all the purchases of materials and directs the construction.
STEP 07. Construction
The work is a moment of many emotions, the ideas are materializing. For you it is an intense stage because it is already the moment where the payments for the work begin. In addition, good communication is needed between you, the architect, the engineers and the master builder as a work team is generated and sometimes led by different interests.
That is why it is important to have a good construction company to ensure a good guideline and that everyone is fulfilling their part until the end of the work. The architect watches over the quality of the design and the finishes, the engineers over the construction monitoring and the conformity of the facilities.
The manager takes care of the schedule and your investment. In the end, everyone looks out for their interests, but the economic factor may force compromises that affect the parameters of one or the other of the construction actors.
Inspection, technical direction or administration?
To carry out the work, you will have to hire the work monitoring services in the form of Technical Direction or Administration.
Inspection: The professional must supervise the important details and finishes that are important to the client, he must also advise so that what was drawn in the plans is built and respected. The builders and foreman are hired by the client or by the construction company if one was hired. The inspection has a cost of 3% of the total value of the work.
Technical management: In the event that a construction company is hired, the professional of this acquires responsibility for the work, in this case the professional must ensure the inspection, scheduling and control of the work, with him you can direct and build the work, but you will have to ensure the purchase of materials and manage the budget for the different payments. The technical direction has a cost of 5% of the total value of the work.
Administration: In this type of service, the responsible professional must ensure the inspection, organization and progress of the work in the different stages, it also manages financial resources, in order to properly use the client’s economic resources and complete the work of construction according to the established schedule, that is, it quotes and buys the materials while directing the work and looking for the best options for the client. The administration has a cost of 12% of the total value of the work.
Conventional or turnkey work contract?
Regarding the contract of the work with the construction company, you can opt for a conventional construction system where you pay according to the progress and material expenses, that is, with a good management of resources and time, you will be able to have a cost of work cheaper than the other modality. However, all delays, additional purchase of material, unforeseen and unforeseen things will be at your expense and represent a parameter that can be a stress during the construction process if you do not manage it yourself.
The other option is a turnkey construction, it has a slightly higher cost, but it forces the builder to anticipate all unforeseen events. A fixed amount is established before the work and the builder will have to assume the risks. The changes and additions are renegotiated during the process, but in general it allows you to have a lot of peace of mind with the issue that the work does not exceed the investment you want to make.
If you have questions about the stages of a construction project, you can write to us at