Building that dream home in the Caribbean (1)

Building a home in the Caribbean can be a most rewarding and satisfying experience. Even those who encountered difficulties stated that the pleasure derived from owning a home that you’ve dreamt about far outweighed those difficulties. Unfortunately, there are others whose attempts to build a home in the Caribbean were nothing short of a ‘Nightmare on Elm Street’.
There are two key factors to be addressed from the moment you decide that you would like to build your own style of home in the Caribbean. Firstly, careful planning of the entire process is essential, as without this you will be setting yourself up to fail. The second factor is ensuring that you employ reputable and reliable local professionals, whose credentials should be checked out before they start working for you. Failure to do so can be a very costly experience. With these two in place, you can begin the process to becoming the proud owner of a lovely home in the Caribbean.

You will need to obtain information about the land on which you intend to build your home in the Caribbean. Boundaries will need to be established to ensure that you do not exceed these, or that a neighbour has not encroached on your land. The type of soil on the land is another feature to be considered. Some types of soil require deep excavating for the laying of the foundations on which your property will sit. The deeper the foundations, the more costly.
You should also check that the land is not affected by any restrictive covenants that impact on the type of property you wish to build. For example, there may be a restrictive covenant stating that you can only build a single-storey property, which would make it unsuitable for building a two-storey property. Some restrictive covenants dictate that no business shall be carried on at any property built on the subject land, which again will make it unsuitable if you are planning to run certain types of business from the property. A home office is not usually a problem, unless there are streams of people coming to the property whose presence is affecting your neighbours.

Depending on your budget, you may opt to employ the services of an architect, whose role will be to design the style of home that you wish to build. Your architect can also co-ordinate the different disciplines involved with the building process. These include such persons as a quantity surveyor to cost up the project, and a structural engineer whose role is to ensure that the property is safely constructed.

It is not uncommon in the Caribbean for some building contractors to be sufficiently experienced and skilled to undertake an entire building project. They draw up and submit plans, cost up the project and construct the property, with labourers employed by them to undertake various aspects of the build. Deciding on whether to use an architect or a skilled and experienced contractor for building will depend on budget and type of property you wish to build


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7 Comments to “Building that dream home in the Caribbean (1)”

  1. Great Information, love the content….. Ensure that you have proper payment system when paying the contractor to avoid scam contractors….

    I wrote an Ebook on Caribbean Construction Planning – archplansonline/freebook

    Damar Hutchinson,
    Architectural Plans Online

  2. kd says:

    I will build a house but do not know what it costs, the house that I will build may not cost more than 30,000 pounds.
    and it is all but out plot

  3. Marc says:

    Very helpful article.

    I’ve got a half built property which needs to be built and reconstructed. I have no idea where to start or how much it’s going to cost. The cost and the trust for Jamaican builders scare me. It’s a family property which I would love to see built.

  4. Percy says:

    Hello, great article.
    My family has a 4 acre property, it’s on a hill side and i’m wondering if I need a topographic survey to give to an architect so that he can start the design process. I already have a boundary survey and I was told typically people don’t get topographic surveys in the islands, and just work with an architect. Any advice? I personally think 4 acres on hill side is a lot to leave up to just an architect.

    • Thank you for your kind comments regarding our article. Many individuals building homes in the Caribbean do not commission topographic surveys, which is not to say that it is right not to do so. Building a property on a 4-acre hillside lot is very different to a ‘standard’ sized flat parcel of land. I will email you outside of this platform to discuss further.

  5. Marjorie says:

    Keep up the great work , I read few blog posts on this internet site and I beevile that your blog is very interesting and has bands of fantastic information.

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