Building that dream home in the Caribbean (2)

If you missed Part 1 of this article, click here before reading Part 2.

Written Quotations
Before committing to employ the services of any professional involved in the building of your home in the Caribbean, you should always obtain written quotations that include disbursements.  These are fees over which the professional you are employing will have no control.  For example, fees to be paid to the relevant government department on submission of your house plans for approval.  Verbal quotes do not provide documentary evidence in the event of a dispute arising over costs between you and the provider whose services you have employed.

House Plans
It is important that you know and make clear from the outset exactly what type of design of home you wish to build to avoid having to make costly changes further down the line.  You should ensure that you understand elevations and symbols used in the drawings, as these can be a little confusing to the lay person. Once the final drawings have been completed, they will need to be submitted to the relevant government department for approval before the construction process can commence.  This is usually undertaken by the person who drew up the plans in the first instance (i.e. architect or building contractor).

Building Contract
Your project should not proceed without a properly drawn up Building Contract.  It is advisable to have an attorney look over the document on your behalf to ensure that it contains essential clauses.  The Building Contract should include such matters as stages when payments are to be made to the contractor, insurance, timescales for commencement and completion of the building project, and very importantly, a penalty clause for late completion on the part of the contractor.  The materials to be used, fixtures and fittings to be installed and costs for these should be included in the Building Contract.

Project Management Services
Employing the services of a project manager to oversee the construction process on your behalf is money well spent.  You should enter into a separate Agreement with your project manager whose role will include monitoring the quality of workmanship, ensuring that the materials and fixtures and fittings used or installed are as stated in the Building Contract, providing progress reports with photographs, and advising on when each stage of the build has been completed satisfactorily prior to you releasing the next stage payment due to the contractor.

A home to suit YOU
Homes in the Caribbean have for many years been built to suit individual tastes. The introduction of gated developments has led to an increase in properties of a similar or identical in design, but it is still someone else’s design.  Building your own style of home gives you the freedom to have a say on all of the internal and external features that appeal to you as an individual.  You can have that extra large and fully equipped kitchen because you love cooking, the spacious wraparound verandah because you love outdoor living, and great ocean views from your living areas during your waking hours because your bedrooms are located on the ground floor.


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