Constructing a house in Costa Rica

The past few weeks we have seen how the new house of our house care taker has been built. I found it super interesting and Cristina and I regularly visited the site to see how it progressed.

Model kit

A typical Costa Rican house in the country side is a concrete model kit. It consists of square poles that have broad grooves in some or all of their sides. These grooves hold concrete panels in place and together they form the walls. The poles are set about a meter apart, so that standard-sized doors and windows easily fit in. Where the windows are, the panels are simply left out or shaped to give for example a rounded top-side. I find it brilliant and considering the amount of earth quakes and tremors in this country and that we have yet to see a single collapsed house, the light-weight construction seems to do the job well.

Electrical system

An interesting part : the poles may also contain a tube on the inside and a box at a certain height for the house’s electrical system. The box can contain a set of power plugs or a switch. The electrical wires will come out at the top but will be hidden by ceiling panels.

Floors and walls

The house is initially built directly on the earth, so that channels can be dug for the plumbing to the bathroom and the kitchen. After that a cemented or concrete floor is added, with optional (I guess) tiles. The roof consists of a galvanized steel frame and a metal plating, and in most cases (I guess) there is a septic tank since there are no sours in the country side. The electrical grid extends into virtual all roads that we have traveled so far and so does the water supply.

Fast construction and happy constructors

It takes a crew of three people about two to three weeks to put a house of 45 square meters together. We regularly visited the building site to see and document the progress. Once they knew how we knew the owner of the new house, the builders (no female builders in sight) were happy to show us around and enthusiastically said goodbye when they passed us on their way back home. They had stayed in the neighborhood during the weeks and their pick-up truck was filled with their tools and mattresses.

More pictures

Here is a slideshow of the front of the house. More pictures below.

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