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About Rodrigo

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    Contributing Member
  • Birthday 05/20/1963

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  1. Hi James and thanks for your contribution. I agree with you in all the points. Specifically talking about certain materials, the quality must be good, otherwise the problems could appear from time to time, as you mentioned about faucets. Sometimes, you can take some of the materials from abroad, especially about outlets, swtiches, faucets. I have done that several times in coordination with my clients, but you have to careful because some of these items should be necessary from the beginning. Shower faucets are a good example because you need to install the body of them on place while you are raising the walls and, specially, before plastering and painting. There are some brands available on market that are supposed to have lifetime warranty. Recently, I bought some faucets from a recognized brand and the hardware store gave me that warranty, so, even if there a problem, if it is related to the quality, the hardware store must replace the product. Avoid cheap items if possible, just ask for an affordable and reasonable price. And yes, I support your advice, if possible add insulation, both in walls, if the structure is a drywall system, and in roofing. You would have less noise (think about that while it is raining or that coming from next room ) and a really important difference in comfort because of outside heat or even the cold in in mountainous areas.
  2. Hi, I would like to share some comments about pricing in building. I recently talked to a potential client and we discussed his project to build his house in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, where he had bought already a piece of land.I commented him a couple of things because I do my main activities in the Central Valley, but I had built in different spots around the country, and he was thinking to consider just local contractors.The most of these aspects should well known by the most of people considering to move to Costa Rica and to live here, but I think is a good idea to pointing them out just in case.First, the main principle, here and all around the world, is comparing prices all the time. It is always a good idea to get different bids to analyze. For a much better comparison, the information about the project should be the same for all the contractors, otherwise the bids themselves would not include the same requirements for everybody and the conclusion could be not accurate enough to make a good decision.Second, the country is small and that is an advantage because well skilled crews can go almost everywhere here to build for basically the same cost. For instance, I have built in locations like Quepos, Esterillos, Limón and San Carlos, besides the Central Valley, and even the most of the times I have hired local people, what makes sense and it is supporting local economy, what is good, I have found, at least once, it is not always the best choice. In Esterillos, Parrita, continuing the example of my last building there, I asked to local contractors for labor bids and I found they were charging around 50% more than I usually pay, obviously I said thanks but it was inappropriate to accept it otherwise my client would pay disproportionately. At the end, I took my crew from the Central Valley (6 people), I paid their wages, transportation, their food and they slep over the materials shed and the final labor expenses were 50% less than the bid from locals.Finally, considering than materials are roughly the 65% of project, then labor is the other 35%, the materials prices really matter. What is important to know is that the most of the times the cheapest prices are in the Central Valley. Once again, while building a project in San Carlos, even I bought many materials at local depots and hardware stores, I bought a very good package in the Central Valley and, even paying transportation, the final price was cheaper than if I would have done that in locals. Just one example, the price per cement bag was 2 USD less than buying to locals and I bought around one thousand bags, so at the end the economy was around 10 thousand USD, considering all the different kinds of supplies. If the project is not a turnkey one but it is an administration project, as I do often for customers, the clients will enjoy the benefits of these economy. If it is a turnkey project, the bids should reflect that economy.So, my piece of advice is asking for different bids before making your final decision.
  3. Rodrigo

    Guide to Tico Spanish

    Yes, we have our own tico slang and I think the question is more about understanding the other people while they speak than speaking the slang yourself, because, as I commented to some friends of mine, if you speak official Spanish, people will unsderstand you, even the words are more for Spain than for here. For instance, we usually say in Latin America "carro" for "car", instead of "coche", that is very frecuent in Spain, but we all undestand we are talking about the same thing. As some friends said before, there are slangs everywhere, and even for us, that slang is changing depending on the generation. When I was a teenager, we did not say "al chile ?" for saying "really?", we said just "en serio ?", or, we said more "vos" than "tu" for "you", but now young people look at us saying we are old-fashioned when we talk that way. In my opinion, just learn and speak the regular Spanish and ask for the meaning of an expression if you do not understand it. I do not see an obligation to use the idioms if they are confusing for you. I think being or behaving like a tico is more a question of attitude. You tell me.
  4. Rodrigo

    Eco Casas builders

    Con todo gusto, Eleanor.
  5. Rodrigo

    Eco Casas builders

    You are right, Eleanor. That is why I mentioned the preservative made in Ochomogo, because it is supposed to be friendly with Nature. I can't write the factory name here because I don't want ARCR thinks it is advertising, but I do can say you can search it as "chemical factory ochomogo cartago" and the factory name starts with X. According to the info they provide, once the chemical is applied to the wood, there is no risk for people or the environment because the chemical won't leave the treated material. You can ask them for any certification about it.
  6. Rodrigo

    Eco Casas builders

    Hi there. If you want your house made all in wood, your architect and your builder must apply a preservative to the material. It is against bugs, termites too, and antifungal. The method is very important. There are chemicals that you can apply by submerging the wood during at least several minutes in a container with the chemical diluted in water. Just painting the wood with the product could be not good enough. You can find the chemicals in the hardware stores depending on the factory and the supplier (a very reliable factory is located in Ochomogo, Cartago). I think it is the best way to prevent the most of the problems.
  7. Rodrigo

    Aplicaciones para practicar Español

    Magnífico, Lucybelle y Epicatt, gracias por contribuir con sus opiniones y sugerencias. Te agradezco mucho, Epicatt, voy a probar "French in Action", Espero ser tan hábil utilizando el francés como tú lo haces con el español. ¡ Excelente progreso ! ¡ Hasta pronto !
  8. Para todos quiénes aprendemos otra lengua, diferente a la materna, el principal problema es no tener con quién practicar. Todos necesitamos oír, leer y repetir las frases más importantes, según el uso diario, para poder imitarlas correctamente, recordarlas cuando las necesitamos y poder construir nuestras propias expresiones. Si a tu alrededor no hay hablantes de esa lengua, o por tus ocupaciones no tienes posibilidad de conversar un buen rato con uno de ellos, lo otro es internet. Hay muchos cursos, videos, páginas, pero estas opciones implican sentarse un buen tiempo frente a la pantalla y no siempre es posible. Sin ser un misterio, con el mundo de los teléfonos inteligentes, las nuevas y variadas opciones incluyen las aplicaciones, las cuales pueden llenar esa necesidad de práctica. Lo que he encontrado malo, en varios casos, es que muchas son algo complicadas o confusas de usar, y eso desanima al usuario. Quiero nombrar unas cuantas, que personalmente, para tratar de mantener y mejorar mi inglés, y también para aprender francés, me han ayudado mucho y veo realmente provechosas. Las recomendables, según yo, son Duolingo, Mosalingua y 50 Languages. Puedes probar una o varias. Mi preferida es Duolingo. Su estructura permite varias cosas: escuchar, escribir y hablar en voz alta palabras y frases, progresando en niveles, y luego, para mantener tu nivel y mejorarlo, hay que repetir ejercicios de niveles anteriores, todo lo cual te hace practicar suficiente como para entender y hablar, y claro, escribir, en ese idioma, en este caso, para mejorar el Español. Cada práctica diaria toma de cinco a quince minutos, dependiendo de tu compromiso personal e interés por avanzar. Creo que quince minutos es un plazo razonable durante el día, que no te distrae mucho de tus actividades y negocios. Además, puede ser divertido. ¿Tienes alguna otra sugerencia? Porque con este mundo tecnológico en cambio constante, no dudo que cada vez existirán más alternativas y probablemente mucho más útiles. Te dejo la inquietud. Prueba una y me cuentas. Saludos.
  9. Rodrigo

    Architect fees

    Hi there. The official fees according to CFIA (Colegio Federado de Ingenieros y Arquitectos de Costa RIca or Association of Engineers and Architects) are in total 10.5%, minimum, over the investment for building, including additions, but It is the usual percentage my clients and I agree about the work to do. I have to clarify that for renovations the fees are 50% more, according to CFIA. It includes the preliminary studies (a soil test, technical and legal viability depending on the nowadays regulations and laws, etc), the pre-design from the client`s ideas and needs, making the first architectural sketches from that to preper the final design or blueprints (the architecture, the structure, the plumbing and the electricity systems for the project), then, going for CFIA approval and the local municipalities permits. It is also included the technical supervision, once a week during the building time until it project is done, ready to be used. Besides of that 10.5%, you have to pay separately round 0.5% to CFIA for the approval plus 1% to the municipality for the permits. So, in total, you would pay around 12% for the these services and taxes. As another friend says, the good part is we, as registered members of CFIA, can report the average price for the project, which could be less than the final investment for real, so, you, as the onwer, would pay something less at the end. Once you have the blueprints done, you can ask for bids to differents builders, and, if the professional himself builds your project as well, which is the usual in my case with my customers, we, as the professionals, are allowed to offer a discount about these services to the clients because we are doing everything as a package. Ask your engineer or architect about it and I am pretty sure he or she would give you a fair price, as I usually do. I hope this extra info is good to make decisions for getting a nice and affordable project. Suerte y hasta pronto.
  10. Thanks Eleanorcr for sharing the info. It is great that our young students in public universities (in this case from my alma mater, by the way) are trying new proposals to solve different needs, related to durability, aesthetics, economy and other kinds. It reminds me when we were testing choices in TEC as soil panels for walls 30 years ago. Good for these young people. Congratulations.
  11. Rodrigo

    church in Grecia

    Hi linlewhammond. If you google "links to churches and places of worship in Costa Rica with English services", you should get in the first place a link with info not only about other christian churches but also about other different religions in our country with services in English. There, you would see several links and phone numbers to contact the churches you would like to have information of. Suerte y bienvenidos a Costa Rica.
  12. Rodrigo

    compra inmueble

    Veo que este artículo es algo viejo, pero creo conveniente hacer un comentario al respecto. En años pasados, con el fin de evitar pagar impuestos de traspaso de propiedades, se acostumbró adquirir las acciones de sociedades solamente, de manera que indirectamente se pasaba a ser dueño de los inmuebles y bienes inscritos como de la sociedad correspondiente. Esto puede haber cambiado suceptiblemente, si se considera que desde hace 3 años las sociedades deben pagar el impuesto así llamado de sociedades, lo que implica un pago anual de alrededor de 200 mil colones (400 dólares), por lo que se debe evaluar entre sí adquirir el bien a titulo personal, con lo que solo pagaría el impuesto territorial anualmente o adquirir las acciones de la sociedad, con lo que se pagarían dos impuestos, el de la sociedad y el del inmueble, cada año. Entiendo que ahora es posible comprar incluso el 100% de las acciones (en el pasado era un requisito que un costarricense fuera parte de la sociedad con al menos un 50% de dichas acciones). Las únicas ventajas que veo ahora en eso son que la transferencia es más fácil a los herederos, pues heredan la propiedad, pero igual tienen que asumir todos los impuestos, y la otra es que, en caso de demandas legales, una sociedad está menos expuesta a que se embarguen sus propiedades que una persona física. En todo caso, un abogado puede dar más y mejor información para la toma de decisiones.
  13. Perhaps we, as ticos, would like to show our skills in English because we want to have a nice relationship with newcomers. I guess the most of the times we want to help and be polite just because is our nature, but I think you are right, guys, expressing your desire to lead the conversation in Spanish is the best way to learn, to practice and to get involved in our local culture. At the end it is just a matter of human relationship, isn´t it? The differences among cultural frames are not huge, I mean, the most of us like a nice weather, nice landscapes, tasty tropical food, including exquisite fruits, people to talk to and to share with, and this country, beyond our difficulties and defects, is a pretty good place to enjoy life. I suggest you to be honest and tell those people you are meeting that you would like to improve your Spanish skills. So, tell them: "Por favor, permitame tratar de hablar su lindo idioma. Es muy importante para mí. Corrijame para mejorar. Muchas gracias". Homework: look for the appropriate meaning of the sentence and practice it a lot.
  14. Rodrigo

    Cost to install a Septic system

    I do have experience with the septic tanks in the link. Indeed, the supplier calls it "fosa biológica". This kind of tank is mandatory for some municipality, like Coronado. The cost is around a 50% of the regular concrete blocks septic tank we usually design and build. Then, it is right, it depends of the kind of soil to decide about the drainages. For a very average soil, 24 meters long drainages should be good enough for a house where 6 people are living. Nevertheless, the ideal procedure would be asking for soil test, in order to know the capability of the stratums to hold the weight of buildings and its capability to absorb the residual waters from the tank. There is also a manual procedure to measure how fast the waters would go through and then calculating the proper length of the drainages in a field. You can find it in the website of Colegio Federado de Ingenieros de Costa Rica (CFIA); its name is "prueba de infiltración" (it is just in Spanish, sorry). It is a technical procedure to do on the land with formulas for calculating the results and maybe someone would like to try it.
  15. Rodrigo

    stock house plans

    I can see all the suggestions here are very wise. I would add that you should decide, first, what your investment would be and, according to this, you can decide about what level you would finish the house in order to be able to afford it and still living with mínimum comfort. As costaricafinca said, pay attention to the conditions in the property where you are planning to build. A soil test would be ideal. For instance, a client me asked to check a lot he would like to buy and according to the soil test, the first 6 feet were soft soil (clayey silt soil), so there would be necessary to build a rigid concrete slab as foundations or building concrete stakes to hold the house`s weight, in short, there were extra expenses, not included in his budget, to pay, even considering a stock house design. An engineering solutions should be make to have unexpensive costs it possible. Many other factors should be taken into account: pluvial drainages, septic tank and its drainages location in the lot, the property`s slope, etc. Is it so complicated? I should say your investment and your mind peace deserve studying those details, specially if you are at the very beginning, specially if you are considering to buy the land first. Buena suerte en tu decisión.

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