Costa Rica Blog

Building a Custom Home in Costa Rica in Pacific Lots Development

Posted by Steve Linder on Fri, Jun, 22, 2012

Building a custom home might seem like a lot of work for many of you.  The time, effort and stress make many people want to just buy a house off the shelf.  However taking the time to build a custom home lets you get the house of your dreams.  The process does not take as long as you think and we make it easy. 


Here is a photo journey through the design and building process.   This house took less than a year to complete from plans to finished home. 

Ojochal and Chontales Costa Rica


First you have to find a place in the world you want to live.  Then you have to find a developer who has the experience and resources to get the job done, one who can navigate through the strict development laws and permitting process in Costa Rica and has the financial strength to complete the job.



So you find the area, the southern Pacific zone of Costa Rica.  Known for the amazing flora and fauna.

Ojochal and talamanca mountains looking at the Osa Peninsula

Next the developer has to spend big money putting in roads, water and electric to the home sites, survey and register the lots and get permits to develop.  This stage involves lots of bureacracy in Costa Rica meeting the requirements of many organizations including MINEA - the ministry of the environment     

SETENA - Land Use

ICE - The public utility for electric, telephone and internet

And that's just a few, there are many more steps in the permitting process, municipal permits, set backs, zoning, set backs from rivers, the list goes on and on.

artesian well water system


Now you put in the roads, gutters, street lights, electrical poles, water system etc.  Here we are putting in miles of plumbing underground for the water system.  The system must meet the standards of AYA, the authority of water quality and quantity, proving you have sufficient quality and quantity for the size of the development you are planning to build.



Then you buy a home site and need to find a builder.  Fortunately we have our own team of designers, architects, engineers and construciton teams to build the home.  But you can always use your own builder if you prefer.  Follow the steps to see why that might not work out so well.

home site in Chontales Pacific Lots

C  Users Steve Pictures optimized 8 46 siteplanSo you buy a lot that is surveyed and titled and start the design process.  Again you need to know who your builder is, their experience level, skill set and resources to get the job done.

House plans Costa Rica house plan floor planSo now you have a design from the design team and work needs to start with site prep for plumbing, drains, water management, etc.  Every step from here on out needs to be planned for the final result to be what you envisioned.

Site work on custom home

site layout Costa Rica Ojochal


Now the foundation and "pins" need to be put in place, lots of rebar to hold up your dream home.  Many builders simply pour a slab which leads to a shifting and cracking house later on.rebar for foundation houses done right  footings under slab

Rebar cages are formed, concrete is poured, everthing including the drain/waste plumbing has to be in the pour.

depth of footing  covintec house Pacific Lots

Construciton starts and proceeds smoothly.  You meet with the design team before this point to call out the finishes and landscape details.  If you want a pool, this is also planned.

landscape and site plan Pacific Lots Costa Rica finish details for your custom home

Your landscape design work is incorporated as is the finishes you want in your custom home.



landscape plans

  construction workers

 You'll want a team that knows what they are doing and you'll want someone else to manage them.

home almost done final roof being installed

 You'll want a house with a warranty.  You see the roof is being applied over spacers with ICF foam insulation panels under the metal roofing.  You'll want someone who has researched and found the best roof system for the tropics, a builder who's only built a few homes won't even know about some of the leading edge products available.  This red roof looks like tile but is actually powder coated steel, with a manufacturer's warranty for 20 years.

You'll want to know your house is well built.  Notice the structural steel frame that gets captured into the concrete work.  Also notice the 200 Square D electrical panal.  All electrical is run in pvc conduit.  Sure this adds to the cost but you don't have problems down the road.structural steel framing 

  200 Amp Square D Electrical Service






Now that the shell is built, the real work is ready to begin.  If you've ever watched a house go up, the frame and roof don't take long, it's the finish work that seems to take forever.  We build all our own windows, doors, cabinets and counters in our own shop.  We don't end up with poor quality and delays that happen when working with others.  By making all our finish work in our own facility, we also don't have the time delays waiting for someone else that would be out of our control.


Now let's take a look at the finished product...

Kitchen Lisle and Dan Ojochal  pool area and outdoor shower

 Here custom stairs

custom door rendering  master bedroom ojochal costa rica

This is the master bedroom with porch facing the sunset view.  To the left is a drawing of the main entry doors that the customer wanted but without the glass inserts.  We then built the doors shown in our shop.  See the quality....


custom entry doors stairs that look like honey

Here's a few shots from our woodshop where the stairs, doors, windows, sliding glass units, metal work and counters were made.

woodshop from Ventana del Pacifico  woodshop

Tags: Living Abroad, Americans in Costa Rica, international living, Pacific Lots, Pacific Lots of Costa Rica, covintec, expats in Costa Rica, Chontales, custom homes Costa Rica, Ventana del Pacifico, Buiding a custom home, Canadians in Costa Rica, Costa Rica