Hemingway Hideaway - Construction

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One must recognize that in the Volcan-Cerro Punta area, there are no apartments and very few quality homes built to American standards. Of course there are rare exceptions, but what is generally available (95%), lack the amenities to which we have become accustomed. For an example, a house may look nice from the outside (mostly to impress the neighbors) but inside, it is another matter. There may be no ceiling, no closets, no doors, no cabinets, no tile, few outlets, very small rooms, small windows, out of plumb, no hot water or water supply problems, no laundry, poor electrical service and "floating" floors at different levels. No garage/carport, inadequate foundation, poor drainage and the rear not finished.

Neither does a home being more expensive indicate that it is better quality or built to Western standards. Most are a disaster from the ground up. It is logical then to invest in a whole new home because the expense of extensive renovation would probably cost more than a new house. But on the other hand, if location and view is what you really want regardless of the existing shack, tear it down and start over or if like us, renovation may be the best option due to cash flow.

Yes, there are excellent and professional builders in Panama but unfortunately not many in Volcan. Most are unlicensed let alone insured leading to possible liability problems during and after construction which, by law reflect back to the owner. For an example, let's say you have a local build your home (heck, every one around here is a builder or thinks he is) because you believe you can save 20-25%. But most likely, he will not pay the mandatory social security, minimum wage or be licensed or carry insurance. If some one has an accident or claim, liability will be that of the owner and not the builder. Or if something falls down (even during construction), guess who pays to have it redone and besides this, the basic construction will be in doubt and they will most likely want to barrow all your tools and will not have the heavy equipment needed.

Since Hemingway Hideaway is no longer directly involved in the actual building and to alleviate these problems, we are working with an independent, reliable, insured and established construction firm with over 25 years of experience in building both residential and commercial buildings for the private and government sector. These folks are very capable, reliable and staffed with qualified engineers, architects and equipment to build anywhere in Chiriqui and Bocas Del Toro.

We will be pleased to submit an estimated that will include building plans and permits based on your drawing/information and to build to your style/specifications whether it may be steel stud, Convitec, M2 or block.

There are many links for home plans on the Internet. Just go to Google and type in "home plans" If you do find one to your liking, send us the link with the reference number and we can provide our input. If you decide to build the home, then purchases a complete set of plans to avoid rights issues. Although these plans cannot be used in Panama, they will have to be redrawn using the metric system, in Spanish and signed off by a Panamanian licensed architect before being submitted to obtain the permits.

We can also design a home to fit your particular needs. All designs made by Hemingway Hideaway S.A. are the property of Hemingway Hideaway as per "author rights" as established under Panamanian law. Designs, techniques and styles cannot be claimed as property of the home owner and may be used by Hemingway Hideaway for promotional or other uses as the designer sees fit.

Hemingway hideaway can be commissioned to oversee the project on the owner's behalf, to provide:

  1. Bilingual liaison.
  2. Quality control.
  3. Timely progress reports.
  4. Recommend and coordinate changes.
  5. Source special materials required outside contract.
  6. Sourcing and recommending furniture and interior decorations.
  7. Arranging for landscaping.
  8. Managing structure for lease.

Although many wish to use block construction, we recommend using other construction methods because of several problems:

  1. The cement block available in this area lacks the proper sand/cement ratio (pressure per square inch) and does not have the strength of blocks made in the USA nor meet the requirements as per Panama Architect laws.
  2. Dampness can permeate through the walls causing mold problems.
  3. Block is internally cooler
  4. Block is subject to damage by tremors.

The advantage of all steel construction is:

  • Earth quake resistant.
  • Fire resistant.
  • Lower humidity
  • Less damp
  • Termite resistant

    Contract will be directly with the builder. Price quotation to include plans, permits and the actual construction. Payments to the builder will be coordinated through a local bank. The bank will issue funds in three stages with each phase to be monitored by the bank before the next phase funds are provided.
    Hemingway Hideaway is not involved in the actual construction (hands on) or financial loop but may be commissioned under a separate contract to act as liaison for the project.
    The Phased payment plan was discontinued due to the day by day and week to week price increases of all building materials caused by the "Chinese Syndrome", making phased payment is impractical and quotations impossible. Phased or "trickle" payments cause havoc with scheduling laborers, lead time purchasing and volume buys.
    Financing is available for home construction and we would be pleased to set up a formal meeting with the bank to discuss financing terms if the Hemingway Hideaway team is selected.
    We would be pleased to provide you with more exact information on our building techniques if you contact us directly.

    Typical Hemingway Hideaway Construction Techniques:

    1. Foundation.
      A solid strong, plumb foundation with floor is built before any walls go up.
      1. Layout using laser level
      2. Special anti-seismic footers and columns.
      3. Foundation walls use 1/2" rebar and 8" cement blocks filled with cement.
      4. Headers are 8" x 10".
      5. A plastic sheet vapor barrier is laid before cement floors are poured. This eliminates humidity seepage, greater cement strength by eliminating cement seeping into ground and extending curing time besides eliminating radon.
      6. 3/8" rebar in all floors except raised floors.
      7. All under slab electrical and plumbing
    2. Framing.
      1. A high quality #16 gage galvanized 2"x 4" and 2"x 6" "C" steel is used for framing just like building a "stick house". Full seam bead welding is used through out. No screws, rivets or spot-welding is employed. Each weld is cleaned and covered with zinc chromate rust prohibitive.
      2. Floor plates are welded to rebar that is tied into the main floor rebar.
      3. Studs are welded every 24" and tripled in corners and at wall partitions.
      4. The upper plate is then welded to the double 2"x6" headers that are overlapped at the corners.
      5. Diagonal reinforcement is used at each corner of the structure and in some sections of the center. This eliminates vibration or sway caused by our seasonal winds
    3. Roofing.
      1. Center board is two 2"x6" "C" beams placed side by side and all rafters are 2"x6" spaced every 24".
      2. Roofing, #24 enameled zinc steel. It can be either "canalized" (color available, wine, blue, green or white) or a simulated Spanish tile which comes in Terra Cotta.
      3. The roofing is attached with 2-3" x 1/4" drill point screws with neoprene washers.
    4. Siding.
      1. Choice of stucco, textured stucco or simulated clap board.
      2. Includes appropriate support structure and vapor barrier.
      3. Special additive in stucco to eliminate water seepage.
      4. Color of paint to customers' specifications.
    5. Electrical.
      1. Standard codes and sizes installed where required. #12 is used for all outlets and lighting.
      2. Main service is 120/240 VAC single phase. No international power adapters are required.
      3. All wiring insulated in PVC tubing.
      4. Main circuit panel sized to fit the structure with separate breaker for major appliances.
      5. Structure and power panel grounded.
      6. Temporary light fixtures for all rooms.
      7. 3 way switch in appropriate areas.
      8. Ground-Fault Interrupters in all potentially moist areas.
      9. Internal, cables for TV and telephone.
      10. Door bell.
      11. External motion light sensors.
    6. Internal walls and ceilings.
      1. Insulation on all outside facing walls.
      2. Sheet rock walls, pasted, sanded and painted to customer's choice of colors.
      3. Textured ceilings are an option.
      4. Accent wall or ceiling panels.
      5. Raised ceilings.
    7. Windows and doors.
      1. All windows are aluminum framed with full tinted 1/4" glass.
      2. Horizontal sliding. Color white.
      3. Internal doors are "prefab" and painted to match color scheme.
      4. Each inside door has Oak trim.
      5. Main entrance door is special ordered and made of Oak.
      6. Automatic garage door. (Optional)
    8. Floors.
      1. Either ceramic tile or hardwood depending on area.
      2. Either raised floor or slab.
      3. Carpeting is available as an extra-cost option.
    9. Cabinetry.
      1. All kitchen cabinets use Oak or Teak in all visible surfaces.
      2. Main boxes made from enameled plywood, or laminated (Optional)
      3. All vanities are also in Oak or Teak.
      4. Other cabinets, shelves and bar customer specified upon order.
      5. Special 100% genuine Oak or Teak furniture can be ordered.

    • Complete set (7) of construction plans.
    • Obtain all permits. (Fire, sanitary, building & occupancy).
    • 1,000 gallon buried water cistern and pump for independent back up water supply and to maintain proper water pressure. (Optional)
    • 1000 gallon septic tank and seepage tank.
    • Automatic garage door opener. (Optional, if garage is included).
    • Extra wide doors for ambulatory needs.
    • Special power wall to meet local electrical codes.
    • Power and telephone cables buried from power wall to house.
    • Choice of either gas or electric service for kitchen stove.
    • Water heater customer specified. .
    • Motion light detectors.
    • Ground fault circuit breakers in all appropriate areas.
    • Safety grab bar for bath tubs and ceramic tile bench in shower. (Optional)
    • Overflow drainage in laundry.
    • Cables for TV and telephone in walls with outlets in all appropriate rooms.
    • Full kitchen cabinets.
    • All door/window/baseboard, cabinets and vanities done in matching Oak or teak.
    • Garbage disposal. (Optional)
    • Main entrance door custom built in Oak or teak.
    • All windows are aluminum using 1/4" tinted plate glass.
    • Adequate number of AC outlets in all rooms.
    • Special outlets as per customers request.
    • Baths with floor to ceiling tile.
    • Install customer provided appliances.
    • Paint colors, customer specified.
    • Rain gutters.

    We can offer total insurance coverage through a renowned international insurance broker. They provide insurance for:

    1. Home
    2. Car
    3. Medical
    4. Life

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