This website has three purposes for you the visitor:
#1 – To Detail how we build the best custom homes in Costa Rica
#2 – Provide Unique Materials and Consulting to Home Owners
#3 – Assemble an education source to assist Home Owners in avoiding common pitfalls that lead to notoriously low quality housing
#1 We design & build the very best
Green Homes in Costa Rica!
We do not expect you to blindly believe this!
To confirm the reality go to our home diaries & videos,
then come visit one of our homes to prove to yourself
how our mission is brought into reality
in all aspects of the building process.
This is accomplished using local materials
as well as specialty imports where required
along with a heavy degree of respect for
International Building Standards combined
with sound research & building science.
Our passion is for building green homes using
cutting edge materials and best methods available in
the world, yet still respecting old school quality
that owners can appreciate for 100+ years!
All of these are indeed an extreme
rarity amongst our contemporary builders.
Study here then look around to confirm this as fact.
Green Building Emphasis
Part of being the best is
building with a Mindset where all materials are selected
based on environmental impact while minimizing
maintenance and operational costs.
Energy conservation is a term rarely understood
in the tropics yet where electrical charges are sky high.
That combo is not only BIZARRE but dam foolish.
Be aware in our tropical environment building cheap will = dam expensive 1 to 10 years down the road as you witness your climate caused maintenance and energy costs have come home to haunt you as a home owner. This always changes that cheap budget into one very expensive one indeed. Our goal is to guild our clients into how to build economically but with a minimum of a 10 year mindset. This is of particular relevance since most of you are building for your long term retirement enjoyment.
I have witnessed time and time again when someone’s home in paradise has turned into another version of the oh so common
Our Mission is to avoid exactly that hence it has everything to do with
why we are booking custom home builds well in 2016!
The videos posted below provide a summary of what goes into our homes, that is also supplemented with the above page links to our New Home Diaries that shows us putting these materials and standards to use in the real. I take you onto our job sites as a digital inspector to witness the construction of every home piece by piece, detailing what is done, why and how to avoid the all to common problems that few consumers are even aware of until they get bit.
We trust you will find your visit both interesting as well as informative.
Trevor Chilton & Michael Pawluk
Further details covering our main purposes here…
Purpose #1 – Providing a Source for Great Homes
This site is first and foremost all about our passion for creating along with you in a unique partnership not just a good home but a GREAT Eco minded home of enduring World Class Quality. All of this along with low maintenance costs while maintaining affordable pricing. One thing I do have to caution all visitors on is price shopping by the square foot or square meter, this is so totally irrelevant as well as most confusing. There is dozens of ways to price out different homes as well as different living spaces as well as what is included and what is not, when comparing different builders can go on forever.
We always start off with rough estimates so as to avoid a client wasting their time when a budget and dream fail to meet in the middle. In Costa Rica the variables are nothing less than horrific hence quoting square foot pricing is often a total waste of time and often completely irrelevant to making any kind of sane decisions. I have seen homes delivered to unsuspecting consumers at $140 a square foot following standards that would not cut it in a hog barn back in Canada nor would they have a hope of passing any building inspector anywhere in a G20 country. Yet at that price you should be receiving a top quality well dressed home. Hence lets understand that such price comparisons are nonsense so that leaves you with being diligent on fundamental quality issues as the first priority then actual costs as a secondary item. With that said I can categorically state the following:
“We design and build the best homes in Costa Rica!”
If you care to stay with us and do your own extensive research in reading our one of a kind e-book and posts as well as reader and client comments you will find out just how and why we do that. The New Home Diary button on this site will also take you into the real time inspector that will show you each of our homes being built step by step. This also provides a running documentary showing exactly the why and how’s of great tropical home construction. If you are in pursuit of the same goals then I assure you of this, you will be in for a most interesting and informative visit today!
Equally, just to be crystal clear, what you won’t find is any dancing bears or polished graphics designed to entertain or smooze you in any way. Nor will you find any BS just the relevant facts on building a new home in the tropics based on a ton of experience as witnessed hundreds of photos and a mountain of constant research in an effort to be the best of the best in the game of Tropical Home Building.
To serve that end we only build with Eco driven or Green building materials and methods that come from our extensive and constant research and construction experience in order to provide our select clients with the desired results. Hopefully this also describes your desires as well.
One of our clients, Mel Stevenson from Samara had this to say, “Also the fact that you itemized all of the materials and labor costs made me feel comfortable with your low price. It showed me where the money would go and that there is nothing left out.” (Note all quotes can be found below in the comments section.)
We seek out truly symbiotic relationships where we can work with you to achieve these ends. Here is a perfect example of that in another simple quote from another one of our clients.
Steffen Hofmann of Ciudad Colon, “It´s too bad we didn´t know you guys before our project got off the ground, but you certainly work miracles. It was a constant battle with previous contractors just to get what we needed and wanted. Thanks for being sensitive to what we needed to make our restaurant a reality.”
Location of your dream home is not particularly relevant as our client base now covers pretty much the entire country where ever foreigners happen to choose to hang their hats with the majority of such following the entire Pacific Coast in particular with second being the Lake Arenal area and the Atenas/Grecia hills.
It matters not to us where you actually prefer to build since our system and methods can be delivered anywhere there is a desire for a great home. Generally the more remote the location the more limited your choices are hence even more critical that we are capable of entering any location like a swat team and leave a matter of weeks later with your dream home completed.
The materials and system we use are everything in achieving extraordinary results. Another quote from our architect and friend Oscar Villavicencio of Plaza Viques, San Jose, “MgO SIP´s is an excellent option for building in Costa Rica. Fast installation, modular panels, simple and impervious to humidity and insects make this system ideal for residential and commercial construction.”
Purpose #2 – Providing Unique Materials and Consulting
Often we are approached by clients who are already in the build process or those who are building themselves or where they simply won’t fit into our demanding schedule. In any of these situations we do and can assist home owners in providing the exact same materials that we import or otherwise have the supply chain set up for. Much of the materials we use just simply are not available out in the typical rural/beach locations or are over priced or the owner and builder simply have no experience in how to use or incorporate such into the overall home design. Also our experience has done all the testing in real life builds as to how to order, ship and install all of our unique products hence it avoids the owner from experimenting and making some bad choices.
Just contact us with your requests and details of your situation and we will assist you however possible.
#3 Providing Education for the Tropical Consumer
Our third purpose is to provide any consumer with truthful information, guidance and consultancy regarding proven tropical construction materials, methods and principles regardless to whether we ever do any business together. I have witnessed more horror stories here than I care to count so in order for you to avoid similar experiences please accept our gift of the free education contained in our book and diaries. Such will help you make way better decisions as well as to be forewarned before the shit really hits the fan. I will let a reader best describe the value of this from Debra Curry of Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, “Your experience is always so valuable. You have such a vast knowledge of realties of building in Costa Rica and Central America is priceless. Thanks again!”
In essence how to avoid the problems before they happen. Our intent is to aid anyone that truly wants to elevate the standards of their home to well above the Costarican norm that has been seriously out paced by both price and quality expectations of the 21st Century consumer. The typical new home is both low quality as well as overpriced due to the common bad habits, strange methods and questionable material selections.
Your particular objective will dictate where you want to go from this page. The menu above can guide you into the area that best suits your needs and/or interests. Our e-book How Not to Get Ripped Off by the Construction Industry is a huge leap forward in being better informed as well as helping you clearly understand why we do what we do and how that would affect how you should build your home. Our fans tend to want to talk to us once they have experienced the in-depth knowledge that we share on our site here. You will not find more information on good construction practices versus the examples showing why the bad ones are just that, on any site about Costa Rica. This is the first and only book dedicated to learning how to build a world class home in this country. If you think I am wrong in this assertion please come back and correct me.
A final quote from Lisa Peters in San Carlos, “AFTER MY EXPERIENCE WITH TREVOR YOU CAN REST ASSURED THAT OUR NEXT CONSTRUCTION TOGETHER I WILL NOT QUESTION ANYTHING. HE IS THE PROFESSIONAL AND KNOWS WHAT HE IS DOING. HE WILL NEVER TAKE ADVANTAGE OF CREATING MORE WORK THEN NECESSARY TO GAIN MORE MONEY. IF ANYTHING HE WILL SAVE YOU MONEY. HE CARES ABOUT THE CLIENT AS MUCH AS HE CARES ABOUT THE QUALITY OF WORKMANSHIP HE GIVE YOU.”
As you may note in the comments section at the bottom of the page quite a few people have found our information most helpful in getting them to where they want to be.
I will try to keep this down to a Reader’s Digest Version.
14 and 16 years ago respectively Michael and myself arrived to our new chosen home. Thanks to a mutual acquaintance we first met just two weeks after my arrival to test drive life in Costa Rica for three months after which I just never left. For the next few years we were in frequent contact and worked on some joint projects then in 2007 we went full force into building a 46 unit vacation condo project in Jaco. Although it was an interesting project and we considerably expanded our professional contacts and experience on this one we were doomed to failure. We only got our admin building up to lock up when unbeknownst to us we were standing in front of a financial tsunami. We got our full project permits as a Christmas present in 2008 however all the prospective clients died back in Sept. when the sub-prime mortgage fraud broke loose. Those who had signed sales contracts started bailing like rats from a sinking ship and new clients were non-existent. During that time you could set off a cannon down the main street of Jaco and not hurt anyone. Since then the Jaco market has to say the least floundered with over 400 condos sitting moth balled in various stages of construction. Actually the good news was that we were not in full stage construction or the blood bath would have been far worse than it was.
Several years after the shit royally hit the fan there and after a period of mental recluse from such a disaster I started doing renovation work in the Escazu area. This was a real eye opener in seeing the results of generally low standard construction lacking in any kind of meaningful inspections. Hence I started off by writing a 10 page report on how construction should be done in Costa Rica. Well that kind of took on a life of its own until it hits today’s mammoth size of a 286 page e-book. Meanwhile with the thought that some day the real estate market would recover so I started to prepare for that eventuality. I went off in search of and researching what we would deem as the ideal building system for the tropics. In this process I stumbled onto both SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) and MgO (Magnesium Oxide). The system was new to me but Michael had 27 years under his belt since his first use of SIPs with an outfit from Regina, Sask. who had built several buildings on the island of Antigua that survived a Category 5 hurricane without damage while most of the island was leveled. After that he set up two metal skinned SIP production facilities and managed one in Airdrie, Alberta for 2 years.
We were both new to MgO since it is a relative new comer to the global stage even though the Chinese have been using it since prior to the building of the Great Wall, where it is the common mortar material holding such together. During this scouring of the Globe looking for better answers I ended up finding Steve Marskell who is one of the pioneers of this industry. Subsequent to that he has come to Costa Rica to meet with us and start off on opening up Latin America to what I call a Cinderella building product. With one home under our belt and various others contracted or under construction we have zero doubt that we have found the highest quality most efficient system to answer the challenges of tropical construction.
We are to say the least most excited about what the future holds for this product as well as the system that we have customized to specifically match up with local products in a unique blend of a Tico construction system. This combination is in effect a revolution to what has been thus far offered to the consumer of Central America. We look forward to sharing that revolution with you and the prospects it opens up for your very own version of this revolution. It is indeed refreshing change from my experience inspecting homes and projects over the past 14 years and being dismayed with the lack of quality and standards that are offered to the consumers in the Tico market and all too often at very high price to value ratios. Our mission was and is to build high quality homes for affordable pricing and our custom system has everything to do with how that is made possible.
Important Information about Our Methods & Materials
For those who may consider moving from just investigation to serious consideration of having us build you a home please be advised of the following criteria in order for synergy to best work for the benefit of both parties in creating a win/win situation.
1. We are not here to convince you of anything only to enlighten and guide you into better decisions based on our team’s over 150 years of experience along with excellent design and product knowledge. You will note that many of our fundamental products are rarely seen in a typical home in Costa Rica. However you can only expect the best decisions for your situation if you know your options, the how’s and the why’s. This is about building you “your” dream home, not about us building testaments to ourselves.
2. We do not cater to the mass market where the lowest level of acceptable performance will do just to get along with those that will accept second rate results! We have a specific profile in mind as to who makes a great client who seeks a great home using our kind of cutting edge methods. Those that seek what we offer love us and those that don’t just go away!
3. If you have little or no interest in eco driven practices then please don’t waste your time or ours. Under no circumstances will we build a new home with concrete and/or steel structure, so don’t ask.
4. We tell you what you NEED to know to make better decisions which may well not be the same as what you want to know but never the less that never changes our message. I in particular have little patience nor time for subtleties so do not be surprised when I am blunt and to the point.
5. We do not compete with other builders! We do not care what they do or how they price their homes because we know of no one that will put our quality of practices and materials above all other considerations. Or who will open up their cost sheets to all perspective clients in the pursuit of building you not just a great home but one also based on total transparency! Maybe someday I will meet another builder that meets this criteria but thus far it sure has not happened.
Should the above criteria be compatible with your mission and purpose in visiting us today then we would be only too pleased to help you achieve your dream home in any way possible! Just drop us a note in the comments section below or call us and we will discuss how this can become a reality as well as what steps we take in order for all of us to know if this is the right fit for both of us.
If not well then lots of luck to you in what ever path you may take.
Trevor Chilton & Michael Pawluk
If you have an interest in being apprised of what we are up to or to get to know other clients that are using our services then join our newsletter list to get that private information as we do not post such on the website. Just make a comment asking to be added or to introduce yourself.