Contact Us

We can be reached at:

trevor@buildingincostarica.pw

Mobile: 506-8691-7575

Office: 506-2100-1616 or 2787-0550

USA Number: 850-389-2466

Skype: trevorchilton

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This is reserved for people known to us who want the most current progress reports and not the general public.


Comments

Contact Us — 33 Comments

  1. Hola, quisiera saber si quedan lotes disponibles. Se venden con casa o uno puede hacerla al gusto de uno? y si es posible ir a conocer el lugar este fin de semana. Gracias!

  2. I own a lot in Manuel Antonio. I am looking to build a small house. I am looking to build a less than a 1000 square feet home. Do you build outside of the San Jose area?

    • Victor,
      Thank you for your interest and inquiry.

      Yes we do! In fact most of our clients come to us from the coastal areas especially in three particular hot spots. Our first two homes are going to Uvita and Plantanillo for example with the next two being done in Playa Grande and we actually have 3 people from the Quepos area in the process of considering our system. Actually location has little relevance for us. We enter a home site kind of like a swat team just employing tools instead of guns, when your turn in our construction schedule comes to pass. We then build a typical home of this size in 60 – 90 days due to the efficiency of our system and a good crew that I have Canadianized as much as possible and continue to work at. Time is of the essence in producing economical yet excellent homes. Time is money is a very valid saying to put it mildly yet one that is mostly ignored by the industry here. Bare with me as I explain this simply so here is my dose of reality for you as the consumer that few will discuss openly with you. If I only built 2 houses a year (which is fast by most standards here) YOU end up paying at least half of all my overhead costs as well as contributing half of our required income. Hence my hands are rather tied in just what kind of a deal I can economically offer you or anyone with this limited productivity. Alternatively if I build 6 homes a year then I only need to get 1/6 the amount of money from you to maintain our business and life. To make this situation even worse for most consumers it actually comes to pass that a typical very slow built home using the normal Tico methods takes three to six times as long while actually producing a massively inferior home. Yes the normal formula in life is that it takes longer to do a good/great job than a crappy one which to a point is generally true. However if your methods are flawed, inferior materials are used and a general lack of use of and knowledge of good tools this age old formula goes right out the window. Slow can indeed produce excessively bad results. Here is two very recent real examples that demonstrate this reality is a far site from my over active imagination.

      Eg. #1 I am currently wrapping up one of my rescue missions in Ciudad Colon that started construction in May 2011 yet I took over a building that resembled a mine field of horrific materials and even worse workmanship. Just to add insult to injury 60% of the budget spent by the owner is nowhere to be found it just disappeared in a puff of smoke of obscene theft and incompetency. Two years and a ton of money gave the owners only a shell of a building.

      #2 I inspected back in August a home in Puerto Viejo that was then 14 months under construction and might be done by this Christmas yet it has massive blunders that have cost the owner a fortune and delivered embarrassing unrepairable results that are like a shape knife in the eye. My overwhelming experience here, as demonstrated in my book in great clarity, is that the typical Tico home is way more expensive than it needs to be yet is fundamentally one flawed and crappy home with poor longevity and even worse maintenance bills. All of this is a self fulfilling prophecy if you adhere to building science that is a good fifty years outdated in the real modern world of construction. No I am not even remotely attempting to be polite just relay the facts as I see in the clear evidence. Recently one competitor told me he thought I should not bash competitors. Well first off those who behave as I have described are not my competitors and secondly as I told him, would you prefer I send them Christmas cards instead of calling a spade a spade?

      As per the size you mention all of our clients are actually looking for smaller homes with walls along with lots of outdoor living space. In fact no McMansions are even in the cue or have been requested by anyone! Most of what we have designed for clients is in the 100 to 150 m2 range. Hence we do indeed both understand what you are looking for hence we design small yet efficient homes that live well.

      So that is a long answer to your simple questions however I generally find the details are helpful for you to decide what direction would best suit your personal situation.

      Regards,

      Trevor Chilton

    • James,
      Thanks for your inquiry.
      Sure you can!
      That is how many people get started they send us a germ of an idea of what they want then we price it and grow that seed to their new dream home with the talents of Michael coming into full force.

      Trevor

  3. Trevor,
    I enjoyed speaking with you this afternoon about your uniquely practical approach to home construction here in Costa Rica.

    My wife and I have relocated from Seattle to San Isidro de El General and will soon be purchasing land in the area on which to have our “dream home” constructed.

    Based on reading your book we hope to engage your services.

    Your book is an absolute must-read for anyone who hopes to end up with a well-built, energy efficient home in Costa Rica.

    Thanks for your commitment to ethics and quality home construction.

    • Jeff,
      It was indeed a pleasure talking to you today.
      Thank you for your appreciation for the extent of our information to help consumers make better decisions.
      I look forward to meeting with you and discussing the process and the design stage.

      Regards,

      Trevor

  4. I am from Montana,USA. My finance’ lives in San Isidro and owns property near Dominical…where we will have a two story house built on the mountain over looking the Pacific. Each level will be approximately 1000 sq.’ with possible balcony extensions,lower level walk way to a pool.
    I am very excited about your building products. We will definitely do solar hot water for the house and possibly the pool? if needed. I am going back to Montana on the 8th of January. We will be in the Dominical area between dec. 27 and Jan 3-4th. Any way we can meet and talk about our future project and upgrades like windows, flooring and interior walls and ceilings.
    Thank you for your time.
    Sincerely,
    Gerry and Leny

  5. Please add me to your email updates list and I will be making contact directly with you very soon. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through your site and am very happy to have found it in my searching for of all things PREFAB housing in Costa Rica, you are an infinity away from Prefab, I am very happy indeed!!

  6. I recently purchased one share in an SA at Serenity Gardens Eco Village in Southern Costa Rica. The share entitles me to ownership of a 1/2 acre lot of land so I can build a house. Id like to use one of the communities architectural designs to build a small one bedroom house that is approximately 854 square feet that is covered by a roof but only 400 square feet of that is covered by walls and indoor. The other 454 square feet is a porch area covered by an insulated roof. I would like to find out if your company can build my house using the materials listed on the Serenity Gardens Website. The person who sold me the house tells me I can build it for around $25,000 USD but the construction manager disagrees with the prices he’s quoted. I would like to get an estimate from you. I can be reached at 8507-8217

  7. Trevor,
    I would be interested in using a earth plaster to finish the inside SIP panels and lime plaster for the outside. Would you be able to build the sanded side to the outside of the panels?

    • You can put anything on the MgO that you care however I would not use anything outside other than acrylic stucco in this climate as any cement/lime base is going to grow a collection of our 147 species of molds. That you can take to the bank. Look at my video #2 on Aroi Thai restaurant to see such in the slide show as one perfect example. Versus I have seen acrylic stucco 7 years old that looked like it was put on the day before I was at the house in question.

      Trevor

  8. Dear Trevor,

    My name is Gloriana Castro and I own an Interior Design company with a partner based in Escazu. I was looking through your web page and i found myself interested in your work. I was wondering if you have any interior design company in your team, as we would be very interested in helping you give your clients a complete end to end design (interior design and decoration included).

    Our company was formed 3 years ago, after we both worked for 7 year in big interior design companies. Sharing a combined over 15 years of experience in interior design in Costa Rica, we felt that we could better pursue our passions in our own studio. Since then, we have had the opportunity to expand our client base, and take on projects both large and small with individuals and large corporations alike. One of our goals this year it to work with other professionals and give clients an, even better service while sharing our passions for design.

    I would love to hear form you and hope you are interested in our services.

    Wish you the best in this new year,
    Best regards,

    Gloriana Castro
    C. 8833 6558

  9. Hello Trevor,

    Was wondering if your Lam’s are coming from Central America? I think that I read that you haven’t started your first SIP project.
    May I ask when and where the project for this home is?
    I will be back down in April and expect to start a modest project in Atenas starting in Novemeber.
    I would be interested in discussing my ideas and the possible opportunities with you.

    Regards,

    Gary

    • Gary,
      Thanks for your questions and visit.

      Our glu-lams are custom made for us here and we also export those to Panama or any project we are supplying to.

      Please bare with me as I explain in detail a recent occurrence so that you understand our thought process in how to build with quality when using hardwoods. Importing softwoods is in general quite insane on the whole. To me it is what I liken to bringing a two day old sandwich with you to a banquet at the Marriot.

      There is tons of plantation hardwoods here of which we know exactly how they stand up versus imported that often don’t. Add to that the fact that these woods are also green thinking as well as responsible, efficient resource management with a negative footprint since one cubic meter of wood consumes a ton of CO2 in the process of growing.

      Just this past week I inspected a deck in a $400,000 home near Gracia in Plantation Estates where 10 years ago they installed a pine deck. That is now a total disaster of destruction (you will fall through it if you don’t step in the right place). It is a testament to bad methods, bad material and bad finish all adding up to a pretty predictable result. As I try to demonstrate to the new kids on the block like yourself, through my book and jobsite inspections looking at new homes when you come here means nothing, zilch, squat. You have to go into old homes and see how the story has played out. Then and only then do you know if it is a good home or often in Costa Rica a piece of high maintenance low functioning piece of crap for lack of better description. They did something that I have always found to be an offensive assault on the eyes by face screwing (or nailing) deck boards down to the joists. Well this is nothing but butt ugly and proof that the installer is either a clueless or lazy idiot as well as the architect or engineer who oversaw such sheer stupidity is equally or even more so guilty. Now when you do this in the tropics with our rainfall this deck had hundreds of perforations into the wood giving rain, air and rot and open invitation to go to work as it most predictable has done. Then failing to finish and protect it from getting water logged, in any way only put more fuel on the fire. This is right up there in function and logic to that of a screen door on a submarine. In this case and quite predictably the rot has extended down into the whole joist structure as well.

      Interestingly someone had the brilliant idea to suggest to the owner to import new pine in from the US at a cost of $4,500 for 400 ft2. As I told Richard two wrongs seldom make one right not to mention bad results at a sky high price to boot. Comparatively using Teak this material bill is roughly in the neighbourhood of $2,000 or $1,400 in Acacia. The other simple fact is our local plantation grown hardwoods like Acacia and Teak give much more impressive cosmetic/style results than any crap pine could begin to do in a million years. Also when maintained properly they will last for many years. However most people have no idea how to maintain outdoor wood here as there is but few products that actual work in our brutal climate. Yes the climate may be agreeable to people but putting wood and typical urethane in heavy rain and sky high UV concentrations is a disaster that only takes 6 months to unfold. The other insanity to importing softwoods here is you are adding a carbon footprint in the long distance transport of such while paying dearly for such. That to me adds up to but one thing INSANITY! I will be providing before and after shots of this job to demonstrate the massive difference between the two methods when one does it right.

      Back on track with your questions, our first two homes are in the container now getting cleared at customs, will both be going in down south at Uvita and Plantanillo which are both close to Dominical. Certainly when you are here you can arrange a visit to see in the real when you arrive in April. From Atenas that is a 2 1/4 hour drive so you can certainly do it as a day trip or stick around and enjoy the south country some while there.

      Meanwhile we always start with clients with a skype conference call so that we can get acquainted and to understand what your goals and expectations happen to be as well as design generalities so that we can direct you in the most appropriate course of action.

      Regards,

      Trevor Chilton

  10. Hi Trevor. This is the second time I have emailed you, the first being over a year ago when we first decided to build in Costa Rica and have since done a good amount of investigating in the area we prefer, and a piece of land that we could afford.
    We have since found a piece of property we like in Puerto Viejo, which is where we are staying at the moment, and are looking to build a small but efficient home/income property on it.
    We are looking at around 60 sq.m as I am told that this is the largest I can do without getting into a huge extra cost from the municicpality.
    I have watched several of your videos and am very happy with what I have seen and heard. We are from Ontario ( Cambridge area ) and I am so glad to hear that we can have a small home built to our standards and not the local standards.
    I was wondering though, the cost you mention of $60 per sq. ft., is this American dollars or Canadian, and does this include architectural drawings etc?
    The owners of the property are having an engineer draw up some plans for a layout, and from what you are saying this is not a good idea as he probably is not qualified to do so.
    We probably won’t be ready to build until early next year but I thought I would write and confirm some questions that I had.
    Thank you for you time.

    • That is nonsense as far as huge extra costs to the municipality is concerned as it is a whopping 1% so in your case it is like $400. I am sorry anyone who would change what house they are going to build over 1% one way or another is not playing with a full deck. Secondly the process for a 60 m2 home is exactly the same as a 600m2 home. Bull pucky is all I can say. I would suggest you eliminate the source of this bad information. The $60 is in USD and no it does not include professional fees however we are now putting it all in a package since we will not build under another architect or engineer under any circumstances so there is no point in not including all costs in one package as it is not like you can separate the two anyway.

      It is not that the engineer isn’t qualified as the Colege here sees it they are by law however more importantly what makes them not qualified is by natural talent and experience. EVERY SINGLE ONE of these such plans I have seen drawn by engineers goes from butt ugly to an all out total disaster as they are simply clueless as to what is required in home design that is other than to collect fees. Engineering is an analytical endeavor and home design is an artistic one and the two shall never meet. WE have taken such plans thrown them in the garbage and started all over again from scratch since the home could not be saved from imminent disaster. Yes it is bad to throw away fees, no one enjoys that, but far worse is to bring one of these nightmares to life and spend real money on a bad design. You cannot put humpty dumpty back together again. So when you find yourself in this situation wipe the slate clean and start all over again before big disasters strike. And they will mark my word on that. I saw a client near you attempt this under construction and after an inspection I told her “fire them all” however she would not listen and upon the third time of coming back to me with more royal screw ups I told her to go away and not bother me as I had told her what to do and had very accurately predicted the results that she inevitably got. Some people cannot be helped and/or think they can fix stupid, which they can’t no matter how valiant of an attempt it is. Of course the end result is an ill designed poorly constructed home at a sky high cost. Not exactly what one would call a great formula.

      Sadly we see examples of this on a frequent basis so if you are reading this from a similar position please do yourself a huge favor and bail out ASAP the moment stupid rears its ugly head. This fact is also why we have elected to not work with outside architects and engineers as I would much prefer to walk away from any client than endure the pain and total aggravation. Plus the simple logic is we have a long tested and tried team so what would we gain in your experiment?

      Trevor

  11. I am interesting in buying some beach land near the south coast on the Caribbean side as soon as possible. Can you give me a rough estimate for a modern concret and glass modern home around 3,000 square feet with an deck? All stainless steal kitchen with concrete or steel counter tops and hard wood floors?

  12. Trevor,
    I would appreciate it if you would add me to your newsletter list.
    Have been in CR for 10 years and never thought there was a chance that there could possibly be a homebuilder doing your quality of work in this country.
    I have wanted to build a home but had totally given up on the idea because I can not deal with these people and all of their lying, headaches, hassles, and rip-offs. Ten years of that stuff is enough.
    I own a piece of property by Bello Horizonte country club in Escazu, and would like to build a small, but high quality home on it. It looks as though you would be the only builders that I would possibly ever deal with here.
    I will not be ready to do anything for a year or two.
    I have had a couple of “McMansions” in my life, and never again. I’m sold on downsizing, living smaller, and want something small and hassle-free. Do you have any limits on how small you will build? i have a couple of designs that are around 400 sq ft.
    Thank you for your time.
    JB

    • Jay your property is a short walk from where I live and you are just below all the homes I took pictures of for the book to demonstrate no one vents plumbing here because it is not important!
      We have a number of designs Michael has worked on that are small but nothing as small as 400 ft2. Sure it can be done just not sure I would recommend it from a resale basis unless it was done with the idea of a guest house to a larger home for someone else down the road mind you your zoning will not allow that in Escazu. AT any rate thanks for the kind comments they are appreciated and coming from a veteran of 10 years of living they do indeed carry more weight. However actually our biggest fans are long time residents since they have been bitten by many of the problems I write about.

      Regards,

      Trevor

  13. Hi Trevor,
    I own together with my wife a small construction and renovation company in Fort McMurray, Alberta. We just bought 2 properties at Hazienda del Mar, San Juanillo and we want to start building 2 houses there in a few years.
    When it comes to SIP’s, the WBDG advices to leave an airspace between the outside of the SIP and the actual siding, especially in moisture laden environments. My idea would rather be to stucco or polymer spray stucco the outside. Could you comment on this, based on your experience?
    Could you also add me to your Newsletter and Bloq? Thank you, Jens Oppel

  14. I have just read with great interest …details of your building methods…which are impressive…I am an Australian now living on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica…..I am in the final stages of completing my house renovation in Playa Chiquita De Talamanca…having come from a a family of builders I am appalled at the lack of skilled in the building trades here…I am looking at purchasing land here & building my ideal home…..I would be interested in discussing my project with your company Regards. Peter

  15. Trevor, good afternoon. I watched your video about a plastic tile. We too make a tile in Toronto. It composite, consisting of 60% of sand and 35% of polymer – secondary polyethylene, and also dyes and additives of protection against an ultraviolet. Our tile completely repeats a classical ceramic tile, it is only 2,5 times lighter, very strong and doesn’t break, doesn’t absorb water, so doesn’t blacken and doesn’t become covered by a moss. Period of operation of 50 years. We would like to make it in Costa Rica and to use in your EKO projects. What do you think of it? Our site Www.polysand.ca. 1 tile cost 2.5$, 1 m2-9 tiles

  16. Trevor,
    I met you about a year ago. I live in Texas now but plan on retiring in December 2016.My friend Tim and our wives are planning to build two homes in Hacienda Atena in early 2017. If you could add me to your email list i would be most appreciative.
    Thank you so much have a great day.
    Richard Furcht

  17. Please add me to your email list. My next project is a small house on a property near Uvita.
    I would like to use MGO SIP construction and a green roof. I will come to visit you when I am next in country.
    David

  18. This building method is very interesting. I would like to be on your newsletter list and how can I view your small home plans? Thanks

  19. My wife and I are considering purchasing some property near San Isidro de General and potentially building in the near future. Could you please add me to your mailing list.

  20. Trevor:

    I recommend that look at three web sites regarding your effluent irrigation design concept: geoflow.com, Americanonsite.com, and orenco.com.

    John

  21. Hi Trevor

    I don’t think I have ever come across a website such as yours. I was truly impressed with your candour, and the volume of information.

    I would like to be added to your newsletter but, also, I just emailed and it bounced back.

    I wanted to reach out now because we are here in Samara, looking at a lot that we hope to build on. I was hoping to see some of your work in the area. Could that be facilitated?

    I would be more than happy to elaborate a little more, if you’d like. Is there another email address? Or is it just temporarily down?

    Most importantly, I wanted to introduce myself and say thank you for all the incredible amount of work you put into your site. Thank you for your no b.s. approach.

    Let me know your thoughts when you have a second.

    Best

    Tom

  22. Trevor
    I purchased property in 2003 on the beach between Parrita and Jaco since then My wife and I have had her Brother (Her Brother is a big fan Sips/Geo designs) designed several floor plans. We have settled on a home that is 1500 sqft conditioned with 1500 sqft of outdoor/garage area. We would like to rent out or let our relatives use the property until we retire. We would like to used the garage area to lock down our personal items/vehicle. I will forward you the floor plan in the near future for your consideration/comments. If you would so kindly please place me on your email list.

  23. Trevor,
    We are looking to purchase land in Ojochal, we have the plano (though it tells little). There’s a concrete walled cabina on it, very basic and a bit gross (animal skat inside) with only screen/wood windows, about 400 sf. Eventually, this will be a combo guest house and outside bar for the pool which will be built on that level. The existing structure needs serious power-washing/painting inside. The idea is to add on to it, put a new roof all the way around, and live in that until we build on the upper level.

    Aside from my many questions – a Skype call is in our future – I want to first ask if your company can add to an existing structure if that structure is sound enough to add to? I want to use the MGO SIP method on this addition (part covered, part terrace). Our addition will probably only be another 400-600 sf. I can sketch up my ideas, but thought it best to ask you first about additions to existing structures.

    Also we’d like to be added to your newsletter. STELLAR job on your e-book, and every article and answer you’ve provided in the forums. I learned so much in three hours!

    Thanking you in advance,

    Sarah

  24. What a great website of information. Fantastic. Trevor knows his stuff.
    I’m intrigued to ask you if you would do an inspection of a house I’m trying to buy in Jaco? Would you do that?

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