Construction material cost in Chile and what is available

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Construction material cost in Chile and what is available

Postby admin » Fri May 11, 2007 9:43 pm

I recently had to go buy some construction materials and tools. I spent a couple of days wondering around the SODIMAC home center and Easy Home center. Thought I might post a few thoughts, prices, what seemed to be missing.

I know we have touched on the subject in different threads, but I thought I would stick to just construction materials in this one. Anyone else with experience, prices, thoughts, please jump in. Anyone with questions also.

For the most part you can find all the basics in Chile.

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here is a few quick ones

Postby admin » Fri May 11, 2007 9:51 pm

Sodimac
1x6x10 feet pine dry sanded: 1789 pesos each.
1x3x10 feet pine dry sanded 898 pesos each
2x4x10 feet dimensioned but not sanded dry 2276
structural ply wood, 5mm, 6621.85

Please note that 10 foot boards are marked as 3.2 meters in Chile. The dimensioned 2x4 is really about 5 inches wide unsanded, and the the 3 inch boards sanded, are really about 2.5 inches.

The 2x4 above where low grade. I noticed at Sodimac that the green wood was better quality than the dry wood, but you got be willing to wait for it to be usable. It did not seem to stop the contractors from loading up their trucks with it and rushing off to the building site (I overheard the cell phone call from the boss).

More later.

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tools

Postby admin » Sat May 12, 2007 2:11 am

I had some just basic projects around the house to do. I don't have any intention of running a super-construction company building track homes or skyscrapers, so I went cheap but good with the power tools.

I went with a 1400 w Black and Decker circular saw for 39.450 pesos
150 w Bauker sander: 19.900 pesos
500 w Baucker drill set with tips, hammer, and such: 19.900 pesos (I think).

The big boys like Makita are available, but run over 100,000 pesos for just about everything. Back when I owned a construction company, we went all Makita and I never replace a power tool for fault of workmanship (typically the workers stole them first).

I figure if I am using my tools that much, time to hire someone else to run them. I have other things to do.

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Sodimac chile

Postby admin » Sat May 12, 2007 2:50 am

In terms of construction stores in Chile, I like Sodimac. I know that it is the most expensive, but when I started running the numbers against what it cost me spending a day chasing the parts I need (e.g. lumber, tools, bolts, etc.), against what it cost for a taxi, colectivos, the trucks to deliver stuff to my house, I decided it was better to go to Sodimac and pay the inflated prices rather than spend 20-50% more in logistics. Sodimac charges 4,000 pesos for whatever size delivery in Temuco. They got almost all my orders to my house and unloaded in about 2-4 hours after leaving the store, or at least first thing the next day if I bought in the evening.

I remember seeing a sign at the one in Villarrica that they would deliver for free if you bought 100,000 pesos (about US $200), to anywhere in the Villarrica / Pucon area.

The other places are not necessarily any cheaper because they lack the national buying power of Sodimac on many things.

They also will tend to have the little nick nack parts that really get projects done. That extra wing screw, doweling, certain type of bolt, and so on. Your average hardware store in Chile will have the big common things, but they do not have the financial power or foresight to keep the little and rarely used things in stock. This is especially true when you start talking about things that are completely foreign or new technologies to Chile.

I have spent some time at Easy home center. In Temuco, they are across the street from eachother; however, Easy tends to be more interior decorating type things. They are more for Mom who wants to finish a bedroom, than dad who wants a certain type of drill bit. They are kind of yuppy home center, that cells the components for the house ready to install or they will install it for you. They are much less of a do it yourself store, and thus lack the little nick nacks.

Sodimac tends to do a good job of being both. In Temuco there are actually two. Considering Temuco's population is only about 200,000 people, and there are about 2 dozen major construction stores and a million little mom and pop hardware stores, it is fairly impressive that they have that much of the market share.

However, I would say for a big project such as buying the wood for a house, to shop around and order all at once in bulk if you can do it. Green wood should be ordered at least 6 months in advance.

Sodimac also had a nice sign on the "dry" wood that said certified 12% humidity. I plan to investigate this more, because after I cut a few up I am not completely convinced they are that dry (i.e. it is Temuco, in the rainy season, and I am not sure there is any wood that dry, even the stuff cut 100 years ago).

We have been told by our construction consultant that there are only 3 certification centers in Chile, and they are all near Santiago. Which makes me a little suspicious about the idea that they are shipping wood from Southern Chile 8 hour North and then sending it back to be sold a few miles from where it was cut. However, that still does not mean it is not dry. It might be fine. I am more concerned about the claim to certification.

I will see what details we can find out about this.

Tomorrow I am going to give some of the scraps from my recent project the burn test. That is, I am going to put them in the fireplace and see how easy it is to light a fire with just paper and a couple of pieces of scrap pine. I have done this before from work sites in Chile, and found that when the wood is really really green even things like floor wax will not light it. It tends to sit in my fireplace for a day or so, as I burn dry wood around it. Really dry wood should snap, crackle, and pop, and be gone. On the other hand, no need for toxic fire retardants in your house.

:P

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construction

Postby admin » Sat May 12, 2007 3:13 am

For the curious that are wondering how I happen to know anything at all about construction I think I should explain a bit.

When I was about 15, I landed a job doing demolition on a small construction crew around Las Vegas. The shop manager in Charge one night left town with about a million dollars of my bosses tools. To stop that from happening again, the boss decided that he was going to put the one guy in charge that could not leave town because I did not have a drivers license. He figured, even if I made mistakes from lack of experience, it still would not cost him a million in tools. So, he hired some guy to drive me around from construction site to construction site, meet with the building inspectors, contractors, and give everyone their assignments.

The building inspector thing was brilliant for about the first 6 months. I knew nothing about building. I just shrugged my shoulders because I really did not know what the worker where suppose to do, and I had no idea where the boss was. The inspectors would just sign and go.

Well, that worked for a while, but when the inspectors started calling me by my first name, they quit just signing off on the projects and started explaining to me what was wrong (they got paid by the hour also).

I also had a bunch of guys on the crew who had been building for as much as 30+ years. At first they were fine with me not knowing anything (made their job easy), but after a while I started catching on to the difference between mistakes and them being lazy.

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University

Postby admin » Sat May 12, 2007 3:24 am

So, fast forward about 5 years, to my early University days. I need to make some cash while going to school. I start working for a friend of the family that is starting a small construction company. He is not really a builder, but a professor of small business finance. He had a little bit of construction experience, but more importantly knew how to run a business.

So, I worked for him for about a year. After a year, we decided it would be more lucrative for both of us if I started my own subcontracting business ( mostly for tax reasons ). Anyway, I started handling his roofing and concrete contracting. One of the major jobs I did though, day in and day out, was meet with clients and place bids on jobs. So, basically I spent most of my time at the lumber yard guessing at how much to bid, so that we would not go under by a bad bid on a construction job.

It was about that time that I started grumbling more and more to myself about the reason I was going to college, and decided that I just wanted to push a pencil and tap a keyboard for a while (I was about 19 or 20). It was also about the time I fell in love with my backpack.

So, about 25 countries later, and a wife, I find myself once again wondering around the lumber yard in Southern Chile because our clients are in desperate need of construction help.

Just this time I think I am going to stick to mostly general management of better qualified people than I. When I smash my thumb with a hammer, it will be simply my own labor of love with hobby projects or building my own house. However, as we start doing more construction consulting for clients I find myself on the work sites more and more these days.

The cool thing is I get to take all those fuzzy receipts from Sodimac for home improvements and hobby projects, and turn them in to very legitimate business expenses through posting them to http://www.allchile.net. Well, at least in the US. The Chilean tax code is a bit more strict about those type of things.

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Construction culture in Chile

Postby admin » Sat May 12, 2007 4:19 am

One of the all time coolest things I have recently encountered is dealing with the workers in Chile.

Typically there is this assumption by Chileans from the lower economic rungs (and upper rungs), that as a Gringo I have never built or worked in my life.

For example, they are fairly shocked when on the work site there is some poor sap digging a ditch or doing some other thankless job, and I can stop and talk to him about it and say, "yea, I remember digging ditches. that sucks". We suddenly can connect on a level that has nothing to do with Chile or language or anything else. We have both hated the same job.

It also helps with the small Chilean contractors. They are relieved to finally be able to find out what our Gringo clients have been mumbling about wanting for months. For them, it is massive money and time saver. The builders want to do a good job, they simply have trouble understanding what our clients consider a good job. I would say we specialize in communication, more than even law, construction, or any of the other things we do.

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Re: Construction material cost in Chile and what is available

Postby renax » Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:25 am

Its about the half of the price here, in france.

I mean the retail price,
if you buy a quantity, (say 400usd or so)
prices will go down.


This is for south chile but what would it be in central region,
or more north to La Serena for instance ?

ren

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Re: Construction material cost in Chile and what is available

Postby renax » Wed Feb 27, 2008 3:31 am

I also have many questions about constructions ways,
surely very diferent from every region.

For instance I 've seen carpentary full metal in north;
why ? for earth quake ?
or for price compare to wood ?

ren

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Re: Construction material cost in Chile and what is available

Postby Vicki and Greg Lansen » Mon Aug 18, 2008 9:29 am

Morning all! I am respectfully requesting a little help spot-checking prices on a few items for running electric to my house...I am not a complete igit (yet) and would do this myself, but my list is in English and I don't have a good translation here with me of the items. Plus, I am not in Chile right now. I just want to check and see if the contractor is marking up a "volcanic" rate on us. Here goes:

(a sampling- prices in CLP)
800 meters of conducting wire p.i. 0.6 mm 560,000
1 single phase ight meter 14,000 (isn't this something he should have)
7 wooden posts (Manio) 6 meters each 120,000
20 medium metallic U supporters 40,000
100 meters THHN 10 AWG conductor 50,000

As I said, just a sampling of materials for installation of 450 meters of an electrical feeding line to my house outside of Futa. The contractor has quoted 800,000 for labor, and this doesn't include his quotes for material transportation.

My thoughts are that if he's fairly close on material costs, I might have to bite the bullet on the project costs. However, if he's marking up outrageously, I might just go buy the materials myself, and bring someone else in to do the job. As it is, my options are pretty limited.

Thanks to anyone who makes a call on a price for me and writes back. I'm very, VERY grateful in advance.

Vicki

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Re: Construction material cost in Chile and what is available

Postby admin » Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:19 am

Yea, the major home center web sites don't go in to that much detail. I have a trip planned to the Sodimac sometime this week, and will see if I can eyeball the prices for you.
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Re: Construction material cost in Chile and what is available

Postby admin » Mon Aug 18, 2008 11:33 am

well, just a quick look in my trusty Easy contractors catalog list the 100 mt 10 AWG cable for 36.000 pesos. There is not much else listed in the catalog on your shopping list, but that would at least give you an idea of relative prices.
Spencer Global Chile: Legal, relocation, and Investment assistance in Chile.
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From USA and outside Chile dial 1-917-727-5985 (U.S.), in Chile dial 65 2 42 1024 or by cell 747 97974.


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