Construction material cost in Chile and what is available

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Re: Construction material cost in Chile and what is available

Postby admin » Thu Jul 02, 2015 9:19 pm

If your retaining anything that has even a minor amount of weight, blocks are not the way to go. they have great strength in compression, and almost none in the horizontal direction (they are only as strong as the bond between blocks, and that mortar is not very strong). Easy experiment to demonstrate. Set 5 blocks, and hit it with a sledge hammer on the side. Then do the same test to a concrete wall of the same dimensions. Block walls should only be used for decorative retaining wall type situations, unless solid filled, with lots of rebar, proper bond beams, and proper gapping for expansion and contraction.

If it is retaining, as in really holding some weight from moving horizontally, for about the same money or less you can do a solid concrete wall. again. lots of rebar. You have to seal the exterior side, and drain it. That is both to increase the stability of the soil behind it, and to eliminate humidity issues (if this is like a walk out basement sort of thing).

Even with solid concrete, you need to have a footing that is designed not to slip (oversized to the side holding back the material), and typically with a keyway in it along with rebar connecting the two.

Don't even mess with anything less than 5/8 diameter rebar in Chile. It costs just a little more, is just a little harder to work with, but adds way more strength for the buck in earthquake country.

Again, the engineering can get complicated fast.

They say a good engineer carefully calculates all the variables, then multiples by 3 for safety. I am not a good engineer. So I calculate as carefully as I can, and then multiple by 10 for safety.

For estimate purposes, start by going to say sodimac or some other store and just price out materials for what you want to do. it will give you a base idea of what these people are quoting.

A good rule for estimating costs that a former biz partner gave me years ago (he was a professor of small business finance, when he was not running the construction biz with me):

1/3 is the materials
1/3 is the labour
1/3 is your profit
1/3 is to cover your ass in the event you got any of the other thirds wrong.

So, once you got any idea of general material costs, general labour costs (minimum wage is now officially 247,000 a month), and allow for a reasonable profit for the poor guys, if you get anything less than the 4/3, call it a reasonable price. You can use the same formula, to help protect you from under estimating the costs of your construction. Typically, I go with doing detailed costs calculations, and then double it (I always forget something). If it comes in anywhere under that number, I am a happy camper.
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Re: Construction material cost in Chile and what is available

Postby admin » Thu Jul 02, 2015 9:43 pm

Believe this is what your talking about doing, mas o menos (obviously taller)

I cut a cavity with a concrete saw down the top to create a bond beam, 5/8 rebar, vertical every 4 feet, and then filled with my super C40+ nuclear bunker home brew mix of concrete
block-rebar1.jpg


Notice the gravel on inside, there is a french drain under that of 4 inches. Same on the outside. This was essentially a retaining wall situation, as the soil is slightly higher on that side of the house. I dug out the native soil about a meter, and after drains, filled it with 1 inch gravel. Provides drainage, takes the pressure off the wall, and will keep morons from planting plants too close to the house (major cause of humidity problems in the south of Chile). I don't want roots coming through the wall in 20 years.
rebar2.jpg


That all sits on a 1 x 2 footing, even though my soil could likely handle dropping a foundation directly on it without a problem. I excavated down about 3 feet to native soil, as the original land was a farmers field and had been ploughed and cleared for decades. So the top soil was definitely very disturbed.
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Re: Construction material cost in Chile and what is available

Postby Irishman » Thu Jul 02, 2015 9:58 pm

Wow! What an answer. Great advice about the 5/8 rebar diameter. I would never have thought of that. In the interest of a complete understanding of your cost estimation formula, can I give you an example scenario of what I think you mean:

Lets say for argument sake and to make the maths easy, the construction takes one month:

1/3 = Materials :10,000,000 (I check this in Sodimac)
1/3 = Labour : 247,000 (Minimum wage)
1/3 = Profit : 3,000,000
1/3 = Contingency:2,000,000 (Arbitrary amount plucked from the air)

Total: 15,247,000

So say a quote comes in less than this total, all is good. Any higher and I can raise my eye brows.

You seem to really know a great deal. You must have many years experience. Did you manage to take a look at the link I pasted in a previous post regarding how Chilean engineers estimate construction costs? It would appear you are qualified to either give it the thumbs up or down!

Thanks a lot for your input.

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Re: Construction material cost in Chile and what is available

Postby admin » Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:15 pm

that is in total of about 165 feet of crawl space foundation, 1,300+ square foot foundation. Did just about all of it myself. Think it ran about 2 to 2.5 million pesos, to the point I was ready for framing the lumber.

The footing was about 400,000 pesos for the concrete truck, about 3 cubic meters as I recall. Local bio bio concrete plant quoted me around 700,000 pesos for 7 meter truck load. I had a friend help me, and a maestro that works for him for about 3 hours to do the pour on the day the truck showed up. 15,000 pesos for the maestro, and a bunch of imported beers for the gringo friend.

keep in mind the truck could drive up and drop it from the shoot directly in to the forms without much of a problem. So very little pushing concrete around in a wheelbarrow. again, the whole thing is over in about 3 hours, good or bad, because that is the point the concrete can no longer be worked. the factory was about 1 hour away. So, we had less than 2 hours by the time the truck arrived.

again, a concrete truck driver has one purpose in life once his truck is loaded: unload it before the concrete sets up, and it does not matter where that happens, as long as it is not in the truck. concrete will setup in Chile, just as in any other part of the world, and it really does not care much about the cultural b.s. of latin america.

think blocks ran me 600,000 pesos. I ordered more than I needed. Bought them from a local foundry in Pourto Montt. Insist on them sending a truck with a crane. I made that mistake, and ended up spending an afternoon unloading like 800 blocks by hand with a friend.

rebar about 300,000 pesos. I could have used less, but really very cheap in the grand scheme of things.

poured the interior floor with a mixer (never, ever doing that again). ran me about another 200,000 pesos in cement. I also filled the entire interior with 1 inch rock to a depth of about 6 to 4 inches until level. Vapour barriers, drains, center support posts, so on. Perhaps another 100,000 pesos.

gravel, sand, lumber for footing forms, other miscellaneous materials about 500,000.

really at some point I just decided to stop paying attention to the costs. It just slows me down and makes me depressed. I now just ask myself what is the better material for the buck, and buy it. In the grand scheme of things, I could have built 5 houses for the amount of my personal time I put in to the house. The costs of this do dad, or that do dad, is pretty irrelevant. I just wanted to build a house. If I keep in mind my goal was to build a house myself, it is really cheap.
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Re: Construction material cost in Chile and what is available

Postby admin » Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:25 pm

Irishman wrote:Wow! What an answer. Great advice about the 5/8 rebar diameter. I would never have thought of that. In the interest of a complete understanding of your cost estimation formula, can I give you an example scenario of what I think you mean:

Lets say for argument sake and to make the maths easy, the construction takes one month:

1/3 = Materials :10,000,000 (I check this in Sodimac)
1/3 = Labour : 247,000 (Minimum wage)
1/3 = Profit : 3,000,000
1/3 = Contingency:2,000,000 (Arbitrary amount plucked from the air)

Total: 15,247,000

So say a quote comes in less than this total, all is good. Any higher and I can raise my eye brows.

You seem to really know a great deal. You must have many years experience. Did you manage to take a look at the link I pasted in a previous post regarding how Chilean engineers estimate construction costs? It would appear you are qualified to either give it the thumbs up or down!

Thanks a lot for your input.


Million variables I don't know, but that does not sound too bad; except for the 1 month thing. I have not seen the biggest builders in Chile, with 200 man crews and all the big toys, doing track home cookie cutter plans (200 houses exactly the same), finish a house in 1 month. anyone tells you that, they are full of shit. You might get a shed in 1 month, but not a house you want to live in.
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Re: Construction material cost in Chile and what is available

Postby admin » Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:49 pm

here is how philosophically I approach the costs of building my house overall (I only have a MA in Philosophy, so that is the only qualification I have to work with), and why I am spending the extra money without real hesitation on the good stuff in my house.

1) I am building all by myself. 2/3 of my estimation formula does not apply. Mostly material costs, and allowing generously for all my own mistakes.

2) Typically in Chile, a built house vs. the cost of construction, has a market value of about 10 to 1. Most of the time.

3) where and what I am building, the prices of houses have gone from about 80 million pesos to over 150 million pesos for the same size house, but really badly built, in the time it has taken to build my house. I have patagonia virgin (jack Nicolas designed gulf course community) over the hill from me about 1 km, that is selling at 189 million pesos for an apartment with no view of the osorno volcano. The house in front of me sold for 130 million. The houses down the road from me, are on the market for 150 to 200 million pesos. many without the view I have.

4) by the time I am done, I am hoping to be 20 million pesos in to the house. 17 million in to the property. Property in my area now goes for 50 million pesos per 5,000 square meters. More likly, with all the bells and whistles (jucuzi, two car garage, guest house), I will be in 40 million pesos.

I am still looking at about a 100 million pesos profit margin to work with. Shit, I got almost 500,000 in to my house, in just hot dipped galvanized nails (electro plated does not cut it in a marine environment, and just about all of Chile is a marine enviro). I spent the super extra money, to make sure everything meets or exceeds U.S. or European building standards. I took a pile of time to document, like the photos above, everything I did, good and bad. So, when I sell it, I can hand a file full of photos to the buyer. If I don't sell it, and 10 years from now say need to find a leak in a pipe under the concrete, I know exactly where that pipe is under the ground. If i need to add new wiring chases, I have photos (not just plans) that show where to drill in the wall. the little things.

Point is, use good materials and more importantly good building practices. I am making up for the extra costs by going after the value added features that no house in Chile has, and both gringos and Chileans will appreciate make the house special.
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Re: Construction material cost in Chile and what is available

Postby admin » Thu Jul 02, 2015 10:51 pm

here is how philosophically I approach the costs of building my house overall (I only have a MA in Philosophy, so that is the only qualification I have to work with), and why I am spending the extra money without real hesitation on the good stuff in my house.

1) I am building all by myself. 2/3 of my estimation formula does not apply. Mostly material costs, and allowing generously for all my own mistakes.

2) Typically in Chile, a built house vs. the cost of construction, has a market value of about 10 to 1. Most of the time.

3) where and what I am building, the prices of houses have gone from about 80 million pesos to over 150 million pesos for the same size house, but really badly built, in the time it has taken to build my house. I have patagonia virgin (jack Nicolas designed gulf course community) over the hill from me about 1 km, that is selling at 189 million pesos for an apartment with no view of the osorno volcano. The house in front of me sold for 130 million. The houses down the road from me, are on the market for 150 to 200 million pesos. many without the view I have. 50 million pesos is pretty standard starting price for a unbuilt lot now. Essentially, the land has appreciated more than I have spent to build the house.

4) by the time I am done, I am hoping to be 20 million pesos in to the house. 17 million in to the property. Property in my area now goes for 50 million pesos per 5,000 square meters. More likly, with all the bells and whistles (jucuzi, two car garage, guest house), I will be in 40 million pesos.

I am still looking at about a 100 million pesos profit margin to work with. Shit, I got almost 500,000 in to my house, in just hot dipped galvanized nails (electro plated does not cut it in a marine environment, and just about all of Chile is a marine enviro). I spent the super extra money, to make sure everything meets or exceeds U.S. or European building standards. I took a pile of time to document, like the photos above, everything I did, good and bad. So, when I sell it, I can hand a file full of photos to the buyer. If I don't sell it, and 10 years from now say need to find a leak in a pipe under the concrete, I know exactly where that pipe is under the ground. If i need to add new wiring chases, I have photos (not just plans) that show where to drill in the wall. the little things.

Point is, use good materials and more importantly good building practices. I am making up for the extra costs by going after the value added features that no house in Chile has, and both gringos and Chileans will appreciate make the house special.
Spencer Global Chile: Legal, relocation, and Investment assistance in Chile.
For more information visit: https://www.spencerglobal.com

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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Re: Construction material cost in Chile and what is available

Postby Irishman » Thu Jul 02, 2015 11:44 pm

That is all quite a lot to take in! I really need to disect all this further tomorrow. I do notice though that your 3 cubic meters of concrete for 400,000 pesos is quite close to what the link below suggests. The link below also appears to include rebar and labour which pushes the price up to about 570,000 for the 3 cubic meters. This all makes sense. Between this site and the link below, I seem to be getting very close to how to justify a quote and to give me base costs.

The link below only gives 2 out of your 4 thirds (Material and labour) So I would probably increase the 570,000 to about 750,000 for the 3 cubic meters. This would then encompass all of your 4 thirds and is what I could expect from a builder's quote.

I note that this link details that of a rebarred concrete wall and not a base. (Link for base seems to be down, hence using this workaround) I am presuming that there is a difference in price although not huge given that metal is metal and base concrete is the same as wall concrete.

http://www.chile.generadordeprecios.inf ... migon.html

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Re: Construction material cost in Chile and what is available

Postby bert.douglas » Fri Jul 03, 2015 12:03 am

Irishman wrote:.... This all makes sense. Between this site and the link below, I seem to be getting very close to how to justify a quote and to give me base costs.

You might want to first build something relatively small and unimportant. It is really difficult to avoid screw-ups when doing something new.

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Re: Construction material cost in Chile and what is available

Postby Dosedmonkey » Fri Jul 03, 2015 12:23 am

admin wrote:again, a concrete truck driver has one purpose in life once his truck is loaded: unload it before the concrete sets up, and it does not matter where that happens, as long as it is not in the truck. concrete will setup in Chile, just as in any other part of the world, and it really does not care much about the cultural b.s. of latin america.


Can you blame him, seen people trying to remove concrete from trucks before, and even more of a nightmare, seen when a cargo hold on a ship carrying cement has been opened and found water had leaked in to the hold during a storm or loading in humidity has caused major problems, and set the cement.

http://www.shippingsolutions.com/blog/t ... nt-story-2

When more than 250 cement ships arrived, they only further added to the congestion and, of course, they could not unload. After about six months of waiting on the high seas in the hot and humid weather, you can probably guess what happened to the cement! It took on moisture, hardened and became useless while on board the ships.


Interesting hearing your figures on how much your house has cost, in comparison how much they are charging for houses down your way. I am surprised they are that expensive. Not so different to outskirts of Santiago.

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Re: Construction material cost in Chile and what is available

Postby admin » Fri Jul 03, 2015 12:30 pm

Dosedmonkey wrote:
admin wrote:again, a concrete truck driver has one purpose in life once his truck is loaded: unload it before the concrete sets up, and it does not matter where that happens, as long as it is not in the truck. concrete will setup in Chile, just as in any other part of the world, and it really does not care much about the cultural b.s. of latin america.


Can you blame him, seen people trying to remove concrete from trucks before, and even more of a nightmare, seen when a cargo hold on a ship carrying cement has been opened and found water had leaked in to the hold during a storm or loading in humidity has caused major problems, and set the cement.


....

Interesting hearing your figures on how much your house has cost, in comparison how much they are charging for houses down your way. I am surprised they are that expensive. Not so different to outskirts of Santiago.


I seen an episode of myth busters a while back where they went in to an old concrete trucks where the concrete had setup inside the drum to see if they could get it out. They tried jack hammers, saws, and then finally loaded it full of explosives. The top blew off, but the concrete was still inside.

The house prices are staying high, because the supply is super tight around the lake. There is very little to buy or rent in Frutillar. What little there is to buy, is all well over 100 million pesos. Even houses that should get a bulldozer, are over 100 million pesos. Puerto Varas has had an even tighter market for longer, especially for rentals. Lot's of managers and their families assigned to the south, live in Puerto Varas, but work in the PM or the region. In spite of new construction around the lake, the market has stayed consistently tight for years.
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Re: Construction material cost in Chile and what is available

Postby Space Cat » Fri Jul 03, 2015 3:41 pm

Irishman wrote:Ok well that sounds promising DosedMonkey. It demonstrates that if the labour costs add up then so too could the material costs which are also listed. I am now slowly gathering more confidence in what I should be "honestly" charged and what could constitute as daylight robbery. Again, its all down to the integrity of this link and whether or not builders abide by it. For example, according to the following link, given the surface area of 100m2 with a 10cm depth, a reinforced concrete base would cost CLP 797,599.00. ( 7.975,99 X 100 = 797,599.00 CLP)

http://www.chile.generadordeprecios.inf ... _0_1_1c5_0

I could probably recommend you an amazing builder in Valdivia (I don't know if he's available).
He and his team built our current house in 2 months and his huge family 3-floor house in 4 months.

I think our house is in top-5% in Chile in terms of quality. (It's really warm!!) Also it looks more like a Scandinavian house outside - no aquarium windows. :D


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