Page 2 of 2

Re: New Guy From Florida

Posted: Mon May 21, 2018 6:13 pm
by KDnR
When you will be in Chile next time, let's meet.

I think you will do very good with a small construction company here if you will personally manage it.

Many people said to me that it is not possible to establish quality construction company here in Chile. I do not agree with that at all. The thing is, while I was building in the States, a majority of guys working for me on the job site were Mexicans. It did not prevent me from getting quality houses built. Am I think that Mexicans are much better than Chileans? I don't think so.

Why people do what they do and how they do it? Based on what they see how other people doing same work. Maestros here will do what they see other builders do. And you have your cycle. When Mexicans come to work to the States, they will start to work for an American builder or Mexican guy who already got it how to do things properly. New people with pretty much no experience, working under proper guidance will end up building good houses.

In Chile, if you will manage things right, you will be doing good and you will have many people waiting for you to start working on their project. It is hard to find a local quality builder. Sounds like a good opportunity for the right person. Good luck

Re: New Guy From Florida

Posted: Tue May 22, 2018 1:33 am
by kw2chile
Thanks for all the responses guys! Just about what I expected to hear. The perfect blend of techniques and materials will of course yield the best results. From what I gather labor and material issues are the biggest problems. After building in the Key West and throughout the Caribbean I can tell you Chile is in good company in this regard.

-thisisreallycomplicated- is it the expense of importing or is it impossible to import good hardware?

-41southchile-noted. They told me the same thing about building things underwater 13 years ago.

-Gloria-Thanks for the list, all friends and family tell me the slang will be the hardest thing. The beekeeping comment made me smile, that is my true passion but figured I would catch more shit for that than construction. Are there any apicultores on here? I have been speaking with a few but they are all near to Santiago and much different climate.

-Chesswolf- I hope I could adapt and learn the nuances of Chilean construction in less than 10 years, if not I
might be better off going to medical school! I agree though that the learning curve may be steep. I have no problem going to work with someone with more experience than me. It would be a lot less stressful than my current situation!

-Donnybrook- I have heard from a few people that to simply show up and follow through with an agreement goes a long way down there. I think that having a little time to get the lay of the land and see where the gaps exist would be prudent. I notice a recurring theme for roofing and insulation.

-Julito- funny you should say that! Last week some visiting Chilean friends said that people who talk the loudest like they know what’s going on usually know the least!

-mem- Now that I think about it that’s why I asked about preference for a gringo contractor, communicating details and expectations is huge and may not translate well.

-KDnR- I would pit some of my worst employees against the worst Chilean any day! Where are you building in the US?

From what I can see there are no licensing or insurance requirements for small contractors. This seems like a double-edged sword in that savings could be passed onto the client but the lack of culpability may outweigh the savings. Less headaches anyways. Thanks again guys.

Travis

Re: New Guy From Florida

Posted: Tue May 22, 2018 4:00 am
by thisisreallycomplicated
kw2chile wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 1:33 am
-thisisreallycomplicated- is it the expense of importing or is it impossible to import good hardware?
I haven't tried yet, since I'm still renting. But it's probably not hard to do. I think you'd just need to experiment with different shipping options, to find the best way to do it.

Re: New Guy From Florida

Posted: Tue May 22, 2018 4:38 am
by thisisreallycomplicated
Those prefab houses seem pretty popular here. They sell them all up and down ruta 5, between Coquimbo and La Serena. Finding and supporting a good quality brand, might be a good way to get started. And maybe you could start your own, once you learn how everything works around here.

Re: New Guy From Florida

Posted: Tue May 22, 2018 7:26 am
by admin
I was watching this kitchen renovation show the other day, because i am renovating my own kitchen.

Host was walking around with the owner talking about what they are going to do.

He knocks on a wall and just off hand says, "we can take this wall out, because it is 2x3 so i know it is not structural".

I fell out of bed laughing.

I just reframed, from inside out, an entire segment of my house, because some moron maestro had framed that part of the house with 2x3s (using green lumber), when dimensioned are really 2.5 inches wide. then they cut eletrical and water pipes in to the studs another inch or so. I had about 1 inch of wood holding up an entire second floor. Only reason the house was still standing because at least they used osb on the exterior, that sort of created a sheer wall to take the loads. Now the wall is 6 inches thick, and filled with simson strong ties anywhere i could slip one in, and all tied to earthquake anchors.

Re: New Guy From Florida

Posted: Tue May 22, 2018 10:12 am
by passport
I know there are many norteamericanos and Europeans who would like to find a quality builder, and probably some savvy Santiaguinos too. A Chilean architect told me you can get anything you want in Santiago, don't judge the quality of materials only by what you see in Sodimac. As far as dry lumber goes, why not set up a shipping container - or better yet a 40' cargo trailer - with an industrial dehumidifier and a box fan? Properly stack your lumber inside with cleats between for circulation and run it for a week or ten days? Those heavy dehumidifiers really rock. The quality of materials and help will be an issue, no doubt, but there are gringos doing construction in Chile who have plenty of work. You can start with simple projects to find your way through the forest, while establishing a reputation of quality and reliability.

Re: New Guy From Florida

Posted: Tue May 22, 2018 10:38 am
by mem
admin wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 7:26 am
I was watching this kitchen renovation show the other day, because i am renovating my own kitchen.

Host was walking around with the owner talking about what they are going to do.

He knocks on a wall and just off hand says, "we can take this wall out, because it is 2x3 so i know it is not structural".

I fell out of bed laughing.

I just reframed, from inside out, an entire segment of my house, because some moron maestro had framed that part of the house with 2x3s (using green lumber), when dimensioned are really 2.5 inches wide. then they cut eletrical and water pipes in to the studs another inch or so. I had about 1 inch of wood holding up an entire second floor. Only reason the house was still standing because at least they used osb on the exterior, that sort of created a sheer wall to take the loads. Now the wall is 6 inches thick, and filled with simson strong ties anywhere i could slip one in, and all tied to earthquake anchors.
Oy aint that something? I bought some 1x2' and 1x'3's at sodimac for a small hobby project (not housing, just an openair computer case) and I was shocked when I got home to find they didn't actually measure our to either the 2 or 3 dimension...I chalked it up to huh they must be using some CM measurement, but then why sell them using inches? Wonders never cease. Not to self...actually measure the wood, don't take the label in sodimac for granted

Re: New Guy From Florida

Posted: Tue May 22, 2018 10:47 am
by Gloria
passport wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 10:12 am
I know there are many norteamericanos and Europeans who would like to find a quality builder, and probably some savvy Santiaguinos too. A Chilean architect told me you can get anything you want in Santiago, don't judge the quality of materials only by what you see in Sodimac. As far as dry lumber goes, why not set up a shipping container - or better yet a 40' cargo trailer - with an industrial dehumidifier and a box fan? Properly stack your lumber inside with cleats between for circulation and run it for a week or ten days? Those heavy dehumidifiers really rock. The quality of materials and help will be an issue, no doubt, but there are gringos doing construction in Chile who have plenty of work. You can start with simple projects to find your way through the forest, while establishing a reputation of quality and reliability.
Hummmm...everything sounds so simple with words but the harsh reality is something totally different. Stop and smell the pollution.

Re: New Guy From Florida

Posted: Tue May 22, 2018 12:09 pm
by bert.douglas
mem wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 10:38 am
Oy aint that something? I bought some 1x2' and 1x'3's at sodimac for a small hobby project (not housing, just an openair computer case) and I was shocked when I got home to find they didn't actually measure our to either the 2 or 3 dimension...I chalked it up to huh they must be using some CM measurement, but then why sell them using inches? Wonders never cease. Not to self...actually measure the wood, don't take the label in sodimac for granted
Lumber is sold in "nominal size" not actual size. So, for example, a "2x4" is actually 1.5 x 3.5. I am not sure of the origin of this practice. Possibly the rough cut green lumber is the named size, then there is shrinkage while drying and then more material is removed to make a smooth surface. Probably some gamesmanship long ago by sawmills trying to save money.

Whatever, the finished lumber size is now standardized and uniform, even if the names do not match the actual size.

Image

Re: New Guy From Florida

Posted: Tue May 22, 2018 2:42 pm
by fraggle092
Using a foreigner as a direct supervisor is a no-no, its hard for a gringo to interface fully with the workers.
A Chilean capataz who really can talk the workers language is needed.
But he has to back up management, rather than cahuínear with the workers to screw the most amount of money possible out of a project, with the least amount of effort. If you are not familiar with that expression, best stop right here as it shows that you dont know the local "culture". Even gringos who are familiar with work in other Latino countries are surprised by how complicated things can be here.

Labour laws. If you dont hire and fire by the book, a painful learning experience lies in store.
When it comes to labour disputes instigated by an employee, the employer is always presumed to be in the wrong.
Employees will game the labour laws if they can get away with it.

As for Chilean clients, talk is cheap but getting paid can be like getting blood out of a stone. Government, and especially local government are notoriously bad/slow payers.

Yeah, I know. Mister Negative strikes again, but the previous is mostly based on personal experience.

Btw a length of sawn timber en bruto is closest to the nominal size. If the same piece of timber is then Planed All Round (PAR), cepillado, its still described with the original dimensions. Pretty universal practice.

Re: New Guy From Florida

Posted: Tue May 22, 2018 4:55 pm
by thisisreallycomplicated
fraggle092 wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 2:42 pm
But he has to back up management, rather than cahuínear with the workers to screw the most amount of money possible out of a project, with the least amount of effort. If you are not familiar with that expression, best stop right here as it shows that you dont know the local "culture".
I didn't know there was a word for it, but that pretty much sums it up.

Re: New Guy From Florida

Posted: Fri May 25, 2018 9:22 pm
by KDnR
kw2chile wrote:
Tue May 22, 2018 1:33 am


-KDnR- I would pit some of my worst employees against the worst Chilean any day! Where are you building in the US?

Travis, I used to build in NW, not anymore.