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  1. #1
    Rest In Peace Lindsay
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    Smile Laying a patio - Dominican style

    Remember the performance over the transformer???? Still not working by the way. We appear to be missing one lamp post. Anyway have now moved on to laying patio in garden. Big garden - 1500 sq metres, so very expensive to pave. Bought broken floor tiles from knocked down hotel - 15,000RD$. Bought 50 bags of cement. So far so good. Friends of husband declared they were professionals. Started laying patio. I gave them a spirit level - thought it might help. They laid about 3 square metres. It was 4 inches higher at one side than the other!!! Explained how spirit level worked. (They thought you just had to be able to see the bubble - it didn't have to be in the middle!). Took up patio. Had visit from Maestro patio layer. He wanted 40,000 RD$ for the whole job. No way. So he laid the edge - beautiful, level, and put string all the way across to guide guys who would carry on laying - the ones who said they were professional. Off we go. Use 10 bags of cement. No cement left. 40 bags have walked, no-one knows when or where. Someone knows where I can buy cement cheaply, so buy more cement. (Probably buying back my own bags which were nicked. Note to self: mark bags of cement in future). Off we go again. String markers disappear. They were getting in the way of the wheelbarrow. Patio grows slowly and unevenly. Still problems using spirit level. Now spirit level has disappeared. Lent to someone yesterday who has gone to work in Bayaguana or something like that. Anyone got a spare spirit level????? Or does it really matter!!!!

    Matilda

  2. #2
    Moderator
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    Hey Matilda, don't look at it as an uneven patio. See it as an opportunity and open Juan Dolio's first skateboarding ramp.

  3. #3
    Rest In Peace Lindsay
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Chirimoya View Post
    Hey Matilda, don't look at it as an uneven patio. See it as an opportunity and open Juan Dolio's first skateboarding ramp.
    Fab idea. I was actually thinking of a dry ski slope!!!!! But it's easier to buy skateboards here than skis.

  4. #4
    DR1
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    That RD$40,000 price will look like a good deal in a few weeks

  5. #5
    Chip00
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    Maltida

    Next time you need something done PLEASE send me a pm as I have a personal friend that will charge you dirt cheap Dominican prices to do whatever construction you need. Not only that he speaks creole which helps him find cheap labor. He works all over the DR and Haiti too.

    Suerte

  6. #6
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    matilda, i simply love you.

  7. #7
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    How the hell do you remain so 'upbeat'?......I'd have murdered somebody by now! (and yes, I do know that's not a good idea....... )

    Seriously, funds allowing of course, I'd have gone for the guy that looked like he could do the job properly because the cheapest option isn't always the best. I've learned with builders etc in the past that if you're happy with a job you soon forget what it cost, but if it's a shambles then you never forget how much money you wasted.!

  8. #8
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    I'm having the OPPOSITE problem right now with the "level" I am remodeling an apartment (in NY) and using (2) Dominican workers that have worked for me for some time. Rafael doesn't put the level down. Every single piece of stud he puts up, every piece of tile that is cemented, he uses a level.
    So, I guess I shouldn't complain. Everything is square and straight, albeit taking a little more time.
    john

  9. #9
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    Default NEVER Buy ALL Your Materials At Once!!!!!

    Especially if it is a big job!
    50 bags of cement??? "I" would have stolen at least 25 myself!!
    Your questiion about the "price" of cement indicates that you don't know the "Cost-of-materials here. ANOTHER bad sign! "Cement" prices are pretty much the same,at any given time, at all suppliers. If you bought yours at a small "ferreteria" you probably paid more that the average cost. "Go Big",like a "BIG" distributer, when you buy building materials. The word is most likely "OUT" about you by now. You will never get a good price for any materials or work you need. They also know that you are "Easy"! Meaning you don't respond to theft.
    Robert's comment is "Spot On"!
    You should have called the police,thrown a "FIT",yelled at them,had the police take them to the station for questioning! When I first started working here 12 years ago I was supervising contruction of a large medical complex in Santo Domingo. I thought that I could "Catch More Flies With Honey Than I Could With Vineger"!... You know,like my mother taught me!!!
    What a HUGE mistake!! Dominicans/Haitians of the type that do construction work,(Meaning absolutely no skills,or common sense!) Need to be treated like a "Mule"! You must hit them over the head to first get their attention,and then "whip" them to keep them focused,and out of your "garden"!!
    I resently converted a "Carport" at my house into a bedroom. I was on them like "A Fly On $hit" the whole time. I got a "Guestimate" from the "Boss". Later,of course, he said that he had not included "some" of the materials,and needed to buy more. "Go Ahead"! I told him. Now here is the important part!!! Stay Ahead Of Your Contractor!!! Meaning that he has done more work than you have paid him for! Make him beg you for a few thousand pesos every Sat. afternoon to pay his workers! "OWE" him at least 20 to 30 percent of the total costs until the project is complete! This is a "Dance" between him and you! Problem is,he knows the "Steps",and you don't!!
    Now remember those "materials" my guy forgot to buy?? I told him to "Go ahead and buy them"? I deducted the costs from the final payment!!! Should have heard him yell! He sounded like a wounded elephant! That was just his part of the "Dance"! I'm sure he had "padded" his estimate with enough "Extra" to screw me,and I screwed him by enough to save me! My part in this "Ballet"! We parted as friends each knowing/thinking that he had screwed the other!
    By the way! Enjoy your "DANCE"! And "Good Luck!
    Cris Colon CCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCCc
    Last edited by Criss Colon; 05-19-2007 at 07:29 AM.

  10. #10
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    I have to admit, when I had 10 Haitians in my garden digging my pool I was making coffee and honeyed pancakes for the ones that arrived early every morning and giving them surplus avocados! However I wasn't employing them directly as they were working for the builder I had employed, so I guess that was okay..........I guessed from his face when he saw me making them breakfast one day that he wasn't impressed! They worked really hard and did a great job anyway! I can't be bothered with all the grief and haven't got a clue about building, so I get a price and builder who's work I'm happy with and let them sort it all out. Then, if the materials get stolen, that's their problem.

    Some really good advice from CC about payments. There's a couple who've bought near me and they've employed builders to do some work on their house and paid them up front while in UK! Needless to say, the work's been at a standstill for months! Obviously they're not here to chase the work along and they've got no real leverage because they've already paid. They arrive this month and I feel sorry for them.

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