Affordable housing construction

Chip

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Jul 25, 2007
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Since I have started my contracting company and consulting for an orphanage I have taking a keen interest in developing a low cost model for low to middle income families. Currently, the least expensive systems in use now run around US25 per square feet and I would like to develop a system for around $18 per sf. I would like to do so first of all as I believe this is something that could really benefit the DR.

The least expensive homes generally have 6" concrete block walls with columns and beams and a corrugated roof with with wood structure. I known this topic has been discussed a year or so ago but with technological advances I thought it would be interesting to see what people come up with. For example, I saw in the news last night that Mexican waste collection company was now recycling plastic to create panels for small home construction. I think that is a fantastic idea. My own idea would be to create a structural floor, beam and column system with the traditional corrugated roof but use some type of inexpensive panels. As it is now the cost per square foot of a concrete wall system (block, plaster both sides, labor) runs around US2.50-3.00. With an self supporting structure and a cheap but durable interior and exterior siding I think this cost could be considerably reduced. There is a lightweight concrete panels sytem currently in use here but there is no economic advantage for small homes. Any input would be appreciated.
 

Luperon

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Jun 28, 2004
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Chip, What are the advantages to the to the panels? Would they be economical on a 2000 sq foot 2nd fl? :)
 

Chip

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Jul 25, 2007
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Chip, What are the advantages to the to the panels? Would they be economical on a 2000 sq foot 2nd fl? :)
Really low cost housing. It might work for you but at this point I don't know of any system like that available here in the DR.
 

Chip

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Jul 25, 2007
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I'm an American engineer but getting a masters in construction administration from PUCMM. Ultimately, si Dios quiera and my other business is doing well I would like to create a non profit business to build these homes and I would draw no salary of course. I would like to give back to the community.
 

CaptnGlenn

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Mar 29, 2010
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lots of different variations on panels using e.p.s. (expandable poly styrene / a.k.a. "Styrofoam" which is a trademarked product.) there are forms for concrete construction, also combinations of e.p.s. sandwiches with o.s.b. or plywood.
 

CFA123

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May 29, 2004
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Chip,
interesting topic.
Can you provide illustrative photos of what a house constructed for $25/sq foot looks like?
I and perhaps others would be interested to see. Such things as floors, roof exterior, ceiling interior, how interior walls are finished, bathroom, windows are glass pane or metal/glass shutters, etc. Plus any comments you have on what may not be included that would be in a higher cost structure. for example, at this price range, would you typically run hot and cold water lines... are sewage pipes smaller... i guess in other words where costs are cut to obtain this price range.
thanks in advance for any help with us picturing what $25/foot buys.
 

Chip

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Jul 25, 2007
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Santiago
Chip,
interesting topic.
Can you provide illustrative photos of what a house constructed for $25/sq foot looks like?
I and perhaps others would be interested to see. Such things as floors, roof exterior, ceiling interior, how interior walls are finished, bathroom, windows are glass pane or metal/glass shutters, etc. Plus any comments you have on what may not be included that would be in a higher cost structure. for example, at this price range, would you typically run hot and cold water lines... are sewage pipes smaller... i guess in other words where costs are cut to obtain this price range.
thanks in advance for any help with us picturing what $25/foot buys.
This is a typical block home with painted concrete floor and typically one bathroom and a small kitchen. While pvc pipe is cheap I doubt most are plumbed for hw. The roof is zinc as they say here and is also probably painted with the cheapest paint avaialbe at around RD1200 for a 5 gal bucket. This would assume no structural fill would be needed and no heavy equipment for the compacting, maybe a small gas operated one. This wouldn't generally included a lot of woodwork and would probably have pine doors if not metal. Also, it would have the typical venetian window blinds. The house sizes for the construction are generally less than 100 sm from what I've seen.
 

Chip

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Jul 25, 2007
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Santiago
In Panama they sell new houses for about $25,000 including the lot which is maybe twice the size of the 500 sq ft house.
They are made of block probably 6 inch instead of the 8 in we are more familiar wi, but there and here both I see they pour the footing and build the walls on top and later go back and pour the floor between the walls instead of pouring the slab and thenputting walls on top of that. WHy? Is it that the floors aren't poured thick enuff to support the interior walls?
That has been my guess, and I asked and the person didn't understand why anyone would pour a slab and build ontop of that.
Der FIsh
I've seen it done both ways here I believe.
 

HM11

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Mar 24, 2012
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In Panama they sell new houses for about $25,000 including the lot which is maybe twice the size of the 500 sq ft house.
They are made of block probably 6 inch instead of the 8 in we are more familiar wi, but there and here both I see they pour the footing and build the walls on top and later go back and pour the floor between the walls instead of pouring the slab and thenputting walls on top of that. WHy? Is it that the floors aren't poured thick enuff to support the interior walls?
That has been my guess, and I asked and the person didn't understand why anyone would pour a slab and build ontop of that.
Der FIsh
It's more structural sound to go the traditional concrete footer and block route, versus the concrete slab route. With the occasional earthquakes and flooding we get here, a solid foundation is very important. Now some interior non-load bearing walls could be placed on the concrete floor, assuming the concrete was thick enough and had proper reinforcement. I would have all exterior walls and load bearing walls with a footer underneath. I haven't seen a block house done the slab route, only tin and wood houses.
 

Criss Colon

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Jan 2, 2002
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Chip, I see you are still "Trolling" for work here on DR1.
Take out a "Classified" like other people do.
At least some of us can see through your self-promoting guise of "Helping The Community" "Bull$hit"!
Cris Colon
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belgiank

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Jun 13, 2009
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I think Chip's idea is applaudable. But where will he find people to fund this project, as there is no way a "poor" Dominican will be able to afford a whole house in one go. Not even if it is decently build, and cheap.

So Chip, who are your backers, who will advance the dough...

BelgianK
 

Chip

Platinum
Jul 25, 2007
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Santiago
Chip, I see you are still "Trolling" for work here on DR1.
Take out a "Classified" like other people do.
At least some of us can see through your self-promoting guise of "Helping The Community" "Bull$hit"!
Cris Colon
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Where did you miss the part about non profit and I would not be making salary??? Why don't you quit knocking my dreams every chance you get???? You know some people just get pleasure out of helping others.
 

Chip

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Jul 25, 2007
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Santiago
I think Chip's idea is applaudable. But where will he find people to fund this project, as there is no way a "poor" Dominican will be able to afford a whole house in one go. Not even if it is decently build, and cheap.

So Chip, who are your backers, who will advance the dough...

BelgianK
My first goal was to create a system like in use in Mexico. Apparently there is plenty of demand. Still, if someone wanted to create a non profit savings and loan here that would be a good idea too.
 

belgiank

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Jun 13, 2009
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My first goal was to create a system like in use in Mexico. Apparently there is plenty of demand. Still, if someone wanted to create a non profit savings and loan here that would be a good idea too.
You will not find them on the island. But maybe the Catholic Church can help? I actually am not mocking you. I know that the Jesuit college I went to had a couple of projects like that in India, which worked well.

Of course, they could easily afford to lose the money, if not repaid.

BelgianK
 

Chip

Platinum
Jul 25, 2007
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Santiago
You will not find them on the island. But maybe the Catholic Church can help? I actually am not mocking you. I know that the Jesuit college I went to had a couple of projects like that in India, which worked well.

Of course, they could easily afford to lose the money, if not repaid.

BelgianK
Maybe they could but as it is now the home costs are out of reach for a lot of people for the target market.