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visualjohn


Nov 10, 2007, 5:54 AM

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Book Recommendations...

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Does anyone have a favorite book on the subject of home building in Mexico?

I've read and loved "Gringos in Paradise"..."God and Mr. Gomez" and "Living on Mexico Time".....

anyone have another informative book to suggest? I'm betting Rolly will have a few...:)


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Rolly


Nov 10, 2007, 6:44 AM

Post #2 of 5 (5187 views)

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Re: [visualjohn] Book Recommendations...

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Lo siento, amigo, no tengo libros de construcción en México. Quizás están en Home Depot.

Rolly Pirate


visualjohn


Nov 10, 2007, 6:56 AM

Post #3 of 5 (5183 views)

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Re: [Rolly] Book Recommendations...

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Perhaps Rolly....I'm learning alot from the websites posted here...

The logistics of it all seems daunting!


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mkdutch

Nov 30, 2007, 2:17 PM

Post #4 of 5 (5115 views)

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Re: [visualjohn] Book Recommendations...

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Buena Suerte, John....Here's a thought, based on over 7 years of working with Maestros and Trabajandros in the Lake Chapala area; be very careful when trying to introduce new construction materials or fabrication methods in Mexico. Mexico is great for maintaining traditions and history - note all of the beautiful buildings and plazas that still exist centuries after they were built - and not demolished as they generally are NOB.

However, the other edge of that sword is that you will find a lot of resistence (passive and otherwise) to change. Case in point: there is an extremely lightweight, water, fire & insect resistant building block material with good insulative values now manufactured in Monterrey (Contec). Dimensions are consistent, and it can also be sawed much like wood. It requires a special mortar that needs to be applied only about 1/8 inch thick. Few local construction workers had even seen it. Even after they were trained by factory reps in Guad on how to use the material, within a few hours the adhesive was being slathered on over 1/2 inch thick as if it was conventional mortar, and the adhesive was also being used to patch gouged corners, etc. instead of the special patch and filling material provided for that purpose.(damage due to improper handling and cutting of the somewhat fragile block). Had that practice not been stopped, we would have used 2-3 times the relatively-expensive mortar needed to do the job.

Another example: rebar for a foundation was bent at my direction in a "j" shape, to prevent overlaps of the ends of each of the two parallel runs from lying in the trench at the same (opposite) location, resulting in a stronger, less crack-resistant foundation. Went into the house, and when I returned 10 minutes later, the rebar had been removed and re-bent into equal U shapes, so the ends of each bar were directly opposite each other in the trench, creating a potentially weaker reinforced concrete joint. After respectful consultation and explanation, the "j" was returned. Six years later, not a crack in that foundation.

So the bottom line is that you need to know and understand what the locals are used to and comfortable with building...and don't try to change them unless you are prepared to be on top of them every step of the way and immediately redirect efforts when they "stray". And how you redirect those efforts is also critical. Maestros usually have a trabajando (or two) that work directly for them. If you start directing a trabajando on where and how to work without first consulting with his boss, rarely will anything be said. But the minute you leave or turn your back, the trabajando will be directed by his boss (Maestro) on what to do next - regardless whether it's what you want or said...=^..^=.

Books are fine, but IMO, the best way to immerse yourself in the process of home building in Mexico is by direct observation in the area in which you intend to build, and with small projects (remodeling or otherwise) first, before settling on a contractor or maestro(s) to build your dream home. As in the USA, local governance, methods and materials may vary considerably from place to place. Mexico is not a "one size fits all" country, nor should it be, and you will save yourself a lot of grief and money by learning the local ways first, and then being on-site during the entire process. That said, it's a wonderful place to live and the locals are the absolute best; generous and kind to a fault. You just have to leave your personal history and expectations at the border, and learn to adopt to your new culture and environment with an open mind.


visualjohn


Dec 1, 2007, 5:04 AM

Post #5 of 5 (5096 views)

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Re: [mkdutch] Book Recommendations...

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Thanks for such an excellent response Dutch...You are truly wise! I showed your response to my Aunt and Uncle that are building about an hour and 1/2 from us.....they've already broken ground. We both agreed that the wisest words of wisdom may have been included in the last paragraph....

Since we will only be able to make limited trips to our lot during construction, I'm going to have to put my faith in our contractor team....and let my "control freak " ways subside!


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