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Rolly

May 24, 2002, 4:43 PM

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Troubles in River City on my building project

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A while ago in a post about half a block down the page, I answered a question about plan checks and building inspections in my town. I said there weren’t any requirements. That is what we were told at the city building department. Well, it turns out that that is not quite right; in fact it ain’t even close.<p>A few days ago an administration guy from the building department showed up on our job site to ask about our permit. Needless to say we were a bit taken aback when he explained that what we had was the permit for the property wall, and that we did not have a permit to be building the house. For that we would need to have drawings prepared and signed by an architect to be submitted to the city along with another permit fee. He was quite nice about it and said that we could keep on building while we took care of the paperwork.<p>We found an architect who agreed to do the work for about US$200. After a week, he said he just didn’t have time to do it. We found another who wanted about US$700 for the work Too much; so we found a third guy who agreed to do it for $300. We’re still waiting for his promise to have it by the middle of this week – Mexican time.<p>Now we have had another visit from the building department; this time from an actual inspector. He stopped work on the project for a couple of hours because we were not building any off-street parking. As of Jan 1 this year all new houses in the city center must have off-street parking. Since we have four houses on the lot, we need 4 spaces – impossible! After two hours of talk, he compromised (without a bribe!) – we can get by with one space by converting a bedroom in the south house into a garage. It is an acceptable deal because the family in that house has only one child and does not plan on another. Oddly, the inspector said that once the final inspection was done and he had signed off on the project, there would be nothing to prevent us from converting the garage back into a bedroom. Remarkable honesty.<p>The inspector wanted a lighter weight roof than I had drawn – no big deal. He praised our foundations and columns. Our neighbors, bless them, are in deep trouble because their columns have been rejected. They have been shut down for a week.<p>I am still expecting to have pictures of the preparations for the second floor slab posted on my web site about 15 June. Stay tuned.



Earl

May 24, 2002, 6:27 PM

Post #2 of 17 (14736 views)

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Troubles in River City on my building project

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Rolly,<p>Life always has a few surprises! That's what make so interesting.<p>Not needing permits and associated drawings prepared and signed
by an architect did sounded 'too good to be true.' Sounds like
you 'rolled with the punch' without too much of a problem/cost.<p>I've been following the construction via your pictures. Great
pictures, you captured the essence of what's happening and
interesting shots of the workers. Appreciate the inclusion of
cost information since I knew nothing about construction cost
in Mexico.<p>Keep up the good work and post those pictures!<p>Earl


Esteban

May 24, 2002, 11:55 PM

Post #3 of 17 (14736 views)

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Troubles in River City on my building project

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In the past (like over 5 years ago)lots of people used to do building projects without permits in Mazatlan. Now however, you have to have permits drawn by an architect and stamped. The latest architectural drawing I've seen, cost about 500 USD. The permits were about $500 US with an extra $200 US for the Architect to walk the plans through. There was also another permit to be able to put sand, gravel and any other materials on the street. That ran about $20 US.
If you are remodelling an old colonial here, you also have to go through INA. It's an historical agency that seeks to protect the integrity of the old colonial part of town. The permit is free although they require plans. They also have the power to tell you what changes you can make inside and outside your home. Some things are negoitable and some are not. One good thing about the power of the agency is that the old part of Mazatlan is being preserved. However, it's another process that takes time.


jennifer rose

May 25, 2002, 7:04 AM

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INAH

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INAH - Instituto Nacional de Historia e Antropologia


Cynthia

May 26, 2002, 6:44 AM

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Building permit

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Must be something in the air! My project in Chiapas has also been at a standstill for the past month; the permits were applied for, but they did not have enough inspectors to go around and check the sites/plans--just enough to go around and shut down all the construction! They are finally back at work this week. Keep up the photos of the project...they are great to see. Cynthia<p> A while ago in a post about half a block down the page, I answered a question about plan checks and building inspections in my town. I said there weren’t any requirements. That is what we were told at the city building department. Well, it turns out that that is not quite right; in fact it ain’t even close.<p>: A few days ago an administration guy from the building department showed up on our job site to ask about our permit. Needless to say we were a bit taken aback when he explained that what we had was the permit for the property wall, and that we did not have a permit to be building the house. For that we would need to have drawings prepared and signed by an architect to be submitted to the city along with another permit fee. He was quite nice about it and said that we could keep on building while we took care of the paperwork.<p>: We found an architect who agreed to do the work for about US$200. After a week, he said he just didn’t have time to do it. We found another who wanted about US$700 for the work Too much; so we found a third guy who agreed to do it for $300. We’re still waiting for his promise to have it by the middle of this week – Mexican time.<p>: Now we have had another visit from the building department; this time from an actual inspector. He stopped work on the project for a couple of hours because we were not building any off-street parking. As of Jan 1 this year all new houses in the city center must have off-street parking. Since we have four houses on the lot, we need 4 spaces – impossible! After two hours of talk, he compromised (without a bribe!) – we can get by with one space by converting a bedroom in the south house into a garage. It is an acceptable deal because the family in that house has only one child and does not plan on another. Oddly, the inspector said that once the final inspection was done and he had signed off on the project, there would be nothing to prevent us from converting the garage back into a bedroom. Remarkable honesty.<p>: The inspector wanted a lighter weight roof than I had drawn – no big deal. He praised our foundations and columns. Our neighbors, bless them, are in deep trouble because their columns have been rejected. They have been shut down for a week.<p>: I am still expecting to have pictures of the preparations for the second floor slab posted on my web site about 15 June. Stay tuned.<p>


Cynthia

May 26, 2002, 6:44 AM

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Building permit

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Must be something in the air! My project in Chiapas has also been at a standstill for the past month; the permits were applied for, but they did not have enough inspectors to go around and check the sites/plans--just enough to go around and shut down all the construction! They are finally back at work this week. Keep up the photos of the project...they are great to see. Cynthia<p> A while ago in a post about half a block down the page, I answered a question about plan checks and building inspections in my town. I said there weren’t any requirements. That is what we were told at the city building department. Well, it turns out that that is not quite right; in fact it ain’t even close.<p>: A few days ago an administration guy from the building department showed up on our job site to ask about our permit. Needless to say we were a bit taken aback when he explained that what we had was the permit for the property wall, and that we did not have a permit to be building the house. For that we would need to have drawings prepared and signed by an architect to be submitted to the city along with another permit fee. He was quite nice about it and said that we could keep on building while we took care of the paperwork.<p>: We found an architect who agreed to do the work for about US$200. After a week, he said he just didn’t have time to do it. We found another who wanted about US$700 for the work Too much; so we found a third guy who agreed to do it for $300. We’re still waiting for his promise to have it by the middle of this week – Mexican time.<p>: Now we have had another visit from the building department; this time from an actual inspector. He stopped work on the project for a couple of hours because we were not building any off-street parking. As of Jan 1 this year all new houses in the city center must have off-street parking. Since we have four houses on the lot, we need 4 spaces – impossible! After two hours of talk, he compromised (without a bribe!) – we can get by with one space by converting a bedroom in the south house into a garage. It is an acceptable deal because the family in that house has only one child and does not plan on another. Oddly, the inspector said that once the final inspection was done and he had signed off on the project, there would be nothing to prevent us from converting the garage back into a bedroom. Remarkable honesty.<p>: The inspector wanted a lighter weight roof than I had drawn – no big deal. He praised our foundations and columns. Our neighbors, bless them, are in deep trouble because their columns have been rejected. They have been shut down for a week.<p>: I am still expecting to have pictures of the preparations for the second floor slab posted on my web site about 15 June. Stay tuned.<p>


Rolly

May 28, 2002, 8:46 PM

Post #7 of 17 (14736 views)

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Update...

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The architect finished the drawings and we took them to the city. Fine. Come back tomorrow to get the permit – probably cost P$700. Went back the next day. Permit was P$1400 and, strangely, permitted only the first floor of the two story house. Turns out we have to come back later to get another $1400 permit to complete the job. Damn strange. I wonder what the next "we forgot to tell you" will be?<p>I think we are OK with the inspector now.<p>Stay tuned….


Rafael

May 29, 2002, 5:24 AM

Post #8 of 17 (14736 views)

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Update...

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Why do people pass themselves off as experts?<p>Rolly quote from previous posting:<p>"Surprisingly my town does not require a plan check. There are not even building inspectors."<p>
: The architect finished the drawings and we took them to the city. Fine. Come back tomorrow to get the permit – probably cost P$700. Went back the next day. Permit was P$1400 and, strangely, permitted only the first floor of the two story house. Turns out we have to come back later to get another $1400 permit to complete the job. Damn strange. I wonder what the next "we forgot to tell you" will be?<p>: I think we are OK with the inspector now.<p>: Stay tuned….<p>


Rolly

May 29, 2002, 6:01 AM

Post #9 of 17 (14736 views)

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Update...

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Me, an expert on building a house in Mexico? Hardly! What I am doing here and on my web site is sharing my learning experience -- stumbles, confusions and all. The earlier quote you referenced is based on what we were told at the city building department. As I reported in another post, it turned out when the guy at the building department said we did not need to submit plans and that there would be no inspection, he was talking about the property walls only, not the whole project – but he didn’t make that distinction, causing us to go forward with the building without the proper authorization. <p>A few things have become obvious to me in dealing with our building department: Today's truth may not be tomorrow's truth; their answers to questions may be so short and cryptic as to be misleading; the rules vary in different parts of town; and one really needs to know the right questions to ask, which is a bit of a hurdle for a first-timer. So we stumble on, wondering what unexpected thing awaits around the next corner.


Esteban

May 29, 2002, 10:37 AM

Post #10 of 17 (14736 views)

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Right on Rolly

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I sure agree with you Rolly. Sometimes it's what you don't ask that turns into a problem. If you are not familiar with the system, and it's different everywhere you go in Mexico, you are breaking new ground both for the Mexican officials and for yourself. They are familiar with people who come in and know what to do. The business relationships that have been established in the past, are predictable. New relationships take time to develop trust. It's very understandable how a norteamericano will have to be patient and persevere before being accepted into the "building-in-crowd". I know that's how it is in the US when you deal with building inspection departments. Once they get to know you, things get easier. It sounds like you fully understand that your good attitude will make the next project a piece of cake. You'll have to send a courier over to the planning office with a pizza and a note of thanks when your project is over! Buena Suerte


Carol

May 29, 2002, 12:50 PM

Post #11 of 17 (14736 views)

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Attention Rolly: Need your email address

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Rolly: I enjoyed your webpage. I could not send you an email from your webpage. Can you post it so that I can contact you about your ove to Mexico? Thanks <p>: A while ago in a post about half a block down the page, I answered a question about plan checks and building inspections in my town. I said there weren’t any requirements. That is what we were told at the city building department. Well, it turns out that that is not quite right; in fact it ain’t even close.<p>: A few days ago an administration guy from the building department showed up on our job site to ask about our permit. Needless to say we were a bit taken aback when he explained that what we had was the permit for the property wall, and that we did not have a permit to be building the house. For that we would need to have drawings prepared and signed by an architect to be submitted to the city along with another permit fee. He was quite nice about it and said that we could keep on building while we took care of the paperwork.<p>: We found an architect who agreed to do the work for about US$200. After a week, he said he just didn’t have time to do it. We found another who wanted about US$700 for the work Too much; so we found a third guy who agreed to do it for $300. We’re still waiting for his promise to have it by the middle of this week – Mexican time.<p>: Now we have had another visit from the building department; this time from an actual inspector. He stopped work on the project for a couple of hours because we were not building any off-street parking. As of Jan 1 this year all new houses in the city center must have off-street parking. Since we have four houses on the lot, we need 4 spaces – impossible! After two hours of talk, he compromised (without a bribe!) – we can get by with one space by converting a bedroom in the south house into a garage. It is an acceptable deal because the family in that house has only one child and does not plan on another. Oddly, the inspector said that once the final inspection was done and he had signed off on the project, there would be nothing to prevent us from converting the garage back into a bedroom. Remarkable honesty.<p>: The inspector wanted a lighter weight roof than I had drawn – no big deal. He praised our foundations and columns. Our neighbors, bless them, are in deep trouble because their columns have been rejected. They have been shut down for a week.<p>: I am still expecting to have pictures of the preparations for the second floor slab posted on my web site about 15 June. Stay tuned.<p>


Carol

May 29, 2002, 12:51 PM

Post #12 of 17 (14736 views)

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Attention Rolly: Need your email address

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: Rolly: I enjoyed your webpage. I could not send you an email from your webpage. Can you post it so that I can contact you about your ove to Mexico? Thanks <p>: : A while ago in a post about half a block down the page, I answered a question about plan checks and building inspections in my town. I said there weren’t any requirements. That is what we were told at the city building department. Well, it turns out that that is not quite right; in fact it ain’t even close.<p>: : A few days ago an administration guy from the building department showed up on our job site to ask about our permit. Needless to say we were a bit taken aback when he explained that what we had was the permit for the property wall, and that we did not have a permit to be building the house. For that we would need to have drawings prepared and signed by an architect to be submitted to the city along with another permit fee. He was quite nice about it and said that we could keep on building while we took care of the paperwork.<p>: : We found an architect who agreed to do the work for about US$200. After a week, he said he just didn’t have time to do it. We found another who wanted about US$700 for the work Too much; so we found a third guy who agreed to do it for $300. We’re still waiting for his promise to have it by the middle of this week – Mexican time.<p>: : Now we have had another visit from the building department; this time from an actual inspector. He stopped work on the project for a couple of hours because we were not building any off-street parking. As of Jan 1 this year all new houses in the city center must have off-street parking. Since we have four houses on the lot, we need 4 spaces – impossible! After two hours of talk, he compromised (without a bribe!) – we can get by with one space by converting a bedroom in the south house into a garage. It is an acceptable deal because the family in that house has only one child and does not plan on another. Oddly, the inspector said that once the final inspection was done and he had signed off on the project, there would be nothing to prevent us from converting the garage back into a bedroom. Remarkable honesty.<p>: : The inspector wanted a lighter weight roof than I had drawn – no big deal. He praised our foundations and columns. Our neighbors, bless them, are in deep trouble because their columns have been rejected. They have been shut down for a week.<p>: : I am still expecting to have pictures of the preparations for the second floor slab posted on my web site about 15 June. Stay tuned.<p>


elk

May 30, 2002, 10:11 AM

Post #13 of 17 (14736 views)

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Right on Rolly

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I very much enjoy your website and watching the progress. I also enjoy you giving advice that you can.<p>You have NEVER given the impression of being an "expert" from what I have read from you. You merely stated your own current situation as far as you knew, and that is how I read it. In that thread there were differences foreach area. <p>Heck, I remember seeing a house plan roughly sketched on a piece of cardboard that was framed in Rosarito. It was used to get their building permit about 17+ years ago. I'm sure that is not the same there any more.


Jaime

May 31, 2002, 10:30 PM

Post #14 of 17 (14736 views)

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you need somebody who knows the ropes , as well as the building...

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regulations for your city or "municipio". Every city has its own regulations. And, as far as I know, you need building permits in any city in Mexico, since a long time ago.
When somebody says that you don't need a building permit, it is only true for "terrenos ejidales" or "rústicos", not for "terrenos urbanos regularizados". If the lot of land is "ejidal" or "rústico", no building department in any city in Mexico rules on agricultural land, it is out of their jurisdiction, they cannot give you a permit or stop you from building on that lot.
I have the impression that perhaps, because of lack of command on spanish comprehension, you are not getting the information that you need, some is getting lost in the translation.
Here in Guadalajara, you have to pay almost $100 pesos for each square meter that you build, and the building department is very strict. Besides, you have to put up with a lot of red tape or bureaucracy. It's, very easy and cheap to get a building permit in Durango, as I can see from your experience ($1400 pesos for two houses?). Good luck!


Rolly

Jun 1, 2002, 6:26 AM

Post #15 of 17 (14736 views)

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you need somebody who knows the ropes , as well as the building...

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Hi Jaime,<p>It wasn't my poor Spanish that caused the confusion about the permit/plan check requirements. All contacts with the city (and vendors) is done by the construction boss, Enrique, who is the older brother of the 4 owners of the project. Officially, I’m not involved at all; I’m just a friend of the family who designed the house and am the self-designated worrier. The confusion was caused by the guy at the building department who assumed Enrique knew what he was talking about. Anyway, no harm was done. It may even have been a stroke of good fortune. If we had submitted plans in advance, the review would probably have caught the lack of four off-street parking spaces as required by the brand new regulation. As it is, we got a variance to require only one parking space. The building gods were looking after us on that one.<p>Yes, it is cheap to build here, The permit costs $7 pesos per square meter. Sure beats your $100. This whole mix-up has probably cost us less than if we had done it right in the beginning. <p>


Jaime

Jun 2, 2002, 8:53 PM

Post #16 of 17 (14736 views)

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you need somebody who knows the ropes , as well as the building...

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Yes, perhaps you're right, looks like it's been better this way, as far as now.
Best wishes.


erick ortega trettoria

Jul 15, 2002, 4:08 PM

Post #17 of 17 (14736 views)

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INAH

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hello soy estudiante de paleontologia en chicago illinois
 
 
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