Our objective is to make your home construction experience as simple and stress free as possible. ManuPrefab Construction Costa Rica strives to provide certainty on costs and quality, within faster timelines than are typical for others! We achieve this by having all the steps and responsibilities in one team, which means you have only one partner responsible for the whole process. We’ve spent a great deal of time and effort to create efficient procedures and methods for everything we do at ManuPrefab.
ManuPrefab is a professional partner that works with land owners looking to develop their properties with unique, tropical, modern, beautiful homes. We pride ourselves in choosing the best quality building materials to ensure that each house not only looks beautiful but is also durable in the long run. We start with a line of floor plan layouts which can then be grouped together and customized in many ways to the needs and budget of each client, and the constraints and opportunities of each site.
We are already working for over 15 years in the area and have been involved in numerous Costa Rican construction projects, from development work to boutique vacation units, to resorts and high end villas, mostly in the Southern Pacific Zone. Over this period we have learned what works and what doesn’t and the process and system that can streamline the goals for everyone involved. Along with this construction experience we recently teamed with a licensed architect from California to develop our newest factory based modular building system. By strengthening our internal design team and working in concert with local Costa Rican ones we can provide high levels of design customization abilities and clear communication, such that turn key delivery can be provided without need for regular surprises in the field due to everyone just winging it and not having complete documents to follow.
THE PROCESS: STEP BY STEP
- Preliminary Research: On this website, you have the ability to review our models, their standards and the general pricing structure right from the start. These models are all samples and little in them is fixed except the price given for that combination. In the renders, you will see different roof forms, added base details, material accents etc indicating that our system is not cookie-cutter. You can also see our past and current work in the Gallery Section and read about many aspects that affect building in the tropics in general in the Blog.
- Making Contact: If you have further general questions, email us here. If interested in further analysis for a home or other development, we ask you to fill out some online forms available here, and here, where you can tell us about yourself and your new project dreams. Ideally, you already own the land and can send a location coordinate, your cadastre plan, your uso de suelo, and some site photos. After reviewing this info, we can more efficiently get back to you via email or call to discuss further details.
- Visits to Us: If interested, you can schedule a tour of our factory in Paquita, just North of Quepos on the main highway. We can also arrange for you to meet us at an ongoing job site or at a completed project, pending owner permissions.
- Site Visits to you: For projects that want to get built in the near future, we can schedule a visit to your future building site. For projects in the central pacific coast we often do this for free. For projects further afield, there may be charges for travel and accommodations. They are typically fixed fees that allow us to meet with you, hear your goals. and give you some feedback.
- Pre-Design Requirements: Along with the property line map (cadastre) mentioned above, and the Uso de Suelo, “Use of Soils” that describes any land use regulations, a Land Survey and Soils Studies is typically needed: For most projects, we require a topographical survey of the building areas such that design can be done accurately for the given conditions of the land. We can coordinate these services with our surveyor, who provides both accurate 2d representations of the land as well as 3d information which helps tremendously during our design process. We recommend use of our contact as we have had the ability to set standards with him to get all info needed as this is critically important info (though not within the local permit processes). Site clearing is often needed ahead of the surveyors visit and we can help arrange that as well. Also needed is a Soils Report, which is a engineering study to determine soil types and load bearing capacities, as the foundation needs to designed according to these conditions and can have dramatic impacts on building costs. (Most flat lots in the hillsides need deeper foundations towards the front portions of grading fill zones. Cut areas are typically solid but these tests provide the hard data. Also done are percolation tests for septic systems.
- Customization Option: If a potential client believes that our offerings could be a good fit for their goals, we can help customize our baseline plans to meet the needs of their program, the constraints and opportunities of their site, and their desired budget, while staying within the boundaries of our building system. This is typically around $5,000 for a larger single family home, more for developments that require more intensive land planning or larger numbers of structures, and less for simpler projects like standard pavilions from the site or micro units. These fees are good faith efforts to provide professional analysis and solutions at a reasonable price.
- MileStone 1: Payment of the fee begins the process.
- Architectural Design: The process breaks down into a few steps: 1.) It begins with longer conference calls to understand the client’s goals and reviewing any photos or plans that may have been developed previously. We visit the land again to take site photos that help with and inform a site analysis diagram, looking at things like solar orientation, access, slopes, views, drainages, noise sources, flat areas for parking and turning around, ideal building envelopes, etc. Based on these things we develop 2-3 loose floor plan / site layout arrangements including parking and turnaround areas, entry points, pavilion sizes and placements, and general connections of the whole recipe to stir the conversation. This can also include rough 3d studies to look at how the forms fit on site and to discuss general budgeting. We typically have conference calls to discuss this after each pdf package is sent. From this, a direction is chosen and developed. 2.) The second package typically details the floor plans with the specific arrangements of all aspects including room functions, connections, views, flow of space, door and window locations and sizes, roof styles, outside deck areas, pools, etc. Again, a package is created to share and discuss the solutions through either a conference call or personal meeting if you are in the area. 3.) After the floor plans are approved we create a 3d model of the solution, within the site, such that there are no surprises for our clients and that they know what they would be getting. This is communicated through a final pdf package, and concludes the architectural design process.
- Official Cost Estimate: At the end of the design process, we have the ability to provide a detailed budget calculation based on all the specifics that have been resolved, such that the final 3d design package is also accompanied by this Contract Estimate (within 10% accuracy.) This is given along with our simple Contract for Construction(See also: Warranty- Item #16)
- MileStone 2: Signing of Contract: With acceptance of the estimated Contract Sum and signing of the contract, a 25% down payment is required to continue with the process.
- Construction Documents: Design drawings are then transferred into our building information modeling system to generate our in house construction plans for making all the parts in our factory, as well as a slimmed down version for the permit process. These drawings are proprietary to us and are not provided to the client.
- Choosing and Sourcing of Materials: During this time we also get into final selections of finish materials for cabinets, counters, tiles, flooring, wall accents, lighting fixtures, appliances, etc as well as sourcing the greater building materials needed to complete the project. Many items are imported by us to our warehouse and have ocean freight lead times that must be included in the scheduling.
- Permits: We manage the Permit Process with the College of Engineers through our in-house Costa Rican architect and our other staff can help coordinate with Setena (Environmental Review), INS (Insurance) and your local Municipality (Requirements vary). Timelines are based on the complexity of the project, having all the right concessions and legal paperwork in order, and meeting the requirements of the local jurisdiction. Costs are generally based on size and use and are only fully known after submittal. We strive to submit a set of documents as soon as we can, one that meets the requirements of the review agencies, without getting overly detailed.
- Construction: The start of building requires another payment of 25%. During construction you receive bi-monthly updates on the progress in form of photos and videos to keep you informed. (We generally don’t have regular tours or meetings with the clients on site during this time as changes during construction have large impacts on both costs and scheduling and mess with the ability to provide on time and on budget turn-key delivery with all of our contracts. We are always available for questions or concerns but it’s mostly our build staff that is on site.) Because we build in a similar way each time, our crews understand our means and methods, and each site has a site manager who keeps us informed on a daily basis. This is true during both the factory work of creating all the parts and pieces, as well as the site related work. Our first priority is getting the core/shell assembled on the foundation, then getting the roof on and waterproofed. The finishing and other site work typically take much longer but occur in drier conditions. Additional payments are based on percentage of completion.
- Finishing: The final step includes a homeowner visit and final punch list of anything still missing or incomplete, along with an agreement on a move in date. Final payment is made when all items on this punch list are complete.
- Warranty: Written contracts typically don’t have much bearing in the local court system and lawsuits can take years to resolve. Thus dishonesty and cutting corners prevails with many competitors in the construction field, as it’s fairly easy to tell the client what they want to hear up front and let them discover reality the hard way. We stand behind our work and promise to fix things that break and are the cause of our neglect and not normal wear and tear or acts of God. Our future success is built upon our past ones, and our clients can attest to our high standards. References are available on request.