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IslandGuy207
09-24-2015, 07:03 AM
On this next trip I'll be looking at property to purchase for a retirement/vacation home in Bonaire. Looking at the prices for owned land, they are pretty reasonable compared to where we live (in Northeast US).

I'm an architect and builder so I will be doing my own plans and construction, but I am sure I'll have to rely heavily on locals for assistance - plumbing, electrical, etc. On our last trip, my mates pointed out the building center, but I didn't venture in to look at building material prices. I'm sure they will be higher than back home because I being an island everything is imported.

In other projects in tropical locales, I have usually designed the buildings to be all concrete to repel termites and help regulate interior temps. Are termites or other destructive insects a problem on the island? We drove by several building sites and they were building with concrete. Is there a reliable concrete company on Bonaire who can deliver pour-in-place concrete? Is lumber available at the building center, say if I wanted to frame the roof in wood timbers?

Thanks for any insight.

Jim N
09-24-2015, 08:45 AM
I cannot help you with any of that, but I will offer a tip that a long time resident offered me, if I am ever dealing with local contractors or workers:

Never ask if something "...can be done by..xyz time/date".
Apparently folks do not want to say 'No', so the answer will always be 'Yes', even if they know damned well that they can not possibly meet that "deadline".

The suggestion was to always phrase your question as more of a: "When do you think you can have X done?"

As for prices, we own a small 2 BR, concrete home, currently rented, and materials and labor costs for maintenance are sometimes shocking, when compared to home. As you said, it is an island so every single item from screws, to lumber, to windows, doors and all hardware, has to be shipped in.

Dixie
09-24-2015, 10:38 AM
The new Mega Hardware Store (Kooyman's) does have lumber, tile, paint, etc. You could contact them directly for more information http://www.kooymanbv.com/

Another tiling company is Gartish (larger selection, better quality) http://www.gartishtegelwerk.net/

Job Lammers http://www.goodjobbonaire.com/ could probably help you with the concrete, electrical, etc. Job's a well known, very good handyman (also has a Facebook page)

M-Tech is another store that specializes in lighting and electrical parts

Alumar http://alumarbonaire.com/ and Alubon http://www.alubon.com/ specialize in doors, windows, etc.

Dixie
Sand Dollar F11

IslandGuy207
09-24-2015, 10:50 AM
Thanks for the replies. It's good to know lumber is available in Bonaire. It would be good to know if builders typically use lumber for framing. If I can frame the roof in wood rather than doing a concrete deck, that helps me understand how the building is going to be built, which will inform the land purchase (it will also help lower the cost and speed up construction). I'm hoping to build a 1 story concrete block building with a wood truss frame roof.

A few years back I designed a house for a couple on Utila off Honduras (Next to Roatan) Bonaire looks like a builder's paradise compared to Utila! :)

Years back I had some experience with tradespeople being on "island time" doing projects on Maui. I was a young buck and trying to get a project done for a commercial client and we just could not motivate the locals to do anything on time. I expect the attitude is the same from what I am reading.

kob
09-24-2015, 06:34 PM
There are very few "stick built" homes on Bonaire ... a few with metal studs are showing up recently. I believe that standard drywall is tasty to termites, so you mite inquire about what type of wallboard would be used.

If you are coming to retire/live on Bonaire (as we did), I suggest bringing some things in your container, rather than buying them here. As long as you own them 6 months in advance of residency (1 year for cars/trucks), you pay no import duty.

A few things to consider.

randl
09-24-2015, 08:29 PM
We own a 1 story concrete block building with a wood truss frame roof. It's excellent. Our neighbors have a concrete roof deck that leaks and they have been unable to completely stop it. Local rooftops are commonly Eternit, a fiber cement material that holds up wonderfully in the sun.
https://www.google.com/search?q=eternit+roof&sa=X&biw=1440&bih=797&tbm=isch&imgil=1XRi_JfVg1WiCM%253A%253BhzALRPA5Wf8ksM%253Bhttp%25253A%25252F%25252Fwww.archiexpo.com%25252Fprod%25252Fmarley-eternit%25252Fproduct-64073-1012109.html&source=iu&pf=m&fir=1XRi_JfVg1WiCM%253A%252ChzALRPA5Wf8ksM%252C_&usg=__Mu6U6wQFnx2MUmzGxISTW7doVOo%3D

IslandGuy207
09-25-2015, 04:07 AM
If you are coming to retire/live on Bonaire (as we did), I suggest bringing some things in your container, rather than buying them here. As long as you own them 6 months in advance of residency (1 year for cars/trucks), you pay no import duty.

This is great advice - thank you. I had imagined bringing hardware and fixtures that would either be unavailable at any price or difficult and expensive to order in.

As for wall finishes, I had imagined using stucco, plaster and tile as much as possible.