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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, not sure where to post this so i'll play it safe and post it here. I would also like to apologize in the event this type of post is not permitted.

I am in search of a framing crew and some general advice about a project I wish to undertake.

The house (my own) is to be built in the Caribbean and I was wondering weather it would make financial sense to hire a framing crew from the US for the Job or just hire locally.

I would be grateful if anyone is interested or would like to post their thoughts or just point me in the right direction.

Thank you all.
 

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Depends where in the Caribbean. I did consulting work on the construction of a boutique hotel in the Bahamas, and the rehab of a power plant in Jamaica, and everyone but the excavators, painters and masons came from Florida. And there was a lot of stretching the job out with the local crews. Not much activity for them down there, so it seemed like they wanted the work to last, regardless of the contract terms. Also, depending where it is, sometimes the wait times are long between disciplines and phases. You get what you pay for. And don't kid yourself about the building officials. They mean business.
 

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Sounds like you want to act as your own general contractor. Given the difficulties involved wouldn't it be best to hire a contractor who already has a list of subs, be they local or imported. Acting as your own GC has plenty of problems when everything is right here, labor, materials, and building codes.

Bud
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The house will be built in St. Lucia (further south than Jamaica). The plan as it stands right now is to purchase all the materials in the US and ship via container, the logistic would have to be spot on but i'm pretty confident it can be done.

Eventually I will be asking a question that may not have true answer because of all the variables and I understand that (how much would it cost?) but at the end that is what truly needs to be answered

But construction cost and quality are not in sync here, you end up paying too much for substandard work.

As it stands right now I would like to know (to whatever degree possible) how financially feasible it would be to get a framing crew down here, then maybe one or two persons to handle the siding. The rest of the work, plumbing, electrical , cabinetry, tiling and flooring would be done using local labor.

The plans will be sent to the architect to be finalized but I do have prelim plans and renditions already done and available if that would help in the discussion.

Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sounds like you want to act as your own general contractor. Given the difficulties involved wouldn't it be best to hire a contractor who already has a list of subs, be they local or imported. Acting as your own GC has plenty of problems when everything is right here, labor, materials, and building codes.

Bud
Thanks Bud, I think at the end of the day this maybe the road I'm headed. The funny think is I am thinking of a career change and GC is on the short list. Keep in mind that I have no actual experience in the construction industry but I see a clear business need in our local market to make home ownership more affordable. We get taken to the cleaners by GC and SC for really poor work and I do not wish to be on their list of victims.

Project management is a strong suit of mind and I've really have done a lot of homework in the construction industry. Right now it comes down to the numbers vis-a-vie the workmanship.


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Framing labor can cost $2-$12 or a more a square foot, or $3,500-$36,000 for a 1,600- to 3,000-square-foot home, depending on location and what's included. An average house framing labor rate nationwide is about $6-$8 a square foot, or $10,000-$25,000 for 1,600-3,000 square feet. For example, at DoItYourself.com[1] a homeowner reports paying $12,000 for framing labor for a 1,600-square-foot home plus basement and two-car garage, or about $7.50 a square foot. At OwnerBuilderBook.com[2] a Tennessee homeowner reports a bid of $5.50 a square foot for 2,900 square feet of living space and $2.25 a square foot for 850 square feet of garage and porch, or about $17,900, including installing roof shingles, doors and windows; and a Seattle area resident received bids of $25,000-$64,000 for framing labor for 4,100 square feet plus a 950-square-foot garage and 325-square-foot porch ($6-$11.90 a square foot).
http://home.costhelper.com/framing.html
I would bet you would be in the very high end of the price per square foot if you are using a good framer from the mainland. I wouldnt be surprised if you came out at 15-18$ a sqft.

Can we take a peek at your prelim plans for funzies.

Saint John's. u.s virgin islands, closest listed and looks to be similar, is listed as a +20% above average construction cost. but it is also a u.s. territory so i would imagine the cost to be higher for st. lucia, also i dont know how accurate this book is.
https://www.craftsman-book.com/media/static/previews/2015_NBC_book_preview.pdf

also i need a working vacation can you hire me to be that one guy on the crew that doesnt really do anything.:biggrin2:
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
http://home.costhelper.com/framing.html
I would bet you would be in the very high end of the price per square foot if you are using a good framer from the mainland. I wouldnt be surprised if you came out at 15-18$ a sqft.

Can we take a peek at your prelim plans for funzies.

Saint John's. u.s virgin islands, closest listed and looks to be similar, is listed as a +20% above average construction cost. but it is also a u.s. territory so i would imagine the cost to be higher for st. lucia, also i dont know how accurate this book is.
https://www.craftsman-book.com/media/static/previews/2015_NBC_book_preview.pdf

also i need a working vacation can you hire me to be that one guy on the crew that doesnt really do anything.:biggrin2:
Since am I new poster am not sure of the different personalities but I've seen some threads on here where posted get taken to the cleaners for asking how much this costs so am trying to say clear.

I've seen $2-$12 labour cost on other sites but up till now I haven't really spoken to any actual person in the industry. To be fair would you say is possible to hit the $6-$10 mark and still have a quality product?

Keep in mind that at price the framer gets a nice tropical vacation and free logging :biggrin2:
 

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Since am I new poster am not sure of the different personalities but I've seen some threads on here where posted get taken to the cleaners for asking how much this costs so am trying to say clear.

I've seen $2-$12 labour cost on other sites but up till now I haven't really spoken to any actual person in the industry. To be fair would you say is possible to hit the $6-$10 mark and still have a quality product?

Keep in mind that at price the framer gets a nice tropical vacation and free logging :biggrin2:
The vacation is nice but the reason the cost goes up is because of the huge risk there is no way any framer in their right mind would do it for 6-10$(maaaaybeee if its just a square 1 story cookie cutter home) there is just to much risk. Just a few things that will be taken into account
1)working in a foreign country so you will need to spend money on a lawyer that understands this countries laws to protect yourself as well as comply with local laws.
2)logistics everything must be shipped if something is missing and cannot get to the job for two weeks what does the crew do in the mean time. also if a tool breaks a new one must be acquired asap
3)all employees will have to obtain a passport. employer will likely pay the passport fees of employees.
4)employees will be paid per diem (probly over 100$ per day)http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104877

there are many other factors that are involved, so finding a company/contractor that is already setup to do international work will save money because they will already have all these thing figured out.

just to give you an idea i did an addition that i charged double the normal rate 8-10$ vs 3-5$ just because it was 1 1/2 hours drive into the country side.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The vacation is nice but the reason the cost goes up is because of the huge risk there is no way any framer in their right mind would do it for 6-10$(maaaaybeee if its just a square 1 story cookie cutter home) there is just to much risk. Just a few things that will be taken into account
1)working in a foreign country so you will need to spend money on a lawyer that understands this countries laws to protect yourself as well as comply with local laws.
2)logistics everything must be shipped if something is missing and cannot get to the job for two weeks what does the crew do in the mean time. also if a tool breaks a new one must be acquired asap
3)all employees will have to obtain a passport. employer will likely pay the passport fees of employees.
4)employees will be paid per diem (probly over 100$ per day)http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/104877

there are many other factors that are involved, so finding a company/contractor that is already setup to do international work will save money because they will already have all these thing figured out.

just to give you an idea i did an addition that i charged double the normal rate 8-10$ vs 3-5$ just because it was 1 1/2 hours drive into the country side.
MT, thank you for your thoughtful response, the per diem part I did not take into account. This alone may blow my plan out of the water if it has to be included.

The preferred design right now is a 10 corner, 2 story craftsman type build 2100sq ft, with not that many architectural details so to speak. I have two design options floating around but will decide dependent on cost to build.

If I may ask how does one go about finding a framer who is already set up or had experience doing Int'l work.... well besides a straight up internet search?

I tried lurking on contractorstalk.com but I can't register on the site because its exclusive to contractors.
 

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"The funny think is I am thinking of a career change and GC is on the short list"
Now that's just funny.You're thinking about a career change an being a GC but you have no experience in the field. I think you've been watching to much DIYTV.
 

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I am sure this is written in some investing book somewhere, about putting money into a project you know nothing about. You are going to get burned very badly. I have run crews internationally. Oh, screw those guys. Screw that whole project altogether. Those locals will burn in hell, as will the police, and all the organized gangs.
People have made contractors the way they are. High prices and poor work is what people deserve.
 

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Another option would be to purchase a small home as close as possible to where you want to build and live there while you learn the local ropes. Would take longer but much lower risk.

Although I agree with Mako1 on wanting to be a GC while starting with no experience, I have an old friend who went through college as a business major and became a VERY successful GC. I doubt he was ever skilled at pounding nails or doing any of the actual contract work, but he has built thousands of homes and apartments. In essence he is the money manager and he employs a GC. Managing the money is just as important as managing the project, maybe more so.

But this is a difficult project to get your feet wet, while you avoid drowning.

Bud
 
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