This article will discuss what is included in your Custom Home Designing Service. With Finish Touch Enterprises SRL
I’ve written a series of articles that will answer a lot of people’s questions. In the past 12 years of Designing and Building Homes in Costa Rica. I have had my share of questions. Many regarding the Home Designing Service. So, therefore, I will attempt to make clear what is involved and what you will require.
I have structured the business model of Finish Touch Enterprises to be an ‘all in’ and ‘all inclusive’ company. Meaning, there are no unforeseen surprises. Our rates and services include all costs, including permit fees and mandatory insurance.
How Finish Touch Enterprises SRL Improves Your Experience
Finish Touch Enterprises SRL is a full-service Architectural Firm and a General Contractor in Costa Rica. We are a company with continual growth by helping families and investors transition to Costa Rica living. Specifically, our objective is to offer the best solutions with superior results. Including offering the lowest prices with our Building Services and Home Designing Services. This was accomplished by firstly, eliminating the middle man. Secondly, less outsourcing of professional services. Thirdly, equip the company with the necessary tools and equipment.
A corporation’s business model consists of board members. Each of them is a professional in their own area of studies. Finish Touch Enterprises SRL adheres to the same format. With a professional designing team, with each of them contributing specifics to their own area of studies. Results with a complete and superior design. Professionals that consist of architects, electrical engineers, structural engineers, interior designer, and more
The following list of Home Designing Service
- An architect: for designs, drawings, elevations
- The structural engineer: for footings, columns, roof design, red steel designs, connects, etc
- Electrical engineer: receptacle and switch locations, load calculations, lumens calculations, service entry design
- Interior decorator: designs for colors, textures, materials, niches, lighting, plumbing, and electrical fixtures
- Permanently employed construction crews: Training men for specific skills
- Heavy equipment for lot preparation, pool excavation, lot access, road building
- Delivery trucks. No waiting, no extra delivery fees
- Full-service woodshop creates custom kitchen cabinets, custom interior doors, custom entranceway doors
- Stone profiling and polishing for granite countertops, stone sculpting and polishing for granite sinks, stair treads, window sills, etc
- Window distribution license directs from the manufacture, no middle man. Warehouse prices directly to you
- Pool equipment distributor direct from Pentair manufacture, no middle man. Warehouse prices directly to you
- Pebble pool finishes and glass bead aggregates
- Fully insured company
- Lísense with the Colegio Federado De Arquitectos Y Ingenieros De Costa Rica CFIA
Hire an architecture firm for home designing service
When hiring an architect or architecture firm for your home designing service. There will be many decisions to be made. Once your floor plan has been established and elevations. You’ll begin to decide on finishing materials that cohere to the home aesthetics. I call this the lipstick and masquera part. Colors, textures, material choices. This can be overwhelming which is why our staff is here to take the difficult decisions.
When entering into a Home Design Service Agreement you will ask what is included and you will ask about costs.
- Which materials and quality of materials will be used?
- Details of the wall material
- What will the roof consist of?
- Flooring material and budget
- Details of the type of windows that are going to be installed
- Plumbing and lighting fixtures and budgets
- Who will be reviewing the project and inspections
- Cost for a complete design and permitting process
Engineered Systems for your Custom Design Service
Important to realize is there are many engineered systems, which are fabricated offsite and transported to your property, and installed. Many of these systems claim to save you time and money. But most come with the sacrifice of quality.
If your designer is recommending an engineered system. It may be necessary to do some research as to how you will benefit. It is common for commissions to be paid for referrals. Therefore you will want to validate that the recommendation is towards your benefit. Not for the financial benefit of the one making the recommendation.
The thing that is important for your home design service is quality and function. With being budget conscientious as well. In reality, you are going to enjoy this house for many years. Therefore, it is more than an investment. It is your home where memories will be made and cherished for a lifetime. So incorporating the right systems is paramount.
What is included in your Homes Designing Service:
To begin the home designing service process you and I will begin to have a dialogue. Perhaps by phone or through emails regarding your project. We’ll be discussing the use of the home, whether it is a vacation home, retirement, permanent residence, or a rental income. There are many variables all of which will influence design attributes and elements.
Further information as to your incision of home style. Your likes and dislikes. Must-haves, and necessities. Your lifestyle particularly has a great influence. Are you entertainers or prefer a quiet lifestyle? Do you spend a lot of time cooking or you don’t cook at all. Again, there are many variables to influence your design.
In addition to a basic conversation for clarity and intention, we will discuss property budgets and all relevant articles.
Btw, budgets are always kept confidential. Which are not shared with the staff. It is best to have them focused on designing without restriction. We will balance the design and budget
Often, I will visit the property to perform a pre-evaluation. I would be checking for lot access and the ease of delivery vehicles have access. I also look for lot servicing. Neighbors and privacy issues. Lot topography, tree evaluations. I check for sun travel for morning and afternoon shade. Focal points if any, and of course lot access for parking and turning around.
The home designing service agreement schedule includes:
- Preliminary studies of property
- Anti-project of property
- Geotechnical exploration and analysis
- Register Anti-Project to receive IVI reduction to 4%
- Conceptual design of floor plan and elevations
- Design finishes of exterior and interior materials/textures/colors
- Pool design and hydraulic engineered
- Detailed construction budget and schedule
- Detailed construction drawings
- Electric and mechanical design by certified engineers with CFIA
- Approval proceedings before the Costa Rican Engineers and Architects Bar
- Registration of professionals licensed with the CFIA for inspections
- Municipal approval process
- INS insurance (mandatory)
- Permits in hand
Home Designing Service Agreement Details
Preliminary Studies of Property:
- Firstly, to begin with, a visit to the property. This will actually be done periodically through the design process to verify elements. The beginning visits are to determine the location of the house and outbuildings. Lot access, parking, and turnaround. This contributes to curb appeal. Focal points existing or we need to create. Neighbor location and privacy concerns. Sun travel is also considered. The natural lot topography and existing trees. Lot servicing and any other attributes that will influence the design.
- Secondly, is the property amenities. How near is the store, bank, clinic, restaurants, etc? Some of these may have a factor on the design for storage or extra room, etc.
- Thirdly, is an interview with you to discuss the ‘must-haves. What you are envisioning. Your lifestyle and things you enjoy doing. Are you entertainers or prefer a more relaxed quiet lifestyle? A sports enthusiast, hobbies, activities, etc. These attributes will influence living spaces, pool design, bedrooms, etc.
- Results from the above will initiate floor plan production. As well as elevation plans of the house. Including basic furniture layout and home attributes. Which will encumber all attributes from the property inspection.
Anti-Project Of The Property:
- Creating an Ani-Project is basically a layout of your property. We will show lot access and turn around. House location, pool location and gardens. Basically, you will see social areas and the use of the land. The ani-project will show all construction areas, fences if any, sidewalks, decking, etc. From the approved anti-project, these attributes will be included in the construction drawings unless otherwise stated.
- We have a great deal of information on the Anti-Project. You will find a North pointer in order to determine direction. We include elevations of the building so it indicates the heights of the buildings. The floor plan of the house is detailed so you can see the cohesion of indoor living with the outdoor living areas. Often, we include tables of areas. This gives a better understanding of proportion. Air-conditioned areas to terraces, pool areas to decking, gardens or green areas, etc.
- The Anti-Project is also used for HOA approvals if relevant. Often Asadas request an anti-project prior to approving a water availability letter.
Geotechnical exploration and analysis:
- Geotechnical Studies are not mandatory in Costa Rica and I’m not sure why, because they are extremely important. These are soil studies on the property for density and perforation. Importantly we want to know what lays beneath the home. Often vegetative soil is about 12” on the surface of the property. Which should be scalped off where construction will take place. Then we need to know the density of the stabilized soil. In order to calculate footing size. Which is calculated by the weight of the house distribution over the soil density. Also, we want to check soil up to 5 meters deep or to bedrock.
- Perforation test tells us how quickly soil will absorb and drain water. We will design your stormwater management based on these studies. As well as septic leach beds if applicable.
- Because these studies are not mandatory, many people believe they are not necessary. For this reason, Finish Touch Enterprises has made Geotechnical studies a part of the design process and is included in the design fees.
Register Anti-Project to receive IVI reduction to 4%
- This is fairly new to the Costa Rica permit process. Costa Rica has initiated a goods and service tax of 13%. Before, it was only a sales tax of 13%, but now it applies to all services in Costa Rica. Of course, this was met with resistance from us architects and builders and therefore, Congress temporarily suspended this tax for Architects, Engineers, and construction services. In order to receive an exemption, a project needed to be registered with CFIA to receive an exempt number from Hacienda.
- September 1, 2021, this exemption was revoked and now a 4% service tax IVI will apply to construction services including designing. However, you still must register the anti-project to receive the 4% reduction. We include this process and registration fees as a part of our Custom Design Agreement
- It is also worth noting here that as of September 1, 2022, the 4% will increase to 8%
Conceptual Design of Floor Plan and Elevation
- Following your approvals of our preliminary drawings. Correspondingly, we will begin the task of detailed construction drawings. This is a detailed drawing. With all specifications and details of the design. In addition, the designer will show design concepts. Including a possible decorative ceilings layout. As well as accent lighting and wall washing lighting. Furthermore any outbuildings and pool designs. Which will be included as well.
- Included with the detailed construction drawings. Accordingly are the: Architecturals, Elevations, Cross-sections, Detail sectionals, Geographical.
Electric and mechanical design and blueprints:
- Together with the detailed construction drawings. Included are the engineering sections. Which will be prepared by the prospective engineer. Therefore, their name and CFIA license number will be included in the specific drawings. In addition, he will be responsible for the specific inspections. Thereupon, these professionals exclusively work for Finish Touch Enterprises SRL as an employee. Therefore, they are available for the work crews should an issue arise. In addition, the engineer may make frequent visits over and above inspections. Furthermore, the engineer is also responsible for relevant material purchases to ensure correct sizing.
- Most importantly these engineers work together in a team effort. Collectively with the interior decorator, myself, property owner, and other professionals. Which contributes to a professional design. Uniquely decorated and proportionately balanced. Including functionality.
Rectification of property boundaries:
- Furthermore, Finish Touch Enterprises SRL will survey a property boundary. When we physically layout a house. Because we usually establish the property boundary and measure from there. Therefore we include surveying boundary and survey 1-meter topographies. This will be a thorough evaluation of your property. Which is included in the Homes for Sale Costa Rica designing service agreement.
- Resulting from the construction drawings. There will be will a material take-off. Which will detail specific materials to be used to build your home. In addition to this material list. Accordingly, we will calculate a labor schedule and cost to build your home. This is a 15-page detailed document. Which will also show you allowances for plumbing and electrical fixtures. In addition to allowances for flooring, cabinets, granites.
- Furthermore, our budget will include details of construction schedules. Which includes the monthly cost of construction. Thereupon, you will have a clear and concise detailed proforma of all construction materials. Including all finishes. As well as all schedules both timeline and financially.
Approval proceedings before the Costa Rican Engineers and Architects Bar:
- Comparatively, documents are required to apply for the federal building permit. In general, can be a complex process in itself. Nonetheless, we take care of all document requirements. Continuing we will send in the completed construction drawings for the CFIA approval process. All permit cost is included in our agreement fees. This process will not concern you.
- Documentation requirements will differ from different locations and property classifications. Which generally include documents for the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment, Fire department, structural details, and more.
Registration of professionals licensed with the CFIA for inspections:
- Firstly we hope that you decide to continue with Finish Touch Enterprises SRL. In order to build your home. However, you will have all your permits. As well as construction drawings. Including a detailed proforma showing all material quantities and unit prices. Therefore, you may use these documents to compare prices from other builders. Accordingly, you will have all the information required to receive accurate quotations from established builders.
- Either way, Finish Touch Enterprises SRL will register with the CFIA as the responsible designer. As well as the responsible engineers of this design. Therefore we will be responsible for all inspections. By law, we will report in the Bitracula that the home is being constructed in compliance with the construction drawings. These inspection fees are included in our agreement fees. There is no further cost to you.
Municipal approval process:
- Furthermore, we will submit the approved CFIA drawings to the municipality. Which will be submitted to the Municipality engineering review board. Therefore, the municipality will review that your construction proposal complies with all environmental laws and forestry maps. In addition, they will review the home layout. To which complies with muni set back bi-laws. In addition, they will also review ministry of health clearance approvals. Furthermore, all municipal fees and permit costs are included in our agreement.
- Most importantly this is mandatory insurance. Which we better understand as a worker’s compensation insurance. This must be paid or proof of payment at the municipality for them to release the permits. Also is included in our agreement fees.
- This is a builder’s expense but is a part of the permit process. Therefore, if you choose another builder. Of course, he will need to prove to you that he has valid insurance. This is to your benefit. Because this is a bit complicated. For this reason, I give more explanation here. Method Of Building A House In Costa Rica
Fees and Cost for a designing service agreement:
To clarify that the Costa Rica government. Correspondingly has created consumer and cooperative affairs guidelines. Which they police these agencies. Included are their arbitrary protocols. If you feel you have been overcharged or unfairly represented.
- Colegio De Abogados – Costa Rica legal bar society
- They set guidelines for legal fees.
- There is arbitrary discipline proceeding if you have a complaint
- Colegio De Contador – this is the bar for accountants.
- They will set guidelines for account fees
- Colegio De Arquitectos and Ingenieros – Bar association for architects, engineers, and general contractors
- The college of architects and engineers set the fee rate for the duties of the architect. This fee is based on % of construction value. I will show an example of the federal building permit to the right.
To explain for you to understand the chart below. When speaking with an architect they may quote you a low price. However, compared to other quotes you may not know what is included. Therefore, I am showing a physical application form. Which demonstrates the % of the fee for which an architect will charge. Furthermore, I am demonstrating a chart below to calculate the % of the fee based on a construction value of $200,000.
To explain you will require most of the items listed in this chart. Which you need to ask your architect what his price includes. To clarify at Finish Touch Enterprises SRL, we include everything on this chart. In addition, The Homes for Sale Costa Rica Designing Service agreement fee includes the cost of the CFIA permit, The fee includes the cost of the Municipality permit. As well as the fee includes the cost of INS insurance.
Different from other designers. It is believed we are the only company in Costa Rica to simplify this system. Which include 100% of encumbrances. Within my own studies, I have concluded my complete design fees are far less expensive than other architecture firms.
Home Designing Service fees of Finish Touch Enterprises SRL
To begin we create a Homes for Sale Costa Rica Designing Service Agreement. Thus between Finish Touch Enterprises SRL and the property. Likewise, the design fees include all services, equipment, tools, sub-trades. Which may be required to complete the design project. In addition, the fees include all costs of a federal building permit, all costs of the municipal permit, and all costs of the mandatory insurance attached to the permits.
In conclusion, there is no additional cost or fees to the homeowner. On completion of this agreement, the property is in compliance to begin construction. Furthermore, post permits the agreement includes all required inspections until project completion. Therefore, as the designer, we continue our services to qualify construction completion.
Costa Rica Homes for Sale Designing Agreement Fee: $25,000
- 40% ($10,000) – Project Stages 1 to 7
- 40% ($10,000) – Project Stages 8 to 11
- 20% ($5,000) – Permit Completion and Termination of Contract.
Why a flat fee:
- Makes it much easier for a fixed rate for you to budget and schedule.
- We have designed and built several homes in the 10 years. Which we have recorded the average hours spent from start to finish of a design. I calculated my rates accordingly.
- The hours cover a principal preliminary home design with 2 revisions. Additional designs and revisions will be invoiced. I am not strict on this rule, but for my own protection, I do require a design boundary.
- My fees are below CFIA rates: we are taxed at Hacienda of Costa Rica for the full amount set by CFIA. We lower our fees because we structured our company for bulk building and bulk designing. Very few companies compare. We hope to set a precedent for other companies to follow.
You are ready to build Homes for Sale Costa Rica
Following our series of building articles (in order) will empower you towards the success of your project’s completion:
- How to Hire a Builder
- Costa Rica Architect Firm
- Designing A House In Costa Rica Attributes
- Home Designing Service Costa Rica (this article)
- Costa Rica Home Builders
- Methods Of Building In Costa Rica
- Costa Rica Custom Home
- Costa Rica General Contractor
- Interior Design In Costa Rica
- Finish Touch Furniture SRL