All posts by Castelo Construction Lda

About Castelo Construction Lda

Castelo Construction Lda are builders in Central Portugal. We have 12 years’ experience of working with and delighting clients in Portugal. Tel 00351 927168247 or kelvin@casteloconstruction.com If you need an English speaking builder for renovation or new build work we will provide free estimates, fixed prices and carry out your work to a very high standard. Many of our clients are not in the country full time so rely on our regular photographic updates and written reports. They are always surprised when they make inspection visits. New Construction and Refurbishment of Portuguese Property It’s exciting for both our team and of course our clients to mark out on the earth the site of a new home. We will have been with them during the design process and have spoken to the architect many times so we will be comfortable with what we are about to do. For many clients, this stage is a little daunting as it’s hard to see without experience just where the house is going to be in relation to other things on the property. Once the foundations are dug out the house normally looks smaller than they thought, As the pillars and foundation wall start to go you get a much better idea of scale. You can see with your mind’s eye the location of the kitchen, bedrooms and so on. Once the walls are up and the first floor is in place the rooms start to looks smaller again (something to do with the light absorbing properties of the bricks) once the walls are plastered the rooms look a lot larger and it starts to feel more like the home our clients imagined building. As the build progresses we are involved with many specialist subcontractors and it is our job the get them on site at the right time so that the trades do not overlap and time is not wasted. Once the roof is on and tiled it is traditional in this area to have a dinner on site. Everyone who is involved in the build is invited to share a suckling pig dinner with local bread, oranges and of course wine. This is a great way for the clients to enjoy some local hospitality and meet the craftsmen who are building their new home. We also invite the near neighbors so that they get a chance to see what’s going on (when the house is at a very basic stage) and it gives our clients a relaxed opportunity to make their acquaintance. As we always accompany our clients to choose, kitchens, tiles, bathroom fittings or whatever they want. We can help with translation and of course negotiation! As the house is coming to completion we always have them professionally cleaned so that when we hand over the keys it feels more like a home than a building site. 2 months after the house is finished we are back to check for any small faults that may need attention and of course we are available to help and advise should that be needed. Central Portugal builders

How do I do a property survey.

Old or new dilemma

Old or new dilemma

Its one of the first real dilemma’s you will face when viewing property to buy in Portugal.


New or old which will it be.
For sure both have their charms and positives and negatives but its what get you in the heart in the end. Here are a few of my thoughts based on working with many people in just your situation. Trying to decide what type of property to buy in central Portugal.

central portugal builders
Old or new dilemma

Old Property Pro’s
You can see how it sits on the land and in relation to its neighboring houses or scenery.
It is going to have lots of slightly warm charm
The interior will be welcomingly cool when you are viewing property in the summer months
You can check out the views from the windows
It will be ready to live in quickly
It won’t cost too much to renovate.

New build pros

We can have exactly what we want within the budget
This plot of land/location is unique
We can add up to the minute insulation, heating, bathroom facilities.
We can have the internal space that we can’t have in an existing home.
It will be designed to take advantage of the sun,view and our personal tastes
We can choose a style that we like and which will impress our friends.

Old property con’s

It will be damp
It won’t be insulated
You may have to extend it to give you the space you need.
The amount of work will always be bigger than you envisage
The windows may be in the wrong position or size for what you want
Is the roof ready to collapse?

New build com’s

The total cost. will it be manageable
Can we build what we want on our land
What about guarantees

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Choosing a house in Portugal

Choosing a house in Portugal

You’re ready to choose a house in Portugal. Sounds straightforward enough and you have certainly watched the place in the sun, moving abroad TV programs showing all the various delights on offer. All you have to do now is draw up a short list and agree on the one that you want. Simple!.

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Choosing a house in Portugal

If only it really was that simple.

When choosing a house in Portugal there are a few more angles that you need to cover if you want to own your ideal home in Portugal.
Your probably aware that there are potential problems and expenses if you buy an old run down property and a new property may break the budget completely.
So what about a newer property? Not an old ruin It will have larger rooms and windows that let more sunshine in. An established garden and everything will be ready to move into.

Yes you would certainly think so however here are a few things to consider first

Electricity
Drainage and sewers
Damp and condensation
Woodworm
Structural non-conformations (potentially large structural problems)
No insulation and inadequate heating

You could say it’s a bit of a minefield and it can be for unwary or naive people who are on a tight time frame between returning home and choosing the right house.
That is why I can never understand people with no Portuguese construction e experience who buy a property blind instead of having a property appraisal done.

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Choosing a house in Portugal

I will very briefly describe some of the potential problems regularly encountered from the brief list above.
Electricity – 90% of a newer property that you look at will have underpowered electrical circuits, not enough sockets and be liable to tripping off the power if you have the TV, Dishwasher, and light on!!!

Drainage and sewers
– Most newer property will have undersized drainage pipes that are also laid at such a low fall the drains will block easily. The cesspit will be covered over with a concrete slab and earth.
Damp and condensation – Those telltale sooty marks along the edge of the ceiling are mold spores, not soot. Unfortunately!
Woodworm – Untreated wooden roofs or built-in furniture may already be showing signs of infestation. Just how bad is it and can it be treated or will it have to be removed and replaced.
Structural non-conformations (potentially large structural problems) – If the property was built on the cheap or extended by an unqualified idiot. There may not be the correct amount of reinforcing steel in the pillars and beams supporting the walls, roof and floors. It’s not a good time to find this out when you have already bought it.
No insulation and inadequate heating – Insulating houses has been the law for some time but its installation wasn’t policed so builders and home owners opted to save a few bob and leave it out. Many people here believe the “Caxias do air” or cavity in the wall is insulation. It’s not it is just a gap between two cold walls.

Choosing a house in Portugal talk to Kevin or email him Kelvin@casteloconstruction.com

Cold Plates - Electricians, Electrical laborers, electrical engineers

Cold Plates – Electricians, Electrical laborers, electrical engineers

Cold Plates – Electricians, Electrical laborers, electrical engineers

Electricians, Electrical laborers, electrical engineers. They all have one thing in common.
They don’t turn up when they arranged too. Some don’t turn up at all!

After 20 years of hiring electrical people here in Portugal, we have slowly gained an understanding of the good, bad and downright ugly side of the Portuguese electrical profession.
I should be clear up front that 50% of this opinion is probably caused by me and my initially poor understanding of how things work here. You may be in the same boat?

When we think of hiring an electrician in the UK, for instance, we don’t usually worry because the person will have been through thorough training or an apprenticeship over many years. Night school courses and have at the very least a piece of paper/certificate proving that probably won’t kill himself or you when he is fixing an electrical problem at your home.

It’s simply not the case here. Here’s a red-hot tip, if you are looking to hire an electrician here and he is available at short notice and wants to be paid in cash. You have just found what I would call an Electrical laborer.

This is someone who installs plastic conduits in walls at the direction of a trained Electrician.

They can wire up a socket if the wires are in the right place and wire up a light switch. They are no better able to understand the electrical circuits than you or me. You have just hired the equivalent of the “bloke next door”.

I know this situation well because of the number of properties we have seen that have electrical systems so badly wired they should be located on the end of death row.

Next, we have the certified Electrician, These are hard to get a hold of because they are always busy and here’s one of the main reasons for this. Good electricians can make a lot more money by working in the UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Luxemburg. Which means there simply are not enough available in Portugal.

Then we have the real “rare as hen’s teeth” Properly trained and certified Electrical Engineers who can look at a lighting plan and interpret it.

They can understand what components are blown on your pool heater and know how to fix them. They can identify the electrical problems in your house previously caused by the Electrical laborers/Muppets that you hired last month. If you don’t believe me take a look at this little beauty we came across last week.

Cold Plates - Electricians, Electrical laborers, electrical engineers
Cold Plates – Electricians, Electrical laborers, electrical engineers

A small child would know that this is not a proper solution to any electrical requirement in the home.

Cold Plates – Electricians, Electrical laborers, electrical engineers