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Building in Portugal

So you’re going to carry out some building in Portugal.

 

Excited, you bet!  Worried about the pitfalls and problems that you may meet along the way ?

Of course. The main worry is that we don’t  know what there pitfalls and problems that you may meet along the way may be.

Do you have a contingency fund and plan. Probably not but times pressing and you just want to get into your new home ASAP.

 

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Further north is the Green Coast, with dramatic Atlantic coastlines and some of the best-value property in the whole of Portugal. The risk in buying Portuguese property is low but for medium to high long-term returns; and Building and construction in Portugal is more regulated than some foreign markets giving investors greater peace of mind. Enthusiasm among Brits for Portuguese property has shown no sign of ebbing. According to figures from the Portuguese Real Estate Association, Portugal receives around 2 million British tourists a year; and between 17,000 and 18,000 Brits buy property in Portugal annually, with over 50% opting for homes in the Algarve. Property in the Algarve When considering a holiday property in the Algarve, you might imagine relaxing holidays on golden beaches with calm blue waters while sampling the delights of this well liked region of Portugal. Beyond the picturesque scenes of fishermen's nets hanging on the docks, brightly coloured fishing boats bobbing in the harbour and quaint buildings faded from the sun, property in the Algarve offers something even more attractive: charming properties in a fantastic climate with a stable economy. The quintessential Portuguese property is the ever popular white-washed villa in the Algarve. No matter how far you venture from your property in the Algarve, you will be surrounded by vibrant colours from the vivid blue skies and turquoise waters to the lush green grass and white walls of the buildings' in the Algarve's old towns. Investing in a property in the Algarve means you can enjoy luxury golf courses, great restaurants and a lively night life at the end of a long day spent on what are considered to be some of the world's most beautiful beaches; or take a stroll through the old town to take in some of the history and heritage of the Algarve. 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Building in Portugal
Pitfalls and Problems

If they are not living in Portugal most people really need someone to oversee the work and are just not sure how to go about it from this distance.

 People may suppose that it would be a less expensive way to go with a local Portuguese person/builder/architect than through a company like Castelo Construction.

 In reality  working with Kelvin at Castelo Construction will actually save you a lot of money. I know this may sound counter intuitive but let me explain.

 

There are 4 main areas where people fall foul when trying to manage a build or renovation remotely.

Having witnessed many people who have bought a property in Portugal and are overly excited and optimistic about the whole refurbishment project. This exited state makes them easy targets for “local, friendly builders” who may speak a little English.

They often use the opportunity to ramp up the prices massively and the new to Portugal foreigners just pay through the nose because they know no better and have nothing to compare with.

Added costs can also come about because time is regarded very different here deadlines are never worked to. If you run over your license time then that’s ok because the client is responsible for paying for the license.

 

The other major money pit is although they “local, friendly builders”  may speak some English the big mistake is that people think “he knows what we want” when they absolutely do not have any idea of what we expect from a home or quality of finish.

My most mind boggling conversation was with someone who said we love the house BUT we were not expecting so many very small rooms downstairs!!!

Having rooms positioned wrongly, the incorrect materials being used and expensive errors like tiles laid in the wrong place which then have to be moved or changed at your expense.

The worst negative event is I suppose the builders who take your money and runs off to work in France knowing that you can’t do anything about it. This is a lot more common that you would believe from reading the online expat forums.

 

My advice, take it if you will.

Work only with people who have done it before, can show you examples of their work and provide excellent testimonials from foreign clients.

How often do they send you email and photographic reports?

Have they got large outstanding debts to the Fiancés (tax office)

Have they done a project in the style that you want.

Do they respond quickly and clearly to your inquiries.

Are they a registered company.

 

Like I already said if the best thing that can be said about the person you are going to put your trust and money in is  “our builder speaks a little English” is not a good starting point

contact  Kelvin@casteloconstruction.com
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Polished concrete

Have Polished concrete floors had their day ?

There was a time during the last three years when a lot of clients asked us if we could lay polished concrete floors in their new homes or renovations.

Personally I am not a big fan.

Here is why.  The technology is no problem that’s pretty easy to do as long as you get the mix right and control the water content which can be tricky in this hot climate. The other thing that often gets missed is the correct compaction of the ballast underneath the concrete.

Ballast is what you put on top of the earth before you lay the concrete. Typically it would be a layer of broken stone or concrete then a layer of crushed stone which is compacted so that it forms a firm layer on which to put your base layer of concrete on (with reinforcing mesh) and on top of all this goes your  decorative concrete layer to provide the polished surface.

If the areas are large you will also need to install expansion joints which are pretty unattractive.

This is what often happens in Portugal.

The over-site (the original earth that is forming the internal house floor) will have sawdust, paper, cardboard, sardine tins and beer bottles strew across it. It will also be very dry, dusty and uneven.

On top of all this rubbish will be laid a layer of concrete probably light on the amount of cement used ( the cement is the expensive part) This will be uneven in depth, have no damp proof course and no expansion joints around the walls or across the larger areas.
It will look fine for the first six months.

The results unfortunately and inevitably will look like this.
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polished concrete broken at a doorway

What happens is that the very dry over-site will suck the moisture out of the wet concrete which it needs to “cure” or set hard causing the concrete to be weakened.


The detritis, sawdust, paper, cardboard, pieces of wood and sardine tins will rot down causing cavities to be left under the concrete slab.

As the ground underneath will not have been compacted or had a damp proof course installed it will dry our and shrink causing a larger cavity to form which means that the decorative slab of concrete is not properly supported.

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Ugly break in the polished concrete

The stress will cause it to crack.


These cracks are not superficial they are structural and no amount of filling them will make them disappear.


Another thing to bear in mind is that polished concrete is not very hard or resistant (sounds contra intuitive I know) it scratches and scuffs.

Make sure that furniture is not dragged across the surface and that doors do not rub.
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Have Polished concrete floors had their day

I have to admit polished concrete can look great. Its just that overall I don’t think that you are going to be comfortable living with it for a long time even if it is laid properly.

(NB: the above photographs are NOT of any work carried out by Castelo Construction – thank goodness!)

 

If you want professional results for your building project in Portugal contact Castelo Construction we will be pleased to give a competitive price for your work.

www.casteloconstruction.com

contact us at info@casteloconstruction.com