Self Build

Old Apr 14th 2023, 10:30 am
  #1  
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Default Self Build

I am looking to find a plot of land and build my own house ... I do have the necessary skills

FIRSTLY ... is this allowed ?
SECONDLY ... Can I bring my own tools from the UK without having to pay import taxes and VAT on them ?
THIRDLY ... Are sheds permitted ?

Thank you for your time in replying ... appreciated
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Old Apr 14th 2023, 1:15 pm
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Default Re: Self Build

A reply from Grenada, not Barbados, but - some of this is relevant.

Sheds here are mandatory! Well they are always the first thing to go up.... Necessary to protect cement and other things from theft and rain.

I strongly suspect your tools will attract lots of duty and vat. Here it would total about 60%. Barbados is 115 volt 50 hz power

I assume you have studied caribbean construction techniques and the restrictions / requirements a tropical climate imposes?

Some of it is good news like the availability of pozzalan type cement [roman cement] and amazonian hardwoods like white cyprus and blue mahoe for beautiful floors and other cosmetic uses, greenheart and purpleheart [which is so hard you cant put nails in it and is completely water and insect proof.] for roofing. If building a house it may be worth your while importing a container of seasoned hardwood from guyana. US style PVC plumbing is a joy, but you cant beat german engineering for taps etc. PVC pipes in concrete are of course undetectable by metal detectors - fortunately you can buy a wall radar for about 500 pounds that can see through a foot of concrete, and identify seperately power cables, plastic water pipes and rebar. Try to avoid burying pipework in decks, eventually there will be a need to dig one out via the tiling and cement. Do invest in routing your own wood for cornices, curtain poles etc etc, imported pine ones are insect food. IKEA actually sell insect proof furniture made from plastic or acacia wood, and some of their kitchen products are also suitable for the tropics, but definitely not all. I had the luck to visit their store in Malaysia where they know whats what about this.

Some of it is bad, dealing with government departments, especially if you are clearly a foreigner, is a laborious time consuming process most of the time. Local builders know how to get results and what rules can be bent. and they know the officials, you will probably be more closely scrutinised. Materials cost more, and quality must be carefully scrutinised. I suspect building codes exist, and that some of it is based on US standards. Im pretty sure taking sand off beaches will be illegal but it does happen. Beach sand will destroy concrete and steel rebar if used. Ensure any sand is imported or mined - most comes from Guyana.

You might profit by importing upvc 'woodwork' for facias etc, and i strongly suspect the ceramics will be a lot cheaper purchased in the uk. Again - caution - not all tiles and tile adhesives are suitable for here and their thermal efficiency varies, you want decks you dont burn your feet on in the sun. Normally this means porcelain tiles pressed in grey clay. Do check the codes regarding hurricane safety, how roofs are tied etc, this is a serious subject. I live in a house that has indestructible purpleheart roof timbers but the roof surface itself is sacrificial in extremis. The garages are entirely concrete so are actually live in - able should the worst happen.

Will you be allowed to do it in Barbados if you dont possess professional certificates? Not a clue, sorry.

Last edited by uk_grenada; Apr 14th 2023 at 1:25 pm.
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Old Apr 14th 2023, 2:25 pm
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Default Re: Self Build

Thank you uk_grenada for your reply

Sheds ... "Necessary to protect cement and other things from theft and rain" ... what I was thinking
Power ... "Barbados is 115 volt 50 hz power" ... All my power tools are fortunately 110v as required in the UK construction industry ... Should I need 240v (for whatever reason) I was thinking generator
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Old Apr 14th 2023, 2:42 pm
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Default Re: Self Build

Originally Posted by uk_grenada
.... Try to avoid burying pipework in decks, eventually there will be a need to dig one out via the tiling and cement. ....
It sounds like you're using "deck" to mean a concrete and paver/ tiled area?

In my experience US & UK a "deck" is a timber structure, that primarily stands on it's own legs, but may be attached to the house, under a doorway, for each of access. Whereas as solid concrete and masonry structure built on the surface of the ground, perhaps with a perimeter foundation, and topped with concrete pavers, bricks, or tiles, is a "patio", which sounds like what you're calling a "deck".
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Old Apr 15th 2023, 10:38 am
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Default Re: Self Build

Originally Posted by Pulaski
It sounds like you're using "deck" to mean a concrete and paver/ tiled area?

In my experience US & UK a "deck" is a timber structure, that primarily stands on it's own legs, but may be attached to the house, under a doorway, for each of access. Whereas as solid concrete and masonry structure built on the surface of the ground, perhaps with a perimeter foundation, and topped with concrete pavers, bricks, or tiles, is a "patio", which sounds like what you're calling a "deck".
As i'm not quite so big on 'grumpy old man' as you, i'll simply say

Have a nice day!

NB technically in the caribbean they are usually a part of one of the structures re-enforced rafts, not necessarily on the ground, and often going right round the structure as outdoor living is of course big here.


Last edited by uk_grenada; Apr 15th 2023 at 10:51 am.
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Old Aug 17th 2023, 6:50 pm
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Default Re: Self Build

Originally Posted by Nehpets
I am looking to find a plot of land and build my own house ... I do have the necessary skills

FIRSTLY ... is this allowed ?
SECONDLY ... Can I bring my own tools from the UK without having to pay import taxes and VAT on them ?
THIRDLY ... Are sheds permitted ?

Thank you for your time in replying ... appreciated
As your tools are second hand (in the sense that you already own them so they are not brand new) you shouldn't have to pay VAT on them.

Have you begun work yet? We are renovating, which is a bit more tricky than building from new in a way, but if we can help then just let us know.
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Old Aug 17th 2023, 7:03 pm
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Default Re: Self Build

VAT is charged on the value that customs deem the tools to have - unless you have an exception that confirms they are duty free. The odd drill will likely be allowed as personal effects then you are able to being them in duty free depending upon your circumstances, but 'trade tools' are definitely dutiable - new or not.
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Old Aug 17th 2023, 7:04 pm
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Default Re: Self Build

Of course to add insult to injury, its the deemed value, plus shipping and insurance cost, on which duty gets charged then vat on all the preceding....
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