Need solar, use Bulldog Solar. www.bulldogsolar.com

Well where to start? We used to recommend a company called Mexican Solar Solutions, but what a mistake that ended up to be. Originally they were good and very responsive, but over time there were numerous complaints about their service. Case in point, they had the contract to add a system to my house. They put up the panels, but never finished the install, even the install they did, was completely below standard and sloppy with important components never installed. After numerous calls, emails and messages with Casey Leonard the company rep and Pablo Molina the owner, nothing was received but excuse after excuse, lies in reality and as a result they were fired.

I called up another company I am familiar with, Bulldog Solar. What a night and day difference. the company owner ERICH BRIEHL called me back right away and arranged a time to come see me.  Erich showed up on time, with several of his workers. They examined the existing system and came up with a plan to get it up and running as soon as possible. 
Right from the start Erich and crew were very professional and understanding of the situation. The even corrected some connection errors they saw, at our first meeting. Eriche explained all the information he required to get the CFE connections we should have already had and the timing to get it done.

Needless to say I am happy that there is at least one competent professional company here in the Yucatan.

While we are not up and running yet, I am more than confident Erich and his crew can get the job done, in a professional manner. 

Bottome line if you want a quality company for solar, Call Bulldog Solar

 

999 960-4450       bulldogsolar@gmail.com

https://web.facebook.com/pages/category/Energy-Company/Bulldog-Solar-256063028121966/?_rdc=1&_rdr

New build or total renovation

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No matter, whether you are building a new beach house or renovating a classic colonial in Merida’s Centro district. We can assist to in doing it right. We build in both locations and know the specific techniques required to build properly, in both city and beach. We are happy to work with your architects plans or we can assist you to have your dream home, designed or remodelled from the ground up, We have taken on staff Ana Burgos. Ana is a an experienced, architect designer, who can capture your ideas and thoughts and make your dreams a functional reality.

Scammer alert

This happened around the 23 of October in the Chelem / Chuburna area of the Yucatan. Earlier in the day, Fernando was at this clients house and they wanted some aluminum work. He told them he would contact the Aluminero and have him come to the house. Later in the day this guy knocks on the door and the client thinking it was the Aluminero asked if Fernando had sent him. He said he was the aluminero and they showed him the job. He played the part of an aluminum worker and then told the clients he needed 1500 pesos to order supplies, he left soon after. Later in the afternoon Fernando took the aluminero to the house to see the job and of course the clients told him about the aluminero already being there. This is not the first time we have heard of this happening, these scammers are good. If you are doing business with someone you do not know, ask to see their ID and take a picture of it and them. If they are legal they won’t mind you doing it. 

These are the best pics I could get from the video cameras.

Latest major reno finished

This reno was a major project. The original house was mamepostria (stone) we moved walls, extended the terrace, expanded the kitchen and in reality nothing was left untouched. Everything new from the ground up, with new pool and court yard surround. Steps to the roof give the perfect spot to take in the sunset, or just sit on the Ocean side terrace and enjoy. The stone faced seawall protects the house in the event of a storm.

Can I build a second story?

One of the questions we get asked all the time, is can I build a second story. The simple answer is yes anything is possible, but it may take time and money. A lot of people assume a house made of block, is ready to take a second story as is and that is not true. A lineal meter of block wall can load a compressive weight of 750 kilos Which is not a lot when you are talking cement block of the original wall, new beams, new walls and an extra concrete roof. The second story in reality is supported by columns and beams and this is where extra time and costs are involved. The big question is how were your existing colums made and what weight were the footings designed to hold.

There are basically 3 types of columns used in Yucatan homes.

Sanct columns are the weakest they are just interlaced block with a piece of rebar in the center filled with a slurry of very wet concrete or mortar

Next is columns reinforced with Armex, Armex is a reinforced square tube made of a wire rings and thin rebar. the Armex mesh is filled with concrete for strength.

Best of all is rebar positioned in a square pattern so that the long lengths form the corners of square tube and that is tied to gether at close intervals with reinforced wire. Some times Armex is reinforced with rebar on the corners for additional loading capability. the column is then filled with concrete which should be vibrated to remove air pockets.

 

 

 

The next issue is the footings for the columns and how large they are. Obviously a small footing will not disperse a large load into the ground. The footings need to be large enough to support the wieght of a second story, with out sinking or twisting.

 

 

So the question, can I add a second story, is not an easy one to answer without knowing how the house was built. The good news is poorly built columns can be replaced, but it all adds to the time and cost of construction.

Hurricane season has just begun.

Traditionally, the North coast of the Yucatan has generally been a safe place to be. Due to the geography of the area, which tends to see storms follow the Yucatan channel or lose strength as they cross land. However, there have been a few notable exceptions such as Glibert and Isadora, that did huge amounts of damage. The one good thing about hurricanes is you can see them coming for days and have lots of time to activate your plans. You do have a plan don’t you?  Here in Mexico, once a storm reaches certain proportions and is predicted to hit this area, on the North Coast of the Yucatan, an evacuation order will be given. Once given, it is mandatory that you leave and foolish or fatal if you don’t. You need to do your own homework, to find out where the closest evacuation shelters are and make sure you know how to get to them. For people who have pets, the problem becomes much more difficult, as the shelters do not allow pets. If you are a pet owner , you will need an alternate shelter for you and your pets. Now is the time to canvas friends, to see if they will allow you to bring your pets with you, in the event of an emergency. Remember, you may be stuck there for a week or more, under not so nice conditions, so tempers of both you and your pets might get frayed.

When a hurricane strikes it is not just a case of high wind. Hurricanes also bring massive amounts of moisture and humidity levels skyrocket. It could be 35+ degrees and 100% humidity for days on end, with no electricity for fans or A/C. Anything you get wet, will never ever dry, clothes, pills, papers, NOTHING! Plus mould and mildew will run rampant if unchecked. It will not be pleasant, to spend a week or more in a damp environment, exposed to mosquito’s nightly, along with your wet dogs. The only way to keep your sanity is to be absolutely prepared for the worst and make sure you have a way to keep everything as dry as possible. If you have an alternate place to stay inland and you have a generator. Make sure you have extension cords and spare fuel, also fill your cars gas tank and have a syphon hose. A modern car has 45 or so litres of fuel which can power a small generator for 4 or 5 days of reasonable use. So having a syphon hose handy is a good idea.

Below is a list of suggested items to have handy in the event that a hurricane does arrive. But, even if you head to a friends house or shelter and then return home, you will still need to be prepared. You may be with out power for a long period, if transmission lines are down and there is a good chance your beach home and more likely its contents maybe substantially damaged. Remember, no power means , no city water and fuel stations can’t pump gas, stores won’t have cold storage, etc. Like the Boy Scouts say “Be prepared”.

Here are recommendations on what to do before a storm approaches:

— Use hurricane shutters or board up windows and doors with 5/8 inch plywood. Make them now before you need them!

— Bring outside items in if they could be picked up by the wind, place screws in your tinaco lid, as they tend to fly away.

— Turn the refrigerator to its coldest setting in case power goes off. Use a cooler to keep from opening the doors on the freezer or refrigerator.

— Make sure your cisterna and Tinaco are full and you have 5 or more Garafons of water available.

— Make sure your vehicles fuel tanks are full and you have spare fuel for a generator, also have a siphon hose

— Have an evacuation plan.

— Learn the location of the nearest shelter or nearest pet-friendly shelter. This is a big issue for pet owners in the beach areas.

— Store important documents — passports, Social Security cards, birth certificates, deeds — in a watertight container.

— Have a current inventory of household property.

— Leave a note to say where you are going, IN SPANISH!

— Contact relatives and let then know you maybe out of touch for a week or more.

— Unplug small appliances and electronics before you leave.

— If possible, turn off the electricity, gas and water for your residence.

Here is a list of handy supplies:

— A seven-day supply of water, a minimum of one gallon per person per day.

— Three days of food, with suggested items including: canned meats, canned or dried fruits, canned vegetables, canned juice, peanut butter, jelly, salt-free crackers, energy/protein bars, trail mix/nuts, dry cereal, cookies or other comfort food.

— A can opener and eating utensils

— Flashlight(s) and candles.

— A battery-powered radio.

— Extra batteries.

— A first aid kit, including latex gloves; sterile dressings; soap/cleaning agent; antibiotic ointment; burn ointment; adhesive bandages in small, medium and large sizes; eye wash; a thermometer; aspirin/pain reliever; anti-diarrhea tablets; antacids; laxatives; small scissors; tweezers; petroleum jelly.

— A seven-day supply of personal medications, in waterproof containers.

— A multipurpose tool, with pliers and a screwdriver.

— Cell phones and chargers, laptops are handy if the Wifi in Merida’s parks is still up and running.

— Contact information for the family.

— A hammock setup, for each person, as a bed is almost useless in high humidity and will never dry.

— Extra cash, ATM’s don’t work if the power is off

— Mosquito netting or mosquito coils

— A map of the area, as familiar routes my be closed due to downed trees or other debris.

— Pet supplies.

— Wet wipes, showers may not be an option.

— Insect repellent.

— Rain gear.

— Duct tape.

— An extra set of house keys.

— An extra set of car keys.

— Household bleach, lots of it.

— Toilet paper in zip lock bags or the handy single wrapped Costco rolls.

— Paper cups, plates and paper towels.

— DRY, Charcoal and matches, if you have a portable grill. But only use it outside.

Semarnat approvals required for all projects within 20 Km of the beach

 

In the not too distant past, the approval process was very lose and often disregarded. Those days have come to an end and rightfully so. If you want to build new or modify the exterior of an existing stucture, you need to follow the approval process. In the area of Progreso for example, which includes Chelem, Chuburna, Chicxulub, as well as Progreso and some other inland areas. You need a building permit for any additional modifications to the property. In addition to the normal papers required for building you also need approval from Semarnat, before you touch the project in anyway. If it is a bare lot within 20 Kms of the Gulf of Mexico, you need a full enviromental assessment for the land, architectural Plans of your proposed build and that has to be submitted for approval to Semarnat. This can take up to 6 months to be approved, once submitted, if it is done correctly. If you own a home and want to add a new set of stairs or a pool, then you need, depending on the area of the land, the vegatation on the land and some other variables, one of 3 things. 1) a full enviromental assessment 2) an exemption to the assessment or 3) a letter of no requirement for an exemption. If for example you have an old house and the yard has been solid concrete for 30 years and was built before Semarnat existed then most likely a letter of no requirement might be appropriate. But, if there are green spaces that are currently sand only, you may get away with an exemption from the assessment. If you have bare land with native shrubs or a home with a variety of native plants then most likely the enviromental assessment would be required. The time frame for an exemption, for example can take from 6 weeks to 4 months. Some contractors may tell you, it is easier to beg forgiveness than ask for permission. But SEMARNAT and their enforcement arm are serious and the fines nothing to laugh at. It would not be fun to get a 100,000 peso fine for a 5000 peso set of stairs. Plus Profepa will stop the project dead in its tracks, by putting up a Clausurado sign. So in addition to the fine, your project may be closed for months till hearing are concluded and fines paid.

If you hire a reputable contractor, they should have the ability to deal with all this on your behalf, as you will need proper architects plans in most cases. It is not something you can really do by yourself or have the local handyman handle for you.

Profepa, has a dedicated group actively patrolling to catch violators working with out permits or tearing out bush with out approvals. They take this stuff very seriously and like I said earlier the fines can be horrendous, if you destroy a protected plant.

Follow the rules, it may take time and money, but you are not going to get a knock at your door 6 months from now asking to see the SEMARNAT paper work for your pool.

 

Before and after

We just finished this total reno and addition, this is the before.

 

This is at the almost finished stage. We took out walls, added archways built an addition on old terrace, added polished concrete floors, all new electrical and plumbing, chikkum finish in bathroom and kitchen and a lot more.

   

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