Semarnat approvals required for all projects within 25 plus 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 25 plus 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.


Our latest home build is complete

This ultra modern 2000 Sq foot home is built with Covintec panels. Covintec panels have a demonstrated Hurricane resistance to 350KPH or 220 miles an hour. Building with panels costs more initially, but they are resistant to heat penetration, so easier to keep cool and the hurricane resistance speaks for itself.


Hurricane season has started in the Atlantic

800px-Hurricane_Wilma_200510212015No one wants to have a hurricane visit their area, but they are a fact of life in the tropics. 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, it is NOT optional. 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 have will get wet, will never ever dry, clothes, pills, papers, NOTHING! Plus mold 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. Check to see if your car has an anti-syphon fitting and consider removing it.

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 ATM’s, 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.

— 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.

— 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.

— 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.

Another project draws to a close

We are down to the final details on a second story addition. Custon french balcony doors, in hurricane resistant laminated  glass. All windows are extra thick 12 mm  tinted glass, LED lighting throughout, Chikum finish in the bathroom. Polished concrete counters and floor. Paint is going on and the bathroom is awaiting the paint trim as well.

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One of our latest pools

With over 80 pools built, we have the experience and skill, to build yours. This pool and deck combo was designed for lap swimming and included a wading area for smaller children, plus the massive deck and soon to be added glass railing to preserve the ocean view.

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To all our customers and friends


Covintec panel terrace

With more and more projects using Covintec panels, like this one, we have to order double semi’s at a time just to keep up. This is just the beginning for this project, which will add a master bedroom and bath up. All sound proofed and insulated by using covintec panels. We currently have 4 large terraces, being built in Covintec as well as 4 major renos with second story additions using them.

Panels in place and re-enforced with rebar ties



Finished upper terrace waiting for paint. Then the second level starts to go up.

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