Week 3 – Roof & Cistern

It’s been a very productive week! Monday saw all of the debris and trash from the roof taken away, I have never seen the place so clear! But that did not last for long as we decided while we were doing the roof we would get some guys in to start work on the cistern. Now being as the water service is so unreliable in the area I made the decision to make a huge cistern. The target is 5500 gallons but we will see…

Starting the cistern
Starting the cistern

I agreed on a fee for the cistern charged per cubic meter and the guys got going. These guys are machines! They worked 9 hours’ solid the first day hardly taking a break and after 4 days the hole is looking good. They get paid for the job so it does not really bother me how long they take but they are not hanging around.


Now the problem I had again was that I have to get rid of all the earth that’s been dug up. First of all, I thought they can just pile it in one of the front rooms and I will worry about it later but they filled the room up in two days so had to get the guy in again to start hauling it all out. 12 journeys so far and still counting…


So the cistern is well under way which is good as I didn’t plan on starting that until the roof and floor had been completed but it doesn’t get in our way so we just let them get on with it. The roof is going well and we are about to start on the first floor. We managed to get all the beams up which was a killer as it has been so hot. Last week we had just put four up but this week we have finished all of the wood work for the roof and I have to say it looks pretty good from inside. I haven’t painted them – that will wait until I decorate the place.


I have to say I am quite impressed with the guys. Every other person that looked at the place and gave me quotes said that scaffolding would have to be built or a crane would be needed to set the beams in place but we managed to get them all up between the five of us – 23 in all! i am glad as it’s a lot safer now all the wood work is up
It will take about two weeks to finish the roof, the walls need to be built up around the wooden beams and then they can start laying the bricks followed by cement.


I will take an extra guy on for that so I have four working on it. That means they can work in teams of two; on mixing the cement down below and the other setting the bricks on the roof. While this is happening me and Rudolfo will start on the floor.


I purchased all the wood this week for the floor boards and we also need to replace half of the beams downstairs which I didn’t budget for but it has to be done. I decided to move some of them so one side of the downstairs has the original caoba beams and one side has the new beams. I am hoping the floor does not take as long as the roof and ideally it will be finished around the same time.


We would be a little further ahead right now but we are heading into rainy season and although it has been crazily hot a couple of the afternoons we had torrential down pours! Obviously no roof work was done in that. This is why I am desperate to get this roof finished so if it does rain the guys can be getting on with other jobs inside.


Unfortunately, we are short on bricks for the roof – you can see these from inside as they are a base for the cement which means I will have to buy about another 1500 to finish the roof which puts a bit of a dent in my budget but with old houses you have to expect that things will come up.


On the paper work side of things, I was celebrating as my permits finally got granted… hold on I hear you say… but you have been working for three weeks… it is all explained in the previous post…
One of the things I have found I have to be really careful with is making sure the front door is locked at all times. People in the street will literally just walk in! It’s been tougher this week as we have had to keep the door open for the truck to remove all of the earth and trash – again people will just walk in and start looking around, and when I ask them what they are doing they act like I have smacked them in the face with a shovel!
At the start of the week I had one guy walk straight in whilst the earth was being removed and said he was from Ayuntamiento (town hall) – I was expecting someone to come around and check for permits at some point but this guy was just a fraud. When I asked to see his ID he just opened his wallet which had a picture of Danillo (the president) in it. Then he preceded to ask for gas money – Rodolfo walked him to the door and got rid of him. Seriously some people think you must be stupid.

I did actually have an official visit form Patrimonio (UNESCO) to check my permits (a day after they were granted :-)) he was very nice, showed him the permits – all he wanted to check was the cistern that we were digging to make sure there was nothing of historical importance in the hole. It was a very quick visit, very polite and he didn’t ask for any money! Which was great.