Building a House in Uruguay
Building a House in Uruguay is not easy!
There are more and more types of construction styles available if you are planning to build a home in Uruguay. Traditionally, most of Uruguayans imagine bricks and blocks, concrete and steel when thinking of building. But there are many more new options that can be applied when building.
Disadvantages of Traditional Construction in Uruguay
The conventional construction has a high cost of material with builders, rising hardware store prices and very expensive BPS taxes, which makes the process of building a conventional house in Uruguay a hateful one. So when we talk of construction in Uruguay, what do we get at the end? The traditional construction is expensive to build and expensive to maintain but what is worse, it tends to have humidity problems of all kinds from the foundations to the ceiling and is not very energy efficient. The reason is that most typical construction materials of Uruguay – bricks and blocks – are of poor quality and do not absorb interior moisture. The blocks need a thick layer of cement (several centimeters) to be somewhat insulating, which is rarely done. Further does steel, metal, concrete or bricks have very poor R-Value energy ratings.
New Construction Trends in Uruguay
Housing construction up to 2015 has shown new trends besides the traditional building, with the introduction, such as steel framing, containers, wooden constructions and even mud homes.
For many architects these trends have good and bad sides. The good news is that there are plenty of varieties and options. The bad news is that there is a certain disorder in the supply and high informality, and added to this, the legislation is not updated with the new technologies. Though, the Internet offers are widening, it is necessary to request certain guarantees when deciding upon which materials to use.
There is also great speculation in the sector that the lower cost building options compared with traditional construction do not cover the also required social contributions, installation of hot water, decks or perimeter sidewalks and consultancies.
Any professional admits that many of these cheaper solutions provide options for first time home owners at a low cost, but sacrificing comfort or space and what is most important insulation and a healthy living environment. Most Uruguayan houses are cold in the winter and torrid in the summer. Not to mention the heat build up in summer – which makes the house turn to an oven – and a refrigerator in winter.
The Uruguayans tend to distrust wooden houses since they associate them with simple construction. And they accuse wooden construction to require much maintenance, and to be unsafe.
Nothing more is false. Wood is the best insulator if used properly. See Why wood!
Everything depends on the type of wooden house one decides to do. There are different options, from building material logs up to 100% using prefabricated type plywood loaded with unhealthy glues.
Solid wood houses have plenty of advantages. The main one is that the prefabricated solid materials used are specially designed to last.
These wood core houses, once made, generate fewer maintenance problems than conventional homes. Not to mention the word “moisture” does not exist. The foundation is usually made with small concrete pillars or a solid concrete pad, so that the house is raised from the ground, and isolated from the moisture therefrom. The typical wooden houses in Uruguay have wood braces to hold the walls, and the filling has plenty of insulation (glass wool, projected cellulose, polyurethane) there are many options and they are all available in the local market. The main drawback is that skilled labor here is needed and with BPS costs so high the finish cost is roughly the same as a house made of bricks, only to be much healthier to live in.
A new Building Solution from Europe has arrived in Uruguay
Uruguay is welcoming the first time at the Montevideo 2015 Construction Trade Show the new Swiss wooden building system STEKO®
It can reduce planning time and most importantly labor time due to the much faster building process. The more that you know about your building project, the more accurate you can budget. Because the cost of building is calculated by the number of modules (or square meters). A CAD program can give you an accurate quote during the design process.
The walls for a medium sized STEKO® house can be built in as little as 3 days and saves time on the building site by improving efficiency, productivity and lower BPS costs. All modules are manufactured off site (dry building) and ordered as needed. This sophisticated technology ensures that the time it takes to build will be significantly faster.
Countries like Switzerland, Germany etc. which were typical concrete and stone building countries are embracing the new standard of living called “MINERGIE”, which is not only green and sustainable, but much more energy efficient and creates a healthier living climate in the house. A STEKO@ solid wood wall of 16cm has the same R-Value (USA) or U-Value (Europe) than half a meter thick brick wall or a meter thick concrete wall.
A STEKO® house is less expensive and quicker to build than custom timber-framed buildings. Uruguay is heading to improve its construction styles for good and this new product is without a doubt a great new and simple solution.
STEKO® shows that it is possible to build alternatively and in a better way: easier, faster, with lower costs, while respecting the environment and human health. For more information please check STEKO® Building Systems at the following link.
By Marie Ann Thompson