Concrete Construstion


Hi,
Concrete construction is common in Central America and other Latin American locales. Other than being hurricane and earthquake resistant what are the advantages and disadvantages of this construction?
Thanks, Gary
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Abby Brown wrote:

termite and insect proof more long lasting
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chaniarts wrote:

Not to mention, in a lot of areas in the world, trees big enough and straight enough to make lumber out of, are a long expensive distance away. Even in southern US coastal areas, because of the climate, I'd look real hard at concrete- I own a house in Lake Charles, LA, and the climate down there rots anything wood-based in a few short years.
--
aem sends...

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wrote:

The other thing that makes AM right is the cost of the Simpson clips necessary to make a stick built home wind code compliant in a place with a wind code. That can easily be another 70% over the cost of the wood and a pant load of extra labor. Basically every vertical stick gets a clip in each end.
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On Wed, 7 Jul 2010 14:18:06 -0400, "Abby Brown"

It is certainly tough, when used with a lot of steel rebar but it is expensive and hard to insulate. They took a swing at that with air entrained concrete (Ytong etc) but it is still expensive compared to stick framing.
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wrote:

I will ask about that. We will be looking in upscale neighborhoods in Costa Rica, Ecuador, and maybe sourthern Spain; all are earthquake zones. Construction standards has been a concern. Many of the listings make a point that the house was built or upgraded to American standards.
It is difficult to insulate? I thought one of the advantages was the thermal mass helps moderated the temperature. Or that a different thing? In Costa Rica the humidity is hard on wood.
Gary
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On Fri, 16 Jul 2010 00:12:08 -0400, "Abby Brown"

In the tropics, I doubt there is any question. I would go with concrete or concrete block with doweled cells (#5 rebar and poured solid). You use lots of steel.
I can send you a set of plans with the steel and concrete schedules to get an idea but you basically build a matrix of steel and concrete from the footer to the roof with straps that go over the roof trusses embedded in the top of the walls.
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If you build it with Insulating Concrete Forms (ICF's) it is very easy to insulate. They are used on 4% of US housing construction now and are growing in use in other countries. Check out www.integraspec.com or www.greenblock.com or others for more information.
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On Fri, 16 Jul 2010 00:12:08 -0400, "Abby Brown"

Concrete is termite-proof, stands up top high humidity and winds, and if properly built, can be pretty well earthquake proof - not to mention fireproof - should build all of California out of concrete.
The new Insulated Concrete Form construction is fully insulated and can be easily finished with local stucco, or even , I hear, adobe.
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Having been to Mexico several times, their construction techniques leave a lot to be desired. I have seen shoring made of tree limbs. It is also common that if you think you may be adding a floor at any time in the future, to just let the rebar stick up for ten feet all around the perimeter of the building, and in all bearing walls. I have worked concrete and construction in the US. There are obvious areas within the pour where one can see different consistencies of concrete, rather than a monolithic pour, as in poured all in the same day. Their construction looks like they had enough to do just this much, so they poured that much, or mixed it on site or in a tumbler by the sack, then came back at a later date and did more. The walls show lines of different concrete pours. They also look like they have never heard of a concrete vibrator.
I would say in Mexico, cost would be a factor, and speed of progress. As mentioned, less likely to be hit by insects or wind or weather. In that climate, also, it stays cool, and in the "winter" retains heat.
MHO, YMMV
Steve
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Steve B wrote:

in mexico, taxing starts at building completion. with rebar sticking out of the top, they can say that construction isn't completed and so shouldn't be taxed. buildings sometimes are never "completed".
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Abby Brown wrote:

Concrete construction is not hurricane or earthquake resistant unless it is carefully designed and carefully constructed as designed, and neither of these conditions apply to most of this construction in these and similar countries. Ask the folks crushed under concrete buildings in Haiti how well the concrete construction resisted earthquakes.
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