Building on Roatan
Working with a local architect can prove to be a good move for many homeowners we are new to Roatan. Local Architects are familiar with local regulations, materials, vendors, and the topography around Roatan. Homeowners who decide to use a foreign architect go above and beyond normal standards to gather and provide information about the property to their architect.
Honduran law requires that all building plans are signed by an architect or engineer who is registered in Honduras before building permits in Roatan can be issued. For this reason, it is beneficial to establish a relationship with a local architect even if a foreign architect is taking the lead in the building design. Homeowners who elect a local architect have the added benefit of receiving building plans which already include the proper stamps and signatures from local authorities. By contrast, foreign architects must have all their plans and documents turned into local authorities for signatures and approvals.
Building requirements in Roatan include height restrictions and proximity restrictions to natural property markers. These may include setbacks from property boundary or setbacks from the waterfront if the property being developed has an oceanfront characteristic. There are also easements and right of ways for utilities and access roads.
Local architects are good about meeting with local planning officials on site to determine any restrictions and or any requirements that might be needed to obtain the proper permits. Roatan subdivision might also carry special requirements, such as codes, or covenants, and sometimes restrictions which might have been imposed by the developer of the subdivision.
Building permits in Roatan are required before breaking ground. Builders will apply for permits on or about 15 days ahead of any construction work. Obtaining permits is not cheap. Many reports indicate that as much as 5% of their total budget was paid in building permits.
Construction and Maintenance Costs
On the average, building cost to build in Roatan is approximately $100 - $150 per square foot for wooden structures. Cement structures range from $150 - $200 per square foot. Outdoor decks and living spaces can amount to 40% of the cost spent on interior spaces. As in all projects, retaining walls, foundations, and roads can all have a direct impact on building cost.
Tropical Living Design
Tropical home designs on Roatan should consider the relatively high cost of electricity and tropical conditions which are sure to develop. Developing outdoor spaces which blend with the natural environment will enhance the value and comfort of the property. For these and other reasons, cross ventilation designs which consider air flow and direction are common and essential on Roatan. Material selection, design orientation, proper shading, water collection, and ultimately storage capacity can all reduce the operating cost of a home designed for tropical Roatan weather.