Construction cost and potholes

I am a construction professional and can and have been hands on for many years.
Can anyone give me in ball park figures the cost of building 1,500msq 2 bed condos to American/ European standards.
Also availability of quality building sand, solar power installations and wind turbines please?

I am definately not the one to answer this...

Thanks Planner,  just hoping someone can. Many thanks for previous advice and connections :kiss:

Hello MrD&MissC

Can you please tell where your project will be located??

In regards your question of construction cost I have the following info:

Basic raw/unfinished construction on a ground level (like a garage, underground water tank, storage area, etc 15000 to 20000 pesos x square meter.

Finish ground level construction start around 27000 to 30000 pesos per square meter

Finish construction on a second floor you can accomplish that on a 20000 to 25000 pesos x square meter.

Now, it is important to understand that the prices above are base on very basic construction and finishes, and using decent labor and material (something on an OK level of construction for the rest of the world), however, site conditions like power, roads, existing or missing fences will seriously impact your pricing. another important item is !!LABOR!! this item itself can destroy any calculation on the blink of an eye.

In regard finishes, be aware that the market is flooded of low-quality Chinese-made materials. The option of premium materials are not abundant and be ready to pay a high premium for it or sometimes you will need to import it yourself from the USA (that specially apply to fixtures).

Another thing to understand is that skilled labor is not abundant, and the little one available is busy working on the hotel development or very high-end residential project, and local are not really happy about the idea of relocating.

!!Bottom line: the more upscale you go the more ready to pay with fund and patience and always check things 20+times (locals NEVER say no to anything that you ask)!!!

Disclaimer: the information above is base on my field research for last 2-3 year. I did not face the actual construction of my vacation home yet.

In regards suppliers, it varies a lot from area to area. Basic material like sand and gravel are abundant but you need to rely on your own judgment when buying. Also be aware that local have a tendency on always mark up everything (especially if you are a foreigner) never close a deal on anything until you check prices on several places and be ready to ALWAYS bargain on it (that is a common practice on DR) for the basic materials you need to do your own land scouting. and be sure that ALL CHARGES are included "forgetting" things like transportation cost is also very common.

When purchasing materials be ready to be unpolite/rude in some cases. NEVERRRRR take your eyes out your material at any time, you need to treat everything like transporting gold, or otherwise, you can be ordering something and receiving a complete load of something else. Remember that most places do not offer return policies or even they will charge you for their mistakes. When buying fixtures open the boxes and check your order before to leave the place.

In regards concrete: use de pre-mixed truck delivery if that option is available in your area, is a little safer to go with big companies like Cemex or Homigones del Atlantico.

For solar power, i know a company run by French national ( i never used but I have a very good reference from my neighbors). Please send me an e-mail to [email protected] and will be glad to forward their scanned business card.

I am not trying to sound pessimistic, is just the reality of life and construction projects in DR. I might have some more information. Feel free to ask.

Excellent post! Thank you.

Thank you Navaeddy,
Precise and too the point. I understand labour problems and other intrinsic diversifications as have built in the Caribbean before. I always maintain a hands on approach and employed labour on a daily basis, no good no work tomorrow. My specific question on sand is that in St Lucia when I built there was no quality building sand only sea sand- too much salt and river sand - too course and needs sieveing.  From this point of view it would be good to know if building sand is available. If not I may consider dung and soil paste as being a good quality compression jointing compound
Regards, D

Great post... thank you

Bob K


As far I know, yes there are decent quality concrete aggregates, including sand, however, i don't have any provider info at the moment.

In regards solar energy you can contact Francis Beneviste [email protected] 829-820-7251

This construction related info is extremely interesting. Thanks for everything so far.

I'd like to verify if the cost, for example of a concrete fence, at a hight about 1,4 meter and width about 40cm would fall in the category of 15.000 pesos per running meter (or less)? We are looking at a possibility of purchasing a rehab property.


To put in a full concrete fence will probably cost a tad more than this as even a concrete fence requires foundations. I would check the cost of premoulded concrete panels fixed between concrete fence posts as this will be cheaper and change the foundation cost to post holes at approx every 2 metres.Also at 1.4 high it will not really act as a deterrent unless you intend to electric wire above
Regards D

MrD is correct.

Another thing to check: why 40cm? is it perhaps a retaining wall?

I don't mean to offend anyone but most of the information provided is irrelevant without location.  Here it is all about the money.  That is the money you have not the money you want to spend.  Prices are all over the board depending on location, quantity and quality and timing.  All of these play a factor in your pricing.  I can give you prices (low) that will make your eyes roll and next door the prices will be so high you will think you are in the US or UK or ...  I can buy something with an avocado, that you will reach into your pocket and give $20USD for with thinking about it...many things here are circumstantial.  I believe your price for a concrete wall is very high, unless of course you are in Cap Cana or similar.  Labour here is generally cheap, some materials (imported) can be very expensive.  Sieving can sometimes be the cheapest (labour is cheap, equipment is expensive) alternative, although prehistoric to first world country constructors...
If you want to compete here, you sometimes have to do what the country finds normal.  Property is not easy to sell here no matter how well you build it.  Imagine as a home owner you need to patch up a little grout around your tub.  You will probably go to the closest Ferretería (hardware store) and buy a 20lb bag of grout.  In fact you only need a few ounces to do the job and the rest will become waste.  You will most likely not be aware that you can buy 1lb. just by asking for it.  Then go to the back where they will scoop out enough and it will cost you almost nothing and without much waste.  That is the DR.

Asking for generalities is how you find a base to work from! Itakes sense to have a place to start when comparing and learning!

Absolutely, I think most viewing this will realise that this is a generalisation of costs based on a fair medium which as Naveddy has already stated is based on his own research. As an Architect I would consider his research to be relatively accurate and if I attempt to build would allow quite a large contingency for wastage even if you have eyes everywhere you will still end up tiling someone else floor and patioing their veranda. This is without making sure they are using rebars correctly, mixing concrete to the correct ratio and using off cut tiles instead of throwing away three quarters of a tile. Just some of the potholes I have experienced. Let alone a roof which was stripped back 3 times before it stopped leaking through capillary action ( water running uphill )

Greetings DominicanadaMike

No offense at all on your comment, !!The more comments the merrier!!, and yes you are absolutely right, location plus a full set of constructions drawings and detailed list of finishes are crucial for accurate construction estimation, and even with that be ready for a tsunami of other things. Just to give a sample, I am facing a 60k+ pesos invoice in order to get underground power service on my property just because I decided that I do not want to see hanging wires in front of my main view; that right there is a bill that might not apply to others even on my own neighborhood. At the end of the day, every little thing adds up.

We need to remember that, there is zillion of internal and external element affecting the constructability of buildings, and in the top of that, to make thing easier, we all are in the wild west  :D

Every project is different. On my personal case, I do not compromise on quality, especially on concrete used on structures (very common on the entire country). I prefer to go smaller on my own dwellings or simpler/minimalistic on finishes. Every property owner needs to make their minds and face their own choices.

What is most important is sharing information on this forum. By doing that we create a better understanding for the entire community on this very confusing, exhausting and time-consuming subject. Fell free to share any information or comments that you might have.

Well navaeddy, My underground installation from my house to the CEPM (electric company)  connection point on the other side of a main paved road is about 20K pesos everything included.  I would probably pay less but the contractor has been very good with me so far...  Yes, the quality has to be good, I am an Electrical Engineer.

Our points exactly, wide variables in cost depending on location, topography, personal situation etc.
The difference between overhead cables, relatively short runs of underground cable to longer runs. The disparity in price grows
So, lets build a hypothetical 2 bed 2 bath 1,500 m/sq building within 500 yds of utilities including cess pit built on flat land from the ground up.
Foundation: Due to massive potential rainfall and regular tremors is there a need for extra reinforcement or expansion joints?

Sorry, I meant 1,500 sq/ft, average sized accommodation just the basics without  superlatives such as imported kitchens and built in storage.
Basic information q&a for any who have an interest in cost and pitfalls. With combined information we can probably help some save a lot of $$$$$

Interesting older thread.

I've just started the construction of a single level simple 2000 sq ft masonry framed house in the campo near Cervicos in northern Monte Plata province.

I am using the traditional Dominican approach to domestic properties construction using a maestro on a labour only basis and we buy all materials. I've done this before. I am a seasoned construction professional with many years in the Caribbean and building design experience.

I am quietly surprised on how competitive the basic material costs remain. An 8" Khoury block costs 32 pesos, a bag of cement 245 pesos and a 20' length of 1/2 inch reinforcing bar costs 263 pesos. With the current exchange rates this is cheap. Aggregates are cheap by the full truck load even in deepest campo.

So for a single level masonry house of 3 bedrooms and two bathrooms with concrete roof you should be aiming at less than 1500 (30 USD) pesos per square foot anywhere in DR with good quality ceramic floor and wall finishes and bathroom finishes, functional internal doors and windows, full decorative security bars, decent kitchen cabinetry and a decent standard of light fixtures but less a/c (which adds a small amount). This price allows for the additional reinforcement needed for seismic robustness.

Now this is a decent standard and by adding quality and more expensive trimmings the cost goes up and more so if you use a single materials supply contractor too.

So for the OP plan on US 35 per square foot finished but unfurnished, but if you use a main contractor and like fancy trimmings, perhaps double that.

The simple fact is that DR is a cheap place to build Dominican style, but few of us spend enough time here to understand the process and art of negotiating the true price. My wife negotiates buying materials to my cost planning.

Great info!

As has been said, LOCATION is a determination of prices. Being inland (Moca) and looking at building a 14 to 1600 sq ft house, single story with guest cottage (little house) a woodworking shop and small greenhouse and craft room for my wife, I have prices from builders at a fraction of what has been mentioned. Of course, as is very relevant here, some of these quotes are from builders who are "familia" so that certainly helps with costs. Here I have watched labourers build from the ground up. THe sand and aggregates look as good as what I used in Canada. For finish surfaces, the sand is always sieved. There is also premix cement services here but still the cost is much less than in places like Cabarete or Sosua

Cool, so when i plan constructing ill definitely come to u

I also have an electrician who is now my son-in-law and he operates his own business, which by all appearances, he does very well. HE gets jobs around Moca and over in Santiago and teaches his workers how to do things so the work not only lasts but is safe. Very trustworthy!

I posted this report on actual construction costs for various types of properties in DR in an earlier thread. … a-una.html

My earlier post was to confirm that building robustly with 8 inch blocks and horizontal and vertical concrete and masonry construction including roof with seismic detailing, construction costs can be less than 1500 pesos per square foot for a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom property which is under the prices indicated in the above linked document. If one gets better pricing snap their hands off quick!

I am projecting a cost of 700 pesos per square foot for the completed rendered inside and out block and concrete structure with foundations and roughing in of conduits and pipes, leaving a budget of 800 pesos per square foot for terminations.

And yes, a good electrician is important. There are too many here who do not balance the circuit loadings and use undersized cables. I did my own plan and worked out the circuits and cable sizes with an expat electrician friend.

Really good thread this has been extremely helpful.

And welcome to the forums. Prices are a bit out but everything else applies!

I thought prices ranged from $500 to 1000 to 1,500 us a sq meter.,so apx $50,$100 and $150 per SQ foot.

$30 sf is realistic for typical 3 bed masonry single level construction with flat roof using your own maestro and buying the materials direct. I'm at 2000sf and will be about 60k including the 30 tareas of land. For $40/sf you would be getting something much better and $50/sf should be very good indeed with imported trimmings.

Just back from ferreteria where I bought for my 3 bed tow bathroom house in campo all my electrical cables, breakers, outlet trims and switches and basic lights plus two toilets, two nice vanity units with mirrors and two shower units with some other plumbing fittings for under 100k pesos (c $1750). Good time to buy right now with exchange rate.

Having just read something else on DR English social media, I feel it is important to advise those that plan multi storey construction at some point with their new property construction, to ensure that the foundation design and upward column and wall design is factored accordingly.

You simply can't add another floor if the foundation and structure is not designed as such especially in a seismic zone. In an event the whole place could collapse. Foundation design is perhaps the most important aspect of your new construction structurally in DR. If you exceed the design ground bearing pressure allowed in your design by adding weight upwards the building could collapse especially in a seismic event.

Now adding more floors could be a better financially because the sf cost decreases with more upper floor area. Less foundation cost per sf and only one floor per level plus shared service costs.

Design what you plan long term. Changing plans like adding a floor could be costly otherwise involving structural strengthening works etc..

NOt sure if this thread is still operating but I'm wondering of anyone has heard of or utilized Paradise Pools for home or pool  (or both) construction? They are apparently in the Puerto Plata/Cabarete area. Thanks

Update on the actual cost of building a single storey  3 bed, two bathroom concrete and masonry house with flat roof.

I posted earlier and I am just about to finish the property that I planned and managed using local maestros on a labour only basis with material purchase by ourselves, other than specialists providing the windows, internal doors, hardwood doors and cabinets and metal security grilles and property gates.

With everything paid up and just a few minor items to complete the total cost will be $58,000 for 2025 square feet, gross external building area or $28.7 per square foot.

As mentioned previously, I paid particular attention to ensuring seismic detailing to the structure and particularly the concrete reinforcement and used 8 inch steel blocks, filled and reinforced and built the height one block taller than normal mindful of potential roof heat gain. The later has been negated by the use of a very good relective and waterproofing coating from Cano.

I incurred a few additional costs not originally considered and that included drilling my own water supply well to 90 foot with submessible pump and additional storage tank and filters.  Additionally we found the local electricity supply was weak so we intrduced a concrete pole mounted transformer on property to ensure the correct supply. We chose good quality ceramic 600 x 600 ceramic floor tiles bought on Autopista Duarte in SD along with good quality wall tiles to all bathroom walls.

It is a simple and functional dwelling that fits within the local community and is not too brash. It has been a challenge finishing the work with covid19 with me in the city and my wife there.

I can now concentrate  on some more external work on the 29 tareas we bought for $5k having planted over 400 fruit tree plants so far and plenty of yuca, papa, planteno, guinea, gandules, ginola and various small vegetables. The next plan is a large shaded area to grow vegetables and herbs, a pond with tilapia and geese, bee hives, more fruit trees, coffee and enclosed areas for chickens, turkeys perhaps and guinea fowl. I am looking for more land for the few cows we have on a relatives land with thoughts of more.

Changing to solar is planned in the next year.

I came from very rural country (deepest Gloucestershire, UK) and will be moving back to deep campo shortly in a lovely quiet part of DR albeit the community is remote and accessed by still unpaven roads.

Didn't plan this for covid19 and was thinking of other natural disasters and a 2nd place away from living in the city or beach. But this is now my solution to living with covid19 for a long time. It is just ovr an hour from Las Terrenas for when I need a break.

Thank you for the detailed update!  Will we get pictures one day????

When you say flat roof, concrete slab or ?

Reinforced concrete roof slab of depth varying between 8 inches and 6 3/8 inches with trowelled finish to falls and spans up to 16' 4" and reinforced concrete ring and cross beams. Bottom slab reinforcement plus top reinforcement over beams and walls.

lennoxnex .....

You seem like a man who knows what is what in the DR.   I am retiring in about 18 months and my wife and I are already planning on moving to the DR to run and operate an orphanage south of Santiago.
We had the property donated to us by local church members and already have property deed legally changed and in our ministries name.    I've been working on a cost analysis and on each trip that we make, getting more and more prices on material.  Since the COVID pandemic, I was wondering if you knew if prices of materials have increased like they have here in the USA? 

Of course we have to have some excavating done since one side of the property is on a very small hillside and we would like it all to be flat.  Any idea on what the costs are on having someone come in with a bulldozer and flatten the land?  (Like a per hour cost?) 

Our pastor there is very good at getting the best prices on the things we need but since many churches here in the US are going to be helping to sponsor the home & children, there are many things that I need to find out when it comes to the costs of things.    Any suggestions on where I could go would be of great help!

Dios te bendiga!

What a great thing you are doing!   Yes prices are increasing here as well! in the US building materials have more than doubled in price.  That was my concern there as well.  It's difficult to go to businesses and churches soliciting sponsorship when we don't have accurate prices.  I'll be visiting in less than a month in hopes of being able to spend the week obtaining new prices on certain materials.   Thanks!

Yes construction material prices have risen here too. Seek out prices at local builders merchants - ferretias.

I hired a small Case wheeled excavator to level my land and put in driveway and he charged 2300 prsos an hour. Last time we used him was 9 months ago.

Best way to build here cost effectively is find a good maestro( master builder) for the general building and then specialists for electrics, plumbing etc and they will give you a material list to buy and help you source best materials.

I assume you have an engineer for your project, if not the maestro can help you through the process including MOPC construction permit - most properties are built here without one! Being in Santiago it may be essential.

I understand about the volatility of US construction material prices and delivery in relation to a project with which  I am involved in the islands.

Most of the basic materials used in DR are locally made/sourced, so less of an issue but for price uplift. Labour is still cheap.

Thank you for your input.  I will check on everything when I arrive next month!  I appreciate your help!