Building In St John
 
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Building In St John

(@the-trents)
Posts: 1
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I am a contractor in the State of Texas. I am wanting to build a modest 800-1000 sf home on the island of St. John. Would I be required to have a General Contractors license to build my own home (one is NOT required in the State of Texas)? Also, are there many available tradesmen and sub contractors on the island?

 
Posted : November 11, 2020 10:59 pm
(@stjohnjulie)
Posts: 1056
Noble Member
 

Yes.  You will need to have a locally licensed architect and general contractor to get a building permit.  There are several firms on island and many tradespeople.  I work for a construction firm on St John.  

 
Posted : November 12, 2020 3:39 am
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Posts: 2460
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This blog is WELL worth reading for anyone considering a STJ or USVI build.

http://www.bongobongostjohn.com/blog/

another one newer, not villa

https://stjohndreams.wordpress.com/

A different luxury villa

https://www.casalafamiglia.com/build/blogdetail.asp?wb=062012

 

If you have read these to some degree you should have some very good info and questions about your project.

Best of Luck it is a great place to have a home.

 
Posted : November 12, 2020 4:53 pm
Alana33 reacted
(@afriend)
Posts: 525
Honorable Member
 

I wish you good luck with your project but, having built an island home, I thought you should be aware that your term “modest home” will apply only to the size of your home.  As you’ll soon learn from reading those blogs you actual building costs will be far from “modest”.  In fact when it comes to building in the Caribbean the term “modest” doesn’t exist.

Three days after we broke ground we were behind schedule and over budget and those delays and cost overruns continued to mount.  Get your best pre-construction estimates and be prepared to end up spending 50% more before your project is completed.  That especially goes for building on St. John.

 
Posted : November 12, 2020 6:34 pm
Alana33 reacted
(@stjohnjulie)
Posts: 1056
Noble Member
 

It is without question that building in the islands is tougher and more expensive than most places.  Sourcing and then getting the materials is much more complicated.  The number of unknowns and hold ups are countless.  Hurricanes, power outages, lack of raw materials (like when the concrete companies run out of gravel and sand and cement) can really delay projects.  Then on the client end of things, change orders that never seem to end.  Even minor changes when you have already poured can get expensive.  At the very least, I would advise that you find a project manager who is highly organized to help you through the process of building here.  I handle nearly all of the logistics for our firm and it's a full time job.  There are many many unlicensed uninsured people in the trade.  They always find plenty of work but that can turn out poorly in some cases.  The only concrete company on St. John is St. John Concrete.  You can give them a call with your location to find out what the per yard cost would be based on your location.  There is a truck fee and a zone fee on top of the per yard rate.  And depending on your location they may not be able to do a full truck because of steep hills.  You may want to check out the newer building codes just to familiarize yourself with the newer requirements here.  https://dpnr.vi.gov/building-permits/

 
Posted : November 13, 2020 3:45 am
Alana33 reacted
(@alana33)
Posts: 12366
Illustrious Member
 

Plus, added delays if the barges between STT and STJ not being in service due to breakdowns or USCG inspections, etc.

Lots to consider when building on STJ in particular.

 
Posted : November 13, 2020 10:11 am
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Posts: 2460
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@The Trents  -- How goes the research??It  is not a quick and easy project you are looking at.

Still STJ is a fine place to have a home -- Build a big cistern, a steong structure and a well designed, overbuilt roof. Consider solar or a generator in the planning. Good Luck

 
Posted : November 13, 2020 5:19 pm
(@dcameron)
Posts: 2
New Member
 

@stjohnjulie hello, just to clarify, a owner cannot build their own house on STJ without a local contractor? 

 
Posted : November 28, 2022 8:18 pm
(@dcameron)
Posts: 2
New Member
 

Hello, does anyone know if you can act as your own GC on STJ? 

 
Posted : November 28, 2022 8:19 pm
(@stjohnjulie)
Posts: 1056
Noble Member
 

General contractor is a locally board certified license.  You may want to reach out to DPNR directly with your question.  Or you could just work with a locally licensed architect and they can help too.  You will need stamped plans by a locally licensed architect to submit to DPNR for your building permit.  Also will need locally licensed plumbers and electricians.   All of these trades are locally board certified with a required exam.   

 
Posted : November 29, 2022 2:29 am
(@northsidekevin)
Posts: 96
Trusted Member
 

CZM REQUIRES an Architect.  With PNR you can sometimes get away with an Engineer's stamp.  Last figure I heard on SF cost was in the Spring at $700/sf.  Better to whittle a termite-secure wooden house and self-insure.  Any mortgage will require asinine annual insurance premium.  

 
Posted : November 29, 2022 10:06 am
vicanuck reacted
(@jaldeborgh)
Posts: 530
Honorable Member
 

As a data point, I just finished building a fairly simple 800 sqft 3 car cement garage on STX, electric but no cistern or water and the square foot cost was roughly $150.  That cost includes the hillside site preparation work not just construction.  The project took roughly a year start to finish.  I used a local architect and the builder has lived on island for more than 30 years and has a good reputation.  I’ve built a number of homes in my lifetime so I knew to get the planning right up front so there were very minimal change orders. I’m very pleased with the outcome and not surprised the schedule slipped a number of times. Any builder with a good reputation has been flat out since the hurricanes and many don’t know how to say “No” so they end up over committed, which leads to delays. I’m guessing building on STJ is more expensive than STX so $700 sqft isn’t too surprising for a finished home. 

 
Posted : November 30, 2022 3:55 am
vicanuck reacted
(@northsidekevin)
Posts: 96
Trusted Member
 

This is why existing construction on STJ remains in strong demand while land slacked off and has never got back entirely to the pre-2008 levels.  There was a minute back then when 1/2 acre was upwards of $300K at times.  Now at or below $150K depending on site.  (Waterfront not included).  

 
Posted : November 30, 2022 2:26 pm
(@stjohnjulie)
Posts: 1056
Noble Member
 

$700 a square foot on STJ seems about right.   High end finishes will drive that up substantially.   Timelines are a big ‘if’.  So many things that can hold a project up.  And also drive the cost up.  In the past couple of years the price of lumber has skyrocketed and fluctuated a lot.   The cost of ocean freight has also gone up a ton.  

 
Posted : December 1, 2022 3:54 am
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