How to Avoid Costly Pitfalls when Building a Property in a Tropical Climate

Written by Posted On Sunday, 22 March 2015 04:13

When you are planning to move into a warm tropical country and build a new house, you may be tempted to follow your instincts and previous experience in choosing the land plot and designing your new dream residence. However, while some principles remain sound wherever you may re-locate, you must keep in mind that a tropical climate is subject to a different set of rules and what may have contributed to pleasant result in the past may well not work anymore. Having lived the transition and having witness a wide range of mistakes and corrections, we will provide in this article a few essential points to consider when building a new home in the tropics.

Know the Environment

The first and most important step in building a great tropical home, is to study and learn about the natural environment where you plan to build. As you already know, the orientation of the property is very important, and it must be harmoniously integrated with the local environment to be most beneficial. In a tropical climate the biggest factors to consider are sunlight and rainfall, which intensity varies depending on the season. The weather tends to be very hot in the sunny season, and the sun's trajectory is south-inclined, therefore the property's main openings such as entrance door and large windows should be facing north, to avoid the heat and keep the interior cool. As we usually decide to move to a tropical country because we were there during the sunny season, and tend to forget that there is also a rainy season too. Indeed many tropical properties are designed with outdoor living in mind, which is awesome in sunny weather, but becomes unmanageable during the rainy season. Therefore, the property should have covered walkways at least enough to avoid cutting of areas of the property and to keep the it usable when it rains. Water drainage should also be more than sufficient, especially since some areas may have poor natural drainage and will tend to flood quickly. The heavy rains can actually be very beneficial if you build a freshwater tank to store it and use it for your garden irrigation. Finally, wind currents should also be noticed and the property build accordingly to allow a maximum airflow in the property, as it will keep the air clean and free of moisture, which is important since air has a high moisture content in tropical climates.

Design Smart

Once you know the environment, you'll be able to design your property accordingly, and harness the natural factors of the tropical climate to your advantage. As usual, one should keep in harmony with the natural environment as much as possible, and therefore it is strongly recommended to use only indigenous plants in your garden, as they will grow healthily and will withstand the climate the better. We've seen many ruined gardens simply because their owner's preferred plants would't resist the heat, or the rain, or sometimes the brine in seafront properties. It's also beneficial to study indigenous architecture, as it contains the solutions to many of the local climate's challenges through tried and tested traditional know-how. High ceilings are usually a must to allow the warm air to flow up. We see a lot of large glass panels being used, and while they very aesthetic and bring in the beautiful views, they must be well oriented or be protected by ample roofing at all costs, or they will make the interior very hot. This means higher air-con bills, and curtains or blinds changed more often than needed.

Use Adequate Materials

Finally, in the later stages of the design of your dream property, special care must be taken when selecting the materials used. These will have a tremendous impact in making your property both pleasant and give it low maintenance requirements, if properly chosen. If you are building near the sea, all metal must, as much as possible, be either aluminum or stainless steel, as other metals will corrode in only a few months. For some structural uses, where regular steel can't be avoided to keep costs reasonable, it must be properly coated with marine-grade paint, and it will still require to be repainted every year. Natural wood usually won't last long against the sun, moisture and rain, except some kinds of wood such as Teak, which will regularly be found in the local architecture. Electronic systems should always be kept inside as they won't stand the humidity and heat, and when it can't be avoided, such as for air-conditioning units, it's better to choose simple, easily replaceable systems, rather than sophisticated imported ones, because they will break, and you want them to be replaced as cost-effectively and quickly as possible.

These three steps are far from exhaustive, and there are many other factors to consider when building your property in a tropical climate, but they will at least lead you in the right direction. By carefully studying the natural environment and researching local architecture techniques, you will avoid costly mistakes and improve your property's value, all while making you enjoy the good sides of the tropical living even better.

Rate this item
(0 votes)

Latest from PhuketSILKProperties

Agent Resource

Limited time offer - 50% off - click here

Realty Times

From buying and selling advice for consumers to money-making tips for Agents, our content, updated daily, has made Realty Times® a must-read, and see, for anyone involved in Real Estate.