Friday, March 14, 2008

Paperwork - New Gate Part Three

If you recall from the last post, an unknown man sauntered up our driveway and scared the bejeebers out of me. He seemed friendly enough with a huge smile on his face but I still didn’t appreciate the fact that he didn’t wait by the “gate” for us to walk down and meet him. So, who would do such a thing? The guy our friend, Rafael, sent by in early December to build our gate. It was now the beginning of February and he thought he would stop by with some other ideas for our wall and gate. How nice of him to think of us finally! Patrick told him we still weren’t interested in an electric gate and to please get us an estimate of costs.

By Friday of that week, Enrique (the contractor referred to us by our contact at Azure’s school, Bob) had gotten us an estimate which seemed reasonable. He said work could begin the following Monday and the work would take one week. We agreed to the terms and requested that we pay for the materials with our credit card and the balance in cash.

On Tuesday we realized the work on the gate would begin the following week because our contractor, Enrique, needed to file paperwork with the city of San Rafael to get a permit. Originally Enrique asked Patrick to fill out the paperwork and file everything himself. After discussing this with Bob, he agreed Enrique should file the paperwork since he understood the requirements more than us. Especially since we can’t read Spanish easily. Although, we were expected to come up with several official government papers we supposedly received after purchasing the house. It took us a while to sort everything out and we still aren’t positive we gave Enrique the correct papers since everyone we spoke to had a difference of opinion on what was mandatory, but we made several copies and handed them over. We did go to the local municipal building to try to get some of the official documents we needed but they handed us another pile of forms to fill out. Plus, on top of everything else, we needed a signature from an engineer. I thought that meant Enrique our contractor but Bob just laughed at the mention of that and said “engineers in this country don’t work. It is very hard to find an engineer.” Bob made some calls and informed us that his engineer would sign the paperwork for us and that Enrique would handle that for us also. Of course the engineer never had to see the project.

WHEW! What a hassle! After more conversations with Bob, he admitted that Enrique probably wouldn’t even submit the paperwork to get the permit. Bob told us that here in Costa Rica they don’t worry so much about permits. He said the municipality would probably never even notice and if they did all they could do was warn us the permit needed to be posted. He said that if that happens we should just say that the paperwork is already filed and everything was “in process”. If it came down to a fine, it would be no higher than 1% of the cost of getting the permit (in other words 50 cents!). Okay we can handle that so what’s the point of getting the permit?

Well, our gate is done and we still have no idea if Enrique ever did get the permit. BUT we did have an inspector stop by during the project and give us a five day notice. Again, Bob and Enrique told us not to worry because once work is completed here in Costa Rica the municipality can’t fine you for never filing for a permit. How ridiculous! No wonder this country has no money!


P & K Ashland said...

Wow! What a waiting hassle game.

Nice that you don't have to get permits-just kinda go through the motions.

Sure is great you know "Bob" -he's been a great friend and great help!

Waiting to see pictures!

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DELLA said...

Hope you are not frustated with all the "work around good for nothing " to build a gate.

Now what I understand from this is that every reaction is the outcome of an action, the people dont care about government rules just because the government officials dont care about the citizens.

So congratulations for your new GATE !!! enjoy

Jones Family said...

Thanks! We really do like the people here they just don't seem very motivated sometimes. Hence, Life in the Slow Lane. And I can't complain since I'm not all that motivated right now either. I'm just kicking back enjoying this country! As far as the government, whatever works for them I guess...