Top Tips from John Nicholson

Having designed and built 3 houses to date, John Nicholson lives in Indigo House Rocky Bay, he has encountered every possible challenge and found the very best solutions at every step. His construction experience together with his intimate knowledge of the land means he can offer unparalleled help and advice. John is available to act as a Consultant if required and can advise on every aspect from purchasing the land, through to local planning controls and procedures, Architectural design and appointing and working with a construction company. His 1st hand experience and in depth knowledge of Rocky Bay and Bequia can help make building your dream home into a stress free reality.

“Apart from the view, there are many other equally important aspects that need to be considered”.

Gradient of land
Building on a steep gradient requires a very tall structure which makes construction and routine maintenance very expensive. Rocky Bay has a gentle gradient which keeps construction cost to a minimum.

Seasonal Tropical weather conditions
From December to April the “Trade Winds’ come mainly from the north east and can sometimes blow up to 25 knots for days on end. Owners of homes exposed to these winds are unable to enjoy the benefits of sitting on their veranda in comfort and often retreat to other areas of the house.

From May to November the wind is generally from the east and south east and is usually a gentle 5 to 15 knots. Houses facing west, do not always have the benefit of these lighter winds and can become very hot. 

Rocky Bay is south facing, protected from the strong NE winds but benefiting from the light summer breezes, keeping your home cool year round.

Sargassum Weed
Sargassum weed has become an increasing problem in the past few years on the east side (Windward side) of all Caribbean islands. The Hydrogen Sulphide odour emitted from this weed is very unpleasant. It is also corrosive to homes and household fittings, so it is important not to purchase land that is exposed to the gas. Rocky Bay is not affected by this weed as it is south facing.

In the rainy season, there is a chance of getting up to 8 inches of rain in one day. Take care to study the adjacent higher ground to see if it is drained properly and will not flood your land or house. Rocky Bay has a scheme plan to avoid flooding.     

Tropical Sun
Bequia is 13 degrees north of the Equator. At the summer solstice in mid June the midday sun is 14 degrees north of Bequia.
At the winter solstice in Mid December the midday sun if 40 degrees south of Bequia. When designing a house this enormous variation in the angle of the sun needs to be taken into account. The most common error is that roof overhangs are not deep enough to provide year round shade. Westerly facing homes require special consideration as they can experience full sun conditions all afternoon.

Noise Pollution
Noise pollution may not be obvious when viewing land or property during a quiet time of day or quite time of year, but should be taken into account. Noise travels a long distance, so work on the basis that if you can see a house or particularly a bar, you will hear it. Rocky Bay is located in one of the quietest parts of the island.

Access to property
Observe the gradients and access to the property. Consideration for adequate parking and turning facilities for owners and visitors are extremely important. Rocky Bay plots have plenty of room for access and parking.

The sea air is corrosive and most stainless steel items are subject to corrosion. Careful consideration needs to be given to door furniture such as handles  and hinges. Lights made of pottery, bamboo, plastic and glass are preferable to stainless steel.

Alien Land Holders Licence
Any person wishing to purchase land or a house must apply for an alien land holders licence from the government. The licence applies to a specic plot or property.

In addition to the application form for the licence, the government require; a copy of your passport.

2 passport photographs. A letter from the police from your present country of residence, confirming you have no criminal record. This can take up to 6 weeks to obtain.

Costs of purchasing land or property
When land or property is sold, there is a government tax of 10% to pay. This is divided equally between the seller and the purchaser, 5% each. The government charge a fee for the Alien Licence and the lawyers fee. The approximate total cost for the licence and tax is about 17% of the purchase price. (This includes the 5% tax, lawyers fee and government fee).

Costs of building a house
There are many factors that considerably affect building costs. Decisions need to be made in the following areas, prior to asking for quotations:

  • The gradient of the site. Construction on steep gradients are considerably more expensive. 

  • Hip or gable roofs. Hip roofs are much more expensive.

  • Corrugated steel, concrete or tiled roof. 

  • Flooring; concrete, timber, ceramic tile or coral stone tile.

  • Kitchens units and appliances; imported or purchased locally.

  • Bathroom sanitary ware; Imported or purchased locally.

  • Joinery of doors and windows; hardwood, softwood or imported.

  • The gentle gradient of Rocky bay plots is perfect for keeping construction costs to a minimum.

Other costs to consider when purchasing land
In addition to purchasing land and building a house there are other costs to consider:

  • Architects fees

  • Landscaping the garden

  • Entrance drive and gates , fencing the perimeter and security furnishings.



Frequently Asked Questions


Are house designs available?

Yes, we have many plans for 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom villas or you can appoint your own architect to create your perfect villa.

Is it easy to import furniture?

Yes. Shipping goods of any size from Europe or USA is easy. There are many customs clearance houses to deal with import formalities. 

Is there income potential from holiday rentals?

Yes there is a large demand for renting property in Bequia both short term and long term. 

The major advantage in building is that you get exactly what you want and it will be maintenance free for the first few years. 

Is it better to build or buy an existing house?

How long does it take to build a house?

This depends on the style and design. John Nicholson constructed Indigo House in 13 months.

Is it easy to get planning permission?

Yes. Just send an application to the planning department with architect drawings. It normally takes about 6 weeks for approval.

Are there places to stay that are near Rocky Bay?

Yes …

7 Minutes from Bequia Plantation Hotel https://bequiaplantationhotel.com/
7 Minutes from Bequia Beach Hotel  https://www.bequiabeachhotel.com/
7 Minutes from Sugar Reef Hotel Bequia https://www.sugarreefbequia.com/en-gb
20 minutes from The Liming Bequia https://thelimingbequia.com/