|Technical due diligence||Compatibility with local Master Plan|
Review of available utility services
Building Code Review
Careful review of planning and zoning maps is necessary to determine the suitability of a particular project in a particular location. Variances can be obtained that allow a deviation from established planning and zoning guidelines, but this requires a special breed of lobbying. SiteMX offers the insight and experience required to evaluate the suitability of your project.Review of available utility services
Your proposed project could be close to an electrical sub-station, but that does not guarantee that the required electrical service is available. Local electrical infrastructure could be at its capacity, or even overloaded. This could also be true of potable water, sewer or storm drainage systems. You require an honest assessment of the local services infrastructure. SiteMX has the local knowledge and experience to accurately compare the needs of your project against the existing networks of utility service providers.Topography
It is critical to have an understanding of the topography of your proposed site. Topographic characteristics of the terrain can influence the permitting process and the agencies that regulate your project. For example, a dry wash that has not had running water for years could actually be considered a federal waterway because of its size or destination. In beach property the average high-tide mark is important to know since this also delimits the “federal zone.”Taxes
Certain properties can be subject to additional tax, or better yet, be destined for tax incentives according to their proposed purpose. It is also very important to make certain you know to which taxes you are subject, and also the taxes to which the current or previous owner is subject, in order to avoid unpleasant and time-consuming confrontations over unpaid taxes in the future.Building Code Review
Most building is governed by the building, planning, and zoning codes of the municipality in which your project is located. In smaller, less sophisticated municipalities, the building code is a work in progress with plenty of grey areas and room for interpretation. Let SiteMX do your building code review so that every possible benefit of building code review can be applied to your advantage.
Availability and feasibility of utility services
In any location where your project will have a possible traffic impact, you will be asked to commission and turn over an “Estudio de Impacto Vial.” In all cases, your traffic study will become part of the permitting process as any potential needed mitigation of impact will be evaluated. In all cases, your local Urban Development department will not issue your final permits without having first obtained a “Visto Bueno” signed by the director of the transit department.Environmental
In the United States this is called an Environmental Impact Report (EIR). In Mexico, it's called a Manifestacion de Impacto Ambiental (MIA). A MIA can be very complicated and its structure will impact your project for years. When properly written its execution is clear and leads to healthy relationships with government authorities, and ultimately a successful project.Contingency
For any project that has an operational component, your Contingency Plan (Plan de Contingencia) is absolutely critical. Until your contingency plan is complete, reviewed by the local Proteccion Civil agency and implemented, you can obtain no other operational permit. The proper timing and implementation of your contingency plan is crucial.Geotechnical
Soils studies, like topographic studies, can impact the permitting process overall and if poorly executed or written by someone unfamiliar with local and regional requirements, can cause unwanted delays in your due diligence and permitting. SiteMX can make sure you have an accurate and locally relevant geotechnical analysis.Availability and feasibility of utility services
Advance work must be undertaken to determine the availability of services to your proposed site. Once determined, letters of “factibilidad” from the appropriate utilities provider will be solicited and provided not only to government authorities for permitting, but also to your design team as they develop your construction documents
|Permitting - Pulling Permites||Land use|
Allowable density of construction
Levels of Goverment
A NOTE ON PULLING PERMITS:Every permit is different, as is every process. Federal agencies such as CFE, SEMARNAT, and CNA have established codified processes that define what you must submit and how. State and municipal governments, depending on the state or city, can be highly regimented, or not at all. It pays to know what you're dealing with before you begin.Land Use
AKA “Uso de Suelo” or “CUS”. The land use document is a medium-term temporary document that dictates your use of the land in question while in the design, pre-construction, and construction phases. Once your project is complete and operating there is no need to continue to solicit the land use document.
A SiteMX Note on “Uso de Suelo” − If your Project is being developed for sale (ie: master developer, commercial or residential development) once you have the land use agreement, you will need to apply for a sales permit (Permiso de Ventas) that allows you to commercialize your project. See “Sales” under PermittingAllowable Density of Construction
AKA “Coeficiente de Ocupacion del Suelo” or “COS”. The COS is the official determination of the maximum allowable area of occupation of the property, in other words, the footprint of the building(s). “Coeficiente de Utilizacion del Suelo” or CUS. The CUS is the official determination maximum permissable area of construction for a property, inlcuding heights, setbacks, and non-buildable area.Construction
These permits are usually accompanied by a sticker that tells the public that your construction project is permitted and give the pertinent data regarding the permit. The set of plans required to pull a building permit include far less detail than in the United States. SiteMX will make sure you're not turning over too many plans to local authorities. When it comes to pulling permits, less is more. Also, do not expect the local building department to come inspect your construction site. They'll most likely visit maybe twice; once when you begin, and when you finish. Regular inspections are carried out by the DRO. When you finish your DRO will have to apply for Certificate of Occupancy (Certificado de Terminacion de Obra).Operational
Before beginning operation you may need a liquor license, a health permit, or an industrial safety certificate. It all depends on your project. These permits are fairly simple to obtain, but no operational permit will be granted until your contingency plan has been submitted, accepted, and implemented.Urbanization
Urbanization permits are required in residential projects or resort projects with residential components. The purpose of the Urbanization permit is not so much to acquire a permit, but to provide a bond naming the local government authority as beneficiary for a period of time that covers the installation of your project's infrastructure. Local governments have become increasingly protective and due to the number of projects that start, and then stop (often leaving an incomplete eyesore on the municipal cityscape). This has created the need for developers of residential projects with large amounts of infrastructure to provide assurance in the form of a Performance Bond equal to the estimated cost of the proposed infrastructure. In the case of non-completion, the local government can execute the bond and complete the infrastructure thereby making an incomplete project a little more attractive to a potential buyer.Bond Acquisition
Bonds are required in relation to permits. Environmental Impact Reports require a bond as well as Urbanization permits. SiteMX has the connections necessary to expediently carry out all your bonding needs.Environmental
The acceptance of your Environmental Impact Report (MIA − see the “Studies” section) will result in an agreement, signed by the developer and the appropriate environmental agency. This agreement will govern how you build, where your debris is taken, the way in which heavy equipment is serviced on-site, and even provide for safety programs for workers on your project. Environmental agreements can exist with local, state or federal environmental agencies.
A SiteMX Note on trees − Trees are a precious commodity in all countries, but even more so in Mexico. For this reason it is extremely important to carefully consider any trees on your site. The cutting down of a tree requires a special permit, as does relocating trees or even pruning them.Sales
If your project includes sub-divided land that will be offered for public sale, you will need a sales permit. This is a formal process that includes registering each lot to be sold in the public registry system (Registro Publico). Each local municipality has its own public registry that is in turn connected to the state. To be finalized, the sales permit must be published in the official government gazette for a period of time. Once obtained, you need not re-publish your sales permit unless the plat map for your project is modified.Levels of Government
Municipal − In Mexico, a municipality is a combination of what in the United states would be a county and a city. The mayor of a municipality, commonly referred to as “Presidente Municipal,” is the local head of government for the entire municipal area, including the city that serves as its seat as well as the small towns and rural areas that surround it. There is also a city council that is comprised of a mixture of members from various political parties. Under the Presidente Municipal there is usually a vice-mayor, who handles the day to day operations and protocol for city council meetings. There is also what is known as the “Sindico.” There is no English political term that captures the role of the “sindico” but it most closely resembles that of a city attorney and/or Mayor Pro-tem. If a mayor leaves office, the Sindico is usually the person that will replace the mayor as Interim Mayor, until the next election. Elections for Presidente Municipal are held every three years. No mayor can hold office for two consecutive terms. Once elected, the mayor has 3 years to carry out his/her office. A different person must take office in the next term. A mayor can run again for the same office after 3 years.
State − State government is run by a governor. The second in command is the Secretario de Gobierno, which is like a Lieutenant Governor, but with a LOT more power.
Federal − The Federal government of Mexico is based on the same basic system on which the US Federal government is based. Mexico has a constitution that established its three branches of government;
|Plan review, Modification and Supervision||DRO|
Review of engineering calculations
Plan conversion – from American Systems to Mexican Systems
Every construction project in Mexico must have a DRO. The DRO is hired by the owner of the project and serves as de facto building inspector. Although building inspectors exist in Mexico, they will typically only visit a job site at the beginning and at the end of a project. During the course of construction it is the responsibility of the DRO to maintain the official diary of construction activity, which is called a bitacora.
At the end of the project, prior to receiving a Certificate of Occupancy, the project will be inspected by the appropriate building officials along with the DRO and the bitacora is submitted as part of the official record. In the case of complex projects, more than one DRO may be needed.Review of Engineering Calculations
Prior to plan submission for permitting purposes, engineering calculations must be certified by an authorized engineer and the plans must be sealed and signed, just like in the US. If your plans and engineering do not come from Mexico, they will need to be certified by a Mexican engineer.Plan Conversion - From American Systems to Mexican Systems
If your plans were generated in the US, they will need to be converted to the Metric system and translated into Mexican terminology before they can be submitted for permitting. SiteMX has experience doing this for even the most complicated of projects and has the contacts to convert your plans in the quickest manner possible.
|Other Services||Real Estate|
Background Investigation and Security
Payment Application Process
Although not our core business, we have the contacts necessary to help you find the right piece of land for your project. In many cases the right or desired piece of land is “not for sale.” Our rich history of relationships allows us access to land that is for sale, but not publicly declared as such. In the USA we call this a “pocket listing.” In Mexico it is simply a matter of knowing who to call. If approached discreetly and with the right people many times you can find exactly what you need. Please visit our sister website for more information.Legal
We are not attorneys and do not give legal advice, but work with the best attorneys in Mexico and the United States. As it is with any attorney in any country, Mexican attorneys specialize in practices of certain types of law. Some are excellent, many are good, and a handful should be avoided. We maintain a list of the best of the best and will be happy to refer you to a specialist.Banking
The banking industry in Mexico is undergoing change and becoming more global in outlook. We can help you evaluate your choices and match you with the right bank for your money management needs.Recruiting
Our years of experience have put us in contact with the best and worst candidates for executive positions in Mexico. At the end of the day you want someone you can trust. We can help you find not only a person “de confianza” but someone who understands the American and Mexican business culture and can help you succeed.Translating
Translating is VERY specific to the document being translated. A legal document translated by a translator not versed in legal terminology can quickly turn into a disaster. This is also true of engineering, construction, and sales terminology. We have contact with the right translator for your needs, usually at a fraction of the cost of what you could find on your own.Geotechnical
We work with the best Geotechnical firms with experience in Mexico and the United States. In business, success depends on a well placed foundation. In construction, the foundation is only as good as the soil on which it sits. You need to know your soil and its characteristics, as well as have the best team on-site to continually and unrelentingly monitor compaction, materials, and construction methods. Our team includes the best geotechnical engineers in the world.Background Investigation and Security
Background Investigation - As in any country, background investigation should be a routine part of your project. You should know with whom you are doing business, you should periodically check your executives, and do basic screening on your employees. One of the most overlooked and yet a highly sensitive position in Mexico is the driver. Your driver protects you, overhears your conversations, and knows what you do and where you go on a regular basis. Yet drivers tend to make little money and receive little training. They can be among the most susceptible to betraying your trust. Whatever the position or person, basic background checks should be done. We work with the right people to get your background checks done quickly and discreetly.
Security − No matter what your security needs, we have a solution for you. For obvious reasons, we do not discuss our security contacts, nor their abilities. We do not, and will not, discuss your security needs over the phone nor via e-mail. We discuss all security matters face to face. SiteMX can help put in place a security program to minimize your risks and put your mind at ease.Project Management
Our years of experience in project management in Mexico help us to better understand your needs and the style of project management you require. Every project is different, as well as every project manager. We can help you assess your needs and put the right project management team in place.Payment Application Process
If your project has debt, you will be dealing with a Construction Management firm acting as bank examiner during the Payment Application Process. We've done this before and not only walked people through the process, but also suggested CM firms with experience in Mexico to banks.