building material costs in Jamaica & shipping from UK

by Anthony
(Birmingham, UK)

Question about: Building material costs in Jamaica & Shipping Household Items From the UK.

I am looking to build a 5 bedroom house in Trelawny. Need some idea of the costs of ... sand, blocks, steel, cement etc.

Also, is it a good idea to fill a container to ship from UK to Jamaica with.... windows, doors, locks, hinges, bathroom wares etc...? Along with kitchen appliances, vehicle etc.

I would appreciate your advise.

Answer by Wellesley

Hey Anthony,

Thanks for asking!

First things first, I must advise you, and indeed all my readers who are interested in building a house in the Jamaica, that currently, a general ballpark guide of the cost of building a home in Jamaica is between $80 to $100 USD per square foot, give or take.

OK, that out of the way :-)

  1. What are the current costs of sand, blocks, steel, cememt, etc?

    I've done all the work for you already my friend, just take a LOOK AT THIS ARTICLE.

    It lists all the major construction items as well as give you an indication of the overall costs, broken down by the different phases in the construction process.

    You may also want to get a free copy of the JAMAICA INDEPENDENT CONSTRUCTION RATE SHEET here.

  2. Is it a good idea to ship item form the UK to Jamaica?

    All other things considered, yes, it is!
    It has been done several times!

    But there are various factors and risks to consider though.

    One of the first to come to mind is freight costs.

    And then there are procedures you'd need to comply with to reduce the risks and costs.

    My first recommendation therefore is for you to reach out to Jamaica customs and have a discussion with them.

    I am assuming that you are a returning resident and so you'll need to apply for that status with Jamaica Customs at the Returning Resident Department. That will make you eligible for a number of waivers and concessions!

    The process requires a valid Jamaican Passport or foreign passport that is endorsed with the unconditional landing stamp, validated Bill of Lading or Airway Bill, Taxpayers Registration Number (TRN) etc.

    I will also advise you to ensure you have invoices/ receipts for almost everything you have, or some sort of valuation, from chairs and TV's to kitchen appliances. They will need that too.

    You can simply log on to the Jamaica customs website at and look for the CONTACT section.

    They also have an extremely helpful section for Returning residents Q&A of sort, at this link:

    It captures information on eligibility, entitlements and even prohibited items.

    Over and above that I'll also gift you THIS HELPFUL BOOKLET I have as well.

    It was published by the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade here in Jamaica.

    It addresses questions of...

    • Eligibility for duty concessions
    • Importation of personal and household effects
    • Tools of trade
    • Clearance of unaccompanied baggage
    • Importation of motor vehicles

I hope this was helpful!

I still welcome you, or other readers, feedback here.


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A patriotic Jamaican who adores his culture, Wellesley has been using this medium to share what he calls 'the uniqueness of Jamaica with the world' - since April 2007.  

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