Living In The Philippines Forum

It’s Your Money => Building in the Philippines => Topic started by: Calatrava_Kano on January 20, 2008, 05:01:21 AM

Title: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: Calatrava_Kano on January 20, 2008, 05:01:21 AM
Greetings to All,

First off, I envy all you who have the construction knowledge to over see or build your own home in the Philippines.  In the States I never worked in the trades, but have owned several homes and have done a lot of rehab/remodeling over my life.  I have done a house addition along with lots of repairs/remodeling so framing, roofing, flooring, electric and plumbing are not a problem. 

But, I am not a mason, I have never made or built with a block anything, never used steel for roofing, nor have I laid ceramic tile.  This combined with the fact I do not speak the local language makes me feel very unqualified to build a home.  because of this at some point I will need to put some trust into someone, either a contractor or a foreman to take charge of building the home we plan to build.

I have been around this group and others for years, listened to B-Ray and others talk about the work ethic and quality of work that is done.  I guess my question/topic is what are the key things I need to watch for and make sure are done correctly when hiring someone to build a home.  Perhaps a \"your builder should, and not should\" list or guide could be created from those who have been down this road to help those like me.

I have notes on proper CHB ratios and drying methods \"The ratio of cement/sand should be 1:16 to make a total of about 55 blocks from one 40 Kilo bag of Portland\" and I have read it\'s a good idea to paint the rebar to prevent rust from harming the concrete over time.

What other common poor technique or mistakes need to be prevented??  For kuripots like me on a budget this is important.


Thank you


Brian

Calatrava, Negros Occ. / Chicago, IL

Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on January 20, 2008, 08:19:31 AM
Well the first mistake you are going to make is to make 55 cement blocks from a bag of cement you need to get around 35 blocks per bag 55 per bag your blocks will fall apart while you are trying to lay them

Tom

Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on January 20, 2008, 03:37:29 PM
I learned my brick laying at a one day seminar - I built a wall 4 courses high with corner at each end.....and that\'s all that\'s really needed (oh and another 3 walls and a few more courses for a house structure
 
Used a non-setting mortar.....can\'t remember which ingredient we left out/shortened the ratio on...so we could correct mistakes....knock it all down at end of day

Practiced a number of times the following week and noticed speed in laying increase noticably....

But with labour so cheap in RP....I doubt I\'ll be doing my own....but at least I\'ll know what\'s right
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on January 20, 2008, 05:09:28 PM

Alternative to Hollow Blocks

After experiencing the quality of the Cement Blocks available and the way everyone lays the blocks here when I built my small house I made forms and poured solid concrete walls over vertical and horizontal tied rebar

They had never done this before in my area, I had plenty of plywood available from packing crates for our rice mill equipment so the forms were no problem. The house is now 6 years old and still has no cracks in the walls so I guess it is okay

It is actually quicker as you do not need to come back and plaster over the walls as you do with the block walls the cost is close to being the same

When I do use Cement blocks I found the only way to get a quality block is to make them youself I bought a small machine (9,000 Piso 2 guys 300-400 blocks a day ) that vibrates the mix and forms a nice block by doing this you can almost get to the quality of the blocks available in the US

We are planning on building our real house in a couple more years I found this company on the internet that offers you a free cost estimate and uses a new system for building here with poured concrete in my opinion this is the best way to build here

There site is http://www.sibonga.com/

Good Luck on your adventure if you are in Roxas City stop by

Best Regards

Tom

 
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: Ted on January 21, 2008, 05:00:32 AM
Brian,

If you can do an addition to a house then you are way ahead of most engineers in the RP.

The typical house is designed by an engineer, drawn by a draftsman and built by a foreman.  The engineer is likely the only one who has any basic understanding of strength of materials, compression and tension.  He may be the only guy who can read well and is likely the only guy who can read a blueprint.    Of course the engineer is not on the job site on a daily basis and may never show up.  If you can afford to have one who will really be there or family members who really understand construction and can really supervise then you are extremely fortunate and you don’t need to read further.

The typical problems in the Philippines could fill a book. Most have to do with saving time and money. Some are cultural.
Here are a few problems:

“Do it the way we’ve always done it” mentality = Low standards. No lintels above windows (even in “good” construction). No grounding, undersized wires, over fused, no ground fault interrupters.

With the exception of the engineer, lack of basic understanding of the principals/theory of construction. No basic understanding of curing, tension, compression, chemistry, hydrology.

Foremen that are corrupt, steal, take a percentage from the crew, ignore safety don’t provide basic sanitation, cut corners and lie about what they did while you or the engineer were away.  They get drunk and fight and go to jail. Saw this a lot.

Engineers that don’t understand engineering, project management what you want and will never show up on the job.  They overcharge for materials and take a cut of the total project – an incentive for running up the cost. They bankrupt the project, blame the owner and move on the next victim.

Large crews that are fast and impossible to supervise.

Slowdowns, drawing out the work, milking the job for the pay.  

Being blocked.  If you are not on the highway, the road is blocked until you pay for an easement or buy the lot.  If you are on the highway you get notice that you are blocking an easement and construction is halted.  Maybe they pay off the engineer for a permit and a lot owner blocks them.  Happens even to big contracts.

No permits.  Guy I know had a fence built close to the shore and was given a “notice of illegal construction” by the municipality for no permit and violating the 20 meter shore easement (Water Code).  He resolved it but was so disappointed in the process that he put the lot up for sale.

Pride and respect.  Pride means I’ll never admit that I made a mistake, I’ll cover it up.  Respect says I’ll never bring up a mistake by someone else.  Never look ahead. Run out of materials in the middle of work. Run out of gas in the middle of a concrete mix.  Ignoring problems and “just good enough”.  Recognizing and voicing problems, and maintaining standards - not a cultural strength here.

Hollow blocks that fall apart in your hands. Not reinforced, no consolidating of concrete.

No drainfields. Single chamber septic system, poorly vented.

No perk test, no soil analysis for load bearing or drainage.

No sense of style.

Concrete problems in order:

Too much water - it makes the concrete easy to work, place, consolidate and finish. It also is a major factor in reducing strength.  If the concrete is easy to place and consolidate then it is too wet. The amount of slump can be tested but you’ll know it when you see it after a few bags.
 
Too much rock and sand – a cheap mix ruins strength.  A typical very strong mix is 1 bag cement, 2 bags sand and three bags of rock.  I used this for columns and beams.  1-2-4 is ok for flatwork (floors). Typical local mix is 1-4-7 and lots of water.  

Undersized rebar and not enough of it. Rebar is expensive. But it is the key to strength. There are online guides for rebar.  You don’t need to be an engineer if you are patient and can read. Of course my rebar schedules were in the blueprints, were more than adequate and were easy to flow.  

Poor aggregate - Crushed hard clean rock binds better than round, the size should not exceed ¾ of the distance between rebars. We washed all of the rock in my house.  Almost unheard of in our small town.


I had very few of these problems. I built with local fishermen and farmers. I didn’t hire experts and barely had a foreman.  I took a hands on approach.

I never mixed concrete until I started building my place in the Philippines.  There are a lot of books, online guides and tips and I read many of them until I understood the concept. I watched it done on job sites.

For house construction, most concrete mixing is done in a “one bagger”.  It mixes one bag of cement, rock, sand and water.  The amount of rock, sand and water determines the strength of the concrete.  I like to add a few gallons of water, add the sand and then the cement.  This keeps the dust down.  Then we add the rock and additional water until the slump looks right. Curing is a process of keeping the concrete damp for several days. This is important because concrete gains strength only if it has water available.

Concrete is very strong in compression but weak in tension. So rebar takes the tension forces.  

 I only let one of my guys mix the concrete.  Everyone fed the mixer but he was the only one to add water. He counted the bags going in. This was a constant battle because his older brother always wanted to take over. It was almost impossible for him to tell his brother to back down.  I always put his brother in charge of placing and consolidating.  When the forms were removed, zero air pockets were a source of pride for him. So it helped him stay focused on his job of placing.

While hollow blocks make up the walls, the structural elements of the house (columns, beams and foundation) are all cast in place reinforced concrete.  So you will have to learn the basics of concrete masonry anyway.

I used the cast in place method. We built our own forms and didn’t use hollow blocks.  It costs more and is a little slower but there is no comparison in strength.  My wife’s lot near the beach has real sloppy land and is prone to flooding.  So concrete was the way to go for the first floor. Also, bugs can get inside the hollow block and find a path to the wood structure.  Not in my house.

A draftsman did the coordination with an engineer that I never met.  He drew the plans based on my drawings and had the engineer sign.  They were complete with rebar schedules and diagrams.  They were 500 pesos per sheet. The crew made 150-180 pesos a day and lived off site.

I started small, building the road and a large octagon bamboo tambayan.  Then the CR, then a small 2 room house. By the time I started the main house we had a system.  A small team of seven that knew what to expect and knew the standards. I was trained as well, knowing how to handle the project with complete confidence. It took 18 months to finish the job but I moved on site after only 5 months.

This is not the route for everyone but I had a lot of fun doing this.  If you can read you don’t need to hire experts.  They are generally the source of the problem not the solution.

Ted


[attachment deleted by admin]
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on January 21, 2008, 09:32:32 AM
Sorry Tom but I totally disagree with you numbers! The 80 to 100 per sack of cement that\'s normally available will do just what you said.

We made our own, (2,500), using the \"black\" sand which has a binder in it and averaged 53 per sack of cement. Using sea sand or the common concrete sand will give a weaker block.

The cussing from the guys in handlng them was knocking a hole in them for piping and electrical boxes and they were heavier!

By Filipino building standards, hollow blocks only support themselves, not the building. The columms and beams are the building and the hollow blocks are the filler and room dividers.

Over spec your foundation, columms, beams and you\'ll have a strong building reguardless what hollow blocks you use depending on the concrete mix, mortor when installed and finishing. The Pinoy standard subdivision houses here have been standing with the cheap hollow block and that\'s good enough labor for some 15 years with no ill effects and there\'s been a few shakers to raddle there cage, even since we have been here. We are building on an island ya know.

With my, \"foreign better ideas/demands\",  just might be an over kill? I haven\'t seen a Pinoy block house fall down or fall apart yet and some around these parts haven\'t been lived in or completed for YEARS. Some look bad with morter hanging out between the blocks and don\'t even have a bound beam at the top of the blocks, but have gone through a generation or two. I know, not our cup of tea for sure!
B-Ray



Well the first mistake you are going to make is to make 55 cement blocks from a bag of cement you need to get around 35 blocks per bag 55 per bag your blocks will fall apart while you are trying to lay them

Tom


Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on January 21, 2008, 12:54:14 PM
B Ray we must be talking apples and oranges what is the size of your blocks

I needed 25 hollow blocks today to fix a culvert so I went to a guy that makes them for the trade I asked him how many blocks he  gets to a bag of cement he said 45 blocks per bag of cement in his mix he calls them Class A

Our blocks over here are 8 inches wide and 18 inch long and 8 inches high we are using 1/ 25 kilo bag of cement to the mix for good block we can only get about 35 blocks per bag from the street they get 45-50

I hope you can tell me how to make a 100 blocks per bag of cement if so I can start making them to sell

Thanks

Tom
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on January 22, 2008, 11:33:31 AM
Apparently Tom,  location in the Country in what one can get is involved in this. Blocks here are 6x8x16 or 4x8x16 with 3 hollow chambers.

Yes, we are talking about apples and oranges since SIZE of the blocks is the difference and also the size/amount of the cement sack too.

We made the 4\" blocks and a 50 kilo sack of cement in a one sack mixer, (not done by hand GRRR), giving an \"A+\" block, which apparently was an over kill as was sizing the 2 story building as a 3 story. At the time, the blocks cost me Php3.5 each to make where on the street the 80-100 were Php5 each.

I was told a couple of years ago, if a super strong block is wanted, add tile adhesive and a produce called Nevada, (water proofing), to the block mix. The ratio I have forgotten as with the block mix  :(

Also adding new to old, (blocks, mortor or concrete), a product called \"Ready Fix\" cut 50% with water applied like paint to the old, will give a bound to the old, (less chance of a crack). This product is used also for laying new tile over clean old tile before the adhesive is used.

Anything to do with cement, my foreman uses all 3 of those products, even the Nevada in the tile grout meaning less chance of light colored grout staining.

Oh well, I got off the subject a bit here  ;D
B-Ray     

   

   

B Ray we must be talking apples and oranges what is the size of your blocks

I needed 25 hollow blocks today to fix a culvert so I went to a guy that makes them for the trade I asked him how many blocks he  gets to a bag of cement he said 45 blocks per bag of cement in his mix he calls them Class A

Our blocks over here are 8 inches wide and 18 inch long and 8 inches high we are using 1/ 25 kilo bag of cement to the mix for good block we can only get about 35 blocks per bag from the street they get 45-50

I hope you can tell me how to make a 100 blocks per bag of cement if so I can start making them to sell

Thanks

Tom
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on January 22, 2008, 07:56:25 PM
Thanks for the information on the additives I do not believe they are available in our province also I was mistaken on the sack weight they are 20 Kilos and the larger size when available are 40 kilos so 10 short of your area

If you ever get over this way the beers are on me

Best Regards

Tom
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on January 23, 2008, 08:49:17 AM
Well Tom, it\'s been good that we brought up these differences! 

It\'s so easy to think what we have available is the standard across the Country. Just a remainder to me, (which I should already realize after a few years), too NOT think ANYTHING is standard in this Country!  ;D

Best re-guards to you and yours and beer may not be on tap, but rum and coke is always at this home front! I think it\'s time for one  LMAO
B-Ray
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: fred on January 29, 2008, 10:57:44 PM
B-Ray.. I agree with your comment regarding blocks not being structural here.. The post and beam structures here are the important element to the buildings strength. Like you say..The blocks just fill in the gaps. Unlike the ring beam structure you dont even really need lintels over door and window openings..
In all my years here I have never once seen a building or wall fall down on a house built in this way...And why should it?
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: oldehappycat on April 05, 2010, 07:17:10 PM
Greetings to All,

First off, I envy all you who have the construction knowledge to over see or build your own home in the Philippines.  In the States I never worked in the trades, but have owned several homes and have done a lot of rehab/remodeling over my life.  I have done a house addition along with lots of repairs/remodeling so framing, roofing, flooring, electric and plumbing are not a problem. 

But, I am not a mason, I have never made or built with a block anything, never used steel for roofing, nor have I laid ceramic tile.  This combined with the fact I do not speak the local language makes me feel very unqualified to build a home.  because of this at some point I will need to put some trust into someone, either a contractor or a foreman to take charge of building the home we plan to build.

I have been around this group and others for years, listened to B-Ray and others talk about the work ethic and quality of work that is done.  I guess my question/topic is what are the key things I need to watch for and make sure are done correctly when hiring someone to build a home.  Perhaps a \"your builder should, and not should\" list or guide could be created from those who have been down this road to help those like me.

I have notes on proper CHB ratios and drying methods \"The ratio of cement/sand should be 1:16 to make a total of about 55 blocks from one 40 Kilo bag of Portland\" and I have read it\'s a good idea to paint the rebar to prevent rust from harming the concrete over time.

What other common poor technique or mistakes need to be prevented??  For kuripots like me on a budget this is important.


Thank you


Brian

Calatrava, Negros Occ. / Chicago, IL



I can go on and on about all the mistakes my workers made, but here was MY biggest mistake.  Everything you read about concrete warns you that too much water is the enemy of strong concrete.  But, this rule must be modified in the heat of the Philippine building season.  Some of the defects in my own house are due to my insisting on a conventional mix and ending up with sections of \"bony\" concrete.  By the way we used a 1-2-3 mix throughout (1 cement, 2 sand, 3 stone).

Bob
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on April 05, 2010, 09:06:35 PM
I can go on and on about all the mistakes my workers made, but here was MY biggest mistake.  Everything you read about concrete warns you that too much water is the enemy of strong concrete.  But, this rule must be modified in the heat of the Philippine building season.  Some of the defects in my own house are due to my insisting on a conventional mix and ending up with sections of \"bony\" concrete.  By the way we used a 1-2-3 mix throughout (1 cement, 2 sand, 3 stone).

Bob

Same here, the mistakes were uncountable, but the one that sticks out most is the guys had no concept of how concrete works, or what the ratio is meant to be.

They mixed it by eye, on the ground, shovelled in whatever they felt it needed, thus producing batches of concrete that varied immensely in strength and hardness.

When they laid flooring it was left to dry in the sun, and racked all over.

When they formed beams or pillars they made them as rough as guts, and skimmed them to look pretty afterwards, rather than make accurate form-work to start with and be done in one hit.

I did some research myself and soon knew far more than they did about the whole process.

I should have realised something was wrong when they laid the footings using nothing but a cement and water mix, not concrete, but they insisted that was how it was done and my wife told me to keep my nose out, for once, and let them do their job, as they knew all about it......

If ever I build another place I will have a meeting with the builders, right at the start, and we will all understand that they do what I say, that I am in charge, that I am paying them to follow my orders, not to do whatever they feel like.



Yes, and we all know exactly what\'ll happen then...........  :D :D :D


ps. Has anybody ever seen a concrete mixer in the PI, one of the small ones???  ???

Thus:

[URL deleted by admin which is causing the popup]

In the UK you can rent one for about £15 a week, or buy for £250.
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: fred on April 05, 2010, 09:22:21 PM
Quote
When they formed beams or pillars they made them as rough as guts, and skimmed them to look pretty afterwards, rather than make accurate form-work to start with and be done in one hit.

Its always done that way here..Even on large projects like hotels,hospitals,resorts,etc..

Quote
I should have realised something was wrong when they laid the footings using nothing but a cement and water mix, not concrete,

Neat cement?? lol..Ive never heard anything like it!! I assume you got through quite a few more bags then planned then!!
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on April 05, 2010, 09:44:47 PM
Quote
When they formed beams or pillars they made them as rough as guts, and skimmed them to look pretty afterwards, rather than make accurate form-work to start with and be done in one hit.

Its always done that way here..Even on large projects like hotels,hospitals,resorts,etc..

That was their response: this is how we always do it....

Quote
I should have realised something was wrong when they laid the footings using nothing but a cement and water mix, not concrete,

Neat cement?? lol..Ive never heard anything like it!! I assume you got through quite a few more bags then planned then!!

Seeing as I was paying for the cement, they were collecting their mark up for the cement when they sourced it, I\'m guessing it was all part of the master plan to rip off this Kano.  :D

It worked, the 10,000 piso workshop cost me 30,000 piso......
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: c_a_p_t_a_i_n_r_o_n on April 05, 2010, 11:26:35 PM
I can go on and on about all the mistakes my workers made, but here was MY biggest mistake.  Everything you read about concrete warns you that too much water is the enemy of strong concrete.  But, this rule must be modified in the heat of the Philippine building season.  Some of the defects in my own house are due to my insisting on a conventional mix and ending up with sections of \"bony\" concrete.  By the way we used a 1-2-3 mix throughout (1 cement, 2 sand, 3 stone).

Bob

Same here, the mistakes were uncountable, but the one that sticks out most is the guys had no concept of how concrete works, or what the ratio is meant to be.

They mixed it by eye, on the ground, shovelled in whatever they felt it needed, thus producing batches of concrete that varied immensely in strength and hardness.

When they laid flooring it was left to dry in the sun, and racked all over.

When they formed beams or pillars they made them as rough as guts, and skimmed them to look pretty afterwards, rather than make accurate form-work to start with and be done in one hit.

I did some research myself and soon knew far more than they did about the whole process.

I should have realised something was wrong when they laid the footings using nothing but a cement and water mix, not concrete, but they insisted that was how it was done and my wife told me to keep my nose out, for once, and let them do their job, as they knew all about it......

If ever I build another place I will have a meeting with the builders, right at the start, and we will all understand that they do what I say, that I am in charge, that I am paying them to follow my orders, not to do whatever they feel like.



Yes, and we all know exactly what\'ll happen then...........  :D :D :D


ps. Has anybody ever seen a concrete mixer in the PI, one of the small ones???  ???

Thus:
[ Photo Link Deleted due to pop-up ~ Billy ]

In the UK you can rent one for about £15 a week, or buy for £250.

Yes friend in Danao has bought one, we\'ve agreed on sale  when he\'s finished (around September)

I had the guys build my concrete + limestone boundary fence first so I\'d be able to see what needed changing/stopping in their practices
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on April 07, 2010, 10:36:29 AM
The statement of, the concrete should be wetter then standard because of the heat is a mis-understanding with how the work should be done.

Pinoy want the concrete very wet because it\'s less work almost self flowing and they do not keep the concrete surface damp during drying that is normally done in hot weather.

Make sub-standard weak concrete and that\'s what you will live with from then on!!

BTW, if you get on their case, they KNOW how things should be!!!  ;D
B-Ray
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on April 07, 2010, 08:28:30 PM

BTW, if you get on their case, they KNOW how things should be!!!  ;D
B-Ray

I wouldn\'t put money on that.  :D :D :D
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: pgobeem on October 06, 2010, 10:33:58 AM
this is a little different but addresses a lot of the same problems and very helpful as just a general guide book is \"How to buy Land and Build a house in Thailand.  discuses the same problems and materials run into.
Lots of stuff in Thai but the pictures and drawings as well as book is in English, can be easily uased as a great reference.  I got it on Amazon prior to my eivorce from my thai asawa.
Hope this can be some help.
Patrick
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on October 06, 2010, 03:34:57 PM
Well Sir Guest Tom,

Your way out in left field with your gotta have 35 to a sack!!

Sucks, Pinoy built block houses are standing without problems for some 20 odd years that we have bought. Remodeling the 4 wasn\'t about the hollow blocks, but just paint mostly!!
B-Ray

 

Well the first mistake you are going to make is to make 55 cement blocks from a bag of cement you need to get around 35 blocks per bag 55 per bag your blocks will fall apart while you are trying to lay them

Tom


Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: PenthouseLife on December 13, 2010, 05:12:06 AM
i never thought I\'d wish a place were smaller, but i\'m wishing I had a smaller house because this 650 watt aircon unit would economically cool the whole place if it was a lot smaller. ; ) That\'s one thought in regards to things to think about when building. Another thought, i find a lot of kitchen counters to be too low vs. counters in the states which gives me a sore back when I feel like chopping veges or contributing toward meals prep. Don\'t leave kitchen counter height up to the locals in my opinion.

Being born in North Dakota and from Wyoming and Montana, I am an aircon fanatic even though I only run a single 650 watt unit, I am battling about 30 windows that do not seal up. It\'s great for fresh air and ventilation, but it\'s terrible found sound traveling in and OUT (i shiver and thinking of what the neighbors have heard, am a newly wed! ;) ), i prefer windows that could seal up better than these \"slat\" or \"overlapping blinds\" type windows. I don\'t know the proper name for them. Also they are weak and a security risk, my arm will fit between to of the glass slats when open. I\'ve seen another style of slat windows that have security bars in between each slat, I wish this rental house were outfitted with the more secure type.

I\'ve had several homes (more previously in manila in 03\' 04\') that leaked water through the bathroom floor dripping into the lower level. It seems like using chemical sealants to finalize a tile job may be uncommon here, although could have saved a lot of trouble for my landlord.

It seems like some of the robberies and murders of foreigners take place within their own homes (ALTHOUGH VERY VERY RARE OCCURANCES BY STATISTIC) but my point is, security is very important when building, in addition to my comment about security windows, don\'t put windows too close to any door knobs, especially an arms reach from any door knobs. I suggest not making the outside of the place too fancy or \'rich person looking\' in appearance, and if you can, secure your wall/fence/gates as well as possible. Everything from drunken men who are in despair and desperation, to ex boyfriends (of gf?), to ex girlfriends can quickly become enemies. One time the NICEST girl turned 180 degrees by surprise and became a blackmailer attempting to manipulate me into replying to txt messages that insinuated falsities with attempts at me confirming the falsities, it was a reminder that even very nice and kind people can become enemies when desperately poor and in need, although most poor folk would never turn to criminality, a very very small % i\'m sure. Let\'s put it this way, hopefully without sounding too paranoid, my obviously martial law era rental house in Paranaque had a steel door along the vehicle gate with a gun turret! and by golly, i slept better cause of it even though I didn\'t own a gun.

Another building mistake i see a lot, is in the states we\'re using a lot of motion sensor lights that save on electricity cause they turn off auto if you accidentily leave them on, don\'t see anyone using them here. i don\'t see much insect screen being used either, which depends if you\'re in a mosquito area or not, but there\'s times I wish I had screen doors and screens on all the windows. Here\'s another thing, cool air stays low, some regret having their bedroom on the upper level of a house. This rental house I\'m in has an upper level, but the master bedroom in on the main floor and being concrete and tile stays nice and cool at night especially. I hate single bowl sinks, don\'t see enough side by side kitchen sinks. Faucets never seem to extend out far enough over the sink to my taste. Always have a nice stainless goose neck faucet in the states. If you\'re going to use a tankless hot water heater, pre-plumb it for the sink if you like to shave with hot water.

Some random thoughts for ya.

Cheers!
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: dylanaz on December 13, 2010, 08:03:49 AM
...It seems like some of the robberies and murders of foreigners take place within their own homes ...

Because it is people they already know....
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 13, 2010, 09:16:02 AM

Here are some addition comments to those of PenthouseLife

Quote
I am battling about 30 windows that do not seal up. It\'s great for fresh air and ventilation, but it\'s terrible found sound traveling in and OUT (i shiver and thinking of what the neighbors have heard, am a newly wed! ;) ), i prefer windows that could seal up better than these \"slat\" or \"overlapping blinds\" type windows. I don\'t know the proper name for them. Also they are weak and a security risk, my arm will fit between to of the glass slats when open.
That style of window is known as jalousies, and should not be used in a house with aircon for obvious reasons. I saw a neighbour recently who had unlocked the security gate onto the porch but lost the key for the front door. They just lifted out the glass panels and put a small girl through to open the door.

Quote
I\'ve had several homes (more previously in manila in 03\' 04\') that leaked water through the bathroom floor dripping into the lower level. It seems like using chemical sealants to finalize a tile job may be uncommon here, although could have saved a lot of trouble for my landlord.
The concrete floor should be sealed before the tiles are laid, and should have a reasonable slope to a drain. Filipinos love throwing water around in their bathrooms  ;D

Quote
It seems like some of the robberies and murders of foreigners take place within their own homes (ALTHOUGH VERY VERY RARE OCCURANCES BY STATISTIC) but my point is, security is very important when building, in addition to my comment about security windows, don\'t put windows too close to any door knobs, especially an arms reach from any door knobs.
It is essential to put security bars at the windows of foreigner houses, it does not matter how plain you make the house look, people know when there is a foreigner living there. Metal external gates with padlocks are also a good idea. We are planning to combine the security gate with the screen door.

Quote
Another building mistake i see a lot, is in the states we\'re using a lot of motion sensor lights that save on electricity cause they turn off auto if you accidentily leave them on, don\'t see anyone using them here.
Motion sensor lights are a good idea if you are far enough away from the road. Unfortunately, most Philippine houses are built on small lots very close to the road.

Quote
I don\'t see much insect screen being used either, which depends if you\'re in a mosquito area or not, but there\'s times I wish I had screen doors and screens on all the windows.
I have lived in Manila with no screening and no problems, but you could not live without it in most places in the Philippines. Here on Palawan we don\'t leave screen doors open any longer than it takes to walk through them, and we have an utra violet insect killer on at night.

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Here\'s another thing, cool air stays low, some regret having their bedroom on the upper level of a house. This rental house I\'m in has an upper level, but the master bedroom in on the main floor and being concrete and tile stays nice and cool at night especially.
The answer is to insulate the bedroom ceilings, something that is not done or even understood here. Our builders are surprised at the amount of insulation I am putting in our house.

Quote
I If you\'re going to use a tankless hot water heater, pre-plumb it for the sink if you like to shave with hot water.
Having hot water is also something that is not understood in the Philippines. The builders were surprised when I told them to run the hot water to every sink and shower in the house. I was told that the maids don\'t use hot water in the kitchen........tough, they are going to have to learn  ;D

Colin
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 13, 2010, 04:25:58 PM
Having hot water is also something that is not understood in the Philippines. The builders were surprised when I told them to run the hot water to every sink and shower in the house. I was told that the maids don\'t use hot water in the kitchen........tough, they are going to have to learn  Grin

So, are you saying you have a control hot water system and piped everywhere you want it?

If so, doesn\'t that mean the water in the tank has to be kept hot when wanted? How much water has to be run through the pipes to gain hot water where you want it?

Just wondering??
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 13, 2010, 04:32:39 PM
What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??

Oh, using a Pinoy contractor and no nothing laborers!!  Oh they can talk a good games until it time to work!!

Just be there DAILY and rework whatever all day in getting what your paying for. Otherwise, things will show up big time later, that you can count on!
B-Ray
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 13, 2010, 04:47:06 PM
So, are you saying you have a control hot water system and piped everywhere you want it?
Yes

Quote
If so, doesn\'t that mean the water in the tank has to be kept hot when wanted?
Yes, but it is very well insulated and similar to a system I have used in the UK.

Quote
How much water has to be run through the pipes to gain hot water where you want it?
Not very much, the hot water cylinder is in the kitchen and immediately below the master bathroom. The two other bathrooms are a little further away, but they will not be used very often, and mainly by Filipinos who generally prefer their water cold. I have also made provision for the hot water cylinder to be fed by a solar water heater which will be installed at a later date. I may also consider sinking a well to get free water, but that will be sometime in the future.

Colin
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 13, 2010, 09:43:54 PM
Not very much, the hot water cylinder is in the kitchen and immediately below the master bathroom. The two other bathrooms are a little further away, but they will not be used very often, and mainly by Filipinos who generally prefer their water cold. I have also made provision for the hot water cylinder to be fed by a solar water heater which will be installed at a later date. I may also consider sinking a well to get free water, but that will be sometime in the future.

Colin
My tentative plans for our house has the two bathrooms, utility room and kitchen all within a fifteen foot radius, upstairs and down, so toilet plumbing, hot water runs etc are kept to a minimum. We too shall have some sort of solar heating system for the hot water. maybe even something as simple as a flat black water tank outside.
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 13, 2010, 09:52:28 PM
We too shall have some sort of solar heating system for the hot water. maybe even something as simple as a flat black water tank outside.

I am thinking on the lines of a sheet of corrugated iron with metal pipes wired into the troughs and all painted black. If it needs a boost I will put a sheet of glass over it.

Colin
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 14, 2010, 12:45:10 PM
There things to play with for solar type water heating depending how creative you are.

Radiant heat works great without the direct sun rays to heat water. Secondary heating means like flex tubing could be used. Down hole well tubing comes to mind. Using hot water, maybe the tubing can be made into \"U\" shape using a hand made form and save the fittings??
B-Ray



We too shall have some sort of solar heating system for the hot water. maybe even something as simple as a flat black water tank outside.

I am thinking on the lines of a sheet of corrugated iron with metal pipes wired into the troughs and all painted black. If it needs a boost I will put a sheet of glass over it.

Colin
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 14, 2010, 09:38:23 PM
There things to play with for solar type water heating depending how creative you are.

Radiant heat works great without the direct sun rays to heat water. Secondary heating means like flex tubing could be used. Down hole well tubing comes to mind. Using hot water, maybe the tubing can be made into \"U\" shape using a hand made form and save the fittings??
B-Ray



We too shall have some sort of solar heating system for the hot water. maybe even something as simple as a flat black water tank outside.

I am thinking on the lines of a sheet of corrugated iron with metal pipes wired into the troughs and all painted black. If it needs a boost I will put a sheet of glass over it.

Colin


There are some good info links from another thread elsewhere on this forum. One problem people noted was sometimes they worked too efficiently, and water got too hot to be safe. I reckon it will be another interesting project to add to my \'bucket list\'.   ;D
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 15, 2010, 09:26:37 AM
There are some good info links from another thread elsewhere on this forum. One problem people noted was sometimes they worked too efficiently, and water got too hot to be safe. I reckon it will be another interesting project to add to my \'bucket list\'.   ;D

You don\'t really need these evacuated tube designs that you can sometimes see in hardware stores. They are expensive and designed for colder climates.

Colin
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 15, 2010, 11:56:33 AM
There are some good info links from another thread elsewhere on this forum. One problem people noted was sometimes they worked too efficiently, and water got too hot to be safe. I reckon it will be another interesting project to add to my \'bucket list\'.   ;D

You don\'t really need these evacuated tube designs that you can sometimes see in hardware stores. They are expensive and designed for colder climates.

Colin

Nahh, dark plastic water hose will probably be the material of choice to start with.  ;D
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: RUFUS on December 15, 2010, 12:31:14 PM
Black poly coil hippie pipe would be the easiest, but it does not have a very large storage volume...
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 15, 2010, 09:36:18 PM
Black poly coil hippie pipe would be the easiest, but it does not have a very large storage volume...

I would probably use it to thermo-syphon through a large water tank. Tank would be black too.
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 16, 2010, 12:00:56 PM
Solar water heating too hot to be safe?

Why isn\'t there a mixing, (hot/cold), valve at the receiving end??

There things to play with for solar type water heating depending how creative you are.

Radiant heat works great without the direct sun rays to heat water. Secondary heating means like flex tubing could be used. Down hole well tubing comes to mind. Using hot water, maybe the tubing can be made into \"U\" shape using a hand made form and save the fittings??
B-Ray



We too shall have some sort of solar heating system for the hot water. maybe even something as simple as a flat black water tank outside.

I am thinking on the lines of a sheet of corrugated iron with metal pipes wired into the troughs and all painted black. If it needs a boost I will put a sheet of glass over it.

Colin


There are some good info links from another thread elsewhere on this forum. One problem people noted was sometimes they worked too efficiently, and water got too hot to be safe. I reckon it will be another interesting project to add to my \'bucket list\'.   ;D
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: Randor on December 27, 2010, 01:17:33 PM
I\'d like to add a few comments based on my experience
and that of a friend building our houses here in Iloilo.

In my case, it involves building a 56-sqm workshop (our
temp. quarters until house is finished), also the perimeter
fence, bahay kubo, and septic system, as well as digging
a well and installing a water system.

Our own project is here -- although the website has not
been update since about May 2010 --

http://casaparara.blogspot.com/

My friend\'s building project is here (already completed) --

http://goiloilo.com/being-your-own-contractor-in-the-philippines/

Living in the P.I a total 4 1/2 years & building here over
these last 12 months, has given me a much clearer view
into the realities of life in these islands. My experiences
and challenges and frustrations are very similar to several
others on this forum.

Also, the info derived from this forum over 2-3 years has
been very helpful and much appreciated. Very fortunately,
we learned early on that the riskiest and most expensive
way to build a house is hiring a contractor.

With a contractor, building cost (no furnishings included)
can easily exceed P20,000 per sqm. I would recommend,
whenever possible, to be one\'s own contractor,

Served as his own contractor, buying all the materials and
overseeing the construction, my friend\'s finished building
cost (2010 construction) is about P15,000 per sq m.

They moved into their new house last month. It is a
gorgeous house and most of all build quality is good.

Benefiting from lessons my friend and I have learned and
the good fortune of a close relative as our lead carpenter-
electrician-mason and serving as my own contractor AND
foreman, we expect cost to be P10K per sq m or even less.

Holiday Greetings to all.

More later.

Rand


Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 27, 2010, 09:48:35 PM
Solar water heating too hot to be safe?

Why isn\'t there a mixing, (hot/cold), valve at the receiving end??

Oh there will be, but if you can have water near boiling point coming out of the shower, then you always have real potential to scald young skin. Turn a tap the wrong way, and you\'re in serious trouble.

I think anything above 60c can blister a childs skin.
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 27, 2010, 10:22:32 PM
I\'ve recently discovered Sketchup and my wife and I are toying with ideas for our new house. We wanted 100 sq metres on each floor, as that seemed to work with the space we wanted, but we\'re seeing prices of 15-17,000 pesos per sq m, so we need to shrink our planned home for financial reasons. The problem is I want a large workshop, so that takes nearly half the ground floor. 8 x 5 metres.

Our lot is only 300sq metres, 15 wide x 20 deep, and we want some garden left front and rear, so ideally the garage has to be part of the house.

I can\'t seem to visualise whether the rooms will be big enough. We don\'t need huge rooms, but we want them bigger than we had in the UK, where you have to shuffle furniture, beds etc, just to get them in the rooms and leave walking space.

What would you guys say is the minimum ideal bedroom size? We\'re thinking nearly 4m x 4m would be adequate. What about the sala, kitchen etc?

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v225/Pburgess68/Family/40128498.jpg)

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v225/Pburgess68/Family/50d23bf5.jpg)

The overall view, my rough copy of a Mediterranean house the wife really likes:

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v225/Pburgess68/Family/5009fb37.jpg)

Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 27, 2010, 10:56:17 PM
IMO there should be at least a bedroom downstairs for the future in case one no longer can climb stairs and we only have electric water pressure demand type shower heaters which works great for those cold days or nights, no need to run hot water throughout the whole house unless that\'s what one wants to do! Our lot is only 187 sq mtrs, but our 2 bedroom 2 story home is just fine for me and my wife and we live in a nice clean and quiet gated subdivision with at least 600 other Mediterrainian style homes and everything is centrally located for convenience.
After the New Year, we plan to enclose our back yard and also have a terrace on top since our view is unobstructed! We intend to renovate our present TV room into a master bedroom and our kitchen into a maid\'s quarters and then in the back, will be our kitchen/dining rm and entertainment room with a big screen TV, pool table and mini bar. Our home is valued at P5 million at today\'s market value, prices of lots now range from P10,000 to P14,000 per square meters and the smallest lot available is around 150 sq mtrs! Our home is the only one in our subdivision that has an enclosed 2 car garage! All my other rich neighbors only have open carports or they park their luxury vehicles out on the street! My old 1979 \"Little Red\"Toyota is well pampered! ;D    

Check it out here on our photo album website;    
http://cid-fe19b476fe6c788f.photos.live.com/browse.aspx/Our%20little%20house%20in%20the%20Philippines  
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 27, 2010, 11:54:08 PM
IMO there should be at least a bedroom downstairs for the future in case one no longer can climb stairs and we only have electric water pressure demand type shower heaters which works great for those cold days or nights, no need to run hot water throughout the whole house unless that\'s what one wants to do! Our lot is only 187 sq mtrs, but our 2 bedroom 2 story home is just fine for me and my wife and we live in a nice clean and quiet gated subdivision with at least 600 other Mediterrainian style homes and everything is centrally located for convenience.
After the New Year, we plan to enclose our back yard and also have a terrace on top since our view is unobstructed! We intend to renovate our present TV room into a master bedroom and our kitchen into a maid\'s quarters and then in the back, will be our kitchen/dining rm and entertainment room with a big screen TV, pool table and mini bar. Our home is valued at P5 million at today\'s market value, prices of lots now range from P10,000 to P14,000 per square meters and the smallest lot available is around 150 sq mtrs! Our home is the only one in our subdivision that has an enclosed 2 car garage! All my other rich neighbors only have open carports or they park their luxury vehicles out on the street! My old 1979 \"Little Red\"Toyota is well pampered! ;D    

Check it out here on our photo album website;    
[url]http://cid-fe19b476fe6c788f.photos.live.com/browse.aspx/Our%20little%20house%20in%20the%20Philippines[/url]  


That\'s a great place you have there, very nice. And you have better scenery than we will, our area is fairly crowded, no pretty views at all.

We paid 5000 a sq m for our patch, which is a tad below average for Timog park, but it is against the perimeter wall, which people don\'t seem too keen on.

It appears open car ports are the thing around here too, as very few houses have a proper garage. One place has the whole ground floor as an enclosed garage, with accommodation on the second floor. Nice.

I hear what you\'re saying about a bedroom on the ground floor, as my mum in law is of the opinion it is more secure with someone sleeping downstairs, plus she is a little unsteady on her feet, so she may be elected to have a downstairs bedroom.  ;D

I just need to get my head around room sizes to try and squeeze everything into place. We really don\'t want to build the place, then find we have \'undersized\' ourselves. I feel a loss of garage space may have to happen. Or a bigger house, at more expense than I really want.   :(
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 28, 2010, 12:52:35 AM
Rand,

The house you mentioned that fascinates you and showed on your website is a mansion!
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_oLylFD2Gruw/S8L0qwmbWJI/AAAAAAAAAcs/rAd5ALGpSyE/s1600/OtonHaus-e.jpg
You sure must have the big bucks to follow suit in that kind of a home construction! Will your new home be a mansion too? Must be nice!
That would be a nice dream home for anybody! I want one of those too, but my pockets aren\'t deep enough! Oh well, I guess we\'ll just make do with what we have! :o ;) Anyway, we love where we live at the present and we\'re settled in for the long term!  ;D
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 28, 2010, 01:30:36 AM
We too had dreams of building our sizeable and perfect dream home, but 4,000,000+peso ($100,000+) for our original design  is far too much cabbage for a second house.  :\'(


Maybe if we sold our house in the UK.......
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 28, 2010, 01:36:42 PM
We too had dreams of building our sizeable and perfect dream home, but 4,000,000+peso ($100,000+) for our original design  is far too much cabbage for a second house.  :\'(


Maybe if we sold our house in the UK.......

If you want a reasonable quality home you need to think in the order of P15,000+ per square metre. If you then want one that is a reasonable size for a family, then the answer is..........................sell your house in the UK.

When we first moved here I kept my bungalow in the UK and thought about a remortgage to build here. Unfortunately my age restricted the repayment time and therefore the amount I was prepared to pay in repayments. I tried a few designs for the lower cost but in the end sold my house. That then allowed me to build my Chateau/Mansion  ;D It did help that we only had to pay P600 per square metre for land here on Palawan.

Colin
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: c_a_p_t_a_i_n_r_o_n on December 28, 2010, 06:17:11 PM
We too had dreams of building our sizeable and perfect dream home, but 4,000,000+peso ($100,000+) for our original design  is far too much cabbage for a second house.  :\'(

.................

 It did help that we only had to pay P600 per square metre for land here on Palawan.

Colin


PM me for price/sqm We paid on Panglao Island  ;)  

We did have to buy 8800sqm but subdivision waits in the wings down the road   We\'ll keep 1200-1500sqm lot and sell the rest to pay for house building.

Real estate broker who put us onto the deal recently bought adjacent 2200sqm lot and wll split her lot.....(talk about pinoys copying good ideas  ;D )
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 28, 2010, 09:38:57 PM

If you want a reasonable quality home you need to think in the order of P15,000+ per square metre. If you then want one that is a reasonable size for a family, then the answer is..........................sell your house in the UK.

When we first moved here I kept my bungalow in the UK and thought about a remortgage to build here. Unfortunately my age restricted the repayment time and therefore the amount I was prepared to pay in repayments. I tried a few designs for the lower cost but in the end sold my house. That then allowed me to build my Chateau/Mansion  ;D It did help that we only had to pay P600 per square metre for land here on Palawan.

Colin

We have been told that 15,000 is about the lowest we can expect to pay, but 17,000 is more in line. That would pop out our 200sq m plan at 3.5 million, which is more than I really want to pay.

We had been quoted 2 to 2.5 million for a \'nice\' three bedroom house, but it turned out that would be about 150 sq.

But, if it wasn\'t for my demands for a large 50sq workshop included in the house,  then that price would fall right in line with what we want.

We could build me a single storey workshop later, in the back yard, but that gets complicated.
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: c_a_p_t_a_i_n_r_o_n on December 28, 2010, 09:57:36 PM
KH,

What are your lot dimensions? I used to do building layout planning and would be happy to give you a couple of layout suggestions
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 28, 2010, 10:15:02 PM
KH,

What are your lot dimensions? I used to do building layout planning and would be happy to give you a couple of layout suggestions

15m wide, 20m deep Ron. I\'ve shown the rough style/design the wife wants further up the thread, but I\'m having trouble getting my head around allotting area per room. We want some garden both front and back, so the house would be pretty much central to the lot.
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: c_a_p_t_a_i_n_r_o_n on December 28, 2010, 11:34:04 PM
Initial thoughts.......Location of building on lot, front and back gardens; with 8m for the house that leaves total of 12m for garden front and back

I\'d suggest 8m for back 4m for front garden as back garden is more useful as recreation area, unless back of house is south facing and then it becomes a sun trap, not exactly what you need in the Philippines.

The house, if you do intend to sell the house in England, then maybe a 2 stage build could work for you (after the sale).


Acting as your own General Contractor should reduce costs by 15-20%

As for 4mx4m bedroom, next time you\'re back in the Philippines - go look at at show homes, take a tape measure and see what you both would be OK with.
0.5m along one wall would be great for walk in closet if your wife collects clothes like mine does  ;)
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 29, 2010, 01:28:17 AM
Initial thoughts.......Location of building on lot, front and back gardens; with 8m for the house that leaves total of 12m for garden front and back

I\'d suggest 8m for back 4m for front garden....



Thanks for the info Ron, food for thought there. I was also looking at having the bigger back garden, as it is more useful, plus just in case we want to build an extension out there later.

With our lot the sun rises right in the front of the house, which will be good for us early risers.   ;D So, back yard will be a touch warm late afternoon. But we will have an 8 foot wall around the property that will give a modicum of shade.

I touched on the idea of starting with a smaller garage, half the size of the design I showed earlier, but then extend it out the front, like an enclosed car port, at a later date. Wife doesn\'t like the style......  >:(  I have a half built hot rod project under way, and a whole bunch of tools, engine cranes, bench drill, spares etc, so the garage would pretty much see service as soon as we moved.

We also thought about starting with just one storey, then adding the second floor a few years down the track, but decided that would be a big disruption after we have settled in.

Bedrooms in our UK house are barely 10\' x 12\', 2,5 m x 3.5m, if I remember correctly, and we spent ages shuffling furniture just to try and get a king size bed in with a couple of wardrobes.

And yes, the wife does have an affinity for collection clothes, shoes, bags etc.  ;D

There are currently five of us in our present house, and unfortunately I don\'t see that number dropping in the near future.

The wife has complained that she wants a walk in wardrobe, so I did another pic for her.  ::)


(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v225/Pburgess68/Family/f3fdcc06.jpg)
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 29, 2010, 08:55:28 AM
Hi King,

My initial thoughts are that you are trying to squeeze a quart into a pint pot, sorry :-[ I think the living area is too small for five people, maybe OK for most Filipinos, but do you want to live that way? I think you should think seriously about cutting back on the workshop/garage area a maybe do something in the back garden later. There is a limit to how close you could extend forward to the road which you should investigate. I know that it is often ignored, but you do need to gets plans approved. There is also a building regulation that says that any wall built closer than 2 metres to a boundary should be a firewall, i.e have no windows. You are also in a sub division which may also have extra strict rules.

I can understand you wanting your own recreation area, I would not have a house without it, I have planned both a study and a hobby room. The only way I can see you being able to do it on such a small lot would be to make the whole ground floor into a recreation area for you and the family then build the living accommodation on two floors above. This would mean that you would have to sell your house in the UK. This was a decision I had to make to get what I wanted. It was a difficult decision as I was reluctant to sever all ties with the UK, but in the end I said (expletive deleted)  ;D I know what I want and I am going to go for it. I don’t regret that decision, but building a house here has given me far more problems than I could ever have imagined  :(

Colin
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: B.Wolfe on December 29, 2010, 10:27:36 AM
I know that concrete security walls are the norm here, but is there any big reason why a strong chain link fence could not do the same job, and be not so intrusive?  I am not one who has to hide what I do in my yard, so I think there must be other (cheaper) ways yto provide security.
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 29, 2010, 10:33:55 AM
Hi King,

further thoughts on your existing design ;D

Move the house to the right to within 1 metre of the wall, this will give you 3 metres on the left. This will be enough for a drive through car port with a workshop in the back garden behind it. You can then make the whole of the ground floor as living area. You don\'t need an enclosed garage for a car here and your workshop will give a covered area for working on them. You could then add an open balcony on top of the car port.

Colin
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 29, 2010, 11:12:33 AM
I know that concrete security walls are the norm here, but is there any big reason why a strong chain link fence could not do the same job, and be not so intrusive?  I am not one who has to hide what I do in my yard, so I think there must be other (cheaper) ways yto provide security.


I\'m not really worried about the wall, just the house. I like some privacy, and I don\'t want people looking in from other adjacant lots.

Like Colin says, and like I really feel myself, we\'re trying to get away with too small a house for what we want. Over a quarter of it will be my own space. But, that is what I want in life, a large workshop, and it has to have full walls, as I grind and hammer and cut and stuff and I want to keep the noise in and the noses out. This is one thing I have wanted all my life: my own decent sized, private, lockable, solid workshop.

I think I may go for the external workshop idea, put it away in the back yard, with just a car port out the front. And leave a gap down one side of the house wide enough to take a car down.

That was what we had in the UK, a 30sq m garage I built myself. But it was too small.....

(http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v225/Pburgess68/Garage/Paintedoutside.jpg)
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 29, 2010, 12:07:39 PM

That was what we had in the UK, a 30sq m garage I built myself. But it was too small.....

([url]http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v225/Pburgess68/Garage/Paintedoutside.jpg[/url])


Wow, what a man cave!  I am so jealous.
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: suzukig1 on December 29, 2010, 01:19:53 PM
IMO there should be at least a bedroom downstairs for the future in case one no longer can climb stairs ...  

Agree.  I took care of my father in the U.S. before he passed away last year at 86 years old.  Luckily we were in a 1 story house.  He would not have been able to get up and down stairs to a second floor.

We just recently bought a new house in Tuguegarao City in a Camella Homes development (Vista Land).  It\'s a 2 story, 4 bedroom place with the master bedroom downstairs.
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 29, 2010, 03:36:47 PM
IMO there should be at least a bedroom downstairs for the future in case one no longer can climb stairs ...  

Agree.  I took care of my father in the U.S. before he passed away last year at 86 years old.  Luckily we were in a 1 story house.  He would not have been able to get up and down stairs to a second floor.

We just recently bought a new house in Tuguegarao City in a Camella Homes development (Vista Land).  It\'s a 2 story, 4 bedroom place with the master bedroom downstairs.

We do have a small bedroom on the ground with its own bathroom that was intended for Bing\'s mother before she passed away recently. It will now be used as a guest room unless we need it. I originally designed the stairs with  a wide tread and shallow risers to make it easy to climb for us senior citizens  ;D. Unfortunately this is one of the many areas where mistakes were made. We are now looking into the possibility of demolishing them and rebuilding in a slightly different arrangement. It partly depends on the cost compared with removing part of a beam to give more headroom.

Colin
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 29, 2010, 09:48:45 PM

We do have a small bedroom on the ground with its own bathroom .......



At our current rental house we have a front room, a dining room, a kitchen and a tv room, all interconnected and pretty much \'open plan\', and we do use all four rooms amongst five people, often at the same time.

My own house design only has two basic \'retreats\'; kitchen/diner, and front room, so I\'m now toying with the idea of sacrificing the rear half of my planned workshop as an extra downstairs room, a potential bedroom, and building a workshop in the back yard at a later date as cash flow improves.

Colin, could I beg the link to that web site of yours with your house design/progress on? Our \'net is so agonisingly slow out here at sea that it\'ll take a week to search the forum for it.
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 30, 2010, 05:20:44 PM
Colin, could I beg the link to that web site of yours with your house design/progress on? Our \'net is so agonisingly slow out here at sea that it\'ll take a week to search the forum for it.


No problem  ;D  http://thephilippinejournal.wetpaint.com/

I have just added a few more photos showing the latest problems  :(

Colin
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on December 30, 2010, 10:04:45 PM

No problem  ;D  [url]http://thephilippinejournal.wetpaint.com/[/url]

I have just added a few more photos showing the latest problems  :(

Colin

Cheers Colin, I have some re-designing to do now.  ;D

I\'m thinking that borrowing extra money for the new house will be no different than continuing to pay £300 a month rent where we are currently living. Once we have moved in, things will be no different financially, except we\'ll own what we are paying for.  ;D
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: Randor on January 11, 2011, 07:21:12 PM
Rand,

The house you mentioned that fascinates you and showed on your website is a mansion!
[url]http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_oLylFD2Gruw/S8L0qwmbWJI/AAAAAAAAAcs/rAd5ALGpSyE/s1600/OtonHaus-e.jpg[/url]
You sure must have the big bucks to follow suit in that kind of a home construction! Will your new home be a mansion too? Must be nice!
That would be a nice dream home for anybody! I want one of those too, but my pockets aren\'t deep enough! Oh well, I guess we\'ll just make do with what we have! :o ;) Anyway, we love where we live at the present and we\'re settled in for the long term!  ;D



Ezart,

Thanks for your comments. I\'ve been out of town and just got back.

That house you refer to is a very nice place, has 2 big kitchens, 10-ft ceilings and I just love the outer appearance -- except for a bit too much filipinized glitter for my own taste. The owners of that house are an elderly couple who worked 45 years in a flightline kitchen on Guam -- wonderful folks. But they knew nothing about the construction business so when they retired and came back home here, they hired a local trusted contractor.

Of course, one thing I\'ve learned, trusted or not, local contractors get rich from folks who have the bucks to build a house but know nothing about construction. I\'m just fortunate enough to have grown up in a family of architects, carpenters and builders.

Yes, I agree that this house looks like a mansion -- however it is 170 sqm on one floor and it cost these nice folks about P4M to build, which calculates to more than P23,000 per sqm -- thanks to the local contractor.

The house I\'m building will be a 2-story with a total floor area of about 220 sqm -- I expect it to cost less than P3M bcoz I am my own contractor and my own foreman. As far as having big bucks, I don\'t think that applies to me. I have found that with a crew of 3-5 workers and a construction budget of P100,000 per month I can build most any kind of house I want here -- it just depends if I want to take 18 months to finish or 24 months or 36 months or ???. It\'s a trade-off decision most of us probably have to make.

Regards to all, Rand
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: Hank S. on February 14, 2011, 11:41:57 AM

Alternative to Hollow Blocks

After experiencing the quality of the Cement Blocks available and the way everyone lays the blocks here when I built my small house I made forms and poured solid concrete walls over vertical and horizontal tied rebar

They had never done this before in my area, I had plenty of plywood available from packing crates for our rice mill equipment so the forms were no problem. The house is now 6 years old and still has no cracks in the walls so I guess it is okay

It is actually quicker as you do not need to come back and plaster over the walls as you do with the block walls the cost is close to being the same

When I do use Cement blocks I found the only way to get a quality block is to make them youself I bought a small machine (9,000 Piso 2 guys 300-400 blocks a day ) that vibrates the mix and forms a nice block by doing this you can almost get to the quality of the blocks available in the US

We are planning on building our real house in a couple more years I found this company on the internet that offers you a free cost estimate and uses a new system for building here with poured concrete in my opinion this is the best way to build here

There site is [url]http://www.sibonga.com/[/url]

Good Luck on your adventure if you are in Roxas City stop by

Best Regards

Tom

 
Sibonga is a good outfit, I\'ll be using them myself in a year or so.
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: rdjlazo@yahoo.com on February 15, 2011, 01:38:00 PM
Folks,
I thought it is undestood here already by most of us
that hollow blocks are not meant to be load bearing
so use good judgment since it used as walls and this is way stronger than
plywood or drywall.
Just my 2 cents,

Best regards to all,
Rudy
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on February 15, 2011, 03:38:49 PM
Folks,
I thought it is undestood here already by most of us
that hollow blocks are not meant to be load bearing
so use good judgment since it used as walls and this is way stronger than
plywood or drywall.
Just my 2 cents,

Best regards to all,
Rudy

You can punch the average hollow block in half with your fist, if you have a leather glove on. And often crumble them to pieces with bare hands. They are there merely to fill the spaces in between the concrete pillars and beams.

It doesn\'t have to be that way. The blocks could be made of 3000psi concrete, they could be fully load bearing, like in the western world, but they simply don\'t bother....
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: rdjlazo@yahoo.com on February 15, 2011, 07:29:47 PM
That\'s why we should check what we are buying and where we are buying
and only accept what passes our standard. Not all hollow blocks
in the market are inferior if we look hard enough. I have not seen one house that
crumbled to the ground due to bad hollow blocks but maybe i am not
looking hard enough. Again strength of the structures of houses
here depends on post, columns and metal re bars support not hollow blocks.
I see many many nice houses anywhere I go done right and built right.
Just my 2 cents.

Best regards,
Rudy
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: Gray Wolf on February 22, 2011, 12:34:39 AM
You can punch the average hollow block in half with your fist, if you have a leather glove on. And often crumble them to pieces with bare hands. They are there merely to fill the spaces in between the concrete pillars and beams.

It doesn\'t have to be that way. The blocks could be made of 3000psi concrete, they could be fully load bearing, like in the western world, but they simply don\'t bother....

The reason they don\'t bother is because the steel reinforced concrete pillars and beams carry 100% of the load.  Then in typical Pinoy fashion they save pisos by using cheaper made HB\'s to fill in the walls.  Almost makes sense when you consider the income of he average Pinoy. 

However, when we did the house for our family I insisted on stronger HB\'s and actually got what I asked for (this time).   So we have the added advantage of strong reinforced beams and pillars, plus stronger walls, with a fine finish inside and out.  YMMV
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on February 22, 2011, 03:17:14 AM
The reason they don\'t bother is because the steel reinforced concrete pillars and beams carry 100% of the load.  Then in typical Pinoy fashion they save pisos by using cheaper made HB\'s to fill in the walls.  Almost makes sense when you consider the income of he average Pinoy. 

Maybe they have to use concrete beams because of earthquake risks? But if not, and the blocks were made to acceptable standards, which simply requires a  little more cement putting in, then there would be no need for those dozens of cubic yards of concrete, shuttering, re-bar, labour etc, to build the concrete pillars and beams. Wouldn\'t that be cheaper than saving a few piso per block?


Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: Gray Wolf on February 22, 2011, 05:15:23 AM

Maybe they have to use concrete beams because of earthquake risks?


The Philippines is seismically (sp) very active, as the 5.0 quake in Baguio today attests to.  That and the typhoons with their accompanying torrential rains is reason enough for me to build my house like a commercial bank vault.   ;D   You could probably get away with something less and spend slightly less money.  But I\'m more than comfortable with a reinforced concrete framework.  I also plan to use the foam wall panels like Colin has for insulation from the heat of the day.   
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on February 28, 2011, 12:41:49 PM
Earthquacks  and typhoons in the Philippines, (as other tropical islands), is a good thing to consider with where to live! To decide is a very personal and important thing, IMO!!!

A bit of research can find that the Luzon area and North, as well as the whole Easter Coast has the biggest problems with natural situations.

Many......MANY expats.......... will brag about there locations in the Philippines, excepting the conditions found over time.

It is up to the newbies to decide! where to live, not other reports as a MUST!!

There are two Islands that I have found with my very limited research that doesn\'t have such natural situations are, the Western areas of Cebu Island and the Western area of Negros Oriental Island, I do not know of other areas!!

But, with how the World in now turning, how this will remain is UNKNOWN! or how things will be on ANY tropical Islands!

NOTE: Any foreigner, regardless of Nationality, needs to be ~~WISE~~ or just except what is found!!!
B-Ray
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on February 28, 2011, 11:53:14 PM
As big a disbeliever as I am in the \'Man Made Global Warming\' theory that pushed by so many, I realise something is happening to the planet.  Or at least the tiny sliver of it we human beans inhabit.

I am very surprised at the oddball weather that is appearing all over the planet, from the US to Oz, the UK to the PI.  I\'ve asked our planned/prospective builder/contractor to make sure our house is at least 1/2 metre above all surrounding ground. I\'ve seen some places in our sub-div built below the road they are adjacent to. A sure opportunity for rain and lahar to flood their abode, should Pinatubo decide to clear its throat again.

(http://www.geo.mtu.edu/volcanoes/pinatubo/lahar/2-church.gif)
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: on March 01, 2011, 07:45:04 AM
As big a disbeliever as I am in the \'Man Made Global Warming\' theory that pushed by so many, I realise something is happening to the planet.  Or at least the tiny sliver of it we human beans inhabit.

I am very surprised at the oddball weather that is appearing all over the planet, from the US to Oz, the UK to the PI.  I\'ve asked our planned/prospective builder/contractor to make sure our house is at least 1/2 metre above all surrounding ground. I\'ve seen some places in our sub-div built below the road they are adjacent to. A sure opportunity for rain and lahar to flood their abode, should Pinatubo decide to clear its throat again.

Our lot slopes very gently down from the road, and this road has been raised above the level of the nearby National Highway. Our side of the Nation Highway is higher than the other side where some houses are lower than the road. It is interesting to see that Robinsons are now building on the lower side of the National Highway but they are trucking in enormous quantities of backfill and soil.

Because we built toward the back of our lot, we raised our house 1.2 metres to bring it level with the road. It has resulted in costing a lot for backfill for both the house and the drive leading to it. The remaining garden does get a little waterlogged in very heavy rain, so we will need to buy a lot of good garden soil later to run that water off onto the neighbouring lots  ;D

Colin
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: oldehappycat on August 16, 2011, 09:33:59 AM
I think the idea that the strength of walls is not important is wrong.  Yes, the columns and beams can carry vertical loads but earthquakes forces are mostly lateral.  Wall stiffness (shear strength) is critical to prevent the building from self-destructing.  I recommend that anyone planning to build in the Philippines first buy the book \"Peace of Mind in Earthquake Country\".  I built our house first and then read the book.  It\'s available used (Amazon, ABE) for a dollar.  There are so many things I would do differently!

Bob

Folks,
I thought it is undestood here already by most of us
that hollow blocks are not meant to be load bearing
so use good judgment since it used as walls and this is way stronger than
plywood or drywall.
Just my 2 cents,

Best regards to all,
Rudy

Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: Gray Wolf on September 08, 2011, 04:55:11 AM
 I recommend that anyone planning to build in the Philippines first buy the book \"Peace of Mind in Earthquake Country\".  I built our house first and then read the book.  It\'s available used (Amazon, ABE) for a dollar.  

Bob


Some used copies of the book are even as cheap as $.01 (one cent) plus $3.99 shipping, of course.    ;)   ;D
Still a good idea to learn as much as possible before you begin to build.  You may have to make some design changes and you certainly don\'t want to attempt that mid-construction. 
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: Metz on December 04, 2011, 12:07:18 PM
Have you thought about using compressed earth block?  Otherwise known as CEB they are use a general 50-50 clay sand soil with between 8-17% portland cement powder.  The sand soil mix can go up to 40-60 either way and still have good results.  There are simple field tests that can be done to determine optimum recipe for the local soil type.

CEB blocks are compressed using either a hydraulic ram or a manual ram.  They typically are made in a lego shape and bonded together with a 2 part epoxy glue or a small amount of mortar applied with a device like a frosting bag or large squeeze bottle.

Properly made CEB blocks will test between 1200-1400 psi with a passing grade of 800psi is the industry standard. 

Stabilised CEB blocks do not melt in the rain and can endure long periods of submersion in water.  They are a standard building product in Brazil, with a similar climate as the Philippines.

with a manual machine, and a motor driven soil pulverizor, 3 man can produce about 700-1000 block a day depending on how hard they work, ergonomics etc.  it takes about 2500 blocks to build a small house.

downsides:  CEB blocks take a long time to cure and the curing process has to be strictly monitored.  the blocks are made with a mixture that is around 5-7% moisture.  they have to be placed on a pallet and covered with plastic.  they need to be lightly misted with water a couple times a day for 4 days and kept covered.  they can be transported after 7 days and need about 28 days from start to finish to use for building.

Upside, they can be made from local subsoil on site.  Properly constructed CEB buildings do not use the filipino cement beam construction method, you can forgo beams with the Brazillian construction method which would be too long to go into here. 

CEB have the appearance when cured of a clay fired brick.  A good CEB machine makes the block in a lego shape so they interlock together, making assemble, and alignment much easier.

CEB blocks are not suitable for paving block.  A CEB machine can make a paving block however.  As always you need to supervise your employees well otherwide they will cut corners. 

CEB construction should only be done by people who do not cut corners and shoddy work. 

CEB construction can save enough in costs to make it cost effective for a hard working man who has standards to compete and win against shoddy/corrupt contractors in both costs and quality.
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: Gray Wolf on December 07, 2011, 08:57:17 AM
\"Properly constructed CEB buildings do not use the filipino cement beam construction method, you can forgo beams with the Brazillian construction method which would be too long to go into here.\"

Well, what better place to go into it you go into it than here on the Forum?   ???
Can you at least provide us with a link to a website that explains it. 
Don\'t leave us hanging, man!  ;D
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: Metz on December 07, 2011, 11:54:37 PM
Well you can see some of the documentation at OSRlivong.org  and there are plenty of videos on YouTube in Portugese.  Search for tijolo ecological, or CEB press. 

Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: Gray Wolf on December 08, 2011, 12:41:08 AM
Well you can see some of the documentation at OSRlivong.org  and there are plenty of videos on YouTube in Portugese.  Search for tijolo ecological, or CEB press.  


Portugese?!?  ???    

Your link is wrong.  OSRlivong.org?  You meant to type OSRliving.org (http://OSRliving.org)        

You brought it up.   :P    You do the search and give us some links that work.  
When you find one, use the \"Insert Hyperlink\" tool above to insert a clickable link like I did above.   8)
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: OldManBill on December 08, 2011, 10:27:09 PM
I never really cared for wiki, but it does have a bit of interesting information. Using cement would improve things. Of course, using construction grade cement (5000/psi) (with added steel or fiberglass) to make your blocks would be just as good, but more expensive. I guess it depends upon if you could get it there.

Anyway, a bit of information about CEB.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compressed_earth_block (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compressed_earth_block)
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: hoppin john on February 03, 2013, 07:19:09 PM
all this  BS about hallow blocks is  crap, i know  of  houses over  one  hundred years  old  still standing, and  all this  about  the  cement  to sand  ratio if  you put  rebar every 3 feet horizontal , and  vertical and  filled  with cement  it  is  only a  form, after  the  cement  dries  you can chip the  block off and  it  is  solid  concrete, if  you want to  waist  money i guarantee there  will be  someone  to take  it, all of  these arm chair  engineers are  just  that, build  the  dam house and  get  on with your  life, i have  never  heard  of  a  cement  block house  falling  down her  in Davao, and  we  have  earth quakes all the  time  the  post  and  beam will work
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: Murphy on February 04, 2013, 02:23:33 AM
Lot of talk about concrete.
We are looking at building a decent nippa hut.
I mean good size and decent modern additions.....bathroom and kitchen...most of the money will go there.
Was hoping to find some good examples on this thread ...but most homes here are big  and spendy.

http://www.bambooliving.com/

That website is the best I found so far.....never mind those prices though.

I have a lot of research on this site to do....thanks for the info and ideas.

Murph
Title: Re: What Building Mistakes/Issues to look out for??
Post by: fred on December 27, 2013, 06:28:14 AM
all this  BS about hallow blocks is  crap, i know  of  houses over  one  hundred years  old  still standing, and  all this  about  the  cement  to sand  ratio if  you put  rebar every 3 feet horizontal , and  vertical and  filled  with cement  it  is  only a  form, after  the  cement  dries  you can chip the  block off and  it  is  solid  concrete, if  you want to  waist  money i guarantee there  will be  someone  to take  it, all of  these arm chair  engineers are  just  that, build  the  dam house and  get  on with your  life, i have  never  heard  of  a  cement  block house  falling  down her  in Davao, and  we  have  earth quakes all the  time  the  post  and  beam will work

Agreed. The problem is that many westerners think that Filipino buildings must be dodgy by default and then go on to give their superior suggestions on how to build a house here.
BTW.. I`m not saying that Filipino`s do not build dodgy cement structures..( I have seen a few that have fallen down here in Bohol recently)
The ones that were built in the back woods without a building permit do stand up for years its true but after what I have seen here just recently,I dont want to be in one during a 7.2!!