Author Topic: Building in the Philippines  (Read 11697 times)

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Re: Building in the Philippines
« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2008, 09:39:59 AM »
Hi B-Ray,

Wise words & a sound strategy with the food. We give our guys a snack twice a day & a San Mig at the end if they have worked well.

Keith.

Offline fred

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Re: Building in the Philippines
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2008, 03:13:54 PM »
We pay 550.00 PHP for our working foreman and 450.00 for his brother who is a mason,tiler and carpenter.
The work is always spot on with nothing to be re done..
The quality of work is almost the best I have seen in all my years in the building ind. and my snagging lists are short.
If they have work elsewhere when we need a job done,we wait for them for as long as it takes.
Labourers daily wage here in Manila start at 350.00 and we only use the labour that the foreman brings along with him.
One thing I  never do however is to deal with them directly..
Now thats where the problems would begin!!



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Re: Building in the Philippines
« Reply #17 on: January 07, 2008, 07:14:50 AM »
Hello Fred and welcome to the forum.

Your comments states how much more it cost for labor in the BIG Cities, as well as the cost to live there, they go hand in hand. Your paying a foreman 2.5 times more then a contractor pay here. But, it seems your getting 100% better quality, (not the comman that\'s good enough), for your money.

I don\'t know if your foreman is a run of the mill, many like him avaiable? Mine isn\'t and one really has to search in finding the like minded.
B-Ray Bacong, Negros Oriental

Offline fred

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Re: Building in the Philippines
« Reply #18 on: January 07, 2008, 08:45:31 AM »
Hi Ray..
Thanks for the welcome..
Yes a lot of things of course are more expensive in the city,however there are savings to be made in regards materials etc here because of the huge suppliers.
The Chinese that own these building supply operations always offer good discounts with large orders.
If we establish a good business relationship with the Chinese here and are prepared to pay in cash then there genuinely is little need to constantly haggle which becomes tiresome after a while IMO. 
In regards labour costs here.These can vary a little depending on skill levels etc...If the demand for a worker is high and their reputation is good then the wage demand increases.
The thing is that we decided long ago to buy quality materials such as imported porcelain floor tiles etc.
When I  hand these type of tiles to a tradesman here(or anywhere for that matter)I must have 100% confidence in their ability to cut and fit them with precision.The floor tiles fit so tight that there is no need for grout etc with this kind of tile.
All of our bedroom wardrobes and fitted kitchen units were all built with marine plywood and hand painted.
This has saved me an a lot of money.. The working foreman can build me a kitchen in three and a half days so the little extra he earns gives me good value as I hope the pictures below might suggest .

My brother in law hired a local province tiler and his work looked like somebodies nightmare!
He now has to witness this mess 3 times a day until he can justify the costs of having it rectified..Could be years.
All the best,
Fred.









 

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Re: Building in the Philippines
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2008, 09:39:15 AM »
Well guys as I read Freds requirements, you now have two views to follow and that\'s good!

What I do and will except might be seen as mid range and just can not afford to import materials.

As to working with the local Chinese supply owners, my wife and my foreman couldn\'t do more then 2% discount for large amounts. I found by doing my own shopping could beat the prices without a discount. Case in point, 200 gals of Boysen paint with the same paint number can have a range of Php200 more per gal and paint was just one item we had to deal with.

The same with tile when there\'s 1,000 of the same size comming in the same box and save Php9 each. For me, that\'s a biggie too.

Here, a biggie also is finding what supplier has what at what price, (no one stop shopping),. That takes a lot of leg work and working from a material list helps greatly! If one figure this ordeal as a hobby thingie, there\'s fun in it.  ;D

Our big orders is now two years old and usless to compair for todays projects!
 And sometimes a supplier will not have the material you started with and has a cheaper product at the same price, GRRRRR!
B-Ray 

Offline Ted

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Re: Building in the Philippines
« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2008, 01:52:47 PM »
 I built my house on the beach in Negros Oriental with a lot of help. I hired local guys within walking distance to my place. All live in the same barangay.  I had between 5-12 people working at any given time and I acted as foreman and engineer.  I paid 180 pesos per day and we worked 6 days a week.  We always had a snack at the end of the day. They went home for lunch. 

Not everyone worked out for the long haul.  The guys who cleared the land didn’t necessary transition to the foundation work. Some guys showed up drunk and they were “let go” as I reduced staff.  A few quit (out of pride) after I reduced their responsibilities and pay.

I built a small house using methods that I would later use for the main house and kitchen. This gave me chance to train the crew and find out who could mix concrete, bend re-bar and tile.  It also gave me a place to live while we built the rest of the place.  I only trusted one guy to mix concrete and he knew the standard. By the time I built the main house, everyone on the 6 man 1 woman crew knew their jobs and I got custom work.

We held team competitions to see who could consolidate concrete the best or set the forms for a column the fastest. The winners took home a bonus.  They worked fast and safe and had a great time. There was no one milking the job as happens very often in construction in the Philippines.

I always had a first aid kit ready and insisted on eye protection for grinding steel.  I used ladders and scaffolding that I had our welder make custom. The workplace was as clean at the end of the day as any job in my career. We had zero injuries in a two year period.  I took care of the guys and sponsored their sports team.

Prior to our move on site to the little house, we had a discrepancy in the inventory.  I was using a rotating shift for the night watch and accountability suffered.  I took one guy off the crew to do permanent night watch. We made a tool board and an inventory sheet. One of the family did turnover in the morning.  I have never had another loss in tools or inventory.

Most contractors will have a crew that build a CR and live in a temporary shack on site.  Their laundry is hanging around and it generally looks like a mess. Safety is the last concern.  Guys quit and take stuff with them. The foreman takes a percentage from the crew. Fight break out. That’s not what I wanted.  I was living on site with my wife.  My place was always peaceful, clean and quiet when the crew left and the watchman showed up.

One of my workers went on to additional construction jobs in town and is in high demand.

My first worker was a lady that lived next door and just showed up to help.  She has been on the payroll ever since and has had fewer issues than any of the guys.  The guys spend their money on cell phones and karaoke. She saves her money by delaying her pay until she can buy a goat.  She lies to her relatives “I didn’t get paid” so they don’t ask for support. Then she buys another goat.  She sweeps the place daily and helps around to this day.

The most talented and trusted of my crew stayed on as my maintenance guy.  He is more loyal to us than his family and I was his witness at his wedding.
Too many foreigners in my opinion waste an opportunity to hire locals and build their own home.  Many end up frustrated by the process and spending more money for less quality. They already develop a bad reputation for the way they treat their workers before they even move into the neighborhood. The make their contacts after the house is built. It’s a missed opportunity.

Most who hire an expert of any kind including contractors, agents, engineers, electricians, and even  foremen are robbed and live with shoddy construction or worse. Some have the municipal engineer’s attention because the contractor never got the permit.  Some violate easements and end up with a suit later.  They pay markups on materiel, labor fees and consultations.  They get less than the required re-bar and little supervision. The crew list is padded. There are a hundred other trick of the trade.

All of my money went to hard labor and good materials. I won’t say it was cheap.  I didn’t use a single hollowblock.  I used cast in place reinforced concrete, mahogany for exposed joinsts and other good materials. It shows.

Construction is not rocket science.  I did a little construction but I had never laid tile or poured concrete before.  I never did framing.  I studied the process and read books.  When you’re retired you can’t say that you didn’t have time.

I treated the chance to build my house as a one in a lifetime dream. My wife does not have a single complaint.

Ted was in Negros, now back in the states for a while.

Offline fred

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Re: Building in the Philippines
« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2008, 03:05:03 PM »
Nice one Fish...I like your attitude.
Im going to have a go at building a swimming pool next year..Got any good books on the subject?     

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Re: Building in the Philippines
« Reply #22 on: January 09, 2008, 08:24:30 PM »
Hello Fred,

Be very careful when you build. It\'s very easy to go in the hole on a Project like this!!!

 ::)

Seriously, you\'ll need to start reading up on how to keep the pool clean and free of algae. Maintenance is the biggest problem I\'ve heard about including finding good pumps / filtering systems.

Billy

Nice one Fish...I like your attitude.
Im going to have a go at building a swimming pool next year..Got any good books on the subject?
     

Offline fred

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Re: Building in the Philippines
« Reply #23 on: January 09, 2008, 10:09:57 PM »
Thanks Billy..

Yes.. I used to be an aquarium freak so I know all about algae and how tough it is to control.
A swimming pool I hope may have better anti algae techniques due to being able to use chlorine and other chemicals that would be fatal to fish etc.
I would have thought that manual sweeping and netting dead algae when necessary are the kind of things I will need to do or pay someone to do to help along  the correct filter system with its work..
With the  business I have in mind,a pool is essential so these are problems are the kind I  will have to learn to face. 
But thanks for reminding me anyway..Grrr..!!

Offline Ted

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Re: Building in the Philippines
« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2008, 01:32:24 PM »
Sorry Fred, No book on building a pool. Unlike masonry electric and framing, pools are rarely a “do it yourself project” in the states.  Most concrete pools in the states are built with shotcrete (gunite) on a web of re-bar.  Some are cast in place. I’m convinced that shotcrete can be replicated or a cast in place alternative is possible.  You can find online resources if you search hard.

In the states a cast in place job is poured all at once with trucks.  In the Philippines it’s one bag at a time until everyone is tired. That means lots of “cold joints”. We set forms in the morning and poured in the late afternoon so no one in our small crew was ever too worn out. I didn’t mind cold joints (between each day’s pour) because the rebar tied it together and it is lightyears stronger than a local hollow block.

We made our own concrete kitchen sink that my guys thought was a swimming pool.  A tight web of small rebar built on a form, inverted. It was really nice. We put it in place like Egyptians putting another block on a pyramid.  Lots of leverage.

I’ll build my pool when I go back.  I have the DE filter, pump and breaker from the states already.  If I had my crew at their peak I have no doubt that I could build one again. I\'ll practice the technique with a septic tank. No one will see our mistakes. Rehearsals help a lot.

I asked my crew “who’s done tile before”.  “No one has done it…yet” they said because they knew that regardless of their experience we were going to make the attempt. My guys would ask their friends for tips and I just followed the book.  It was a good combination. We tiled the CR floor and the kitchen sink and counters. Very nice inexpensive kitchen counters. 

We built “flitch beams” from scratch that support the whole front of my house.  They are a wood-steel-wood sandwich with terrific properties.  The first one was hard but after a while they did them on their own.

Half Moon restaurant and bar had a big concrete structure built by contractors just outside of Dauin. It had a nice pool on the third deck. The pool leaked so bad they shut it down.  I left before they got it fixed.  I don’t know, maybe it’s a big planter box now.

At least if I blow it I have only myself to blame.

I’ll take skilled (inexperienced) hands that care over a contractor any day, as long as I have a book. Even with a pool. 
Best of luck on yours.

Offline Rick B

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Re: Building in the Philippines
« Reply #25 on: January 10, 2008, 04:20:22 PM »
Fish, i do like your style and your approach and it has clearly worked for you, dedication, personal attention and it comes across in spades, you really enjoyed it, congratulations.

Fred above shows us the picture of his kitchen, there is more than one way to skin a cat and from the picture we can see even from a photograph the result is excellent, congratulations to the both of you.

I did it another way and perhaps that is due to my background which is in construction, but at the managerial level, not practical, so, i was not brave enough to take Fish\'s hands on approach, although you are spot on with your comments regarding safety and cleanliness etc

Anyway my job was a 1 bed guest house and swimming pool as an extension to our place, in davao, i decided to go down the professional route and interviewed architects who eventually, designed, submitted design for approval and built the thing, using a specialist contractor for the pool. I was overseas when the project got built in 06 so i asked my wifes brother to \"oversee\" the project as my representative. Anyway, with a few minor problems the project was very succesfully completed and quality is spot on because this was my emphasis with the architect and his professional qualifications buying into the project. Maybe i was lucky but i did the work front end of the project which was my instinct and it worked, so, maybe i made my own luck.

For Fred above i would recommend either Fish\'s very close attention method or my method of specialist contractor for a pool, its one that could go very wrong,(you can view his works and establish the standard based on what he can show you) Good luck

Offline philippinediver

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Re: Building in the Philippines
« Reply #26 on: January 10, 2008, 07:30:27 PM »
Hi Rick. I am wondering if you would be kind enough to provide the name and contact numbers of the architect you referred to in your post as well as builders you have worked with and have confidence in... (Davao). I too plan to build a pool and guest house there as well in addition to my main house hopefully starting in June. While I can\'t speak for others, I am sure there might be some here on the forum from Davao that may be interested as well. Thank you

Vic

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Re: Building in the Philippines
« Reply #27 on: January 10, 2008, 08:13:38 PM »
Pooh......I had a 36x15 pool in NJ....was OK to do maintenance for a year or so

Then I showed the kid who mowed the lawn how to do the maintainence

1 hour once a week, he\'d mow the lawn then clean the pool (bonus was he got to swim afterwards).....

Most difficult parts are opening and closing pool at beginning end of summer - total non issue in RP

I\'d suggest an above ground pool with a fixed depth of 3-4\' for ease of DIY construction

I\'ll google DIY swimming pool construction when I\'m ready to build



Hello Fred,

Be very careful when you build. It\'s very easy to go in the hole on a Project like this!!!

 ::)

Seriously, you\'ll need to start reading up on how to keep the pool clean and free of algae. Maintenance is the biggest problem I\'ve heard about including finding good pumps / filtering systems.

Billy

Nice one Fish...I like your attitude.
Im going to have a go at building a swimming pool next year..Got any good books on the subject?
     

Offline Rick B

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Re: Building in the Philippines
« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2008, 08:14:51 PM »
Philippinediver, please send me an e mail (click on my profile and it will give you my e mail address and i would be glad to give you the info.)  I replied to you in similar fashion on my mindanao post and i remember you are coming to Davao in April, i will be glad to assist you, i did have a good experience overall but i  can see there is a lot of negativity about and am sure many mistakes are made, always good to learn from other peoples experience.

Offline fred

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Re: Building in the Philippines
« Reply #29 on: January 29, 2008, 10:39:39 PM »
Quote
I\'d suggest an above ground pool with a fixed depth of 3-4\' for ease of DIY construction

This sounds like a great suggestion.. I could put decking all around the top of pool with steps going down to ground level..
All the electrical wiring and filtration systems would be easy enough to get at under the deck for maintenance etc..
Thanks a lot..
Lots for me to think about there.