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slowsmile

Building a house in the Cebu provinces -- cheaply.

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slowsmile

To satisfy everyone's interest or curiosity, I'll also be posting some photos of my unfinished house tomorrow. It's still hoicking it down with rain here and it's evening now. I'll take some photos tomorrow and perhaps answer more questions. I also have a lot more to say about the how's and why's of my new house build and would be more interested in what people think about these ideas. I'll do this in dribs and drabs rather than scrawl another long post with alot of photos.  I've never designed and built a house before so the more opinions and ideas the better as far as I'm concerned.

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Barryrio

Hi mate! Another Brit here from north of Watford Gap! The Wirral actually! Did much the same as you down here in Valencia, Neg.Oriental a couple of years ago. Posted it here under Valencia House Build. Pretty much designed on the back of a fag packet and tidied up by our local city hall draughtsman. Turned out nice though. Also very happy with the result. Good luck with your project - a man after my own heart! 

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slowsmile
26 minutes ago, Barryrio said:

Hi mate! Another Brit here from north of Watford Gap! The Wirral actually! Did much the same as you down here in Valencia, Neg.Oriental a couple of years ago. Posted it here under Valencia House Build. Pretty much designed on the back of a fag packet and tidied up by our local city hall draughtsman. Turned out nice though. Also very happy with the result. Good luck with your project - a man after my own heart! 

Thanks for the kind words and your words are quite a relief. I've never heard of anyone designing a house and self-managing their own build. But it's really nice to know that I'm not the only who's done it this way. And you're a Brit, well done mate. I'll try and have a look at your Valencia post.

For future reference, and if anyone's interested, I used a free app called Sweet Home 3D to design my house. It's an easy app to use and you can output your design in pdf or jpg format.  I just did the initial drawing of the basic house and boundary wall(plan view only), handed it over to the local architect and he did all the necessary electrical, plumbing, structure etc drawings. The architect only cost me PHP 8000 for a full set of drawings based on my own design. 

 

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Jawny

I’ve done the sketches and overseen several buildings here.  Have one being built right now for a BIL.  The only one with a building permit was done by a contractor and it is the only one that did NOT meet expectations.  I’ll never forget a time I had a small house being built and was asking the builder whether I should use 12or 14mm rebar for a portion of the construction.  His reply was classic pinoy...."whatever you want to use". 

There are loads of threads in LinC about home construction, many with the process being carefully overseen by members with limited experience.  

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slowsmile

@Jawny...Thanks for your post and I know exactly what you mean. We initially started the build with a gang of 8 builders including 3 carpenters. I kept this going until November. Our plot size was 400 sqm with a house floor area of  approx. 9m x 16m. Then, after we put the roof up when we started working on the house innards, we cut the gang down to 4 workers -- 2 carpenters and two cement guys.  Then, because I'd used up all the lump some from the pension, we deliberately slowed down the build by reducing to 1 carpenter and 1 cement guy. We used them because they were the best workers of the bunch by far. They're still working for us now. The carpenter hand-built our kitchen cupboards. BIG drawers and BIG cupboards -- that's what my wife wanted(no top cupboards - my wife is tiny). He also tiled all our floor area(144sqm) and did that well. The carpenter is currently welding our outside angle iron fence(on the concrete wall) at the front of our house where the big gate is. He's done a good job there too.  The guy's a real diamond. Trouble is that he gets drunk alot. But he's usually always there the next day. And if he isn't then he looses a days pay. We're OK with that. 

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SkyMan
6 hours ago, slowsmile said:

I've also watched over the house being built on a daily basis for many months. I'm happy with the build.

THIS^^^^^

6 hours ago, slowsmile said:

I also made a firm promise to my wife that the house would be built the Filipino way.

Can you elaborate on what you mean by this?  If I were considering buying a house and someone said it was built the Filipino way I would probably look elsewhere.  Are you saying you intentionally made the bathroom doors hit the sinks or what?

 

4 hours ago, Headshot said:

Of the over 10,000 homes that collapsed during the Bohol earthquake in 2013, almost all were built using these same methods.

And the rickety wooden shacks on stilts where still standing....until Yolanda anyway.

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Davaoeno
4 minutes ago, SkyMan said:

Can you elaborate on what you mean by this? 

It was, I'm sure , just a very bad choice of words !!!!! :ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:

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aiden9991
6 hours ago, slowsmile said:

there all the time, you spot build errors well before they become too expensive to rectify. 

 

7 hours ago, slowsmile said:

Hi All...I just thought I'd post some of my thoughts and reasons for building my house in the Cebu provinces in the hope to show people(with a relatively small pension) that it is easily possible to build a quality and an affordable house or home in the Philippines without the cost being too excessive. My house isn't finished yet but my Filipina wife and I are now living happily in the new house. 

People build their own houses in the Phils for many reasons. Here are some of the reasons why I built my house in the Cebu provinces on the north side of Cebu island:

* I only had a UK state pension and half a military pension(with a small lump sum) with which to build my own house.

* I had previously  been living in the Philippines -- in a rented house in San Fernando City, Ilocos Sur -- for the past 12 years. It was noticeably getting more expensive to live there(due  to its proximity to Metro Manila) and it was becoming too modern and civilized(read expensive) for my tastes. During those 12 years the total rent I paid was over PHP 1.4 million. That's really why I moved to Cebu and decided to build a house. I now pay no rent and only pay a yearly tax on my new house and land that comes to about PHP 500($10.00 or GBP 7.00) per year. Which is alot of money saved per annum, which means that my pension will go even further.

* We sold everything locally before we moved to Cebu, including all furniture, kitchen stuff and our car(old Revo). This gave us some extra money for the big move and also helped us to save money as well because shipping costs, even in the Philippines, I regard as way too high. 

* We shipped all our soft stuff -- clothing, bedding, curtains etc by LBC. That didn't break the bank.

* My wife's family also came for visits to SF and took delicate stuff(like the HD TV) back to Cebu for us. We couldn't have done it so easily without her family's invaluable help. 

* I designed the new house myself(it passed the local Municipal Building Regs with only a few mods) and have been self-managing the build with my wife since July 2017 -- still ongoing. By doing it this way and not hiring an architect to both design and manage the build, we saved a huge amount of money on architect design and management fees. The house will probably be finished round about June 2018. But I'm in no real hurry. I've also found that if you build slow and you're there all the time, you spot build errors well before they become too expensive to rectify. 

* I also made a firm promise to my wife that the house would be built the Filipino way. So that's just what we did. I've also watched over the house being built on a daily basis for many months. I'm happy with the build. All our walls were built in the normal way using 4" or 6" hollow block and plastered with cement. All house and boundary walls are bedded 4 ft down in the earth with a wide concrete base that contain vertical and horizontal steel rods for extra strength. All concrete vertical support columns(23 in total) are similarly constructed. We have 8 concrete steel reinforced cross-members(15" x 4 ") going across the width at the top of the house and 2 concrete cross-members(also steel re-inforced) that travel vertically down the center of the long side of the house to support the walls and roof.  I've used no wood in the roof construction(due to the well-known termite problem in the Phils). I wanted the new house to be earthquake-proof so I didn't skimp on the structure of the house. And, unlike most westerners who build houses in the Phils, we didn't import anything from Europe or America. We just bought all our needs locally. More money saved.

* I deliberately did not build my house near a popular white beach. I purchased a 400 sqm plot of land for building the house. This was in a beautiful agricultural area(above sea level so it never floods) very near the Central Mountains of Cebu. Our new house is only 2 kms from the local beach or coastline. The land cost me PHP 1500 per sqm. But if you buy land in Cebu city, Manduae or Mactan or on any white beach then you will pay through the nose and it will probably now cost you upwards of PHP 10,000 to PHP 20,000 per sqm. 

* Ours is a fair sized house for just two people --  9m x 16m -- with an approximate tiled floor space of 144 sqm. The house is just a simple bungalow with open plan kitchen, dining room and living room. It has a large master bedroom with attached toilet/bathroom. There are two fair sized guest bedrooms and a guest toilet/shower.  My wife's garden, herbs and orchids surround three sides of the house. There will eventually be a concrete front drive with an open garage with a well-shaded terrace at the front of the house where I currently sit every day, out of the sun and in the fresh air, to do my work. 

*  If my wife and I get bored or need to go for a proper shop or break, Cebu city is only 1.5 hours away across the mountains by car from our house. We always stay at our favorite hotels in Cebu(either the Montebello Villa Resort or the Leope Hotel, depending on how we're fixed for cash). 

* Where we live now, it's alot cheaper all-round than San Fernando City in Luzon. Food is so much cheaper and the utilities are also much cheaper here in the provinces. Here I run fans and alot of lighting as well as aircon(bedroom only.) -- the same as we did in SF. Our monthly electric bill in SF was PHP 7,000 whereas where we are now in the provinces electric costs us only PHP 3,000 per month. Same for all the other utilities -- even internet is cheaper by a third for the same Mb speed as we had in SF. This is because the tax and BIR is always cheaper in the provinces than if you live in or near any city in the Phils. 

I hope this post will be useful to some people.  

 

 

 

Hi welcome to the forum.
Would love to see some pictures of the area, house and lot.

 

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slowsmile
Quote

 

I said:

I also made a firm promise to my wife that the house would be built the Filipino way.

 

@Skyman...Don't take this the wrong way but the answer to your question was answered in my first post and I really don't want to explain it all again. The quick answer is that I did promise my wife that I would not build my house the European way. I would build it the Filipino way. I also had to build my house with limited funds and budget accordingly. I hope the reasons are clearer now. Basically if you haven't got the dosh, then don't try and build a European mansion. 

Quote

 

 Skyman said:

Are you saying you intentionally made the bathroom doors hit the sinks or what?

Forgive me, but I don't have a clue what you're talking about.  
 

Quote

 

Skyman said:

 If I were considering buying a house and someone said it was built the Filipino way I would probably look elsewhere.

 

Look elsewhere? Really?  I guess it does depend on where you want to build your house and what you can easily afford. I've already written alot about how my house has been built. I'm also quite satisfied with the build. More than satisfied with the quality. And especially pleased that the cost of the land(400sqm) + all build labour + all materials will eventually cost me, in total, about $40,000 or GBP 28,900 for my new house. And no outrageous mortgage payments to pay on the never never... :D  

Edited by slowsmile
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shadow
27 minutes ago, slowsmile said:

@Skyman...Don't take this the wrong way but the answer to your question was answered in my first post and I really don't want to explain it all again. The quick answer is that I did promise my wife that I would not build my house the European way. I would build it the Filipino way. I also had to build my house with limited funds and budget accordingly. I hope the reasons are clearer now. Basically if you haven't got the dosh, then don't try and build a European mansion. 

Forgive me, but I don't have a clue what you're talking about.  
 

Look elsewhere? Really?  I guess it does depend on where you want to build your house and what you can easily afford. I've already written alot about how my house has been built. I'm also quite satisfied with the build. More than satisfied with the quality. And especially pleased that the cost of the land(400sqm) + all build labour + all materials will eventually cost me, in total, about $40,000 or GBP 28,900 for my new house. And no outrageous mortgage payments to pay on the never never... :D  

Sorry, you are not allowed to post productive threads here without expecting negativity and denigration from a few in retort.

Never mind the negativity, good job! Do what makes you and your wife happy!

Edited by shadow
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slowsmile

Thanks shadow, you're right - I'll remember that in future.

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Lost
1 hour ago, shadow said:

Sorry, you are not allowed to post productive threads here without expecting negativity and denigration from a few in retort.

Never mind the negativity, good job! Do what makes you and your wife happy!

Honestly, I kinda avoid this place for this reason. Lots of cranky old dudes, but it's a microcosm of the Philippines expat community so it's to be expected I guess.

Great thread OP, looking forward to pics.

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TequilaSunset

I love this post!! Really looking forward to the pics of the construction etc. I am one of those guys who would love to design his own small place to hang my hat. Problem is I would want to lease some land since I can't purchase it, and I have no plans to marry my current GF. Live together yes, marry... nope. (Famous last words right?)

Welcome, and share as much as humanly possible on your build, thanks!

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rizla

22092693_1548462765233279_1096866453_o.thumb.jpg.f2050741bfb758cfba3d9459a819ff3a.jpg

This is my home, in Argao, south of Cebu city, took a few years to complete, but overall it is exactly what I wanted, the build is good and the position is just amazing, overlooking the sea towards Bahol. Not everything in the Philippines is bad, ignore the negativity !!. With my UK pension, I can live a comfortable life and never have to endure a UK winter again. The total cost including furnishing was around £75,000.

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TequilaSunset
21 minutes ago, rizla said:

22092693_1548462765233279_1096866453_o.thumb.jpg.f2050741bfb758cfba3d9459a819ff3a.jpg

This is my home, in Argao, south of Cebu city, took a few years to complete, but overall it is exactly what I wanted, the build is good and the position is just amazing, overlooking the sea towards Bahol. Not everything in the Philippines is bad, ignore the negativity !!. With my UK pension, I can live a comfortable life and never have to endure a UK winter again. The total cost including furnishing was around £75,000.

Great looking home!

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