As you can see our first apartment is near completion with the internet cafe below we also constructed. Many people complain about local methods and lack of professional service. But lets take a step back a little. The problem in the Philippines is so much skilled labour has gone abroad leaving a skeleton staff. More people of handyman level than skilled labour. But remember your only paying P300 a day (general rate currently in Cebu). Material wise you get what you pay for as long as you have someone monitoring your stocks and mixes. The reason being if your paying P300 which is roughly also what your paying a local contract supervisor there is a high case of people lowering the mix of concrete or stocks being low by the time they reach site. Purely because its how they make the money difference up. Your the wealthy foreigner anyway so why you complaining you can afford it right? Well its something that happens too often and something that can easily be avoided. The Project in the picture has cost me over P500,000 including the computers in the internet cafe. At the same time I have spent time every day to monitor the construction and supervise as well as my father in-law who is not only hard working he also has a knowledge of construction in the Philippines. Cross reference that with my nearly 20 years in the British construction industry working from carpenter and electrician upwards. We have pretty much had a smooth run on the project.
An important factor on the project was the roof section which is also the floor for the 1st level (2nd level in the U.S.) we used a technique of pouring a slab of concrete over metal sheet. Which is also a technique a lot of sub divisions have adopted. This allows easy pouring without the problems of shuttering. As well as a clean finish. We adopted hollow block on the walls which do have a habit of hairline cracks because of access issues. I would like to use sectional concrete walls on other projects in the future or the poured walls which is another technique. But it all comes down to access and budget. Our projects were based on P160,000 a piece for building construction and we came within that.
But for the future I am also looking to assist others with projects we have our own team of workers here that are already very capable at local level but I am looking to improve the skill as we go. e.g. getting the electrician to change from the single core installations to twin and earth to allow shorting of electrical cables when faulty to trip the mains before a risk of a fire which is my biggest worry within the Philippines. We wired our buildings the same as the UK for that reason and something I refuse to skimp on. Also mixing traditional local methods with western ones will improve speed and quality of work. There is no point trying to go fully westernised on design and materials etc. because it becomes expensive. Meeting in the middle somewhere that is not only achievable but safe is part of the service we are looking to provide in the future as well as introducing new working practices and techniques with existing materials.
There is also the consultation side of things you may be interested in if you already have relatives etc. doing the construction project. If your just looking for someone to oversee the project every day as well as monitor if your getting value for money. To hire me personally its P20,000 a month which is the going rate within Cebu. Back in the UK I earn upto £350 a day so your getting a lot of skill and knowledge for your money. Why is it so cheap? because im in the Philippines im at home with my wife. The same can be said for house designs etc. everything I can pretty much do or have arranged. There is one difference between asking me and asking someone else and that’s simply I give market value not over and the reason being is my reputation is not only something valuable to me in the Philippines but also in the UK when working there. It is important for me to always provide a better service than anyone else not only for your benefit but the fact is I enjoy my work and expect it to always be grade A.