Experts in the Philippines

I come across the term expert far to often and its even worse when you start looking at experts in the Philippines. Reason being firstly nobody ever says no they don’t know how to do anything but on top of that within the expat community there are many people playing experts everything from financial and investment services to construction.

Don’t get me wrong there are some good people out there but generally they are harder to find than those people trying to help you (part with money). I never like the term expert anyway as its a term I never came across until I came here in daily use. Generally like myself I have EngTech after my name as well as other titles I have earned yet you never see them posted anywhere (except for the one I just did) reason being is its not important for me to go “hey look at me” in the way many others seem to feel the need.

From time to time you will find mistakes in the construction processes we are doing here and that’s down to one thing experimentation of local methods to see why some things are done one way and not another. May seem a little mad for some people but its the easiest way for me to find out what works and what needs changing. The kitchen unit is a prime example as I haven’t formed up this type of unit before and wanted to see how it was done locally. The only real advantage seems to be that the concrete is termite proof at the same time a good wood could do the same in prevention. The finish has come up well on the tiling so the over-tiling worked well. Did it cost me more? well the reason I also did this was because I still haven’t got my table saw which is going to be needed for forming up the doors as well as constructing a router table. Now if you look at the costs involved its cost less than P2,500 including labour. If I got an “expert” version they would have bought premade kitchen units which are around P10,000 each and the worktop currently comes in at P13,000 with it being a double and a single unit we would be looking at around P30,000 complete compared to P2,000 who wasted money? obviously this doesn’t include my doors I will be making but that will also be less than P2,000 and half a day including building the inner frame and shelving units. So if you cut P4,000 off the P30,000 your looking at a saving of P26,000 which means that the P18,200 that I need for my saw could have been bought out of the same costings and still left change.

Although next time I will be making the units in timber and doing it ready to drop in freestanding with wall fixings (free standing meaning it can stand on its own but I will be fixing it to save on movement). I would expect the units to take me 1 – 2 days to do complete with doors on my own. These will end up a sideline project for sure where I will make people’s kitchens they just collect on the back of a truck or multi-cab and install themselves in an afternoon. Am I an expert in kitchen making? like I said don’t like the term I have worked as a cabinet maker for several years before and spent nearly 20 years as a carpenter and joiner so would say experienced yet like most things you learn something every day. Which is why I don’t like the term expert as the assumption is they have reached the end goal and now see that they know everything. Only person who knows everything in my book is a fool life is a continuous development and moving from the UK to the Philippines I have had to look at things that often don’t make sense in western mindset but do to locals you need to pick at things to find the reasoning behind it.

Now I will end this post on a thought because often I have to do things 2 or 3 times or in fact just remove workers to do it myself how much does an expert cost to do it? Well the problem is getting someone who knows what they are doing. Brian down in San Fernando learned this lesson with his house as its currently having to have some major reworks due to using a local expert architect. A house that should be worth nearly P2m is worth less than P800,000 due to the architects way of working which generally means skimping on materials and pocketing the cash. The other end of the market as well though is getting someone in professionally that cuts no corners and spares no expense problem is exactly that “they spare no expense” as they don’t compromise on things and generally people leave them to make the decisions. This results in a house that may be super high quality but the same value of a cheaper constructed house next door even though you paid 30% extra in construction or even more.

Now in defense of experts in the Philippines I will give you an example of experts in the UK as Millennium point in Birmingham had several of them. There are over 30 electromechanical doors for the entrances on various levels each electronic modular unit costs over £3,500 they are designed for “internal use only” on top of that the doors are too big and heavy for the units I have experience 6 go faulty in a day and every day there are problems especially if windy. It was experts from the door company that advised the installation. Another example on the same project is the front of the building has a solar array that doesn’t work it was originally designed that motors would adjust the array to the sun throughout the day the array simply never got finished as it was way over budget so now its just been left and I think most people think its part of the design of the building. Then you have the film and dance academy that spent millions of pounds on its air and cooling system yet nobody had bothered to add things like painting the motors to the units or even access hatches as well as leaving a large mains power board exposed on the roof to the elements (unit is designed for internal use). I could write a huge list here of “experts” in their fields that are often bumbling idiots. In reality society has said for years don’t think get an expert, if you look at TV shows of calling in people to fix problems for household repairs how often do they mention things like “looks like someone’s been doing some DIY” when they get to a problem. Its to belittle someone who isn’t there to defend themselves and the odd thing is most of these shows mess things up on a regular basis but obviously that hits the cutting room floor not aired to the public. Life is about trial and error, reading and learning and most importantly developing. Corporations don’t want people thinking its bad for business and lets face it years ago you could get virtually anything done inside a village but I would say today how many villages still have their original baker and butcher? All gone to supermarkets where things are mass produced and to a very low quality in comparison to the artisans that were “experts”. Replaced by people company’s make profits from.

1 comment for “Experts in the Philippines

  1. Tropicalpenpals
    March 21, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    The concrete cured for 48hrs before I removed the forms, as regarding the tiling its in line with Keramix’s instructions. Nope it wasn’t mixed the local way with concrete and a dab of adhesive as tiling is something I won’t let the locals do as they don’t know how to do it. Same as you will never see a local worker with a comb edged trowel. The concrete had to form properly before it was tiled to stop the adhesive being sucked up by the concrete which would have loosened the mix. As regards it coming loose it simply won’t happen and I advise anyone tiling that keramix supply some really good quality gear in comparison to other companies, have bought other brands locally to find they were poor in comparison. The same method has been used on the other apartment those tiles have been down for over a year already with no problems.

    Now as regarding ISO the problem you have in the Philippines is obtaining the right equipment as well as materials for each job. As time goes on I add more and more to my equipment which is why I am now waiting for some extra money to come in from the UK for the new table saw. This tied with my router will allow forming up doors to fit any job in the future as well as giving me the ability to cut accurately time and time again.