Philippines Diary #36 – Building Layout and Preparation for Backfilling

November 4, 2009 – Wednesday

The outline of the buildings is marked out with plastic string between stakes. Then the rice stalks are cut down to ground level with the tabas blade before the top soil is removed to reveal the harder ground beneath. Onto this will be poured load after load of gravel until the site is almost a meter higher than the baranghay road. But no concrete will be poured until we have been granted the building permit.
We now have the community tax certificate, the baranghay building permit clearance letters and the BIR tax documents. This weekend an engineer is supposed to be travelling up to submit these papers along with the technical drawings to the engineer at City Hall. It takes 7 to 14 days for a building permit to be issued and there is a lot of gravel to be delivered before construction can begin anyway.
The site today was a little waterlogged as a result of the North East monsoon rain we have had the last couple of days. It underlines the importance of raising the level of the site before construction. Work removing the top soil had stopped, but they were practically finished this stage anyway.
The other day we watched as the foreman rejected two lorry loads of "gravel". The good stuff is reddish in colour, feels slightly sticky to handle, and also contains small stone chips. You can almost mould it in your hand. With this delivery we could see the foreman holding a handful of what looked like grey material with large stones and telling the delivery guys it was totally unacceptable. Yet another good reason for using a Filipino contractor who knows the tricks suppliers get up to.

Check out this video: Building Layout and Preparation for Backfilling