Home Construction Begins

My wife and I were discussing going back to the US to live & work for a few years and needed someplace to store our stuff. Her uncle is renovating his house right now and we talked about just adding a small room to his house for storage.   Well, things did not work out for going back to the US, so I was kind of blowing off the room idea.  Then somehow it morphed into adding a room to live at their house.  Generally I would advise not living too close to relatives – I am in favor of the 2 island away from family rule ha ha.  But these guys are ok (so far).  The more we discussed it with uncle he said a free standing building would be better than attaching a room.  He did not want to block airflow to his house and if we build our own we can face it correctly for the prevailing winds. 


The original idea was a 15 foot by 15 foot room.  That would be like a hotel room, and we would use their kitchen and cr (comfort room = bathroom).  Well in a free standing house we will need our own kitchen and cr.  Which has many benefits, I think.  So I played around with a free program called “Sweet Home 3D”.  A free download and free program (they have upgrades you can pay for).  I drew out a 15×15 room and added furniture… tight but doable.  Then I added on a kitchen area, and a walled off cr.  Here is the basic idea.  There are no real plans or blueprints involved – it is really just a room.


house      IMG_20150602_170351


The pic above, of the tile, is what we are considering for the cr.  I tend to favor neutral colors and rely on my decor for decor, but these tile were the only tiles that got Melane excited at all.  The Citi Hardware store has an extremely limited choice of toilets and bathroom sinks, but a HUGE selection of floor & counter tiles.  She was getting frustrated looking at all the tile until she saw this and really likes them.  And I think they are terribly cute too.


So we told uncle to work out a price.  He works as an electrician and knows a bunch of guys in construction.  So he is going to be kind of the general contractor.  I will post the estimate of the cost and later show how that worked out.  This supply list is for the main building, ceiling, and roof.  It does not include things like floor tile or plumbing fixtures.  I want to pick those out myself and the cost can vary greatly, depending on our choices.




p127,000 is about $3,000 USD.  Close enough for government work.  Did you notice he put “good lumber”?  That is better than buying “crappy lumber” I guess.  The labor is an additional p50,000 ($1,100).  Construction is supposed to take about a month, and there are 4(?) workmen.  We are not paying a daily wage but a set price for the job.  In the US it would be just a contract price, here they call it something that sounds like pacquiao style payment.  It is not supposed to have anything to do with the boxer… but they cannot tell me what it exactly means.   And I tried Google to no avail.  But anyway a flat rate payment works for me.  Easier to budget.  ~Edit~ Someone just informed me that it’s actually spelled ‘pakyaw’ which means by the bulk. 


So far we are looking at about $4,000 for supplies and labor.  Floor tile, and plumbing fixtures come later.  Cost of them and labor yet to be determined.  I looked at toilets and found a nice, big, American sized, toilet for p9,500 ($220?!). Seems high to me but it is an import.  A standard Filipino toilet looks like it belongs in an Elementary school bathroom, and you would be lucky to have a seat or a flush tank.   I have few demands but a sit down toilet and a stand up shower are important.  So I will pay it, whatever it cost.   Floor tile will be approx p9,000 for the tiles.  Most are about one foot square and cost around p40 each ($1).  I don’t know about the mortar, tile installation…  that comes later….


Construction began at the first of June.  They say one month (I am not holding my breathe ha ha).  Here is the beginning of construction.  I was pleased to see that they began pouring cement for the columns on day 2.  Not a bad start.   And yes, they mix the cement on the ground with shovels.  No cement mixers needed here!


IMG_20150604_142420         IMG_20150604_144418


I took a couple videos.  I hope to get a lot more during the construction.