architects Philippines

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How much is the Cost to Build a House in the Philippines?

As of January 2012; the average estimated cost per square meter floor-area for building a finished home (including tiles, paint, doors, windows etc.) in the Philippines, done by a contractor, is (drumroll):
Between Php 20,000 and Php 25,000 for the average subdivision-home (just browse on the Internet for some examples).
Between Php 25,000 and Php 30,000 for ‘Expat houses’ (‘foreigners’)…
People from USA or Europe (with strict requirements) have to expect ‘a little higher than average construction cost’ because they demand- and select better quality materials.
Yes, there is a difference between cost to build for a Filipino or for an Expat.
No, we don’t mean the ‘Kano Price’…
It’s just a fact that most Filipinos are satisfied with (in the eyes of an Expat) a more simple home (like those ‘pink subdivision homes’).
Expats in the Philippines demand higher quality and that comes with a higher price.

You want solar panels? Vaulted ceilings? Insulated (two sheets glass-) windows? Ceramic Roof Tiles? Decorative stones on outside walls? Higher quality kitchen and bathroom? Then you pay more than ‘average’.
First check your budget. It’s a complete waste of time to look on the Internet for home designs while not yet knowing how many square meter house you can afford. But how do you know what is the house construction cost per square meter to build a house in the Philippines?

The construction of a house in the Philippines is a process involving more than a dozen trades, hundreds of products, and thousands of steps that must be scheduled, coordinated, and performed quickly and correctly; to give a cost for that WITHOUT knowing the following details would be GUESSWORK which is not good for both you and the home builder.

The building cost for your house or commercial building depends on the exact location (city or province or island?), total floor area (make the house 2x bigger and the price will become 2x higher), the logistics/accessibility (is it possible to use a truck to bring the materials or do they have to be carried?), regulations/restrictions of the local government or subdivision (‘they all have their own different rules’), soil-type, site preparation (maybe your lot need excavation, backfilling, compaction, a retaining-wall, dewatering and/or runoff control measures?) neighbor-buildings (fire-wall?), availability of local skilled labor, source of electricity/water etc. plus you have to select what construction methods have to be used (hollow blocks, solid concrete with- or without insulation etc.) and you need to know exact which brand, quality and color tiles you want or what kind of windows, doors, kitchen etc. etc.
So the only correct way to know how much the cost will be of building a home in the Philippines is when you already own a lot and the blueprints. Then you can itemize all work items of your project and price it accordingly. Nobody likes ‘guesswork’.
But what if you only want to know an estimated house construction cost as to prepare your budget for the future? Just ask any Philippine architect or local contractor; he knows from his previously built homes plus his experience how much the average estimated cost per square meter floor area is to build your house in the Philippines. The estimated cost per square meter for a garage is of course lower than for the livingroom; so mostly the price per square meter which your Philippine contractor gives you is a cost for the whole house:

Included are mostly:
1. Design, Blueprints, Permits
2. Plumbing
3. Electrical works
4. Embedded items for Aircon
5. Floor, walls and ceiling finishes
6. Roof
7. Doors and windows
8. Painting
9. Hardwares, door locks, hinges
Excluded are mostly: (offered but charged separate)
1. Deposits to Electrical and Water utilities
2. Fence and gates
3. Swimming pool
4. Aircon units
5. Furnitures and cabinets
6. Transformer for 110 volts
7. Deepwell and reservoir
Discounting is for Losers
Giving a discount is the number one technique local Philippine ‘contractors’ (a foreman without office and/or contract) are using to get your attention but it actually reveals poor management. In the end it is YOU who will ‘pay the price’.
Build a house in the Philippines completely by yourself and save (maybe) a whooping 20% if you are able- and willing to spend a lot of time (as in fulltime) on the building site, can keep records, manage a dozen of trades, hundreds of products, and thousands of steps that must be scheduled, coordinated, and performed quickly and correctly to finish the project, for about 4 months, probably much longer. It’s more fun in the Philippines!

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