Pre-Construction Patience 1: The Danger of (too) early construction

Pre-Construction Patience 1: The Danger of (too) early construction

Permit purgatory

Building permits can take forever to process.

Unless you’re in a place like Valenzuela where they’ve taken steps to remove possible interactions between permit applicants and the building officials who approve the design, it takes especially long if you don’t want to grease the machine.

Its especially stressful at the point when you’ve gone through the nitty-gritty of design, and the tedious back and forth of the bid process, having it hang above your head that you might not even be allowed to build. It feels like you’re just burning hours, and that December move-in deadline (yes, everyone wants to move in by December) is getting tighter and tighter.

Given friction and delay, you might be tempted to sneak in work before you have papers in hand. Your contractor isn’t raising any objections, or you’re managing your own labor. What’s the worst thing that can happen?


We were talking with a contractor we’ve been working with for the office when he told us the story a project they’d been putting up in Alabang. The client was getting impatient with how long it was taking to get the permits released despite everything being submitted, processed, and greased. For some reason, the team felt like they couldn’t delay any longer and had the project begin without the complete paper work. They get a couple of days of work in when, one night, the office of the building official sends police vans to the site. Everyone is picked up and jailed for starting construction early, and therefore illegally. They ended up having to pay to bail everyone out, with the site engineer alone costing 20,000 pesos to spring.


Maybe it needs explicitly stating, but the moral of the story, of course is:


Big brother

Building anything in place without permits could cost you more than you’re ready for. It’s not like you can hide it. Construction is noisy. You never know who’s listening. It could actually be that it’s your friendly neighborhood barangay tanod has actually been incentivized to call out if he sees anything out of order.

Always other ways

Don’t worry. If you’re really in a hurry, there are still ways to get an early start on a project, while still waiting for your permits. Check-in again soon for Pre-Construction Patience 2: Roundabout Beginnings for a list of 6 ways you can start a project ahead of getting your paperwork released.


Have any permit purgatory stories of your own?

Email I’m here to commiserate.

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