War on Heat 1: The Cover Up.
WINTER IS COMING.
Just kidding, this is the Philippines. Even through the coldest months of December to February, heat is still one of the biggest issues to issues to handle in a Filipino house.
(This is the first of 3 articles on the War on Heat. So check in soon, and see if you can’t find anything that can help you against this godawful heat.)
It’s the age old problem. Even the OG bahay kubo and the bahay na bato were developed to combat heat and humidity. It might have been a completely different era, but techniques and components like long overhangs, and permeable materials and screens were developed to keep the heat out and let the home breathe. Today, these principles still hold true as methods of keeping a home cool and comfortable.
Your All Important As-built Documents
Put simply, as-built documents are the drawn and written documentation of your house as its been put up by your builder. Having gone through a long and arduous design and construction process, this might be the last thing on your mind as you receive your certificate of occupancy and ready yourself to move in, but trust me – it’s important that you get it, correct and complete.
Chicken Footings and Padugoats –
Inherently Macho and logical, construction is largely a process and numbers game. Throw enough muscle and money at a project and it will get built. Like actual macho games or sports though, it’s also steeped in superstition. Construction in the Philippines is no exception. Superstitions and ceremonies surrounding the home and therefore construction generally fall under the catch-all label of Filipino Feng Shui. (You have to qualify it of course – Geomancy, like any idea, tends to be subject to cultural drift.) Like a migrant religion, it’s blended native practices with the imported dogma, creating an odd hybrid along the way
Pre-Construction Patience 1: The Danger of (too) early construction
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?
Of all you home spaces, your bedroom is your sanctum sanctorum – your most private and sacred. Separated from everything else, it’s where you’re most relaxed and most raw. You can go from the most energized, to, quite literally, sedate the next moment, and resting for the following day. I can’t stress it enough that the quality of the bedroom and how well it does its job directly affects the rest of your life. Among all your home spaces, it’s essential that you get it right. And in terms of creating a quality space, few things are more effective, challenging, and nuanced than lighting.
A contract with a builder or General Contractor (Gencon) should generally cover the cost of the labor and materials you’ll need to complete your house.
Except that isn’t really the case. To get a more accurate assessment of construction cost, you’ll really need to consider 3 more factors –
- Owner supplied materials
- Contractor exclusions
- Work by others
For most people, the size of a home is mostly just a reflection of the size of the wallet. We’re forced into smaller homes, because it’s what the budget permits. Smaller spaces don’t necessarily have to be tighter though.