Philippine Construction; Architects Cebu Contractors Manila, Home Builders
Design Plan Cavite
Why build with the 'old
style' hollow blocks when there are much better construction methods available..?
"Your Philippine House and the Eskimo's
Blocks versus Solid Concrete Walls
Your local contractor in
the Philippines will build with the old-style hollow blocks because "you
just buy those and the mason builds the walls with it". Simple. And
it's the cheapest way to build a house in the Philippines.
You want your House to be
Hollow blocks is a 'backyard industry' and is not regulated. Hence, mostly
the quality is poor. Drop a block on the floor and it breaks in many pieces.
Hollow blocks are nothing more than stones that you stack between the
columns like Lego so you can make an opening in it to place the window;
HOLLOW BLOCKS ARE NOT CARRYING THE
NEXT FLOOR AND/OR ROOF (the columns do that). They have no other
function than 'being a wall'. It's the cheapest way to make a wall but they
are weak and they have to make the wall 4 inch or 6 inch thick to become
strong enough. Consequently the wall becomes
UNNECESSARY HEAVY FOR IT'S PURPOSE.
And since the wall consists of weak hollow blocks mixed with strong
reinforcement bars, there is 'the weakest link factor' that makes the
(too heavy-) wall prone to forces that want to find a way out; cracks.
The strength of a hollow block wall is much less than our solid walls.
Hollow blocks also need to be plastered (covered with a seperate thin layer
of a cement/sand mix) which is time-consuming and it might
exposing the steel reinforcement bars which will rust.
Set the hollow
blocks aside for a moment (careful!) and look only at the structure.
The columns (posts and beams) carry the second floor and/or your roof. Hence
the weight of your house put pressure ONLY on the little footings of the
columns and you have to be pretty sure that your soil can hold that.
It's the same like an Eskimo walking over snow without snowshoes; he will
sink deep into the snow.
Now compare that with our 'Solid Concrete Walls'; THEY are strong enough to
carry the next floors and roof. The weight of your house put pressure on
the WALL-FOOTING. Thats a much bigger surface; just like snowshoes.
Most non-Filipinos ('foreigners') and OFWs (Overseas
Filipino Workers); reject the 'hollow blocks' as
1) a hollow-block wall is as strong as its weakest link which is a
2) a hollow-block wall needs plaster. Take a close look at any outside-wall
at any building here in the Philippines; the plaster cracks and lets water
through to the steel bars in the hollow-blocks; rust = misery.
But it is not only the hollow blocks which
are weak; also the structure ('post and beams'; columns) has proven in the
Haiti earth-quake to be inferior. During an earthquake the hollow block
walls will disappear first; after that the columns (now without support-)
can swing to any direction:
Here is as example an actual inquiry we
BRYAN (b...@yahoo.com) on Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 11:19:49
address: ... TONDO MLA
Comments: OUR BUILDING SETTLE DOWNWARDS SO WE NEED A CONTRACTOR TO
MAKE THE SOIL
STABILIZED BY MICROFILLING AND GROUTING. HOW MUCH MONEY DO WE NEED?
This is a 5 story hollow block building that
has settled down 4 inches on one side and has started to slip 6 inches
sidewards; we adviced to demolish, there's no solution.
...This is what happens if you build without
Remember that you can always replace a door or put new tiles in your house
but you can NOT change the structure/foundation of your home; make a wise
If you already selected a contractor (because he is a relative for example)
to build your home (they only build with hollow blocks!); we can still be
the one to build your foundation and walls with the ADVANCED system (no
hollow blocks); your contractor will do the finishings like tiles and paint
Cost: little higher than hollow blocks
Typhoon and Earthquake resistant.
No plaster. Two times faster built.
Columns and walls integrated as one system; walls also carry the next floor(s)
Weight is distributed evenly over the ground-floor unlike
hollow-block-construction where the column-footing put pressure on a small
This 'reduced-weight' building system is also perfect for steep hills or when
there are soil- or foundation problems.
The whole idea behind this is that most hollow-block buildings in the
Philippines are at each point very massive and heavy while that is not neccesary; look at an egg-shell, it is very strong but very thin...
There are just a few Philippine contractors who offers this method in the
the USA they use it for many years already in projects like the Trump Tower;
Faster Construction: 2x quicker is possible meaning you do not have to spend many months checking
the progress of your building.
Stronger: the structural integrity is higher, disaster resistant,
withstanding earthquakes, typhoons etc. Strength is 3,000 PSI.
Save Money: your building is stronger and
therefore last for generations.
no need to plaster.
Insulation optional: save money on
electricity bills for aircon and reduce noise from outside.
Controled Drying of Concrete: the temporary
panels/forms prevent rapid evaporation of water from the concrete which could
adversely impacts the quality of concrete; cracks.
Metal temporary forms are placed side by side. In the space between two forms you
find the steel reinforcing bars.
(Insulation with polystyrene is optional; save money on aircon-bills and reduce noise from
Electrical wires, plumbing etc. are easily integrated
inside the wall before casting.
They pour fresh concrete
mix between the forms; allow to set; and the forms are removed.
The walls, windows and door-openings are direct ready after casting and
precise and smooth; ready for painting. No need for plastering (only little
retouch); you save labour; FAST.
The result is a solid concrete wall (in
any thickness) that can carry the next floor or roof
walls are NOT designed to carry a load).
So every room will become some kind of 'box' (which is stronger than a
hollow-block building) and all rooms/walls together will resist any pressure
coming from any direction; not only earth-quakes or storms but also the
'natural' movement of the building throughout the years.
Your building will be finished quicker and become more durable than with
hollow blocks obviously.
Only a few skilled workers will manage the
building-process; mostly local labour and -resources are used to minimize costs.
This is not simply 'the use
of metal panels to cast walls'; engineers developed a unique building procedure (to
be patented) to construct houses and commercial buildings that are built
FASTER and LAST LONGER.
In the space between two panels
you find the steel reinforcing bars.
(Insulation with polystyrene is optional; save money on aircon-bills and reduce noise from
In the UK (England) all
new houses and commercial buildings have to be (by law) insulated
so that in the winter not so many energy for heating the house is needed,
and in the summer not so many energy for cooling the house is needed. This
saves energy and therefore saves the world's nature ('Green Building').
Other governments (also Philippines) will
likely follow this trend in the near future: INSULATION.
Insulated walls keep the heat (and noise)
outside and will save you on aircon-bills.
... Insulation; leave heat and
noise outside your house ...
hollow block walls placed seperate between concrete columns.
solid concrete walls and columns integrated as one system.
longer due to more labor because the walls, windows and door-openings
to be plastered.
up to 2x faster.
The walls, windows and door-openings are direct ready for paint after casting/drying; precise
and smooth. No need for plastering, only little retouch.
Strength; (750 PSI) The building
consists of columns that carry the next floor or roof. The
hollow-block walls are placed seperately between the columns; they are not
building consists of columns and walls made of steel-reinforced concrete.
Both can cary the next floor or roof.
All walls form some sort of box which is a very strong structure; all
rooms support eachother and can resist pressure from any direction during
storm or earthquake and through many years to come; Durability is high.
optional; save money on electricity bills for aircon and reduce
noise from outside.
Other names of this 'American
style of construction' are 'Removable Concrete Forms' or 'Poured Concrete Walls'
or 'Solid Concrete Home Solution' or 'Cast-in-place Concrete'. These are NOT
... used for residential- (houses)
and commercial buildings ...
Remember that you can
always replace a door or put new tiles in your house but you can NOT
change the structure or foundation of your home; make a wise decision...
If you already selected a (local-) contractor to build your home
(because he is a relative for example) you could build your foundation and walls
with the advanced system; your (local-) contractor will do the finishings like
tiles and paint etc.
How to select a Philippine Home
1) Ask how many projects he built WITHOUT HOLLOW BLOCKS.
If your contractor says
"we can do that also" they still do not have the skills - plus
years of experience - and you probably don't want to be their
Can your local
contractor show you a contract?
Does he has an
office; for how many years did he stay in that same office?
Over the last years we found
only two contractors
in the Philippines who offers better construction methods. Their clients
are 90% non-Filipino ('foreigners') and all projects are finished on
schedule. Maybe it is the Bible (which you will find on the table
when you visit their office) that makes the difference.
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