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Why build with the 'old style' hollow blocks when there are much better construction methods available..?




Boracay real estate





 "Your Philippine House and the Eskimo's Snowshoes"

Philippine Hollow 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 Typhoon- and Earthquake Resistant

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.

Philippines building home

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 crack; 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 building-method, for obvious reasons...
1) a hollow-block wall is as strong as its weakest link which is a hollow-block;
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:

Philippine earth quake Philippines earthquakes


Here is as example an actual inquiry we received:
BRYAN ([email protected]) on Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 11:19:49
address: ... TONDO MLA
Contact: 0915...

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 snowshoes...

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 decision...
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 etc.





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) and roof.
Weight is distributed evenly over the ground-floor unlike hollow-block-construction where the column-footing put pressure on a small space.
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 Philippines while in the USA they use it for many years already in projects like the Trump Tower;


Philippine contractors


  • 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.

  • Less Labor: 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.







Philippine building materials

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 outside.)

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 drying; precise and smooth; ready for painting. No need for plastering (only little retouch); you save labour; FAST.


cost of construction materials Philippines

The result is a solid concrete wall (
in any thickness) that can carry the next floor or roof (hollow-block 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.





Philippine construction




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 outside.)

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.





Philippine insulation


... Insulation; leave heat and noise outside your house ...


Tablas Philippines




Hollow Block


American Construction


Method; hollow block walls placed seperate between concrete columns.


  Method; solid concrete walls and columns integrated as one system.



Construction time; longer due to more labor because the walls, windows and door-openings have to be plastered.


Construction time; 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 load-bearing.



Strength; (3,000 PSI) The 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.



Insulation; none.


Insulation; 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 'pre-fabricated walls'.



Cebu home builder Philippines


... used for residential- (houses) and commercial buildings ...



Philippine house design




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 Builder?

1) Ask how many projects he built WITHOUT HOLLOW BLOCKS.
(That's all.)

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 'test-case'...

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.






builders for Cebu home construction





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