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Question To Ask A Potential Contractor For Hire.


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Look at previous work. Ask how much it cost to build !

Pay nothing in advance. Buy the materials needed yourself.  Get receipts. 

Make sure the materials and tools are stored correctly...not left scattered all over the place, out in the rain, etc. 

Pay the wages weekly...at an agreed daily rate (correct for your area of the Phils).

Watch them like a hawk.  Don't lend or buy them good tools. 

Expect the worst, and you won't be disappointed.

I look at it this way:  They can do the heavy work (I'm too old now), and I'll tidy up and fix the broken/screwed up stuff myself later. 

If you can't do that, you're in for a world of pain and stress. Find somewhere to rent.  

I hope that's not too negative. :biggrin:

PS. Bear in mind that half the problems on these projects are simply caused by this 'loss of face'  nonsense in this country. :rolleyes:

Edited by graham59
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To be fair my contractor built mine just like the plans.   

I have told this story many times and at least once before on this forum.   When we were looking for an architect/builder the first one that was recommended to us listened carefully to what we wante

Are you honest?  Do you do good quality work?  Do you have a lot of satisfied customers?  Are your employees all trained and experienced?  Will you stick to the agreed budget and schedule?  I can answ

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Example...YESTERDAY:

I'm having the upper outside walls of our new 2 storey extension plastered.

I go outside and notice that the scaffolding has been removed from the wall last being worked on, but there is a panel completely devoid of plaster...and evidently going to be left like that.The plasterer tells me (via the Mrs) that he couldn't do that part, because some of the plaster would fall down a gap at the bottom of the panel, where two walls and a roof section met.  :no:

I asked them to put back the scaffolding, and then handed up to them a length of coco-lumber, (that had been in plain sight of the workers) which I'd cut to length to cover the 10 foot long by 2 inch wide gap.  Amazing rocket science, eh.

The work was then completed.  :rolleyes:

Edited by graham59
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What would I ask?  "Can you show me the last 3 houses you've built and can I talk to the people that bought them?"  If that proves successful... you MIGHT have a chance of getting what you want.

Not that you asked.... If you're a foreigner, I can't think of a worse way to invest one's money than to build a house from scratch in the Philippines.  I've seen at least 10 people try....not one completed anything close to what they expected or were planning to pay. Some took 5+ years.  I'm guessing there are a few out there who had a good experience and would tell me I'm wrong..... but I am positive they are in the minority of those who built. 

 

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8 minutes ago, Joey G said:

 I've seen at least 10 people try....not one completed anything close to what they expected or were planning to pay.

I guess you have not met a lot of the forum members in person.  Many have done that.  Not up to me to list them but search the threads and posts of the active members and see for yourself.

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2 hours ago, Dave Hounddriver said:

I guess you have not met a lot of the forum members in person.  Many have done that.  Not up to me to list them but search the threads and posts of the active members and see for yourself.

Just giving my experience... and I'll trust you are correct... hopefully they all reply with their stories of success and give the OP some words of wisdom... 

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Show the contractor the plans and/or pictures of the house you want built.  Ask him "Have you built houses like this quality and style?"  If the answer is anything other than "Yes" you may want to consider another contractor.  If the answer is "I can build that", the actual answer is "No", again consider another contractor.  If the contractor has built homes like this, get the address(es) and go look at them.  If possible knock on the door(s) and speak with the owners to see what they experienced during the build.  

Questions for owners of previous builds:

Any issue with quality?  Any issue with substandard materials?  Any issues with going over agreed budget?  Did contractor get required permits and inspections?  Keep in mind that Filipinos are reluctant to criticize others and expats often seem more likely to find fault than praise.  So you may have to sort the wheat from the chaff when getting answers.

 

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Just to add to what Mike said you may be limited to the people you get building your home depending on the location.  The contractor may have build some decent homes 30 or 40 miles away but when it comes to employing workers that turn up every morning nice and early he may just use locals with very limited exxperience.  For me a good gauge is how long he has employed his workers. 

From my limited experience a worker here will never admit to not being able to do something, maybe a bit of Filipino pride maybe a bit of needing the money but judge then on whether they own their own tools or ask to borrow yours.

Once you find your contractor try to get a plan off of him as to the order he is going to complete tasks as you'd be surprised how many times they don't think ahead. I sit watching a comedy or errors where I live most days as they build scaffolding to repair something high up then take it down the following day.  Two days later it's back up to complete the next task and the process has been repeating itself for the last few months.  They must have lost a weeks work or gained a weeks pay by being disorganised.  I watched them plaster the front of a hotel and they did a great job, the area was very large and they made it as smooth as you could get then they put a few layers of paint on, it looked very professional.  One week later they were back up with the scaffolding knocking chunks out of the plaster as they'd obviously looked at the next page of the plans and the front of the hotel was meant to be tiled, it was too smooth and the tiles wouldn't bond with the paint. :571c66d400c8c_1(103): 

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I can summarize that, generally, our new home was properly constructed. The main contention points are the finish work.  There are lots of detail work that L and I will need to do - re-painting over varnish overspray, replacing screws in door hinges so they all match, working on the door hinge installations too, since they obviously did not use real wood chisels to set the hinges correctly. Many doors do not close properly. I know how to do this and am a bit surprised that the workers did not seem to know how to fit doors - or locks - properly. This outfit built the apartment building where we lived for several years. It had lots of detail issues, but seemed to be otherwise well constructed.

To repeat previous comments from myself and others... you must be on site as much as possible - if not all the time - to monitor and supervise the workers. Yesterday two boys were working on fixing some seedy welding on stainless railings. After not hearing much from them upstairs, I went up and they were just sitting there jaw-boning and not working. They got back to work right away again.

The workers here are quite capable, but L considers them to be lazy and I agree.... They will do what is requested and nothing more and MUST be supervised. I agree with Graham that the boys can and will do the heavy lifting and hard labour, but L and I must do the finish work. So I advise anyone who may consider building their own home (or should I say "having one constructed") that he or she must be vigilant, on-site, wary, and prepared for some disappointment if expecting Western quality work...

Edited by Tommy T.
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10 hours ago, Joey G said:

What would I ask?  "Can you show me the last 3 houses you've built and can I talk to the people that bought them?"  If that proves successful... you MIGHT have a chance of getting what you want.

I have told this story many times and at least once before on this forum.  
When we were looking for an architect/builder the first one that was recommended to us listened carefully to what we wanted.  We gave him a list of rooms we wanted in our home and the minimum  sizes of each plus a couple pictures of what we would like the outside of the home to like similar.   After the third  drawing attempt he it was pretty much what we wanted but the price was a little higher than we wanted.  It was at this point I asked him if it would be possible to maybe visit a couple construction sites he had underway.  He happily agreed and even picked me up at my home a few days later.  As we drove to each site he will tell me a little about the owners and the project.  The third site and last stop of the day he told me he had built the owners a new showroom/dealership for their motorcycle business.  Their house was in a very exclusive subdivision and was only three years old.  He told me after completing their commercial building they asked him to come to his home because they had an issue.  They told him the problem was their new building was now nicer than than their home and him to remodel and expand it.  When we arrived the main construction was winding down and changing to finish.  He showed me around as he talked to the foreman and workers.  As he was explaining some details to the housewife I walked around the site by myself.  Soon a gentleman arrived and came introduced himself to me as the owner.  He asked me if I was going to use his architect for building my home?  I told him I was considering it.  His reply was, “Well, I can tell you now, if you don’t use him, you will be making the biggest mistake of your life.”  On the ride home I told him I wanted him to build our house but where can we save some money.  Later we agreed on a price and we have never been happier with his work, his workers work, and all the materials he used.  There were very few days I did not visit the site and when I noticed something wrong, I would text him and allow him to see and then explain to the foreman.  Most all the areas I had cut to save money, he either reversed or upgraded during the build and never charged extra.  The price agreed was the price we paid.  My wife even change some major rooms and walls on the the first floor and we added an extra room to the back.  So yes, there are some good builders out there but I’m sure we got lucky.  Actually we were so impressed with his work and honesty that I told my wife if we had known him before I would have had him build our house before we moved so it would be ready when we arrived, saving a year of rent.:tiphat:

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To be fair my contractor built mine just like the plans. :hystery:

 

house.jpg

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