Living in the Philippines

Building a Cheap House in the Philippines

Building a very cheap house in the Philippines requires careful planning, cost-saving strategies, and a focus on using affordable materials and labor. Here are some steps and tips to help you build an economical house:

  1. Simple Design: Keep the design of your house simple. Avoid complex architectural features, multiple stories, and excessive decorative elements. A basic rectangular or square shape is often more cost-effective.

  2. Size and Layout: Build a smaller house with an efficient layout. Smaller homes generally require fewer materials and labor. Consider open floor plans to reduce the number of interior walls.

  3. Use Local Materials: Utilize locally sourced and readily available materials to reduce transportation costs. Traditional materials like bamboo and nipa palm can be cost-effective options for certain elements.

  4. Cost-Effective Foundation: Choose a simple foundation type that suits your soil conditions. A concrete slab-on-grade foundation is often more affordable than deep and complex foundations.

  5. Economical Roofing: Consider affordable roofing materials such as corrugated metal sheets or nipa palm thatch. These materials are durable and less expensive than high-end roofing options.

  6. Cost-Efficient Walling: Use concrete blocks or hollow blocks for walls instead of more expensive options like bricks. You can also consider alternative materials like bamboo or wood, which can be more affordable.

  7. DIY (Do-It-Yourself): If you have the necessary skills, consider doing some of the work yourself to save on labor costs. However, ensure that any DIY work complies with local building codes and safety standards.

  8. Energy Efficiency: Design the house to be energy-efficient to reduce long-term operational costs. Use natural ventilation, energy-efficient lighting, and insulation to keep energy bills low.

  9. Water and Plumbing: Install a basic plumbing system with simple fixtures. You can save on water heating costs by using solar water heaters or traditional tankless water heaters.

  10. Solar Panels: If your budget allows, invest in solar panels for electricity generation. Solar power can help reduce your long-term utility bills.

  11. Local Labor: Hire local laborers who may be more cost-effective than hiring from outside your area. Make sure they are skilled and experienced.

  12. Reuse and Recycle: Consider using reclaimed or recycled materials for some components, such as doors, windows, or flooring.

  13. Shop Around: Compare prices for materials and get quotes from multiple suppliers and contractors to find the best deals.

  14. Plan and Budget Carefully: Create a detailed budget and stick to it. Avoid unnecessary changes or additions to the plan during construction, as these can drive up costs.

  15. Permitting and Regulations: Ensure that you have all the necessary permits and adhere to local building regulations. Non-compliance can lead to costly fines and delays.

  16. Community Involvement: Sometimes, community projects or cooperative building efforts can help reduce costs through shared labor and resources.

Remember that while cost-saving measures are important, it's crucial not to compromise safety, structural integrity, or the comfort of the occupants. Always prioritize the well-being and longevity of the house. Consulting with a local architect or builder with experience in low-cost housing can also be valuable in achieving your goal of building an affordable house in the Philippines.

Can you build a Super Cheap House in the Philippines?

Yes you can!

For a normal house in the Philippines you should consider the building cost of about 15,000 PHP to 25,000 PHP per sqm when you ask a construction company to build it for you.

But if you buy all the material by yourself and hire independant carpenters from the neigbourhood, you should be able to do it for about half of that price (about 10 000 Peso per m²). It will cost you some nerves, however.

Super Cheap Houses (Habitat Houses)

Earthquake Replacement House, Bohol Philippines
Starting at 26.850 Peso: Earthquake Replacement House

After the earthquake on Bohol Island in October 2013, there where companies which offered some kind of prefabricated small houses, set up in a couple of days, starting at only 28,850 Peso.

This was more a hut than a house but the ones that cost a 'bit more like 80,000 or 100,000 Peso looked quite nice already.

Habitat house Philippines
A Habitat House on Bohol Philippoines

Also after the earthquake which destroyed many houses on Bohol, affected people received free material from the government to build small houses for themself with a (thin) steel frame, walls from woven bamboo covered with cement and a steel roof.

However, even if you had to buy that material, I think the whole house would cost not more than 100.000 Peso (2000 Euro) or so.