Friday, August 17th, 2018

Isabela House (Construction Log 18) Roof Continues / Fence Planning Beginnings


The Northcon crew were steaming ahead today. Lots of activity in every area of the house and many skills/craftsmanship in evidence. I feel a certain buzz of excitemen as I wander through the rooms of the house and see all these skills coming together to create a lovely home.

I have always been fascinated by the way so many of the tools they use are created on site in DIY fashion. For instance, there are a number of handmade ladders constructed from wood and bamboo. The framework the welders climb to reach the roof trusses has also been welded together onsite. Tools for adjusting the curve of a window consist of a short piece of water tube with a nail through the end. The man making the mouldings for the windows uses a piece of shaped aluminium. Although very simply made, in the hands of craftsmen these handmade tools appear to be just as effective as a product you would buy from a hardware store. Welding equipment and certain power tools like grinders are provided, however.

At the end of the day we met the engineer we have appointed to handle the perimeter fencing permit application. We will manage this sub-project on our own, without assistance from Northcon, as we have declined their revised quotation which we felt was still too high. Unlike Northcon we don’t have overheads or profits to consider so where we can do certain aspects of the project for ourselves we should.

We will use re-inforced hollow block for the wall elements with half moon steel railing covered dips to maintain the view from our windows. The wall will also have rampart elements to prevent any collapse and will be set back from the backfill. The front wall will consist of attractive steel railings above a wall, but the back and sides will be kept very simple to minimise cost while at the same time providing appropriate security around the two houses.

Backfill, driveway and maybe a pool remain to be discussed with Northcon but no bid has yet been received.

The height and length of the wall was agreed with our engineer and he will prepare the plans over the next week before submitting them with supporting documents for the fence permit. We have to go to the barangay hall in Patul tomorrow to obtain the barangay fence construction permission. This has to be submitted to city hall along with the other documents. Once we have the necessary permit we will order materials and Gina’s brother will direct the construction.

This morning we visited the barangay hall in Patul to obtain the fence construction permission. This was our second visit, the first being last October when we obtained the building permission. The barangay captain was there this time and was very welcoming saying how impressed he was by the construction work which of course is also providing a lot of work for local men.

In several places there were posters and other messages of support for the re-election of the mayor for what will be her second and final term in office.

The barangay officials are always so friendly and helpful, a contrast to the feeling we had when visiting city hall. The latter tend to be very officious although individual employees we know as friends are always helpful.

Anyway, the barangay officials made us very welcome again and discussed other things we might need. They were keen to recommend an agency that could provide a security guard for us (which is also a job for someone from the barangay), although we pointed out that at present this is the responsibility of the contractor. If they have something stolen they have to replace it and have insurance for this purpose built into the accepted contract price. Security after we occupy the house is another matter and we may employ a night security guard to watch over the property.

The barangay captain said once we move in we must make sure we have his phone number so that if there are any problems he will respond immediately.

As we left we noticed that occupying half of one wall on the ground floor, painted in very large letters, was the full text of Republic Act 9485, the act governing red tape and corruption of public servants. This is very encouraging, although from our own experience it would seem that there are still people who for whatever reason feel they can ignore both the law and the associated penalties with impunity. We hope the new act is fully enforced as it would be enormously beneficial to the Philippines and do much to expunge its reputation as one of the most corrupt nations.

Becoming involved in the community would seem quite a good idea since we want to be accepted as friendly neighbors. There is an organization equivalent to Round Table that we might join once we move into our new home.

Much of the what we saw at the site in the last couple of days has continued. Still a frenzy of activity. On the viewing deck they were preparing the floor and railing pillars.

We sat in the shade of some trees in the next field and chatted to a man from Patul who it transpires lives next to a small lot that Gina purchased together with her sister several years ago, but could not locate when we searched for it recently. We gave the man a lift back to his home in Patul and he led us to the lot in question. We drove to the end of one of the narrow barangay roads but the small track leading to Gina’s lot past some small houses was too narrow to drive up so I reversed and parked. The lot is around 200sm, big enough for a couple of houses to rent out or for growing vegetables or fruit trees. First Gina has to complete the legal transfer of the title as all she has at present is the deed of sale. The owner is elderly and not in good health so this is probably something we should get on with when our house is sorted.

The Patul man spoke quite good English but seemed to have a fixation about finding gold and knowing millionaires. We moved around topics in the conversation but each time he would associate it somehow with millionaires. This was becoming rather annoying.  In the end I said I would never want to be one as, having worked for several in my life, they never seem happy and often spend their time worrying about losing their fortunes.

At the end of the day we celebrated the birthday of Gina’s niece and the men including myself consumed Red Horse beer. This also seemed to help those who are normally shy by nature find new confidence to speak English to me. It also seemed to help their singing of videoke songs, the majority of which are in English anyway. Most had good voices, certainly a great deal more in tune than the shop assistant who followed us all round the SCC store earlier this week.

Check out this video: Hyner House Construction 27 January 2010

This morning, at the contractors suggestion, we drove out to the site to meet the window suppliers. Apparently it’s a Manila-based business, owned by a Brit. They discussed the tinting and pointed at that two layers of green tinted glass will be dark green. Given that we will have curtains and nets we decided to revert to clear glass for both houses and called the boss man of our contractor in Manila to advise him. The cost will be less so we suggested a trade off against the additional cost of having separate pressurized tanks and pumps for each house, another decision we made recently.

The window supplier measured 9 windows today and will revisit the site to measure the remaining windows when they have been adjusted by the masons.

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