Is it Possible to Build Flood-Proof Houses in the Philippines?

House contractors in the Philippines and the other members of a construction team face a couple of dilemmas right now: Is there a way to build flood-proof houses? Is the only option is to go up or vertical like erecting condominium buildings?

The world population as of 2016 is 7.4 billion and, by 2024, Worldometers estimates it will reach 8 billion. By the way, our country bags the 12th spot for most populated countries in world. We shouldn’t be proud of that; we should be alarmed. How are we going to squeeze in 8 billion people in 57,268,900 sq. mi. of total land surface?

No wonder we are considering unorthodox methods such as colonizing Mars. This is an out of this world solution indeed. But we are forgetting something. The total land surface we mentioned above is only 29 per cent of our planet’s surface, according to One World – Nations Online. It means we still have 71 per cent left. Where would that be? It is none other than our waters; the oceans, lakes, seas and other bodies of water.

If we can’t beat the floods, might as well adapt to the situation.

Is it possible to build a floating community? Fortunately, it is and, in fact, other countries have tried it. A classic example is the ‘Floating City’ of Venice, which was constructed in 5th century A.D. in order to escape the barbarians that were marauding Rome’s former territories. How about in our time?

The Floating Seahorse

Source: Instagram/heartofcity.realty

The latest is Dubai’s ‘Floating Seahorse’ which was developed by Kleindienst. Telegraph states that it consists of 42 floating villas and according to the developer each one is like “a boat without propulsion.” Each unit is three stories tall and weighs 188 tons. However, the term ‘floating’ doesn’t mean it is moving because it will be docked among the artificial islands of The World.’ What is ‘The World’?

The world

Source: Instagram/f-althani

It is another Dubai’s man-made wonder. It is an artificial archipelago that consists of private, man-made islands which resembles a shape of a world map and it was completed in 2008. The World’s first inhabitant is the Royal Island Beach Club, Huffington Post reports. And now, the ‘Floating Seahorse’ is its next world-class attraction.

The Netherlands also embraced this concept not as a tourist attraction but to solve their problem with floods. Yup, our country is not the only one that gets submerged when strong typhoons and rains batter our lands. Deutsche Welle (DW) describes how Netherland’s structures float. “The base of the building is filled with cement and heavy-duty foam. Rings attached to sunken posts make sure the house stays put.” The downside is the house is a bit rocky but a resident named Willem Blokker says on his interview in DW that you’ll get used to it over time. It is also their solution to fight climate change.

Should our country follow what the Netherlands did? This was the suggestion of Architect Felino “Jun” Palafox, Jr., according to Science.ph. He sees this as a solution for a flood-proof urban housing. Other than floating houses, he also suggests vertical living—which house contractors in the Philippines are good at—and better drainage systems.

What’s stopping us? “We really need political will to get funding [for these projects],” Mr. Palafox says.

Spot on.

 

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Green House Construction Materials

Is it really worth it to go green with house construction in the Philippines despite its hefty price tag? There are several reasons people still want to build green homes or buildings. According to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a green home can improve air and water quality; conserve and restore natural resources; reduce operating costs; and enhance occupant comfort and health. How is this possible? The answer lies in the construction materials used starting from the roof of the building down to its flooring.

Below is the list of the materials you can choose from to start a green or sustainable house construction in the Philippines:

Roof

Waste Cooking oil

Who knew this waste can be a roof coating against the scorching sun? Ben Wen, Ph.D., the leader of the research project, describes it as bio-based intelligent roof coating that could reduce both heating and cooling costs as it responds to the external environment. Don’t attempt to pour used cooking oil on your roof just yet because it needs to be processed into a liquid polymer first.

Concrete Tile

If you want a more solid material, then you may choose this one. It is made from sand, water and cement and when coated with “cool colors” it makes the roof more energy-efficient by reflecting more sun’s rays compared to the typical dark colors of a roof.

Photovoltaic or PV roofing

Instead of reflecting the sun’s rays back to the atmosphere, why not trap and convert them to something useful? By using PV roofing, solar power that is produced by the sun can be turned into electricity. Who doesn’t want free and renewable electricity?

Building Material

Straw bale

We often associate the word “organic” with food or beverages, and anything that is edible. But with straw bales you can build an organic house as well. Building a straw bale house is labor-intensive but rest assured that your house is fire resistant.

Low VOC Green Paint

If you can’t pull it off with the expensive structural building materials, coat your entire house with green paint that is low in VOC or Volatile Organic Compounds. Typically, paints are high in VOC and constant exposure can cause headaches, loss of coordination, and damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system, as stated by EPA.  Why green? Sensational Color explains that color green is “calming, stress-relieving and invigorating.”

Fiber Cement Board (FCB)

It is made of cement, sand, and wood fiber. It makes the house resistant from fire, wind, termite and water. FCB can withstand any type of climates.

Flooring

Bamboo

We don’t need to look further because we have a lot of these in our country and it only takes three to six years for it to grow which categorizes it as a renewable material.

Linoleum

It is a mixture of natural ingredients like cork, wood flour, and linseed oil. Linoleum is considered as eco-friendly flooring and it doesn’t emit VOC.

Plyboo

Plyboo is laminated bamboo plywood invented by Smith & Fong Company. According to Inhabitat, Plyboo is stronger than any hardwoods like oak, but it is still lightweight and eco-friendly.

Green or sustainable house construction in the Philippines still has a long way to go before it can be fully-adapted by every Filipino who dreams to own a house. But the moment everyone wholly accepts green construction, our dying environment or planet will soon no longer sigh in resignation but in relief because we are putting an effort to saving it.

Construction Services for Building Green Homes

Should we give the “go” signal on construction services which aims to build “green” or “healthy” homes? But don’t confuse green as being healthy. “‘Green’ doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. Green means conserving energy,” according to Richard Corsi, associate professor in the Texas Institute for the Indoor Environment (University of Texas) in Austin on SF Gate.

Building a cost-effective and energy-efficient house goes all down to planning. You just have to choose a right mix of green technologies that cost less with those which costs a bit more than you’ll have yourself a “green” house, as stated on a paper entitled “What is a Green Building?” published at US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) website.

How about choosing your design team? Does it have to be a company specializing in eco-construction services? That may be a good thing, but not essential, “because the collective knowledge, experience, and dedication of the design team will determine the overall success of the green project,” the paper further explains.

What are the factors that need to be considered by the design team during the planning phase of the project? The LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification program lays out the prerequisites on how to build a “green” home. What is LEED? As explained on U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) website, they certify building projects that promote or support sustainable construction strategies and practices based on the following credit categories:

  • Location and transportation
  • Materials and resources
  • Water efficiency
  • Energy and atmosphere
  • Indoor environmental quality
  • Smart location & linkage

If you really want to build a “green” home, it should be decided before the site is selected or even before you hire the construction services of a subcontractor. The reason behind this is “many of the green criteria are affected by site characteristics and some sites are inappropriate for certain green projects,” based on the “What is a Green Building?” paper.

Aside from the site location, here are the other techniques to build an energy-efficient home, according to a blog article on Conserve Energy Future website:

  • Build a smaller house because a large home costs more to heat and cool.
  • Choose a location near public transportations and major commercial establishments to reduce carbon footprint.
  • Incorporate the principle of 3 Re’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) during the construction phase. Reduce buying raw and conventional construction materials and choose recycled materials instead. You may also reuse old materials such as wood floors or scrap metals.
  • Choose solar panels as a substitute for coal-fired power plants. In your own little way, you’ve contributed to reduce the air pollution emitted by these plants.
  • Install rainwater harvesting systems that can be used in toilets, washing the car and watering the plants.

It is true that building a “green” house is more expensive than the traditional one. The construction service fees may be the same, but the materials can hurt your budget. However, this type of costly investment will pay off in the long run. According to Western North Carolina Green Building Council, it can reduce operating costs; improve indoor air quality; and more importantly, it has a positive impact on the health of its occupants and the environment.

5 Signs of a Fraud Contractor: Beware!

Building your dream house is one of the most important investment you can have, but doing it by yourself will be very difficult. There is good news if you want to build it without having to sacrifice your time and effort, you can hire a contractor to do the job. But you have to be really careful when choosing the right company to do it.

Here are five tips to help you identify the real contractors from the fake ones:

#1. No License or Certificate of Insurance to show.

The first thing to check from every contractor is their license to operate and certificate of insurance for their projects. If your contractor fails to show them to you, or refuses to present them during your first meeting, you better run away from such frauds.

#2. No Business Address.

If the agent does not have a business or office address, he/she is definitely a fraud! How can you locate him/her if the physical address is nowhere to be found? If in case, there is, verify the office to make sure that you are talking to the right person.

#3. Will prompt you to name all the deposits to him/her.

Fraud agents and contractors will surely prompt you to name all the deposits to him/her instead of the material suppliers. Do not be too quick to release the money and issue it to them unless you know that the account is for the supplier and not to them.

#4. Offers a very low price or promos.

When someone offers you a very low contract price or try to persuade you to avail the services that your house already has. Frauds will present very affordable offers to get you into their tricks. Be wise enough to decline such very low priced offers.

#5. Will hurry you to pay for the materials right away.

He/She will be persistent to hurry you about the payments for the construction materials, even if it has not yet been delivered. Frauds are after your money, you better not let your guard down, especially when payments are involved.

If you want to hire a trusted contractor for any construction services, you can contact TOPNOTCH Construction. You can also check their website to verify that they have a good reputation, licensed, and,  100% not fraud.

Construction Services

Construction Services Must Have

Construction services are available everywhere nowadays. Because the necessity for contractor companies increases, different companies offer one or more type of services. With the current improvements in the machinery and construction tools, projects can be completed ahead of time, with quality and at a price you can afford.

But before you hire a contractor, just think about these qualities and capabilities that a construction Company Must Have;

Best Workers

Top-notch Construction is one of the top contractors that provide the best workers to ensure that the project will be done with High quality. They hire the best workers may it be for a house construction, house renovation, or even commercial construction. They have the best structural designers and engineers to supervise and ensure that the project will be built with safety, quality, and state of the art results.

Best Materials

In making your dream house come true, make sure that you hire the contractor that offers top quality materials. So that you can be sure that your house can withstand any season and environmental difficulties, i.e. storms, etc. Quality must come first without suffering the budget.

Best Tools

Construction will not be possible without the best tools and machinery. The outcome of the project will be better when high-end tools are used. The timeline will be met with the use of those advanced technological machines that are specially built for construction services.

Best Results

Results will be the top criterion when analyzing a contractor. Are their projects generates the best result and customer satisfaction? Are there testimonials from previous clients that they have the best and quality result? Do you receive a recommendation from your friend that already tested their services?

Well, I hope these reminders will help you in choosing the best contractor out there. Happy building!