| How Much Is the Cost of Building a House in the Philippines? |

By Arch. Kiko Fernandez | February 28, 2022

There is a good chance that you already have an idea of what your house will look like and how many rooms it will have. You will have seen different designs from Pinterest, Facebook, from a friend, or on TV. The next big question is: How much does it cost to build your house?

This question is only useful if you already have a proper design done by an architect. Otherwise, the truthful answer is, it depends. If you don’t have a design yet, a better question would be: “What kind of house can I afford?

You see, budget is the biggest factor here no matter how many people say otherwise. There are only three obstacles for a structure to be built: physics, technology, and budget. We cannot defy the laws of physics and we are limited by the existing technology in the construction industry. Since we are talking about a house in the Philippines, it’s highly unlikely that you want something “out of this world” in your residence. Hence, we’re left with the last obstacle which is budget.

Decide On a Budget

We are not the ones to tell you what you can and can’t afford. Building a house is not like going to a car dealership or going to a store where you automatically ignore the items out of your budget. When building a house, you must tell your architects and contractors how much you are willing to spend. For a deeper dive into the topic of budget disclosure, check out this article: Should I Tell My Contractor My Budget? 

Use Rough Estimates 

We use the rough estimates method to determine if a structure can be built within a certain budget. Use the charts at the bottom of this page for reference. 

To check if your project is feasible, simply multiply your desired floor area (not the lot area) with the indicated rates. If you wish to have a 250-square meter house and your budget is 3 million pesos, your project would not be feasible. There are two ways to go about this if your expected budget did not match your expected dream house 1) Increase your budget or 2) Decrease the size of your house. Use these rates only to determine feasibility, and not as a final number for a contract.

Size Is Not the Only Thing That Matters

There is actually a third way to make the most out of your budget, but it requires a more thorough analysis. Professionals will examine the function of each element in your house and its costs. By weighing the costs and benefits, your team of professionals can make suggestions for alternate construction methods, designs, or materials that improve the value of the project or save on costs. Therefore, it is important to hire professionals. This process is called value engineering.

Detailed Cost Estimates

We are often asked if we can provide a cost estimate for a certain project. To give a detailed cost estimate, there needs to be a design that we use as a reference to give you a more accurate cost. This type of estimate considers almost all the factors of the project to come up with the cost that will reflect in the final contract. Always remember that the architect’s design comes first before the contractor’s detailed estimate.

Other Factors That Affect Cost

The “per square meter” basis or rough estimates only considers the built area of the superstructure. This excludes fences, gates, lawns, and other open areas. If you want a fence and gate (as most people do) in your house, add that to the rough estimate calculation. The slope of your lot will also affect your costs. If you have a sloping lot, the architects and engineers would have to design your house to withstand the slope, something that is not done if built on a flat lot. Another option is to fill the slope with earth so the structure would be relatively standard, but there is still an added cost to fill the slope.

City Rates vs Provincial Rates

There is some truth to the common notion that provincial rates are cheaper compared to city rates. It may be true for the small and low-cost types of structures, but it becomes debatable for the standard and regulation-compliant structures. There are instances where it is more expensive to construct in the provinces, especially in remote or isolated areas. 

A primary factor to consider is logistics. Although there are suppliers of raw materials in the provinces, there are only a few distributors of specialized materials such as structural steel and architectural finishes. These must be transported from the cities which add costs. Sometimes there are no readily available utilities in the area, so the contractor has to construct temporary facilities so the project can be executed. Labor rates are indeed lower in provincial areas, but so is the gap in skill. Workers from the city centers are almost always more skilled and are needed to be deployed and housed for provincial projects which adds more cost. It is not automatically cheaper to construct in the provinces because of these factors.

“How much is the cost of building a house” is a question we contractors and professionals are commonly asked, but it is the wrong question to ask. It is counterproductive, and the answer is always to explain that it’s not that simple, and it depends. 

Imagine you sell cars of all types and brands, and I ask you “how much does it cost to buy a car?” A Suzuki S-Presso costs around 500k, and a Ferrari 458 costs 22 million. You can give me an answer that is technically correct by saying “500k to 22 million” which will leave me as clueless as before I asked the question, or you can offer me the Suzukis, where you run the risk of offending me by offering me such a low price range, or you can offer me the Ferraris where you run the risk of alienating me as I complain of you ripping me off. If I asked, “this is what I want and this is my budget, what cars can you offer me?” then it would be a more productive conversation.

The construction business is a whole lot more complicated as there is no fixed price for every type of project. Ask the right questions, decide on your budget, assess feasibility using the rough estimate method. Adjust your budget or project scope accordingly, have the design commissioned (if you haven’t already), and ask a contractor for detailed cost estimates. 

Archadius Construction Corporation specializes in residential construction and remodeling as well as condominium and commercial fit-outs. For your construction needs, you may reach us through Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/archadiusconstruction. You may also email us at contact@archadiusconstruction.com or call/text us at 0916-321-6094 / 0969-277-4634.