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A Graphic Describing What Can Happen to Unsupported Self-Builds in Bohol

What Is a Self-Build Home?

A ‘self-build’ commonly refers to a highly motivated person who obtains a building plot and proceeds to build their home on that land. The term does not necessarily refer to completing the work yourself; it usually refers to an owner commissioning a series of contractors to build their home.

Self-builds are an exhilarating experience, you take a beautiful plot of land and convert it into a dwelling for you and your family. If you want to create something that represents you, that fits with your lifestyle and is architecturally appealing a self-build may be for you. Self-builds can be exceedingly rewarding and exciting. They are not, however without their risks, especially in a tropical setting like Bohol, Philippines.

Risks with a self-built home

This section outlines some that you encounter on a self-build journey:

  • Lack of Skilled Staff: Bohol is full of carpenters, masons, plumbers, and electricians. In fact, every neighbor, cousin or friend is usually a builder. Rarely, however, these are an expert well-trained tradesman. You will never really know until you see their workmanship by which time it can be too late leaving you with a poor quality build that will need constant repairs and maintenance. It can also be dangerous when electrics and plumbing are installed wrong!
  • Dealing with Government Bodies for Permits:  The fencing and building permit process and complying with Government Building Codes can be complicated;
  • Unreliable Supervisors: Sometimes key staff members are known to disappear after down payment or even after heated disputes (usually over missing receipts and under the influence of alcohol);
  • Over-Pricing by preferred suppliers and alleged (often untraceable) kickbacks: This is, unfortunately, a common occurrence in Bohol, we have learned from many experiences like this.  We have a list of preferred suppliers and subcontracts that do not engage in these practices and these are the only ones you will see on-site;
  • Magical Disappearing Act:  Materials and equipment (and sometimes supervisor/key staff) disappear never to be seen again.  A common occurrence that will set your build back considerably in time and resources;
  • Dealing with Damaged and Substandard Materials and Goods: Not only that but you need to ensure that  deliveries come on time when the workers need them (reducing wasted time and wasted materials);
  • Poorly Implemented Self-Builds: Quickly remind you (and your wallet) of the real costs of poor workmanship.  Burst pipes, overflowing septic tank, the occasional electric shock or even termites in the middle of the new kitchen cabinets are some of the situations we have seen.  Green Designs will never let these things happen to our clients.


The Benefits of Self-Build with a little extra help from Green Designs

There is a real sense of pride and reward that comes with building your own house. A home is much more than a box with a roof.  It is about creating a space where you enjoy your children growing up or the active retirement that you have dreamed about. Bohol provides a unique backdrop where these dreams can come true.

Our team is here to ensure you maximize the benefits and avoid the pitfalls of a self-build. We will bring your build in on time, on budget and to the specifications and quality upon agreed. We firmly put you as the Chief Executive Officer of the build, optimizing the level of support that we provide to you for building your dream house.

You decide how much support we will provide. We have worked with many clients who even like to provide their tools, workers, do all the purchasing of materials and from time to time have been known to chip in and help the team out. Whatever you want we will provide the support needed to ensure you have an efficient build, emphasizing the benefits of a self-build while helping you avoid the pitfalls and sharing our extensive knowledge and experience with you.

Our whole team abides by these design principles:

  • Excellent quality and finishing: Using local available resources and materials to the greatest extent possible;
  • Sound tropical design: These include strategies like inside and outside living, maximizing the house positioning, minimizing solar gain, maximizing insulation where necessary and implementing locally suitable solutions to ensure the comfort of all residents;
  • Houses that look good and perform well: Cooling, functionality and a healthy interior too. We will advise you on which paints and finishing materials have high levels of toxicity and are best avoided, especially with;
  • Insect proofing, security advice, and disaster-proofing: We will advise you on best practices for security, pests, earthquakes and even the occasional typhoon that descends on Bohol;
  • Best available information and professional craftsmen: We have up to date building techniques, and most importantly a pool of skilled tradesmen who are proud of their work and that deliver high-quality finishes;
  • We are experienced in “green technologies” in Bohol: We can happily share with you what could fit your build. These green technologies are not only clean and healthy but can save you money over the long term (and make you feel good too).

Our Story – Green Designs Bohol

Green Designs was formed because of the owner’s experiences and frustrations with the poor quality workmanship and bad building practices. He was surprised that quality was so poor when in fact there are some truly excellent craftsmen and workers in the Visayas region.  The owners first ever build had three different architects, two separate supervisors and eventually he took over the build himself. (The original architect ran away after he was caught red-handed taking substantial kickbacks on all the materials being purchased). It was this experience that showed him there must be a better way to build homes and give clients the home they deserve and that paved the way for the registration of Green Designs.

One of our fundamental beliefs is that bidding is not beneficial to either the owner or the builders who engage in the practice. Bidding ultimately leads to expensive and poor quality building. The client therefore either overpays, or the construction company drops the bid to win against the competition. This will lead to shortcuts by shaving off activities and “fast-tracking” the build. The quality of the build and the costs of the build suffers. A poor quality build is one which will come back to haunt the owner later on with significant repair and maintenance costs.

Green Designs began work over a decade ago by assembling a small crew of highly skilled and hand-picked craftsmen and laborers. We then started building bespoke residences for sale in Cebu. We then moved to Bohol and continued to renovate and build houses for both friends and private clients.  We now offer a range of design and build services around Bohol. Every job we do is done right; we only do high-quality building services of which both client and the Green Designs team can be proud.

nterested in a Green Design supported self-build? Why not reach out to us and let’s discuss the possibility of a partnership.  We aim to ensure that you will not only enjoy your self-build, but we will leave you with the home of your dreams as we planned and budgeted together. Simply put “You Plan, We Execute, Building Your Home Right, Every Time”.

We Recommend these Independent Articles on Self Builds:

The Pros and Cons of Buying versus a Self Build and Reasons Not to Self Build             

For More Reading on Self Builds – click here.  A Great Article “On the hunt for the best self-built homes – and the heroes who make them