Our Philippine house project: shopping for cement hollow blocks

Our Philippine residence task: browsing for cement hollow blocks

Shopping for cement blocks (called hollow block) in the Philippines is surely not a top rated choose adventure tale but in any case, potentially another person will benefit from our experiences.  Truly, this is 1 chapter in the developing of our Philippine property in Tigbauan, Iloilo.

We’re fencing the ton we purchased in Tigbauan with a cement block wall.  Why?  To hold out roaming carabaos, pet dogs, ducks, chickens and goats, to assert our house rights, to continue to keep in our dogs and to continue to keep out uninvited company or intruders, and simply because we will be filling the large amount to elevate its degree so that our household won’t flood all through typhoons.  Considering the fact that we’ll be placing in up to 1 meter of fill, a wall is essential to keep the fill.

Carabao "helps" our surveyor.....

Carabao and surveyor eye each and every other warily.

Our good deal was surveyed three occasions.  The initially was by the seller.  All the “monuments” were missing from that study.  We asked the vendor to resurvey the home just before we purchased it.  They put in bamboo monuments.  We had them arrive back again and set in concrete monuments.  These had been the spherical precast concrete monuments about 4″ in diameter and 18″ extended which are sold in setting up source shops.  Because the new monuments were not established in concrete, by the time we ended up ready to make our fence, some of the monuments were missing or displaced so we had to have it surveyed again, this time placing the monuments in concrete.  After the batter boards and lines (using 16 gauge tie wire) for the fence format, the monuments have been eradicated yet again when the column footers had been dug.

The higher than photograph demonstrates our large amount as we acquired it.  These is ordinary soaked time period flooding problems in Philippine rice escalating lands.  The soils are quite heavy clay and have a tendency to keep rain drinking water — perfect for growing rice but not really best for household development and primarily not suitable for septic units.

Numerous expats are inclined and able to get individually involved in development assignments hiring, supervising and firing local workforce, shopping and bargaining for resources, receiving permits and all the rest.  Bob did not really feel comfy with doing that so we employed an architect to establish the options and to oversee the task.  Options?  Certainly, a developing permit is essential for the wall and to get a permit strategies are required.  We also required programs and specification to make certain that the wall was actually crafted the way we desired it to be developed.  We read heaps of tales about very poor good quality block. We informed the architect that we wanted major high-quality block and that we needed to approve the high-quality of the block in advance of its order and shipping and delivery.  That proved to be extra tough than we assumed.

Our architect realized of a key provider of block to the Iloilo space so we piled into his car or truck to go to the Damasco block plant in Pavia, Iloilo.  The firm had a little storefront in “downtown” Pavia, so that was our 1st cease.  They confirmed us their regular 4″ block.  I really never have considerably encounter with block and really don’t know correct methodology or tools for testing it, but here’s what I did.  I brought along my 20 oz. Estwing hammer.  My theory was that rapping a block would at minimum ascertain if it would quickly crumble.  The ring of really hard concrete would also contrast with the dull seem of a around-sandy block.

It was immediately distinct that the block we ended up wanting at was weak.  When hit it, there was a quite boring thud audio, not the ring of hard concrete.  It was effortless to faucet a hole in the block. One more fast exam, a single which exhibits how reduced the bar for blocks in the Philippines is set, is to grasp the block with your hand and thrust on a protruding corner of the block.  With bad block the corner will crumble away.

In any case, this is a typical block utilized in most nearby building projects.  When made use of in a household or wall they are mentioned to be not  really structural.  The block is are strengthened with rebar, crammed with soaked concrete and then parged with concrete on both equally sides.  So, the clarification is that the power of the individual block is not that important.  These blocks are designed to market for very little dollars.  The block I ruined with my Estwing charge P9.75.  Likely, this price tag would be minimized with special discounts.  Hence the block is mainly sand with not a great deal concrete.  I have seen worse.  I went to a single block plant that created blocks so weak you could crush them with your shoe.

We do not settle for the thought that weak block is Alright.  Generally, 4″ block is made use of.  The cavity in 4″ block is small.  The filling of the block with concrete is frequently so haphazard that the thought that it will insert a lot structural energy is wishful contemplating.    Very typically concrete is not made use of.  Mortar is utilised to established the block and so it’s substantially less difficult to fill the cavities with mortar than to preserve the two mortar and concrete combined and prepared.  We are significantly dubious that the good quality of hollow block is unimportant.  The shear toughness of wall is a crucial variable in earthquake survival. See our post /earthquake-philippines-structure-right/

To continue with our block purchasing, due to the fact our fence was not to be parged, we wished a a lot less crumbly block.  The employee at the storefront sent us again to the lawn exactly where the blocks are built.  Damasco’s was an impressively big operation.   The proprietor was quite articulate about world warming, the Greenland ice cap and Al Gore.  He explained the regular block were created at seventy blocks for every bag of concrete.  (A bag of concrete costs about P200.) He reported the strength of these standard blocks is 300 PSI.  He confirmed us some nicely-remedied 700 PSI block.  Forty blocks are made with 1 bag of concrete. I did the “Estwing test” on these.  These were being much greater, but even now not comparable to block I experienced taken care of in the U.S.  The operator stated he would tailor made make 700 PSI block for us, but the charge quoted to us is just about double that of the 300 PSI block.  Is it any question that most use the more cost-effective block!  Employing improved block would add about $1,000 to our fence venture charge.  Also the much better block is tailor made designed.  The exclusive order normally takes 3 weeks to make.

Immediately after wanting at and testing dozens of blocks, I made the decision to use the Damasco 6″ common block.  The excellent of Damasco’s regular 6″ block appears much better than the levels of competition.   Why 6″?  The rate is only P1 extra than the 4″.  The significant benefit of 6″ block is that the cavity is substantially bigger than that of 4″ block so the extra concrete fill will make a much better wall.  We are paying P13 per 6″ hollow block shipped to our Tigbauan setting up internet site.   We also acquired 4″ block from Damasco but had been no so impressed with it. Retain in brain that we likely could have bought community 4″ block in Tigbauan for P7 each and every and we would have utilized considerably a lot less concrete to fill them.

We were being a short while ago in Manila.  There was a minimal development job going on close to the Manila Pavilion Resort with a pile of 4″ hollow block near the sidewalk.  I could not resist likely over to study the block.  It was straight away evident that it was better block than that offered in Iloilo.  It seriously had a considerable cement written content.

***OUR Recommendation is that of quite a few other expats.  Don’t invest in poor local block.  Buy a block making machine for about P20,000 to P30,000.  You can sell it when you are performed. Make it a portion of the purchase that the seller will coach your crew to use the machine and make block.   Seek the services of two or three personnel.  Maybe you will not preserve income but you will get considerably outstanding block and a better, more robust fence and residence.  We also suggest that only 6″ block be made use of for reasons specified above.***  Also continue to keep viewpoint.  The price of hollow block, excellent or undesirable, in a astonishingly little proportion of the value of making a home.  Your paint will most likely value much more.  The excess price of applying very good block is not value obsessing about.

Manual Hollow Block Making Machine


Lousy excellent hollow block, crushed with my shoe

We also seemed at 36″ x 18″ precast tiles for our properly at Damasco. We acquired to see them staying made. The top quality appeared exceptional, however there possibly is a effectively digger in your area who has sorts and can make nicely tile on-web-site. That will most likely conserve you funds.  The story of digging our water properly.

Making culvert/nicely tiles at Damasco, Pavia Iloilo

Making culvert/nicely tiles at Damasco, Pavia Iloilo


Study all about our Philippine Residence constructing Project at https://myphilippinelife.com/constructing-our-philippine-household-index/