Sourcing House Building Materials
Basic materials are easy to source, but an eye must be kept on quality every step of the way. Hollow-blocks (hand made cement blocks) can often crumble as some builders will try to cheat their customers with an incorrect ratio of sand to cement.
Fittings from hardwares must always be tested, as must power tools. The scams here are endless. A hardware store may replace a Makita power drill motor with a cheap Chinese clone and pass it off as the real deal. Cheaper Chinese imports may save you money initially but will often break after a few months, so invest wisely in quality Japanese or European fittings. Especially when it comes to water pumps, pressure tanks, faucets, refrigerator etc.
Pinoys are masters of cement form work and rendering.
Bureaucracy & Project Management
These regulatory requirements was about 20k pesos ($500). You will need special legal paperwork to prove to administration that you are entitled to build.
Do not employ a “foreman”. This is a profound mistake as they want to work for a fixed rate contract. You will realise he would never complete the job on time and the risk was that he would simply walk off the job once the money had run out.
You must instead always manage your own project.
Watch the workers like a hawk and be hard on them. Pinoys will take you for a fool if you appear generous and trusting. If you do not watch your workers closely they will start to goof off and try to stretch out the job for months.
Wages are low here. Fully skilled or partially skilled carpenters ask for about 350 pesos a day ($7). Keep in mind that Pinoy builders are best with what they know. If your house has advanced engineering concepts or tricky design areas you will have to explain this to them and work out how to build all of it yourself.
Pinoys simply cannot conceive abstractly. I heard one story of an expat leaving the plans to his workers before going home to America. When he came back, they had built him an entirely different house and explained they simply could not understand his design!