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Walls and Drainage: A House In The Philippines

A photo of our house at this point in the relating of our building adventure

This is another installment of the series on designing and building a house in the Philippines. An index to all of the posts in this series can be found here: House Build Philippines: Index. We also built a concrete hollow block perimeter fence. The index to all of the posts in that series can be found here: Perimeter Fence Philippines: Index

The walls continue to go up as some of the roof drainage system goes in. We even get a little electrical work done.


Having lived in Seattle which is famous for being a very wet place, I thought I would be ready for rain in the tropics. Sure, it would be a lot warmer but falling water is the same everywhere, right? Nope! I have never seen it rain as hard anywhere – not even during thunderstorms during the hot, humid summers in New Jersey where I grew up – as it rains here. With a roof “footprint” of around 120 sq. meters, all of the water has to go somewhere.  The answer is gutters at the roof edges, downspouts that empty into covered “wells” and buried pipes that carry the water from the wells to the channel that runs along our driveway and on off of the property. Below is what one of the wells look like. It’s just a concrete box with a hole in one side. 
One of the concrete boxes that act as wells to stall the flow of water from the roof.
Into the hole is fixed a length of six-inch plastic pipe that leads to the next well. Below you can see the preferred method of plastic pipe joinery here n the Philippines. While a maintenance man in Seattle, all of my plastic piping was connected at joints with a wash of purple pipe cleaning fluid followed by a swab of pipe glue. Here, they like to use a product called Vulcaseal. They fit the joint together and then daub and smooth a layer completely around the joint.
A worker applying Vulcaseal to drainage pipes.
Below is the beginning of the drainage run on the southeast corner of the house. It runs to three more wells as it goes around the front of the house to the drainage channel.
The trench along the house and the drainage pipe that will go into it.

More Walls (And  A Bit Of Electrical)

The exterior walls also continue to go up in this installment of our house building blog. At least, parts. Here you can see the uppermost reinforcement cage for a concrete “beam” that ties together all around the house like its sister at the bottom of the walls. This acts as both lintel for the windows and doors and what the steel roof beams will rest on and tie to.
A photo showing the lintel construction technique.
The photo below is a better look at how that cage ties in with the column reinforcement cage.
A closeup photo showing the lintel construction technique.

Fill The House

The floor of the house is about four inches higher than the patios. This is standard practice here and a guard against minor flooding. To get us up that high, a couple of inches of fill was spread throughout the house’s interior and tamped down by hand with a couple of these log tampers. The rest of the floor height would come from the poured concrete and the tile flooring. Here our Jack Of Many Trades and friend Tata is slinging the log tamper. He’s hamming it up for the camera but it’s ridiculously hard work slamming that heavy hunk of tree into the ground over and over and over…
A worker using a log tamper to compact the soil.

Interior Wall Trenches And Some Electrical Runs

As I said before during the building of our concrete wall, many things happen at once. It’s hard sometimes to present the story of building a house in a logical order. This is one of those times. The crew was building exterior walls, adding the concrete lintels, working on the exterior downspouts and drainage, and laying out and digging trenches for the interior walls at the same time. Added to all of that activity, the electrician finished the job he was working on and moved over to our job. Here you can see the orange pipe used for wire runs here.
Part of the interior of the house at this point.
In the close up below, you can see how channels for the wire piping have been dug into the concrete blocks. In the photo, the pipes on the left actually exit the house and are for outdoor outlets. The pipes in the middle and on the right side are for interior outlets.
A closeup of the electrical run at this point along one wall.

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