It has been a week now since we moved into the new unit and I am grateful that we survived the dengue scare and endured the blackness of those nights when the moon was out of sight or when it is in the gibbous phase at dawn and in crescent phase at midnight.
I spent some hours listening to the FM dimension via a transistor radio that I got from the survival kit. There were days when my son was totally engulfed with the word puzzle and I was completely mesmerized with the Sudoku mat. Both the word puzzle and the Sudoku mat are components of the kit, too.
Sudoku appears to be a math puzzle but it actually isn't. Its origins can be traced to France although it has a Japanese name. The game is about completing nine squares with unique numbers from 1 to 9. Only a few numerals are given, most are missing. The answers are provided. I only have to see the connection between these numbers. It is more of a logic game. It is a given that I must know or have a strong grasp of basic Math functions. The trick is to highlight the GIVEN first and then bring data in as called forth by the GIVEN. I enjoy deducting the relationships that exist among these numbers. It's a good pastime (after all the cleaning has been done) especially when there is no electricity and the only transistor radio that I have has extinguished its powers already and I could not recharge it anymore because I had to prioritize "more important" matters.
The generator was a good thing although in the past few days it was becoming increasingly difficult. My hands have been swollen for days due to the misplaced generator string but I managed to continue working on my projects.
I did think about those people who rely on gasoline – it is possible that they're getting “poorer and poorer” these days. In my country, old “jeepneys” are being debunked to boost an environmental awareness in regards to clean air and excise taxes are levied on consumers and the once who are deeply affected are the “jeepney” drivers, portable generator operators, commuters, riders or passengers and everyone else who consume engine oil. But with higher taxes, I hope for better things to come.
Yesterday, the electric sub meter as well as the breaker device have been installed and we got a decently-lighted unit starting last night. I am grateful to the Subdivision Administrator for facilititating these things despite the garbage incident that I could associate with stray dogs and cats.
As of now, the housing unit is 100% constructed but we need to do some minor improvements because we waived the punch listing of corrective works and we have to follow the National Building Code of the Philippines so as to help raise the appraisal value of the subdivision. We had to waive the punch listing of corrective works as we wanted to avoid the double amortization thing.
But now we realize the possibility that we can be in bad debt if we loan money and use it not to pay for the house and lot investment through monthly amortizations but for house improvements. What are the scope and limitations of the phenomenon called “house imrpovements” (because more often than not, homeowners destroy rather than beautify the unit hahaha)?
House improvements may be classified into the following categories:
a) Major Improvements
b) Minor Improvements
c) No-Bond Improvements
Major improvements are those that require the use of construction materials such as cement, gravel, sand and hollow blocks. Usually this is done exteriorly such as through wall extensions, construction of the perimeter fence, concrete landscape, the terrace, and a roof-attached swimming pool if that can ever be possible. Technical requirements include the following:
• Duly signed House Improvement Application Form
• List of Materials (with quantity)
• Photocopy of 2 valid IDs
• Copy of Notarized SPA (in the absence of the principal buyer)
• Proposed building plan
• Construction Permit from the Barangay Hall
• Building Permit
• Workers List
• Updated Amortization
• Updated Move-in Fees (streetlight and garbage fees)
• Updated temporary utilities
• Construction Bond worth Php 10,000.00
• Application Fee of Php 500.00
Minor improvements, on the other hand, deal with modifications in the interior parts of the house which does not use much of construction materials that have been mentioned above. Examples of which include inside partition with sliding doors, painting of the walls and the ceiling, and the creation of the gravel landscape at the front porch. Technical requirements for both major and minor improvements are identical except for the construction bond requirement because for minor improvements only Php 5,000.00 is needed. The application fee is Php 250.00.
No-Bond improvements are those which deal with materials that can be attached to any parts of the house without any need for construction materials. Examples of which include window grills, vinyl flooring, wallpaper, cement for soil protection, and antenna/disc for the TV set. Technical requirements are limited only to the first four bulleted items above. No-Bond improvements can only be done after minor improvements have been performed. The most important thing to consider is the fact that only the site Engineer can fully classify the house improvement protocol that a homeowner can propose.
If we decide to plunge into bad debt then we need to:
a) Pay for the House Improvement construction bond (Php 5,000.00) and an application fee (Php 250.00) and submit the House Improvement application form and Workers’ List at the main office of the developer company as soon as possible.
b) Get a construction permit from the barangay hall and get a gate pass for all construction materials to be purchased.
c) Procure the construction materials that will be needed. We are still canvassing for high-quality construction materials with affordable prices.
d) Attach insulation foams to the roof. It has already rained and the roof seems to be stable and water-proof as we did not see leaking manifestations. Additionally, we have a neighbour who has just finished his roof and he has extra insulators and he's planning to sell these materials to us at a lower price so probably we will only be needing around 28 meters or less of double-sided and 10-mm thick insulators.
e) Transfer bed upstairs. Right now everything (all basic things) is on the ground floor.
f) Paint the house. We're planning to have a white flat latex paint as a primer and an odourless white paint for the finishing touch.
g) Apply clear solignum to the staircase to prevent termite attack.
h) Protect the soil outside – approximately, a 3-meter layer is allowed and for this task, there are no bond requirements except that it is second to minor improvements such as wall painting and ceiling construction or roof insulation in terms of its priority number as I stated above. We're planning to have a garden with pine shrubs and bermuda grass. This I lifted from the online class I had. According to the video maker who is an accomplished interior designer himself, the house must have plenty of light and nature must be brought inside through the window. Right now gravel has been scattered at the area leading to the door just to minimize our dust exposure.
i) Submit an application form for a Mayor's business permit after performing steps a to h.
Alternatively, we can execute steps a to h using our active income. Major improvements may be done after two years via a Pag-IBIG House Improvement Loan.
APEC Homes (n.d.). House Imrpovement. [Brochure]. Philippines.
[BBC]. (2011, May 14). Design Rules 1st Episode: Space and Planning [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WX5UjI8IoA