Dumaguete Construction Costs

What You Should Expect To Pay When Building a Home

To start off what I hope will be an informative overview of Dumaguete Construction costs, let me begin with a few caveats. First off, you should never sign a contract with any contractor who has quoted you on a per square meter price. This is a huge red flag because each and every build is different in terms of such variables as design complexity, level of finishing and site conditions. There simply is no “one size fits all” per square meter price and you should immediately question the competence of any contractor who skips the step of a line by line item estimate, garnered from detailed construction drawings for your specific project. A per square meter price should always only be considered as a “budget” price, and this leads me to the next caveats. It is important to note that typically a per square meter price is based on the area “under roof”, not just the interior floor area. If you have exterior terraces or an eave overhang, so when you are given the  per square meter price, check this out so your area matches what the contractor is figuring. The third and last caveat is, do not forget all the extra costs outside the actual structure itself, like power hookup requirements, fencing, driveways and pathways, water pressure and storage systems etc.

I have included a featured image on this post which I saw as an advertisement for a competitor, which I found accurately reflects what I have found to be true based on our company’s experience in relation to construction costs here in our region surrounding Dumaguete City. I myself will break it down in a little different way though, and for those of you who think that as a contractor my goal is to raise potential clients expectations to make a bigger profit, I will be transparent on my intentions. Yes, my goal here is definitely selfish in many respects. But the practical reality is that Dumaguete is a competitive market and my construction costs need to be in line with other contractors, or we will simply not get enough work to survive. We ourselves maintain very, very accurate job cost reporting methods and after building several dozen houses over the past 5-6 years have plenty of hard data to compare our estimates to. Would I hopefully get more business for our company if we scare potential clients away from ridiculously construction costs expectations? Absolutely, but in the end our prices do have to compare favorably to other reputable contractors.

Construction Costs – An Overview

Lets start strictly with raw costs and leave out markup, as I am aware that there are many people here that will want, and are capable of supervising their own construction.

  • Shell only 12,000 – 15,000 pesos per square meter- this means an enclosed building with roofing, windows and exterior doors. Plumbing and electrical roughing is all in place and ceiling is installed. A shell will lack finish paint, tiles, plumbing and electrical fixtures, cabinets and interior doors
  • Finished house with mid grade standards – 20,000 – 22,000 pesos per square meter – this means the house is now turnkey with average grade finishing
  • Finished House with luxury grade standards – 25,000 to 30,000 pesos per square meters – this means upgrades such as PVC window instead of Aluminum, top quality foreign tiles, thicker quartz countertops and top of the line electrical and plumbing fixtures.

As stated above, this is for do-it your-selfers, however if this is your first time doing it here, you would count yourself very lucky to achieve these construction costs numbers. No matter how good of a builder you may have been in another country, here in The Philippines you will face a whole new set of challenges that could potentially vastly inflate these numbers. Reaching these construction costs will be much more likely after you have 2-3 builds under your belt.

So What is Reasonable and Competitive Contractor Pricing?

The numbers are pretty to figure from here. Typically a contractor will figure a 10% + 10% markup for overhead and profit margins. There is some variations contractor to contractor depending on the ability to obtain volume dicount purchasing and the ratio of volume to overhead, but rarely will a contractor charge less than 15% and if they charge more than 25%, they will price themselves out of the market. So if we use the 10+10 margin on top of construction costs, you are left with the following:

  • Shell Only – 14,400 to 18,000 pesos per square meter
  • Standard Finishing – 24,000 to 26,400
  • Luxury Finishing – 30,000 to 36,000

If you are quoted anything higher, then you should shop around some more, and if you are charged anything lower, run away fast!

What other construction Costs Should I Expect?

  1. Electricity – It is typical for a contractor to provide a service drop wire from the house to the property line as long as it does not exceed 20-30 meters. From there there may be additional wire and poles required to get to the local utility supply. Depending on the load requirements of your specific house, you might be required to purchase and install a transformer. This should all be checked out ahead of time, but is something that is not include in most home construction costs when looking at per square meter prices
  2. Water system – Your needs will be dependent on what local conditions you face. If municipal supply is poor you might require a well and or a water storage and pressure system. Wells usually run about 3,000 to 4,000 per foot to dig (including equipment) and a decent sized water storage tank plus a pressure system could run you from 75,000 to 150,000
  3. landscaping – For a 500 square meter lot, expect to pay anywhere from 100,000 to 250,000 depending on how far you want to go
  4. Fencing – options are limitless with this, but expect to pay somewhere between 7,500 to 15,000 per linear meter
  5. Driveways and pathways – a good budget is about 2000 pesos per square meter for standard concrete slabs

To end, I would like to leave you with a link to explore.https://www.marriedafilipina.com/?s=construction . This  local expat, whom I like and respect, chose to build his retirement home up in Valencia on a lot he purchased. If you check out some of his earliest posts which share his experiences in the endeavor, you will run across a paragraph that reads “Construction ranges here from about 10k pesos/square meter – 25k pesos/square meter. I’ve known some guys who have done it for less than 10k, but assume that the houses at that price were very simple. Realistically in the Dumaguete area I would estimate 14k and up for a “foreigner home.” There are certainly luxury houses here over the 25k peso range but those probably include items I can’t imagine or high end Western fixtures and finishing.” Though I am not aware of how or why he came up with these numbers, respectfully, I would have to say he considerably underestimated the reality of construction costs here right from the beginning. If you follow the blog posts along, at first Dave was a little put off that the contractor was somewhat higher than his projected budget range, then basically ran out of money and was unable to complete the project. Though I am not privy to the final numbers, I suspect that the actual finished construction costs were probably closer to the 18,000 to 20,000 range, rather than the 14,000 per square meter he appeared to be shooting for. As he managed the last half of the project himself, this would fall in line with what I outlined above. I guess the moral of the story is simply not go into any home construction with unreal expectations. Dave was apparently lucky that he was able to cover the additional surprise construction costs, but sadly many people do not have that luxury and end up with emotion and financial hardship that they could have avoided.


For more information on the construction costs estimating process we follow, please visit this post https://negrosconstruction.com/the-construction-estimate/