Have you ever considered building a property overseas? Maybe you have a business that would benefit from a global presence. Or maybe you’ve always dreamed of owning a vacation home in a tropical climate. Whatever the reason, there are a few things you need to know about managing your property construction overseas. Here are four tips to help you get started.
Know the Local Regulations and Requirements
Before you break ground on your overseas property, take the time to learn about the local regulations and requirements for construction. Here are some questions you need to consider:
- What materials are allowed?
- What is the process for getting permits?
- Are there any special restrictions or considerations you need to be aware of?
If you chose the Philippines, for example, some of the legal requirements for construction include the following:
- Construction permit from the city or municipality where the project will be located
- Environmental compliance certificate (ECC) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) if the project will impact the environment.
- Proof of land ownership or a lease agreement if you’re building on someone else’s land.
Hire a Reputable Contractor
Once you’ve got a handle on the local regulations, it’s time to start looking for a reputable contractor who can do the job right. Encourage multiple bids and ask plenty of questions about the contractor’s experience, qualifications, and project management approach.
If you’re working with them remotely, ensure they get their portfolio sent via email so that you can verify the quality of their previous work. You should also check that they are licensed and insured and get everything in writing before work begins. You can also ask for recommendations from other ex-pats or look for online reviews.
Stay in Communication with Your Contractor
Once construction gets underway, it’s important to communicate regularly with your contractor. This will help ensure that the project is progressing as planned and that any issues are caught and resolved quickly. If possible, schedule periodic check-ins so you can see the progress firsthand.
If you cannot check in frequently, ensure your contractor knows how to reach you and has your contact information readily available. You should also provide them with emergency contact information for someone who can act on your behalf if needed.
Keep an Eye on Your Budget
Construction projects have a way of going over budget, so keeping a close eye on your finances is important. Work with your contractor to create a realistic budget for the project and track spending closely. Ensure you understand all the costs associated with the project, including materials, labor, permits, and fees.
Have a contingency fund available in case of unexpected costs like material shortages or renting additional equipment. Your contractor may also request a progress payment, which is common for larger projects. Progress payments are usually paid out in installments as the project progresses and can help cover the cost of materials and labor.
A material shortage is one of your biggest challenges when building property overseas. This can happen for various reasons, such as an increase in demand or a natural disaster. If possible, try to purchase materials before construction begins so that you have them on hand in case of a shortage. You may also want to consider using alternative materials that are readily available such as bamboo or locally sourced wood.
If a material shortage occurs, work with your contractor to find a suitable replacement that meets local building codes and regulations. Be prepared for delayed construction timelines and increased costs if a material shortage does occur.
Your contractor may also need to rent equipment for extra support. A backhoe rental in the Philippines can cost around 1,000 Php (20 USD) per hour, depending on the size. They may also need to rent a generator as backup power, costing around 4,000 Php (80 USD) per day. Renting is an additional cost if you need to finish the job quickly.
Be Prepared for Surprises (and Budget Accordingly)
No matter how well you plan, there’s always a chance that something will go wrong during construction. Whether it’s a delay in receiving materials or an issue with the local authorities, be prepared for anything and budget accordingly. To be prepared, factor in the following in the planning stage:
- Additional time for construction, in case of delays
- Additional costs for unforeseen expenses
- A buffer in your budget to cover any unexpected costs
Other surprises include weather delays. In the Philippines, the rainy season typically lasts from June to November. If your project is scheduled during this time, be prepared and budget accordingly. Or, better yet, schedule the construction during the dry season from December to May. This is not a guarantee that it won’t rain, but it’s the most likely time for construction to proceed as planned. So be sure to factor in the weather when planning your construction project.
Managing a property construction overseas can be a great way to expand your business or fulfill a lifelong dream-but it’s not without its challenges. From navigating the local regulations to finding a reputable contractor, there are plenty of things to consider before breaking ground on your project. But by following these four tips, you can set yourself up for success and manage your property during construction like a pro!