DEVELOPING A RESIDENTIAL CONDOMINIUM IN THE PHILIPPINES
Before one develops a residential condominium, there are different studies to be done. There should be economic, policital, marketing, financial, engineering and environmental studies to be done. Then there are other requirements that should also be studied, such as the building standards, taxes, legal aspects, documentary requirements, traffic flow and others that may be necessary for the project. Even with the best studies, most developers will encounter unforseen minor and major problems in their projects especially when it comes to the documention process.
As the developer dreams of putting up a residential condominium, he has to be aware of certain standards that are indicated in the National Building Code of the Philippines (NBC). The NBC indicates the guidelines for the minimum requirements that the proponent has to follow. In most cases, the chosen architect and contractor are aware of the NBC guidelines; they will be the ones to suggest to the developer the structural details of the building. For high-end condominium developments, the services of the international consultants are often used by the developers involved to ensure the safety (foundation, fire systems, wall curtains, etc.) of the structure. The following are the more important areas that the developer has to take into consideration before drafting the blueprint for his project.
Setback Requirements. The setback requirements depend on the kind of lot, whether it is a true lot, corner lot or inside lot. The standard setback is 3 meters on the front, 2 meters on the back and 1 meter on the side. But the minimum setback requirements is also dependent on the restrictions of the municipality where the building is going to be built.
Parking Slots. The mimimum size of a parking slot according to the NBC is 2.4 meters (7.87 feet) for the width by 5 meters (16.4 feet) for the length. But due to the changing times, most developers use 2.5-meter width by 5-meter longth for the parking size. The minimum ratio for the parking slot is 1 is to 4 condominium units or for every living space of 100 square meters. other cities have more parking requirements than others. Just check the ruling. To address the lack of floor level parking space, aside from using the basement parking, if the location permits, some developers use separate multi-level podium parking in their projects such as the Cebu Condominium Fuente Towers at http://www.cebubesthomes.com/id130.html
Elevator: Elevators should be provided if the residential condo building reaches five stories high. For four stories, the elevator is optional. For commercial buildings, elevators are required even if they are only three stories high. Additional elevators and service elevators are just extras. The size of the elevator depends on the occupant load, which is computed by the mechanical engineer. There are condominiums that are five-stories high but have no elevator since the said buildings have not reached the mandatory requirement for elevators which are more than 15 meters high from the ground floor level to the fifth floor level (not celing).
Hallways. The ideal wodth is 1.5 meters and above. But the width size depends on the occupant load per floor.
Unit Size. The minimum single occupancy condo unit size is 18 square meters accodring to the building code of the Philippines. However the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB) allows a net floor area of 12 square meters, provided that the project/unit is located within highly urbanized areas and intended for students, employees and workers. The said unit shall also provide the common basic facilities and support facilities that are explicitly indicated in the master deed or contract to sell. For many people, the minimum area of 12 square meters is unlivable or even unbelievable, but it is a reality for some condominium projects. One such condo project called the Pasig Royale Mansion by fast-selling condo developer Cityland is located at the Santolan Business District, Pasig City. The said project has about 19 units of 13 square meter units per floor. The other units per floor range from 15 square meters to a maximum of 29 square meters. The studio and one-bedroom units are strictly for single occupancy units. The total units per floor are approximately 49 units. The condo building is eight stories high and the amenities are still for future development. The minimum floor area of family condominium units shall be 22 square meters for the medium cost condominiums (units not worth moe than P2 million) and 36 square meters for the open market condominiums (no price ceilings, units could be more than or less than P2 million)
Room / Bathroom Size. The minimum room size is 6 square meters (3X2). With this kind of minimum size per room, some developers are able to make and market three-bedroom units that are as small as 38 to 39 square meters. For three rooms, the total only amounts to 18 square meters, and the unit still has enough room for the living, dining and bathroom areas. The said three-bedroom units are usually with two floors. But there is a condominium project for sale with units only as small as 8 square meters. When you add the minimum standard to the room and bathroom, it totals 7.5 square meters. The room has a loft for the bed which is not computed in the total area. According to an HLURB official, there are no specific sizes for the commercial, multi-purpose or storage space. He said the unit was approved for sale because it was intended as study roomsor transit rooms for the students or employees near the school. But there is now an 8.5 sqm studio unit for approved sale.
Ceiling Height. For rooms that are artificially ventilated (aircon), the minimum standard ceiling height for the ground floor is 2.4 meters or 7.87 feet. For buildings with more than one-storey, the first floor minimum height is 2.7 meters; the second floor is 2.4 meters and for the succeeding floors, the minimum height is 2.1 meters (6.888 feet). Since the ceiling height for the succeeding floors is very low, some developers are adding lofts to make the unit spaces higher. For naturally ventilated rooms (no provision for aircon), the minimum ceiling height is 2.7 meters. One developer, SM Synergy even used the 3 meters as a standard for its mid-cost project in Bicutan, Paranaque City. The said high ceiling units don't even have a loft. The fast-selling "Joya", a development of Rockwell in makati City, has units with a 9-meter high ceiling from the ground floor; the unit has a loft that can be used as a residential or as an office space. The loft-unit concept was based on the apartments in Soho (Small Office, Home Office"), in New York,
Veranda Railing Height. If there is a veranda, the minimum standard of the railing height is 0.9 meters. The same requirement goes for the stair railings.
Fire Exit. The fire exits should be a vacuum, meaning it is smoke-proof. There should be no air coming in to fan the fire.
Fire Alar and Sprinkler System. All condominium projects would require fire-alarm systems. Every unit should have sprinkler systems.
Generator. Every condominium building should have a stand-by generator for emergencies or power failure.
Open Spaces / Amenities. Open spaces shall be provided within the project site pursuant to the National Building Code of the Philippines and its implementing rules and regulations. These shall include courts, yards, setbacks, light wells, uncovered driveways, access roads, parking spaces, buffer strips, parks and playgrounds. The open space shall also allocated for basic utilities and community facilities. Parks and Playground (exclusive of easements, access roads, driveways, parking space) shall be required for projects with a gross saleable area of 1,000 square meters or projects with ten or more condominium units except when the condominium is part of the subdivision project or a public park / playground or when other recreational facilities are located not more than 800 meters away. Other facilities such as tennis courts, swimming pools, basketball court, etc. are optional. The minimum area for a single park/playground shall be 50 square meters. Increments of 3 square meters for every additional family dwelling in excess of 10 units shall be added. The trend these days is for developers to increase the allocation of open spaces up to even more than fifty percent of the common lot area. They just increase the price of the units to recover the lost space given for the amenities and open spaces.
By Edward L Tan. Author of "Residential Condominium, Development and Living"
Compiled by: Manuel Arengo Jr.
Real Estate License Broker No. 0007808
Cebu Real Estate, Philippine Real Estate