Workers in Manila as other parts of the Philippines struggle to get low budget high quality rentals. This shipping container dormitory does seem to have the answer for cheap construction but also a better class of living for those with a small budget. Air conditioning and a bed as well as onsite restaurant for P1,500 a month is extremely reasonable and no doubt a big hit. A lot of cheap accommodation in the Philippines normally consists of a rundown room with no air conditioning or cooling system as well as possibly just access to a single bulb light. This on the other hand seems very geared to peoples needs and no doubt has a lot of extra services downstairs besides the kitchen such as charging stations for mobile phones. All in all I think its a huge step forward in quality for workers in the Philippines and look forward to seeing more of these types of building.
The second set of photos are from the same place but a different building. As you can see they have traded the bunk bed dorms for more private cubicle styled beds. Not for everyone but if your on a tight budget with a limited salary I know more than a few Filipinos that would happily live in these compared to their current rentals. From a business point of view though is it viable? Counting all the beds up your looking at 98 just for the upper level and as you can see in the yellow one being constructed its beds lower side as well so roughly 200 beds at P1,500 per month giving an income of P300,000 per month even if you took out all the expenses because obviously the snack bar and other things on site increase the revenue I would easily expect to make P250,000 a month from this venture in the right location and obviously someone else seen the same vision.
There are many reasons. Firstly you have to look at the current economic situation and the fact property is dropping in value rather rapidly. Long term it will recover but where do you really want your money tied up? In a house that may drop by 30% next year? Or maybe you would prefer to build modular which could also allow you to adapt and expand as your budget allows rather than trying to find large amounts of cash you can literally do this in segments depending on your design. Big advantage of that being you don’t owe the bank! There are a lot of properties within container designs that make them an ideal starting point for a new house or cheap accommodation for renting out. But first you have to decide is it what you want..
The thing about this concept is its something we are looking to do in the near future depending how the rest of our projects go. The roofing for example could have another use due to its span and that’s to add rainwater harvesting either for irrigation or things like toilets. The complete project came in at $200,000 and could have been halved if it wasn’t for the issues of location which left no man power in the area and access difficulties for transportation/machinery.
The concept has been simple which has raised the containers from the ground to reduce risks of bugs, snakes and rainwater but also to keep them individual units as this allows for moving to another site without too much damage to the environment. The inside of the units have been fitted out but at the same time the exteriors have been left pretty much intact.
All units are joined together by a simple decking area which I could see the opportunity of something like this in the Philippines as a simple retreat or cheap accommodation rentals with a bit of privacy.
All in all the whole idea makes a lot of sense to me with the maximising of space which also throws up the question how much stuff do we really need when most Western homes are at least 4 x the size of a container. Not only would downsizing save on the obvious of electricity, gas etc it also helps to reduce consumerism.