What is an Architect?


Imagine your dream house turning into reality, with details you only see in celebrity homes: mood-setting cove lights, floor to ceiling windows, and a gorgeous brick façade. When you’ve saved enough to make it into reality, who you gonna call?

The Architect, of course. Said professional designs buildings and structures for a living. In houses, for example, they can get all creative and design a cross between the modern and the 18th century, or be completely traditional and follow the usual forms we’ve associated with houses such as having a roof plus four walls etc. The Architect’s job details can include any of the following:

a. Design a structure for the client, either for residential or commercial purposes amongst others

b. Prepare the drawings for the needed government unit permits and actual construction

c. Coordinate with the needed technical professionals

d. Conduct a punchlist to deliver the goods as signed in the contract

The more technical and legal definition of the Architect is in the Republic Act of 9266 or the Architecture Act of 2004:

“A person professionally and academically qualified, registered and licensed under this Act with a Certificate of Registration and Professional Identification Card issued by the Professional Regulatory Board of Architecture and the Professional Regulation Commission, and who is responsible for advocating the fair and sustainable development, welfare and cultural expression of society’s habitat in terms of space, forms and historical context.”

The aspiring Architect endures five years of college, before finally taking and passing the Architect Licensure Exam to be able to practice. Plenty of universities in the country offer a degree in Architecture. Making the decision to choose or shift your career to architecture? A good place to start is to take a peek at the syllabus if there are questions about the number of math subjects involved :)

Aside from checking out the degree in advance, some research on architects as professionals would also help. The United Architects of the Philippines is the integrated and accredited professional organization of architects in the country.


Congress of the Philippines. (2003). Architecture Act of 2004. Retrieved October 23, 2013 from http://www.architectureboard.ph/1%20LAWS%20%28&Regns%29ON%20ARCH3/101%202004_RepActNo.9266/R.A.%20No.%209266.pdf

The United Architects of the Philippines. (2013). Retrieved October 23, 2013 http://www.united-architects.org

What makes a Future Homeowner/Client?


“I’m hiring the services of a professional (insert profession here). Know anyone who can do the job?”

That bright idea is what makes a Future Homeowner/Client, in a nutshell anyway. To start with almost everyone can be a Future Homeowner (FHO)/Client, barring conditions like age limits and budget constraints.

Hiring the services of a professional, be it an architect or an engineer, includes marking transactions with contracts, just to make sure both ends keep their end of the bargain. Hiring to renovate interiors or outright building a house? You can be sure the contract is going be tailored to your agreement. Buying a house and lot package from a developer? You can be sure that contract is pre-prepared, they do have to produce the same documents for different people.

Similarities aside, the FHO and Client is different with why they would hire a professional. The Future Homeowner, as the label implies, wants a home and his/her/their reason would be for residential purposes. For more details on specifically which professionals, check out the previous post on “Who Makes a House?”

The Client on the other hand, hires for purposes other than residential. Hiring an architect for that business establishment? Hiring an interior designer for a condominium investment for leasing? Those are some of the reasons the Client has, and other ones depending on their needs.

The usual method in which the FHO/Client chooses a professional is via word-of-mouth. Of course, there’s also the Internet and most professional services are posted online nowadays. To start with, here is a list of some professional organizations related one way or another to the housing industry:

Architects – http://www.united-architects.org/

Civil Engineers – http://www.pice.org.ph/

Interior Designers – http://piid.org.ph/

A little research, manners, and 2-way communication make these transactions a whole lot easier for both parties.

Welcome to Open House Philippines Blog!


Hi I’m Katsy, I have wanted to write this blog for so long, having grown up with real estate through my uncle and being an architect by profession. I nearly took the real estate broker exam a few years back but didn’t have enough time to completely prepare. Thankfully, my sister Camille (she goes by Thea professionally) took the exam and passed.

The main goal of this blog is for us to be able to share what we learn at our jobs. Being a part-time sales manager at Green Circle, Inc., I am constantly exposed to numerous queries in houses, investing in real estate, and designing their dream home amongst others. I try my best to answer these questions to the extent of my capability and beyond with the help of some research.

I believe that any investment we do should be the product of an informed choice and one of life’s greatest investments is your house. By sharing our experiences and knowledge, we hope to help you make the best choice for you.

Who Makes a House?

Getting your own home is not easy, everyone knows that! But do you know who could possibly be involved in the process?

Who Makes a House? chart1

You, as the Future Homeowner (FH), can get your own house in 2 ways: by hiring an Architect to design and build your house, or by buying from a house and lot package from a Real Estate Developer. For the purposes of introducing everyone, their titles will be capitalized :)

Let’s start getting to know everyone when you go the Design-Build route:

Who Makes a House? chart2

The first professional involved is the Real Estate Broker, yes even before the architect. The lot where the house will be built must be acquired first. Only then can the Architect be hired to make the plans. They design the house according to FH’s requests (big kitchen, a master’s bathroom, a balcony, etc) but within the limits stated by the National Building Code, for safety purposes of course. Working with them are the Engineers, Master Plumbers, and Electricians, and the Interior Designer may also be hired at this point to collaborate. Together they will produce the “drawings” needed to ask for a Building Permit. This is the Design Phase.

The start of the Build Phase is the hiring of the Contractor. During the construction, they contact the Suppliers for cement, steel, and other such materials. Towards the end, the FH also asks the Architect and/or the Interior Designer for help in choosing finishing materials such as tiles, countertops, etc. which may then be installed by the Installers and Specialty Contractors. The finished unit is then inspected and a punchlist is conducted as per the contract signed with the Architect and crew. FH now moves in happily in the new custom-designed house.

Who Makes a House? chart3.1

Similarly, the Real Estate Developer starts with a Real Estate Broker to acquire the lots where the real estate project will be built. The Architect, together with the Engineers, Master Plumbers, and Electricians, are then tasked to design the masterplan, the amenities, and the individual house models. The necessary government permits are applied for and the Contractors start work. The scale of this construction is bigger than a single house design-build and is reflected in the bulk buying from the Suppliers.

The Real Estate Developer then has a choice to sell the house and lot packages as Pre-selling or Ready For Occupancy (RFO) units. They contract Real Estate Brokers to sell their units to FH. In Pre-selling units the FH will have to wait for several months/years before the house is turned over, while for RFO units the FH can move in sooner. Thus begins Stage 2.

Who Makes a House? chart3.2

The Stage 2 process goes along the same way as the Design-Build, sans the lot acquisition. “But if the house is constructed already, why do I have to go through the process again?” you’d ask. At the very least a fence still has to be constructed around the property, and you might want to extend a bit or add a balcony or just have the interior spruced up. At the end of the Stage 2 process the house and lot package bought from the Real Estate Developer is made to suit your needs.

And there you have it! See how many people actually have a hand in your house no matter which route you take? You could argue that “Hey! I could do all of it myself!” Yeah, and end up spending more time and resources on the house than hiring people to do the work that they studied for and had previous experience on. It’s just a matter of choosing the right people who you think can give you the best value for your money.