The Philippines has this preoccupation with condominium construction and everyone who is uninformed points to them as a sign of all this so called growth, well we more informed ones all know that is a falsehood but that is not why I am writing about them today. [*]
What everyone overlooks is that many of them are small units, 20 or so square metres and their very design makes them a health risk.
Whether poor design and planning on the part of the Architect. Or the building itself didn’t any more follow standards or hadn’t implement the concept of “Cross-Ventilation” as part of the so called “Sustainable Architecture”.
For building to be sustainable, it must have a natural cross-ventilation and natural sunlight going and coming directly from a first source and not through secondary sources.
I have observed that most Condominiums were designed as sub-standard. Such as the unit restrooms with no natural ventilation except through the use of Electrical Ceiling fans. That alone makes it not sustainable. Some might have an “Air Well.” But these have proven too small to accommodate a 50 storey building.
A habitable room should have a minimum of 6sqm. or an equivalence of 3.00mX2.00m. With a minimum 30% cubic meter of air ventilation with a minimum ceiling height of 2.70m or more. Any less, can no longer be considered as a habitable Space.
I am currently staying in one courtesy of a friend and business colleague so I am experiencing all this first hand.
Firstly the building has no cooling tower installed on the building and airflow within the building is non-existent without wedging fire doors open, or leaving the door to your unit open. I have personally observed that the fire and smoke stop doors on most floors are wedged open, kind of defeats their purpose, I am actually wondering now if this building actually complies with building code, because with no cross flow of air and no vents to create it I suspect it does not meet the required standard to be consider fit for habitation
If you close the door, you can of course turn on the aircon, but that just recirculates the air already inside the room and after while it becomes oxygen deprived, when I first moved here I observed every morning I would wake with a headache, dry mouth and all kinds of body aches and pains.In fact ever since coming here i have been generally unwell.
It was not until the person paying for the utilities, raised the issue of the electric bill. So much so, that I thought to stop using the aircon because with it off the space becomes unpleasantly warm. In fact, it became too hot to use any electronic gadgetry.
But with the issue of a higher than acceptable power bill, I was compelled to rethink my situation. So we turned off the aircon and opened the windows. But this did not improve the temperature significantly. although I did observe the headaches had declined. Then we began wedging open the main door to the apartment and immediately we discovered we had airflow. The space became habitable again. However then we discovered security would be asking… No! Demanding we close the door.
Even with the windows open and the door shut, no air moves into the room. Even using a fan made no difference, as there needs to be some form of extraction device to force air out so that air could be then drawn back in through an open window.
The conclusion is that not only are these units poorly designed and poorly thought out, they are a health risk to anyone occupying them. Not a great financial investment.
I had a run in with the security again today, I expect this to escalate, watch this space, hopefully I can find a suitable alternative place to move to as soon as funds permit before this place kills me.
[*] The above article has been compiled through the storied experiences of the following: