Design, Build, Maintain

Gino Cariño and his wife were at their wits’ end. Four years had gone by and the Chut Cuerva dream house they should have moved into three years before was still unfinished. According to Cariño, the contractor had replaced the workers three times over. They never had more than 11 workers onsite although Cariño had requested for more. “The workers weren’t being paid. Once, the wife of the foreman got my number somehow, called me, and said, ‘Sir, we’re not being paid.’ But I was not delayed with this contract. In fact, I’ve overpaid. He still owes me money.”

Cuerva, the designer, had bowed out of the project. For the first couple of years, when architects from Cuerva’s office visited the site, they informed Cariño that the contractor’s progress reports were overly inflated. Cuerva later advised Cariño to find another contractor. The couple considered litigation, but a friend told them that might mean putting the construction on hold for however long the case and investigation dragged on. “I was stuck in the middle of a bad place,” says Cariño, “so we decided to just find

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