Delayed for 2 years, the Massive $395 Million New Senate Building in Taguig, Philippines Falls Under Scrutiny

Home » Projects » Delayed for 2 years, the Massive $395 Million New Senate Building in Taguig, Philippines Falls Under Scrutiny

The New Senate Building (NSB) in Taguig will be the future home of the Philippine Senate. The project has been suffering delays and controversy since it began construction in 2019.

Senate building in Taguig Overview

The Senate of the Philippines is currently renting space at the Government Insurance Building System (GSIS) building in Pasay, Metro Manila. Prior to this, the Senate had previously called seven other buildings “home” until settling at the GSIS building in 1997.

In a bid to find a permanent home, plans for a New Senate Building finally progressed in 2017, and the Senate selected Taguig as its new location. The following year in 2018, a design competition for the NSB was held by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority

(BCDA) and the Senate. Both local and foreign firms participated in the design competition, and five firms were shortlisted namely: AECOM, Aidea, Henning Larsen Architects, Leeser Architecture, and Pelli Clarke Pelli Architects.

The criteria for the competition is to design an iconic, practical, and sustainable green design that also focuses on usefulness and security. Out of the forty firms that participated in the design competition, five were shortlisted and AECOM was selected as the winning design.

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State of the Art design by AECOM

AECOM is a multinational construction firm based in Dallas, Texas. According to BCDA, AECOM’s conceptual design of the New Senate Building represents honor and dignity and shows the institution’s legacy.

The NSB will be a complex of four office buildings. The plenary hall will be situated in the center of the complex, signifying a central part of the institution. AECOM’s design is inspired by key elements in Philippine history: the national flag, the Banaue Rice Terraces, and the national attire “barong”.

The design prioritizes the comfort of the occupants. The design also focuses on minimizing environmental impact and maximizing sustainability through energy-saving elements such as solar shades, cross ventilation, glazing, and other features. The NSB will also feature efficient water fixtures with a rainwater collecting system, greywater recycling, and condensation recovery systems. The New Senate Building in Taguig will also focus on using indigenous plant species for the greeneries of the project.


Delayed for 852 days and counting

In 2019 construction on the New Senate Building commenced. The project was initially set for completion by 2022 but has suffered significant stalls in construction work since. The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) handles the project construction and awarded a contract to Hilmarc Construction Corporation.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the project and the construction suffered delays. During a senate hearing, DPWH Project Director Soledad Florencio said the delay was due to a “variation of orders.”

According to Senate President Francis Escudero the NSB, the ongoing delay has moved the project to 2025. The senator has also called for a review of the Php23 billion ($395 Million) building cost.

Controversy and the Ballooning Cost of the New Senate Building

During the senate hearing, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano expressed concerns over the dramatic increase of the NSB’s project from Php8.9 billion ($153 million) to Php23 billion ($395 Million), which is thrice the initial budget.

According to a document from 2023, the construction of the NSB will be built in three phases. The first phase of the project, with a budget of Php8.9 billion ($153 million), is for the building’s core and shell. The second phase of the project, with a budget of Php2.5 billion ($43 million), is for the fit-out including furnishings and tiles of the building. Finally, the third and last phase, with a budget of Php10 billion ($177 million), is for “works to complete” in the NSB. Additionally, the land acquisition for the site costs Php1.6 billion ($28 million).

Currently, construction work on the NSB Phase 1 is at 77% complete. While Phase 2 is at a minimal 18% complete. According to DPWH, the current target for completion of the New Senate Building in Taguig is in July 2025. However, concerns over hitting the target date are high given the slow progress of NSB’s phase 2.

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