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  1. #1
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    koman's Avatar
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    Land development with wall and house...photo thread..first effort.




    This is the land in its raw state...3.5 rai on a good concrete road, with municipal water and power right at the gate.....nice and level with nice views of the wooded hills to the North and SE.....a nice place to live....once the spirits have been consulted and proper observances made.....
    We acquired this land in Jan 2012 after several years of trying to get the owners to part with it....

    It was filled to an average depth of 1.5 meters and now sits well above the road level as well as being several meters above the highest ever recorded flood level.....always a good idea I think.









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    First we built a wall. This is the first section of 100 meters. It will be over 300 meters when finished.... It was started during the "wet" season, so the crew was often knee deep in mud. The actually seem to enjoy it....

    [/URL][/IMG]

    Lots of sand, gravel and stuff....lots of wall to be built....

    [/URL][/IMG]

    We excavated this pond at the back of the property.....45 x 25 meters ...and 8 meters deep. Irrigation for all kinds of horticultural ventures.....



    We filled up the great pond using a trusty Kubota and pump loaned to us by one of the wall building crew.....it thumped away for almost 24 hours on a few liters of diesel and pumped thousands of cubic meters of water......long live Kubota.....




    This splendid structure is for storing cement and stuff....also acts as a kind of command and control centre....and a place for sleeping when the crew gets drunk and can't face the wife.... gotta look after the staff.....




    There's the command and control centre completed with a temporary potting shed in the foreground......we also build a toilet (the smaller building behind the CC center) for the wall crew and house builders when they arrive... proper septic tank and everything... can't have all these people crapping all over my nice land and polluting the pond.....




    Not long after the outbuildings are constructed...here we have all kinds of stuff growing. The wife can make things grow out of bedrock....

    This is my first attempt at a photo thread....hope it works OK.....lots more photos to add.....but this will have to do for starters.....
    I blame the Americans......and Thaksin.

  2. #2
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    Good 1st attempt I would say! Keep the photos coming man. Looks like fun.

  3. #3
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    It's looks good Koman, keep the pic's comming.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by beazalbob69 View Post
    Good 1st attempt I would say! Keep the photos coming man. Looks like fun.
    I'd say it's a spectacular first attempt...!

    Good luck with the build Koman.

  5. #5
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    One of the better topic starts ever, most of them start without any photos!

    Before I wish you good luck, I'd like to know where your build is (province will do).

    Good luck with the build and keep up the posts!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koetjeka
    One of the better topic starts ever, most of them start without any photos!
    I beg to disagree; 8-10 pages of warm up material should be provided before any photos are added, even then, photos should be drip fed...

    Excellent OP.

    That wall would cost more than my house!

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the encouragement guys....
    To answer Koetjeka's question: the location is 75kms west of Khonkaen....overlooking the flood plain of the Che river and about 250 meters from the main highway. It feels quite secluded but it's actually 15 minutes from Tesco and Makro...and fibre optic will be available once the house in finished. I'm really not into this wilderness living stuff anymore....

    BB....the wall is just about finished now. as of today (Dec 12th) it is 310 meters long and has cost 350,000Thb. I hired a crew of local farmers/construction engineers who agreed to build it for 500 baht per meter....2 meters high. We bought all the materials and they occasionally dropped by to do some work.....it's taken three months... There is still about 80 meters across the back of the land, but we will have a chain-link fence there, because we want to see the views and let the wind whistle through. The front wall will be built once the house is completed. That's another 40 meters with 5 meter gate, lights and things....jeez..

    The house is actually well under way and so far has been amazingly free of problems. I hired a project manager, who is a graduate engineer and he is doing an excellent job. There are on-site supervisors who keep the workers working and the Lao Kao supply under control.

    The roof tile guys are working today and the whole place is swarming with people. The work crews often bring along half their village....plus dogs, chickens, caged rabbits....the place is a fucking zoo....but I'm enjoying it immensely.....

    I have so many photos...it's hard to know where to start....but I'll post some more as soon as I can get them sorted out into some kind of order...... in the meantime here are a few random shots of things that have been going on....




    This is the pond looking east....with the great wall of Isaan under construction...




    Here we have the mighty Kubota making an earth berm along the north rim of the pond..... I love Kubota's....gotta get one if there's any money left....




    Clearing and levelling the back section of half a rai...which will be used for growing veggies...which will bring in a huge revenue stream...so sayeth the wife....



    This is the berm built along the north rim......looks a bit barren....




    This is the same thing a few weeks later....amazing how stuff grows here...and you can eat it too....



    The west rim of the pond....stuff growing there too.... everything you see has been grown from seed...and it has not taken long to reach this stage.....there are some seeds you have to be careful with....drop them on the soil and jump back out of the way quick.....



    ...and of coursed Loy Kratong must be observed.....this is my wife doing her thing by the pond.

    Lots more to come......

  8. #8
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    This photo thread thing is hard work when you have to work with a village internet connection....slow as hell at times and generally unreliable......anyhow, forge ahead..



    This is the entrance and future driveway....we are just about to have the municipal water supply connected ....right to the left of that tree on the left side of the pic..



    The municipal work team arrives.



    After a lot of probing and digging; the water main is found....I was starting to doubt that it existed, but so far so good.



    They just ram a pointed steel tube under the road, flushing out the dirt with the water pressure ....which is quite high. Lots of wet underwear on these jobs.
    You can see the meter set up just by the left hand tree.....across the road.



    There's that north wall again. The front of the house will be just about where that pile of gravel is laying...



    The pylons have arrived. They are 7 meters long. There are 18 of them.



    Here's 14 of them all laid out nice and orderly...which is the Thai way...



    ...so now that we have all these lovely pylons, we need a pile-driver....and sure enough this one showed up the next day.



    While the pile drivers were busy driving piles another gang arrived. This is the building crew erecting their living quarters. Isaan building crews live is style when they travel..

    BettyBoo said I had to drip feed pics....so I will stop here for now....don't want to break with photo thread protocol...do we?

  9. #9
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    ^ Don't for god's sake drip feed them at the rate that Betty is doing on his building thread. At the rate he's going many of the viewers here would have died before he's finished....

    For what it's worth, we all think it's worth you persevering with the village intenet. Good on ya Koman...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by koman
    BB....the wall is just about finished now. as of today (Dec 12th) it is 310 meters long and has cost 350,000Thb. I hired a crew of local farmers/construction engineers who agreed to build it for 500 baht per meter....2 meters high.
    Is it gold plated?

  11. #11
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    Looking good!

    How much do they charge for the pile driving? Do they price it per meter or per pile?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Koetjeka View Post
    Looking good!

    How much do they charge for the pile driving? Do they price it per meter or per pile?
    I don't know exactly. I'm working on a fixed price contract with my project/general manager. He does all the sub-contracting and purchasing and I just pay him on a pre arranged schedule as each phase is completed.

    I believe it's about 1000 Thb per pile to have them driven...but that probably varies with location and the number of piles etc. It's quite a big job and it has to be done right...including the cutting off at the top...which is done about 60 cms below ground level. We hit a layer of shale about 6 meters down so some of them did not get the full 7 meter treatment....makes for one hell of a solid foundation though...

    Not sure what to make of Marmites comment. The wall has worked out at 1129 Thb per meter for a 2 meter high wall. with very good solid foundations, so the fucking think will not lean 15 degrees in a few years....like many of the other walls around here... I've researched wall builds and bullied numerous contractors over the past year and that's by far the best I came up with. A couple of friends have had walls built and they cost a lot more.....also there's a good wall build thread here on TD somewhere.... Even 3 years ago it was costing over 1000/meter for a wall like that.... even gravel is going for 500-550 per m3 now depending on the day, and if you can find any..

    I am trying to find pile driving pics.....I have a shit load of them, but for some reason I can't locate them.... then maybe some nice ceremonial stuff and eventually we'll get around to the concrete work, welding, topless female construction workers etc...

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by koman View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Koetjeka View Post
    Looking good!

    How much do they charge for the pile driving? Do they price it per meter or per pile?
    I don't know exactly. I'm working on a fixed price contract with my project/general manager. He does all the sub-contracting and purchasing and I just pay him on a pre arranged schedule as each phase is completed.

    I believe it's about 1000 Thb per pile to have them driven...but that probably varies with location and the number of piles etc. It's quite a big job and it has to be done right...including the cutting off at the top...which is done about 60 cms below ground level. We hit a layer of shale about 6 meters down so some of them did not get the full 7 meter treatment....makes for one hell of a solid foundation though...

    Not sure what to make of Marmites comment. The wall has worked out at 1129 Thb per meter for a 2 meter high wall. with very good solid foundations, so the fucking think will not lean 15 degrees in a few years....like many of the other walls around here... I've researched wall builds and bullied numerous contractors over the past year and that's by far the best I came up with. A couple of friends have had walls built and they cost a lot more.....also there's a good wall build thread here on TD somewhere.... Even 3 years ago it was costing over 1000/meter for a wall like that.... even gravel is going for 500-550 per m3 now depending on the day, and if you can find any..

    I am trying to find pile driving pics.....I have a shit load of them, but for some reason I can't locate them.... then maybe some nice ceremonial stuff and eventually we'll get around to the concrete work, welding, topless female construction workers etc...
    Ah, I understand. It's quite a job indeed.

    which is done about 60 cms below ground level.
    Huh, below ground level? Typically Thai I guess. Do they actually cut the heads by hand or do they have a proper tool?

  14. #14
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    OK...for those who cannot resist pile driving pictures...I've found some.



    First they have to manhandle the machine into position. This is pretty labour intensive stuff moving this big thing around on a couple of 20ft rails.....it's pretty impressive how they can change position in any direction...two guy in flip flops....and quite often without even the flip flops.




    Then they hook up to the pylon using a steel cable...and use the big diesel engine to haul it up into position.



    Slow and steady....it's nearly there.




    Once it's in place and secured...they pound the shit out of it with that big hammer thing....2.5 metric tons of it. It's pretty loud and the ground can shake....but the pylon goes down a few inches at a time.....




    ...all the while, being watched carefully by the manager...using a devise that's been around since they built the Pyramids.....but it works perfectly and gets you pylon nice and vertical...



    Because all this activity is disturbing to the spirits who stick around this land....an offering has to be made. Anyone who thinks this is not important better not ever build a house in Thailand.....


    Of course, before any of this takes place....the foundation layout has to be done. Here we see the project manager supervising this important event.






    I managed to capture the foundation markings in the late afternoon sun....all done with stakes and 20lb test fishing line.



    But the sun went down...and the moon came up, so I took a shot of it too.....

    As soon as I get them organized, I will post pics of the site with the pylons in the ground...cutting, digging etc.....then you will see why they cut them 60 cms below ground level.....

  15. #15
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    OK. so a bit more on the fascinating subject of piles and the process of establishing a good solid foundation.....



    When the piles have all be driven, you end up with something like a really second rate Stonehenge... Some have gone quite a bit deeper than others...with one only going down 5 meters before hitting solid rock. The pile driver guys known that when you continue to drop 2.5 metric tons on the top of the pylon and it will not budge one inch more.....it's time to stop.



    Now it's time to dig down about 60 cms or so....and cut the tops off.....there is method in this apparent madness, as we shall see.



    The base has been exposed down to the required depth...and now it's cutting time. Unfortunately, I missed this part, because I had to go visit with the delightful folks at the immigration office, just to let them know where I live and that no arrest warrant is necessary.



    This is the bottom of the cut pylon. Nice clean cut and perfectly horizontal too....
    Cutting is done by a specialized small contractor who has the proper equipment.



    The exposed head of the pylon is now chipped away leaving 6 inches or so of rebar sticking up. This rebar will be connected to a steel cage and the whole thing will be filled with cement.....about a full cubic meter of the stuff for each pylon.



    The hole is lined with concrete block or brick after a layer of cement has been poured over the pylon head...just leaving the rebar sticking up....



    An on-site manufactured steel cage is now inserted into the hole and attached to the rebar in the pylon...the whole thing is tied together and ready for the cement pour.



    Here are all the steel cages ready for all the other pylons......they make everything right here on the site.



    I love the smell of rebar cutting in the morning.....it smells like......victory......



    A rebar column which is again fabricated on-site is now inserted into the steel cage, and the whole thing is filled with a cubic meter of concrete.....solid as a rock.



    This is a slightly different type of arrangement for columns that don't need a pylon under them....like outside porch areas where loads are minimal. Still gets a cubic meter of concrete though....



    The engineer/project manager, measures and checks everything....actually double and triple checks. Nothing is taken for granted.



    Another steel cutting pic....cause I know TD'ers like sparks....



    The cut pylons are moved out of the way....it required 6 men to move the biggest piece..this is one of the smaller ones.



    A small forest of steel now graces the site.. embedded is about 18 m3 of solid concrete....we are making progress.

    I have gotten a little ahead of myself here. Before any of this steel erection can take place....it is necessary to have a kind of Shaman guy inspect the site and advise as to which one needs to go up first. It is also necessary to have a proper ceremony to ask for the indulgence of the spirits again...because all this is very disruptive. I will post some photos of this ceremony and the raising of the first column as soon as I can get my act together......

  16. #16
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    Brilliant start KM well done mate a cracking build thread in the making for sure.

    Your pictures look great to.

    I'm sure there are a few members who would be more than happy to have they're piles driven for a 100bht so don't take any notice of Betty, ,, all were gonna get for the next month is page after page of him blaming his wife
    I'm proud of my 38" waist , also proud I have never done drugs

  17. #17
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    ^
    Thanks Nigel.. it's always nice to get a bit of feedback, just so I know I'm not boring everyone to death....

    I enjoy all the construction threads and follow them all the time. You can learn a lot from others who are going through the sometimes tangled web of building in Thailand.

    I think Bettyboo is very courageous just sending a wad of cash for his FIL to build a house.....and allowing his wife to supervise, choose colours etc. I have the advantage of being on site every day with a well educated and skilled construction manager to oversee the process and deal with all the staffing and supply issues.. Betty on the other hand is out there running some Emirate in the ME as I understand it...... we all do things a bit differently, don't we?...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by koman
    it is 310 meters long
    That's a decent sized wall, like Rhobarb, don't forget to house the machine gun posts at the most suitable points. I like the idea of not having all wall, you want a view, and not to feel enclosed...

    Quote Originally Posted by koman
    The house is actually well under way and so far has been amazingly free of problems.
    I was gonna start a smug laugh, but then I saw the next comment.

    Quote Originally Posted by koman
    I'm working on a fixed price contract with my project/general manager. He does all the sub-contracting and purchasing and I just pay him on a pre arranged schedule as each phase is completed.
    This is a very good idea. If you can find somebody good who you can trust to manage the contractors and grief, at a price that you find acceptable, then you're gonna save lots of stress. Excellent route forward.

    The pics are great, and the quality of work looks really nice, as far as we've seen thusfar. The efforts to get things right at initial foundation time has to bode well.

    It's very interesting to see the slightly different approaches in slightly different areas. I reckon this build will go very well, the work looks quality (for Thais).
    How do I post these pictures???

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    Quote Originally Posted by koman
    it's always nice to get a bit of feedback
    You can be sure there are a lot of people watching this thread, koman...And you are doing a very good job of making it first-class...

    Well done...

  20. #20
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    Again, thanks to all of you who have responded,,,sent greens etc. It's always nice to get a few greens to offset the serial redding from posters like Ant and BSnub.....

    Bettyboo.....I've decided against machine gun posts on the wall. Decent firearms are hard to come by in Issan anyway. Instead we have decided to go with the ultimate Isaan defence system which we have called Tong and Ting......



    This is "Ting"...a fearsome and very aggressive female Bangkaew.



    .....and this is "Tong", an equally ferocious and aggressive male Bangkaew.

    Thai's fear these dogs like no other...even a Pitbull pales in comparasion.....

    Oh then there is the hunter/tracker who takes care of lizards, snakes and anything of that nature that has a mind to invade the premises......



    I am quite sure nothing can get past this lot.....

    Things are on hold today because we had a big thunderstorm last night....and it pissed down for hours. The building crew are having all kinds of problems cooking the sticky rice this morning with all the firewood all wet and the whole place looking like a lake. Actually there is a kind of nice reflector pool right in front of the house......maybe a good landscaping idea....with a few swans, peacocks.....and a collection of vintage Rolls and Hispano's scattered about.....

    My bloody internet connection is slower than an melting glacier as well.....so I'm going to leave my posting on Shaman's and ceremonial things till later.....maybe I can get an upload speed of more than 1K.....

  21. #21
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    .maybe I can get an upload speed of more than 1K.....
    My up- and download speed has gone down this week, it's so incredibly slow now... yesterday I tried to reset my modem and router, bad idea because then TOT blocks your account, I had to hang on the phone with them for over 30 minutes to fix it...

    Now it's still super slow.

  22. #22
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    Great thread & pics Koman. Keep it up & good luck with the build. Lots of pics is good, as it may help others in their future builds.

  23. #23
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    Great adventure and like many these sort of threads are great for the unwashed and unnerved like myself. Have to ask! You paid $12000 for a wall. Why was that? Sorry if you already explained, sort of got into the photos.

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    Very nice ceremony, I've seen it once when they started to built the temple across the road from my house, it's very similar to this.

    Judging from the close-up the quality of rebar seems to be good, they've actually used rebar with those little "ribs" so the grip with the concrete is ensured (note that this obviously doesn't say anything about strength of the steel). I rarely see rebar like this in Thailand.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sailing into trouble View Post
    Great adventure and like many these sort of threads are great for the unwashed and unnerved like myself. Have to ask! You paid $12000 for a wall. Why was that? Sorry if you already explained, sort of got into the photos.
    A guy with a 35ft sailboat asking why I would spend $12K on a wall.....

    Seriously, in this part of the world you have to build walls and/or fences around everything. Land which is not walled or fenced is viewed by the locals as common land...and they will wander freely over it complete with herds of cows....use it as a short-cut to everywhere.....well you get the picture. In rural Isaan the villagers have absolutely zero respect for things like privacy.

    Yes the wall was a wee bit expensive but 3.5 Rai is quite a big chunk of land to build around... and besides, some of the rice farmers were on down time and needed work....

    Another thing about walls......this land has been filled and raised well above the surrounding area....which means that in the wet season you get a lot of run-off and erosion around the perimeter. A good sturdy wall will prevent the erosion (acts as a retaining wall) and if you do it right and leave drainage ditches along the base of the wall you don't end up giving all your fill to the next door neighbours....and the run off can be directed into the pond at the rear of the property....

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