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  1. #1
    Tao
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    How can I avoid builders ripping me off?

    We have the plans to build a house on land we already own in Korat. We've already been in touch with a few builders and i'm hoping for some advice so as not to be ripped off.

    The house is to be a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom bungalow with adjoining carport.

    The first building team quoted us 300,000 baht and we have to buy the materials.

    The second builder quoted us 240,000 and we buy the materials. The wife actually accepted this offer but then the guy doesn't show up on the agreed date so now she doesn't trust him.

    The third builder wants to take on the whole job. He wants 2.2 million all in which he admits is expensive but he says he'll guarantee 100% quality. Apparently we have to take his word for this.

    We've also spoken to a fourth building team who we're waiting to hear back from.

    I'll post the house plans in a second, just need to go get another bottle of beer.

    All thoughts most welcome as i'm quite thick about all this building lark and i'm not even sure what all this should be costing. The architect said we could build for 800,000, now i'm assuming that's without the cost of the labour. Still seems to be rather cheap to me though.

  2. #2
    Displaced Member
    cali kid's Avatar
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    References might be a good thing to see...

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat AntRobertson's Avatar
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    The guy who did our renovations was happy enough to take us to see a couple of other places he'd worked on - one a new build from scratch and another a renovation of an existing house.

    We'd had a bunch of quotes and he was at the upper-end in terms of price but that was the deciding factor for us.

  4. #4
    Tao
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    Alright, got my beer and upload a pic. Hope this works...


  5. #5
    Tao
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    Ummm, that was a quite big picture. Just one more... sorry for all those on dial up or GPRS Which being in Korat, are probably the people i'd like to hear advice from.

    I'll try this again. Posted the wrong pic.

  6. #6
    Tao
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    Front of the house:



  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tao
    he says he'll guarantee 100% quality
    You don't get that in the UK so he maybe exagerating slightly

  8. #8
    I am in Jail
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    my experience was the 3 months needed to add the extention became 1 year. he'd disappear for 2 months at a time. The missus eyes rolled everytime I started talking about him as she didn't want to make the phone call

  9. #9
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    Write a separate contract detailing time, materials and workmanship if he claims to give a guarantee. I have seen it all too many times when they say "guarantee 100%". Means nothing unless it says so in the paperwork right?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveRobin
    my experience was the 3 months needed to add the extention became 1 year. he'd disappear for 2 months at a time. The missus eyes rolled everytime I started talking about him as she didn't want to make the phone call
    Great example, common stuff it seems to be..

  11. #11
    better looking than Ned
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    Have a look at some of the other houses he has built, also only pay in installments as the house goes up. Hold back the last 200K bht for two months incase you find some faults after. Dont trust any of the builders and have someone that you really trust and has half a brain watch them every day

  12. #12
    better looking than Ned
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    and make sure you buy all the door fittings,doors,tiles,window frames, paint, so you dont end up with shit

  13. #13
    punk douche bag
    ChiangMai noon's Avatar
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    I was quoted between 126,000 and 170,000 from various builders for a similar sized project.

    that tells me 300,000 is excessive, so is 240,000 unless Chiangmai builders are cheaper.

  14. #14
    Tao
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    Well I don't trust the twat who asked us for 2.2 mil. He just called the brother-in-law asking if he can find some other local team to build with the builder as the foreman. He promised the BIL some percent.

    Luckily, the brother in law is a decent sort who told him no he won't take any percent from family, then told us what the guy was asking for.

  15. #15
    Tao
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiangMai noon
    I was quoted between 126,000 and 170,000 from various builders for a similar sized project.
    Approx how many square meters for your place CMN?

  16. #16
    Thailand Expat Texpat's Avatar
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    Looks like a nice design Tao.

    Are all the builders local? If they are, ask to see some of the houses they've built. My builder introduced my wife and I to a few of his owners -- they had mixed reviews, but I appreciated the builder's honesty. If they're not local and you have other options, forget 'em.

    If talking to owners is out of the question, ask to see some of the houses he's built. Look for things like cracks in the driveway, amatuerish paintjob, lighting fixtures askew, shitty landscaping ... indicators of a sloppy general contractor. The house may be sound as a baht, but you won't be happy living in a botch job.

    If you're going to buy the materials, understand that construction guys can get it cheaper than you. It would be a real coup if you could find out what kind of markdown they get, and offer them that. Anyway, there's always overages and waste and theft, gotta factor those in.

    If you're not in a hurry, listen to all four, get a sheet of blank paper and write down the pros and cons of each. The answer might be staring you in the face.

    Finally, trust your instincts. If it sounds to cheap to be realistic, it is -- the guy's bullshitting you. If it sounds about right, remember you're in Thailand and you probably won't get what you're used to back home. Shoot for an 80-85% satisfied rate. You'll be happy along the way and generally satisfied at the end. And never forget -- building the house is just the beginning.

  17. #17
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    ^^
    not sure.

    they seem to be making it up as they go along, that's the advantage of throwing the drawings in the bin


    less than 50 square wah for the house I suppose (not including terrace and parking.)

    yours definitely looks a bit bigger on your plan but not two times bigger.

  18. #18
    I am in Jail

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    I suggest you pick your materials as the quality given by a contractor will end up being the really cheap shit opposed to the better quality cheap shit material you can use if you select it.

    Also once the basic foundation is set someone i.e. *YOU* has to be there most of the time to keep on eye on how things are going - this is just a given in Thailand. The minute you do not like the way a thing is being done or made the way you want you have to establish that right away and have it done the way you want it i.e. the way you are paying for it to be done.

    Thank God labor here is cheap as it is a major pain in the ass having things done properly.

  19. #19
    Band
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    First picture told me more, very nice lay out and house , did you get a quantity serveyer to give you price of materials so that you can get rough total cost? we got builder to show houses he had built and spoke to the new owners, as I said in another post, chap running the job put kitchen door on wrong side of kitchen, luckily noticed while still at blockwork stage and corrected, has the architect forgotten a door leading from dining room to kitchen? as all other doors shown, garden walls and guttering extra as they are not shown?
    As bobbytits said you should be there to see no shortcuts taken and let them know you can read drawings, get them to give you rough date when it will be finished also
    Last edited by oldgit; 21-01-2008 at 06:22 PM.

  20. #20
    I am in Jail
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    our guy was eventually given a deadline and that's probably why the wiring was botched

  21. #21
    Tao
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldgit
    quantity serveyer to give you price of materials so that you can get rough total cost?
    No quantity surveyor, never been mentioned to me in Thailand but not a bad idea to have a look around and try and find one.



    Quote Originally Posted by oldgit
    has the architect forgotten a door leading from dining room to kitchen? as all other doors shown, garden walls and guttering extra as they are not shown?
    No, there are sliding doors leading to the kitchen. Think my wife wanted that, fine by me, she's the boss. Garden walls will come after, we've nearly 20 rai to build on and i've not decided on a garden size yet.

    Guttering is not on the plans from what i can see. We'll decide on something when the house is nearer completion.

  22. #22
    RIP
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    Your wiring will be a problem as I know of no qualified electricians in Thailand and you will have to insist on 3 wire grounded stuff and watch and make sure that it is put in and hooked up,
    Also as has been stated, you have to watch everything and make sure it is done to your specs., they even mix every batch of concrete with a different formula and slump, so it will always be sub standard concrete work, even if you buy ready mix they will slump it to suit themselves, or maybe they just dump in water til they think it is correct.
    You would be money ahead to get the insulating block now that they are around, didn't have it when we built, but was here shortly after, also be sure to insulate your ceilings on the framework before they put up the sheetrock.
    lots of old time building practices here and everyone I meet is an electrician and a building contractor, but always you must pay for materials as you go, so contractor is a different word to Thai.
    I payed 120K labor on our house and I paid every week as we went along, and I think it was just over 300K when the paint was put on, not sure about that because I have lost or threw away the reciepts.

    look at the link in the lower portion of my post and the first few pages and then the last 2 pages in Thailand pics album are of our house, mostly kitchen and the replacement roof, but might give you an idea.

  23. #23
    Tao
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    blackgang, the wiring in this house is very important to me. Not only for safety but i've got several electric guitars which sound like shit through an amp which is not correctly grounded. Not only that, a short in the amp through the guitar lead and onto the strings has a pretty high potential for death.

    As for watching over the work, i can be there for about 50% of the time. The other times i'll have my wife or her family there, who i can trust as much as my own family. Actually, more than my own family - you'd agree with me if you knew my brother!

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tao
    How can i avoid builders ripping me off?
    I think it's impossible, it's a Thai thing.

  25. #25
    Fag an bealac!
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    There is a product available now that does away with the need to use steel for reinforcing concrete, You use loose threads of nylon and put them into the concrete mix. don't know too much about this product or what its limitations are. Nylon is a lot cheaper than steel so you might be able to save some cash by using it

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