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  1. #1
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    How do I build a house in Thailand ?

    I have recently purchased a rai of land in a village 100 k from nongkhai.
    It will be ready to build on in approx. 12months.
    Could anyone please advise me on the best way to start on this project .

  2. #2
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    Get a house plan drawn up and infill the land?

  3. #3
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    Carefully read all the construction threads here. Many of us have had homes built. You will learn a lot from our mistakes.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by buad hai
    You will learn a lot from our mistakes.
    Mistakes? Who?

  5. #5
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    Make sure that the wife's relatives have nothing to do with actually constructing the house.

  6. #6
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    Find a contractor.

  7. #7
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    Watch every move that the builder makes and make sure that the materials are up to spec.

    Insist on a fixed price contract with a completion date and stage payments. The final payment should be a big one.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rawky View Post
    I have recently purchased a rai of land in a village 100 k from nongkhai.
    It will be ready to build on in approx. 12months.
    Could anyone please advise me on the best way to start on this project .
    If you are asking for such basic advice I wouldn't be building a house if i was you until you have been on the ground a while.
    Plenty of good info here from guys who have done it and have the scars and white hair to prove it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morden
    The final payment should be a big one.
    Depends how big you mean, but any that agree to a final payment of 20 percent or more are the ones who are overcharging you anyway so they wont care.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog
    Depends how big you mean, but any that agree to a final payment of 20 percent or more are the ones who are overcharging you anyway so they wont care.
    Agree. Cash flow is important to most builders. 20% or higher will mean the honest builder has to go cash negative. 15% is likely the best you can get from an honest builder and more likely 10%.

    Aside from the advice posted above, get 2 or 3 quotes and insist on seeing houses the builder has already built.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

  11. #11
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rawky
    in a village 100 k from nongkhai.
    Availability of water, power and telephone lines/number can be a big issue when building in a village. Check these out or you may find a lot of extra expense.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Morden
    The final payment should be a big one.
    Depends how big you mean, but any that agree to a final payment of 20 percent or more are the ones who are overcharging you anyway so they wont care.
    Agreed, but it needs to be large enough to be valuable to him and a useful sum to hold back if completion is late or there are some of those irritating flaws to pout right. We had a final payment of 20%.

    More important is the fixed price. Our builder caught some price inflation after signing the contract and that was another incentive to complete on time.

  13. #13
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    Everything that they have said above.

    My two Bahts worth.
    1. Start by raising the hight of the land that you want to build on. At least above that of the nearest road/soi. Allow for the fact that if you are near a road, it will be resurfaced by putting new on top of old. Thus making it higher. Leave it to settle for at least a year.
    2. Start to think about what you want and how much money you want to spend. Allow for the fact that material prices will rise while you are waiting for your land to settle. If any of the locals have Cows/Buffalos, they will tread your mound to the floor again if you don't protect it. I speak from experience on this one.

    Good luck

  14. #14
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    And make sure that the holes for the concrete piles, when they are made, go down through the fill into the original ground below.

    12 months settlement may not be necessary if you do the above and have some compaction done by the tractor that spreads the muck from the trucks.

    1 Metre depth of fill is usually enough if the surrounding land is flat. Take a look at how much has been put down for recently built houses in the area.

    A decent contractor will have a book of designs - the sort you can by in bookshops yourself. Choose a style, ask his price and then talk about modifications to the design. We managed to get extras such as a verandah extension and extra power points within the original price (Thai builders don't think we need more than two power points per room - among many other quaint ideas about electricity circuit!)

    Do a search for the CoolThaiHouse website. It's full of tips to get you taking to the builder.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morden
    among many other quaint ideas about electricity circuit!
    Such as:

    - No need for all three wires in a three prong outlet.

    - No need for ground wires or a grounding rod.

    - No need to follow color coding.

    - No need to worry about matching the ampacity of the wire to either the breaker or the load.

    - No need for cable or conduit, just ordinary wire lying about the attic is OK.

    Watch them like a hawk when they do the wiring. If you don't know how to do it right, find someone who does.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by rawky View Post
    I have recently purchased a rai of land in a village 100 k from nongkhai.
    It will be ready to build on in approx. 12months.
    Could anyone please advise me on the best way to start on this project .
    as a farang ,you didnt purchase any land my freind you just "thought you did"

  17. #17
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    We are just now in the final stages of building our home near Khon Kaen. Experience will vary according to circumstance and we did a lot of things that people will advise against doing. So far the process has been intensely educational for us but generally positive.

    Decide whether you will use the services of a general contactor or hire a builder and provide materials yourself. We did both, in a sense. At first we went with a contractor who soon proved to be dishonest and incompetent so we took over about hafway through the project. We were lucky in that our builder stuck with us and his crew is really good.
    Most of the problems we have had came from differences in language and ways of thinking. I have a lifetime of experience building houses in Canada but I found very little of that was truly applicable here. You need someone (usually the wife)who speaks Thai (local dialect) fluently and your own language very well. She also needs to understand a lot about construction so that she can understand the ideas being discussed and translate them accurately.
    We designed from scratch and got impressive plans drawn up by an engineer for government approval. Although our contractor had signed the agreement to build the house according to the plans and specs, he was shocked that we actually required him to do so. His idea of a contact was that we would pay him the money, the agreed amount or more, while he would more or less get the house built any way that was convenient and cheap for him.
    We were tough with him and he didn't manage to steal too much. As my wife says, education can be expensive.

    I could write a lot more but I have to get going right now. Good Luck!

  18. #18
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    Start simple, maybe you could build a bungalow, shed or fence. This will allow you to:
    - get to know local tradesmen/laborers, work out who will rip you off and who will do a decent job.
    - get to know prices for materials, labor etc.
    - learn best places to buy and most practical ways to do things
    - you mistakes will be smaller, you'll learn from them and not do the same again.

    This is what we're doing, it'll be completed in a week or so and I'll post pics.

  19. #19
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    Questian For DD which would cost more to build say a 2400sq ft Bungalow or a house the same sq ft ?

  20. #20
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    ^
    The house, if it was two storeys, but cost per square metre would be lower as you only have to make one roof.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Burr
    The house, if it was two storeys, but cost per square metre would be lower as you only have to make one roof.
    Huh?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sparky
    which would cost more to build say a 2400sq ft Bungalow or a house the same sq ft ?
    Seems like they are the same size to me, the house would cost more as you are basically making 2 roofs and the higher you go the more time consuming it gets to get materials up.

  22. #22
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    If the house was still 2400 sq ft over two storeys, the roof would actually be smaller than a one storey house of 2400 sq ft. Geddit?

  23. #23
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    ^ So the roof is smaller but is that cost saving then out weighed by the additional costs involved in making the extra storey plus stairs and probably deeper or stronger foundations ?

  24. #24
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    It would be more efficient to make the two storey house twice the total area as the single storey ie same size foot-print. The price per square metre would be a lot less.

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