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  1. #1
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    Question Future Construction in Isaan


    Hello all,

    As I'm new here let me introduce myself. I'm 34 year old french guy who's been living happily, and recently married, with a thai
    girl for 4 years.
    I've been reading this forum for months with the idea to get some precious experiences and advices that would be useful when my
    turn would come to build something in Thailand for myself or my wife's family.

    The in-laws are living near Loei in a very basic house (concrete base + wood) and as my wife and our little boy will go there
    2/3 times a year for some holidays until we have our own house, I'd like something a bit more comfortable for them (with a decent bathroom, hot water,
    real toilets and so on).

    This first construction will also be used as a dry-run in preparation to the building for our own retirement/holiday house that will happen in 4-5 years from now.

    Before I enter into more details about the house itself I think there are a few things that are worth mentioning:

    1.

    First of all, before we can build the new house on the piece of land they currently have (and share with the uncle), it will be
    necessary to move the 2 wooden houses that are on it.
    The land plot is more or less rectangle but 1/4 of it is allocated to the uncle's house (and no there's no way to convince them to kick him out, I tried already).
    It looks like this:

    ...............................
    . ____________________________.
    . ____________________________.
    . _______________IN-LAWS PLOT_.
    . ____________________________.
    ................______________.
    . Uncle's Plot .______________.
    . (House)_____ . (House) _____.
    ._____________ ._____________ .
    .______________._____________ .
    ...............................

    Road
    ...............................

    And we'd like it to become this so the new house can be built at the front of the land plot:

    ...............................
    ._____________ ._____________ .
    . Uncle's Plot .______________.
    . (House) _____. (Old House)_ .
    . _____________._____________ .
    ................_____________ .
    .____________________________ .
    . ____________________________.
    . ________________(New House) .
    . ____________________________.
    ...............................

    Road
    ...............................

    The new house could be more in the center of the land but as I dont have the exact dimensions yet I've put where we have the more depth.
    Total size of the plot is about 1200 square meters but I dont have all the details.

    2. We'd like to have a perimeter wall all around the land. Maybe not made of concrete but anything that will allow us to actually
    put more dirt/soil on the ground in order to level it up which leads me to the point 3.

    3. Add more dirt to level up the ground.

    The first quotations received are stating about 10000 THB to move each of the houses and 20000 THB for the dirt trucks.
    I have no quotation yet concerning the perimeter wall.


    Now let's come to the house that we are planning to build.
    As I'm a complete dummy in this area, I opted for one of the Thai government pre-approved house plans that another forum member
    mentioned in another thread.

    The fully detailed plans can be found here:
    Edit: cant post link yet so...

    House model number 9 (1 storey, 3 bedrooms and about 125 square meters).

    A quotation has been requested to a local builder and he stated about 225 000 THB for the labor, between 700 000 and 800 000 THB for standard quality material and up to 1 million THB for better quality material.


    The plan is to start the actual building around February 2009 knowing that the prerequisites should be completed between October 2008 and February 2009.


    Any ideas, comments, builder recommendations or even alternatives are very welcome.




    Regards,

    Johan
    Last edited by joeedbkk; 07-07-2008 at 07:59 PM.

  2. #2
    The Cat
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeedbkk View Post

    First of all, before we can build the new house on the piece of land they currently have (and share with the uncle)
    Well sharing is nice but I would recommend you get your own piece of land first.
    That will belong to your wife and in case something happens to your wife, to your son.
    At least you have better control (if only a bit better).
    I mean if you want to make sure (or at least "more sure") the land (and the house on it) won't be sold (or "lost") without you knowing about it.
    Discussion is an exchange of knowledge, argument is an exchange of ignorance

  3. #3
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    Hello Bluecat,

    That's indeed something we considered but finding a good piece of land in "center" of the village is not so easy and the prices have sored recently.

    Just to explain a bit more, the in-laws acquired/will acquire the remaining 25% of the land from the uncle and he's only allowed to stay on the land because he's so poor that he has no other choice but in the books the in-laws are fully owner of the land.

    I should also mention that I don't wish to use that land or the house for my own use in the future as it's too far from everything anyway.
    The goal is really to give those people a better home and somewhere decent for my own family to stay when they visit them.

    Not having full control on it is not really an issue although I think the house will be build under my wife's name (I think it's possible) just to be on the safe side.



    R.

    Johan

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeedbkk
    and as my wife and our little boy will go there
    2/3 times a year for some holidays until we have our own house, I'd like something a bit more comfortable for them
    wouldn't bother.

    your wife is more than used to those living conditions and it will be like a camping holiday for the little one.

  5. #5
    The Cat
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeedbkk View Post
    Not having full control on it is not really an issue although I think the house will be build under my wife's name (I think it's possible) just to be on the safe side.
    You can not own a house, you own the land on which the house is.
    And I agree with CMN, I would not bother much if I was going there only a few times a year.
    Now, if you want to improve their living conditions, you can always "upgrade" their houses.
    For more than 1 million you're considering spending, you'll make their houses a very nice place to stay in.
    Won't be your own, but well, same for the one you intend to build...

  6. #6
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    Well I stayed in their current house for one week and trust me the best way to upgrade it is to pull it down and build a new one

    Moreover my wife _really_ wants to build a new house for her parents so the decision to build or not is irrevocable :-)


    Anyway buying a new piece of land might be a better alternative in the end but it seems difficult to find a nice piece of land in the 200 000 THB range (so they say...).

  7. #7
    The Cat
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeedbkk View Post
    Well I stayed in their current house for one week and trust me the best way to upgrade it is to pull it down and build a new one

    Moreover my wife _really_ wants to build a new house for her parents so the decision to build or not is irrevocable :-)
    In that case, I'll comment only on the prices.
    With 200,000 baht, a friend of mine bought a few rais 40 kms from Khon Kaen and build a very big house on it for about 1 million Baht last year.
    But building prices are escalating fast with the steel price having doubled the past few months...

  8. #8
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    How old are the parents and the uncle? Are they currently working? I would look to involve them in the building. Their expectations might not be too great when they have to work also. My dad is pushing 70 and is still fine with manual labor.

    They are probably not too fussed about western style bathrooms etc. So it's important to decide if you're building it for them or for yourself (who will only be there a few days a year.

    We fixed up the place below for less than 40K in materials. This includes a bit of electrical work, nice bedroom, septic tank and 'bathroom' (non-flush toilet and large bucket for shower). We spoke to local builders who clearly wanted to rip us off. The place is no palace, but we only want it for a couple of years while we save for a nicer place on a different part of the block.

    It was also a learning experience where we could make mistakes without it costing us heaps.
    BEFORE


    AFTER

    I would suggest trying to reuse some timber and use the old slab, this will save you a fair bit.

  9. #9
    I am in Jail

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    ^ Fack thats in the Jungle alright.
    As with others have said would not bother. My inlaws live in a house ok by their standards. I just check in to the Sofitel Khon Kaen. And drive to the village. Works out way better. I mean who want to sleep with the inlaws. Not me.

  10. #10
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    I already done it. No harm done. It safe Ant. Please proceed. Let us know how fast you managed to run......

  11. #11
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    Smithson,
    The parents are around 50 and they are farmers. I know they've also worked as labourers on some construction projects in the south but I would like to avoid involving them.

    After further thinking I decided to go for a new piece of land as moving the houses and so on would probably lead to problems. Plus, with a new piece of land everything is under the name of my wife from the beginning.

    The expectations of the in-laws are quite low but I would like to do something usable by them but also by us. Even though I will only spend a few days a year in the house, my wife will spend 2-3 months a year in it with our little one(s) so I would like the same kind of comfort for them as we have here.

    In the end the total budget is only the price of a small new car here so if we can stick to it I have no problem spending that amount of money.

    Btw, Nice quick fix that you've done and it's good to know that we could also improve their current house which is similar but with one storey and for less than 100k THB.


    I'll try to post the link to the detailed plans after this post as I should have reached the 5 -post limit by then.

    Travelmate,

    I know what others have suggested but as I already replied the question is not to build or not but how to do it without wasting too much money.
    Last edited by joeedbkk; 11-07-2008 at 03:12 AM.

  12. #12
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    Just one last piece of advice. Whatever you decide to build, make sure there's a good outside/undercover area. Thais usually spend most daylight hours outside and with most modern Thai houses the only shaded area is the carport. You'll also save by not having to put so many walls. Good idea to separate the kitchen from the house a little, keeps things cooler and less smelly.

  13. #13
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    Yep that's what I noticed in all the house plans I could find so far that there's no outside covered area although people living in the village are spending most of their freetime outside their house.

    I'll ask the builder a quotation for that too, thanks for the idea.

    Concerning the outdoor kitchen that's a good idea too but this would require changing the plans a bit more; this has to be discussed with the builder...

    In the meantime I received some more details. So the new piece of land will be 20m (width) x 40m and we could get it for 185 000 THB. It's located along the main road and water/electricty is already available to neighbors.

    There will be about 30 trucks of dirt added for 400 THB each.

    One thing we'd like to do is to build a perimeter wall but I dont know yet how high or how much it will cost. If anyone has some experience on that, feedback is welcome.
    My guess is that a 1-meter perimeter wall would be enough.


    I'll post the link to the house plans in my next post.

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  15. #15
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    The sportscar in the driveway shows why these houses are so popular in Thailand. It's all about status, a house like this is much more suited to Europe than the tropics. Those window on the stairs will create a 'green house effect', making upstairs unbearable thru the day. The concrete will absorb heat, releasing it at night.

    The place will be an oven. If they aren't installing air con, they will want it later. They will have huge elec bills for ever.

    Sorry to be critical, but chances are you will pay for an expensive house and your in laws still won't have a shaded place to sit under.

  16. #16
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    I have no problem with the criticism as it's the reason why I'm posting here.

    I'm just a bit surprised because those house plans coming from the Thai government I was expecting that they were designed in a way that is suitable for the thai weather and conditions.

    We are still in a very early stage of the building process and nothing has been signed so it's not too late to go for an alternative house provided that I can find something better.

    Would anyone happen to have some alternative house plans for a 3-bedroom house that I could give a look at?

    Feedback on the cost of building the perimeter wall is still welcome

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    Quote Originally Posted by joeedbkk View Post
    I have no problem with the criticism as it's the reason why I'm posting here.

    I'm just a bit surprised because those house plans coming from the Thai government I was expecting that they were designed in a way that is suitable for the thai weather and conditions.

    We are still in a very early stage of the building process and nothing has been signed so it's not too late to go for an alternative house provided that I can find something better.

    Would anyone happen to have some alternative house plans for a 3-bedroom house that I could give a look at?
    Do you have the link to the page with those plans? I've seen it before but don't have it. I think there are better plans on the page, but a house should be designed to fit the block, with consideration to where the sun rises and sets, prevailing wind etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by joeedbkk View Post
    Feedback on the cost of building the perimeter wall is still welcome
    I don't know how much, but it's not cheap. A 1 meter high wall isn't going to keep much out, so I would wonder whether it's worthwhile. What about a decent wire fence?

  18. #18
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    You can find all the plans on a thai website but it's only in thai (just click any number for the details):

    Untitled Document

    I also found them on this website:

    Living in Asia

    I'm waiting for the land purchase to be finalized so we'll have the title and a thai government employee is supposed to come onsite for a survey so we'll know exactly how is the land. Based on that we'll start thinking on how to position the house and looking at some alternatives as long as the budget doesnt go beyond 1 million all included (except land).


    It also seems that a wall will be too expensive so we'll probably go for a wire fence as you mentioned.

  19. #19
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    If I may add a few of my thoughts on this. Shade is important. If you have room, get some trees in. If you get them in now, they will grow like hell in the rainy season. Prevailing wind is also important. You really want the wind to blow in at one end of the house, and blow out of the other. A good choice of paint, on the outside wall, will also help with keeping some of the heat out.

    We looked at dozens of designs for a Thai house, but didn't really find a decent one. We went with an Architect, mainly, for that reason.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeedbkk View Post
    I'm just a bit surprised because those house plans coming from the Thai government I was expecting that they were designed in a way that is suitable for the thai weather and conditions.
    Well.....

  21. #21
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    My suggestion? Better check out the land on which you want to build. Believe me this is a key factor.

    Good luck, but at this stage I am a bit concerned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loombucket View Post
    If I may add a few of my thoughts on this. Shade is important. If you have room, get some trees in. If you get them in now, they will grow like hell in the rainy season. Prevailing wind is also important. You really want the wind to blow in at one end of the house, and blow out of the other. A good choice of paint, on the outside wall, will also help with keeping some of the heat out.We looked at dozens of designs for a Thai house, but didn't really find a decent one. We went with an Architect, mainly, for that reason.
    Good advice, there are plenty of fast growing trees and now is a good time to plant. Also consider bamboo, unless it's the running type it won't be invasive. Bamboo grows to it's full height in one year and if it falls down it won't destroy your house.

    Wind is also important, but your in laws will probably want the front of the house facing the street. This is why taking a generic design can be a problem. I would consider a an architect.

    Looking at the designs on those page the ones I feel would be most livable are those elevated of the ground. Numbers 27, 28, 29 and 30 would be great, but probably expensive. Number 5 is OK, but there's no shaded area outside the house.

    Number two is extremely basic, but if you used your imagination you could build two houses like this and join them somehow. This would give you a large shaded balcony and plenty of area under the house, which I'm sure would be well used, especially if there was a bit of a kitchen/bbq.With a few windows and extras it could look similar to an old style Thai house, which are suited to the climate.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Smithson View Post
    Also consider bamboo, unless it's the running type it won't be invasive. Bamboo grows to it's full height in one year and if it falls down it won't destroy your house.
    Having lived here in Thailand for a year or two, I would not suggest bamboo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hillbilly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Smithson View Post
    Also consider bamboo, unless it's the running type it won't be invasive. Bamboo grows to it's full height in one year and if it falls down it won't destroy your house.
    Having lived here in Thailand for a year or two, I would not suggest bamboo.
    Why not? We have a heap growing, it looks nice and comes in handy for all sorts of things. It's the worlds fastest growing plant and consumes more carbon dioxide than anything else.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by hillbilly View Post
    My suggestion? Better check out the land on which you want to build. Believe me this is a key factor.

    Good luck, but at this stage I am a bit concerned.

    No reason to be concerned, the purchasing of the land has not been finalized yet as the land survey can't be done this month. The in-laws are suspecting that the government employee is trying to get some 'under the counter' money to move his ass quicker.

    Once this is done I'll finally see how the land plot looks like and then we will start thinking about the house.

    The build process is not supposed to start before April 2009 at least so we have plenty of time to change our minds 10 times and finally go for something not too bad within allocated budget.
    Last edited by joeedbkk; 25-07-2008 at 08:41 PM.

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