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  1. #1
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    Building 2 x Two-Storey Extensions - First Hurdle - Plans...

    We have a single storey house on 100 talang-wah of land in Chiang Mai. It's 2.5 bedrooms and 1 bathroom and we really need some more space. Our big "wants" are a new master bedroom with en-suite (living with 1 bathroom isn't fun), a larger kitchen (completely re-fitted), and an office.

    We've hired an architect to draw up some plans for us and after a reasonable consultation, he's drawn up some basic floor plans (no other elevations yet, though they will come) for building 2 two-storey extensions to the house. Everything seems reasonable to my untrained eye, however the first hurdle (of many, I'm sure) regards the amount of space we have to leave between the new build and any boundary walls. The architect has told us that the regulations state that there must be 2m of space. All well and good but this leaves us a little short of space in both the master bedroom and the new kitchen (which actually extends the current one). An extra meter of space in both extensions would make a lot of difference in my opinion but that would leave only a meter between the build and the boundary wall.

    I'd add that we're on a corner plot, so if we were to extend the length of these extensions by 1m, it would (by chance) be on the sides of the building which face roads and not party walls. Even with this proposed change, 2m of space would still be in place on any party walls.

    When I ask the Architect about this and suggest that the majority of the houses in the village seem to ignore this rule, building up very close to boundaries and party walls, he just smiles and shrugs a little. He obviously doesn't want to lead us as it's our choice, which leaves me in a quandary. My first instinct is to ensure that the build meets regulations, but more and more I seem to be entertaining the "fcuk it" school of "wisdom", where I just build the space I want to build, enjoy it, and then deal with problems if and when they come up in the future.

    Worryingly, the architect seems to be dissuading us from submitting plans to be formally accepted by the government agency responsible for this stuff. Yes, I can hear the groans / guffaws already He seems to be saying that it's not necessary and as crazy wonderful as this country can be, I can't really believe that.

    Since we've already engaged this guy to produce plans, I'm going to continue working with him - he's charging us 7k baht for the plans which seems reasonable to me (providing they're good plans of course, though I wouldn't know either way) but I feel like I want to get a second opinion if you like, i.e. get another architect, this time one recommended by people on TeakDoor and take it from there.

    So...at long last (sorry for the lengthy post), here are my questions:

    1. Can anyone recommend a good architect in Chiang Mai who you think would be suited for the job I'e described above?
    2. Does anybody have any experience with these building regs (especially here in Chiang Mai) and have any insight they can offer?
    3. Does anyone have any general comments to make, insight to add, advice to offer?


    Obviously I'd be very interested to hear from anyone who has extended an existing house here in Chiang Mai.

    Any advice or constructive comments would be gratefully appreciated.

    Cheers.

  2. #2
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    You will find that walls with doors in need to be 2 meters away from the boundary wall, walls with windows in normally 1 meter from boundary wall, lots of people don't take any notice of these rules and the biggest bribe I have paid to have them ignored is 40,000baht, you can take the chance and ignore the rules of the land and see what happens, or you can go with doing it legally so you are not put in a position where money can be extorted from you.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the quick reply DD, much appreciated. It's a bit worrying that my Architect doesn't seem to be aware of this, especially since the walls we want to extend won't have doors - only windows, so it seems that we could extend them by 1m whilst still leaving 1m space to the boundary wall and thereby not fall foul of any regs.

    Do you have any thoughts on my Architect's blasť attitude towards getting the plans checked and approved by the land office (or whatever department it is that does this stuff)?

    An approved plan obviously means that you can avoid problems like this later on down the line so I've no idea why my Architect doesn't feel the need to do this. Unless he's trying to do me a "favour" by saving me a few thousand baht getting palms greased at the land office, or even worse, the plans are flawed and he doesn't want those flaws exposed...arrggghhh I know everyone in the village has told my wife and I, "you don't need plans for these 'small' extensions", "mai pen rai" etc etc. I expect that from people in the village, just not from the Architect. Perhaps I haven't been living here long enough yet.

    I'm feeling the need to find a second architect - can anyone recommend one in Chiang Mai?

    Anyone with anything else to add?

  4. #4
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    In Pattaya for extensions to existing houses we have never applied for planning permission, the only time we have applied is if we are going to do an illegal extension, ie build out to the boundary wall or something like that.

    Really doubt the plans will be flawed as Thailand isn't really the country for innovative buildings and new ways of doing things, pretty sure they still don't believe in load bearing walls and modern stuff like that.

  5. #5
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    Cheers, DD - really interesting and useful to know. I think I'll contact the land office (or whatever) just to see if I can confirm, at least over the phone, that the local officials here in Chiang Mai share the same view of the regs that you do. If I hear the same thing from them then it seems I'm good to go on extending by 1m, which would be good news. I don't think I'll submit the plans for approval...when in rome and all that

    Seems that I may be close to getting over the first hurdle.

    Now back to designing the layout of the kitchen. I'm trying to soak up all the good info on the forum from threads about kitchens. I'm definitely not going with a western-style kitchen, at least not a ready-made one from the likes of Modernform, SB, Homikitch etc. The Thai-method of brick/concrete frame with some off-the-shelf doors and a granite worktop looks appealing to me. With the right finishing and attention to detail it seems to be possible to end-up with a great looking, functional and hard-wearing kitchen at a decent price. Certainly some of the posts on the forum seem to support that. If I can find a skilled carpenter then the thought of having doors/cabinets custom-made really appeals. We'll see.

    Anyway - I'm going seriously off-topic. Thanks again, DD.

  6. #6
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    If you plan to go ahead with your works without planning approval and breaking the regulations, I would recommend that you first talk to any neighbours who will be affected

    If they make a complaint, you could be forced to stop work and even remove what has been built, or pay lots of money

    It is cheaper to get some signed papers from your neighbours, and maybe give them some cash for compensation for that.

    As for your architect, he cannot tell you to break the law, but he will draw plans for building if you instruct him to. You then will not get planning permission, but that is not too important UNLESS you are in CM old city

    I can let you know of an architect (speaks Thai) who is good once you have the neighbours assent

    remember, if the walls are 1 metre from the boudary, the roof line may be right on it, so guttering must be emphasised to the neighbours
    I have reported your post

  7. #7
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    Thanks, DrAndy - all good advice. My wife and I had already agreed that we needed to go over the plans with our neighbors, just because it seemed like the decent thing to do. Your suggestion to get signed papers from them is a good one though, and I'll admit I hadn't considered making it formal (rather stupidly), so we'll do this.

    Luckily, as we're on a corner plot with road around the north and east side, and an empty plot to the west, we only have neighbors on the south side of our plot to worry about. Due to the layout of the build, the south side will actually still have 2m space between the building and the wall we share with them, so we're not actually breaking any regs there. Only one side of the extension, the east side, which "faces" onto the road do we intend to leave 1m of space, which, as this side of the building will only have windows and not a door, wouldn't appear to be breaking any regs either. Nevertheless, I appreciate that because this side of the building faces onto the road it's probably even more important that the roof and any guttering don't go over the boundary wall...

    We'll still talk with the neighbors and ask them to sign papers stating their agreement with the plans as I can see that this will go a long way to avoiding any future problems. Great advice and thanks again.

  8. #8
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    We're not in CM old town, I might add - just slumming it in the 'burbs.

  9. #9
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    should be Ok there

    I will Pm you the architects name, if you like

    you had better make a few more posts, I am not sure what the regs are for PMs

    make some posts in the games room, plenty of nonsense there to infill

    He only speaks Thai, but I am sure your wife can translate and help

  10. #10
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    Yes, please - I'd like the architects name / contact details etc. I'll check out the number of posts I have to have before PM'ing will work and then get posting.

    I'll PM you when I'm good to go.

    Cheers.

  11. #11
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    PM sent

    see if you have a new message

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