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  1. #1
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    A Building Blog.

    The first steps.
    So, here we all are living in Thailand, and you finally got enough dosh to move out of that bedsit and build your own house.

    But first you need some land, now manys the horror story I have heard where someone has purchased land from someone other than the owner, then the owner tends to get a bit uppity that you are building on his land, this is usually resolved when you pay way over the odds for the land to the proper owner, so now you have paid 2 times and more than 2 times the value for the land, not a good start at all.

    So what you have to do, is first agree to the price, then drag the owner down to the land office with all the relevant papers and the cash in your back pocket, once everything is signed up and transferred then pay the owner, simple really aint it, well its not really cos you have got the hassle of whose name to put the land in or what company name to put the land etc etc.

    Anyway while you are in the land office arrange for them to come down and stake out your land, this is mainly cos us builders get confused and build walls in the wrong place and that sort of thing, now here in pattaya they charge 3,500baht, it can take up to a month for them to come and stake it out though, but now your in a rush cos your all excited and that, well the good news is that for 3,500baht without a reciept they will also come and do it that evening,BUT, instead of using the little concrete round posts they will use wooden posts and bang them into the ground to stake it out.

    Now you are on a roll, you got all that sorted out in less than 24 hours, so tomorrow you want the builders to start, well basically all the builders can do is build a perimter wall that is less than 2 meters high,yep, no house yet, you havent got planning permission yet, now the quickest way to start is to go to city hall with some rough plans and ask the nice gentleman there if they have someone that can draw up proper plans for you and sort out the planning permission etc, but now you are really rolling, doing it this way means you can start building the same day, ok this will cost about 40,000baht as opposed to 10,000baht doing it the long way, but your plans are garaunteed to be passed.



    Not everyone needs a marble swimming pool though.

  2. #2
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    Well now you are ready to rock and roll and get that house started, this is generally a period of tension between the builder and the owner, the owner will be spending his time trying to tell the builder where he wants plugs fitted and about earthing wires, while the builder is actually wondering whether to get a digger in to dig the footings, on a large house the wiring is like 3 months away, I find that it is mainly Americans that are fixated by this, I really do not understand why as I have not seen that many Thai products with a 3 pin plug.

    OK, now I reckon some of you lot want some prices, now this is actually quite hard to do on a single home, I remember one place which was quite basic and a bungalow, it was 6,000baht per square meter to build, it was quite a nice farang style bungalow, but he wanted the 60,000baht toilets and not the 3,000baht ones, I mean you only use toilets for 2 things, so things like that will make your dream home cost more money.

    Here is a nice picture of some land that is 5km away from Lotus in Pattaya, this prime porky worky land is selling for 1 million baht per rai.


  3. #3
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    Cess Pits.
    Yep, the bane of Thailand, you get to keep your own shite, Although there was a case last year when a Doctor chopped up his wife and put her in his cess pit, I will be the first to admit that some women nag too much but this is quite an extreme way to make use of your cess pit.

    Anyway the best cess pits are the soakaway types, basically a big hole with concrete rings in, these do need a breather pipe for gases to escape, was it in Turkey a couple of years ago that a load of sewage pipes exploded?

    Also you do need to flush down the toilet everynow and again some yeast to help break up the solids.

    Here is a picture of the main secondry set of cess pits, Now this house was built on a high water table and the main house has seven bathrooms, there is no road drainage there so all water has to be fed into the cess pits, and this guy does not want city hall round every week to empty his cess pits or have problems with toilets backing up, so as you can see it is quite large.

    Above is the before picture and below is the after picture.

    Looks quite nice now doesnt it

  4. #4
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    Windows.
    Now windows are quite important for non vampire type people, I think I shall start with window frames.

    1: wooden window frames.
    now wood does look nice and it is traditional, but it has its drawbacks, the wood here isnt seasoned so it tends to warp, also being so humid it expands and contracts and cracks, also it needs continual maintenance.

    2: Aluminum window frames.
    Now these are nice, low maintenance etc but about three times the price of wooden window frames, yep these guys work on a 100 percent profit margin.
    3: Plastic frames with double glazing.
    WOW, are these expensive, but then again the best always costs the most, if your into 24 hour aircon then these are the windows for you. Also they are extremely good for sound insulation.


    Hmmm, now onto glass, now glass comes in many widths, starting from 3 mm upto 12 mm.
    now generally a contractor will use 5mm glass, but for the extra 2baht per sq foot you may as well upgrade to 6 mm glass, now clear glass is the cheapest and doesnt retain as much heat as smoked or tinted glass, if memory serves me correct that blue glass is the most expensive, but its pretty damn sexy.

    I hear the shouts for how much does this all cost, well using aluminum frames and smoked glass you can reckon on 1000baht per sq met, thats pretty much the cheapest you will get, If you budget for 1.500baht per sq met then you might get some change.

    I suppose i should add mossie screens to this section, reckon about 200baht per sq met or a little bit less if you get lucky, This is for swing type mossie screens, The price goes up from there.

  5. #5
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    Your House.
    Now the most important rooms are the living room, the kitchen, your bedroom and your bathroom, the kids and that can live in 4 meter by 4 meter rooms and can share a bathroom, also you can buy crappy old furniture for them as the nasty little brats destroy everything.
    Now obviously in your own bedroom you will want fitted cupboards etc so allow space for them, sixty cm deep is the standard depth, but that really isnt enough.
    Now your bathroom is the most important room, now I personally would recommend a seperate shower area away from the bath or jacuzzi, I hate having a shower in the bath and you only need an extra 3 sq met of space.
    Also twin sinks, yep splash out that extra 200 quid and make it look classy.
    Anyway when you are doing your plans concentrate first on the areas that are most important, ie the areas that you use the most.
    anyway heres a few pics .


  6. #6
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    Paint or wallpaper?
    Wallpaper, Now this does look nice and hides all those imperfections in the walls, trouble is it is quite expensive here and after a few years due to the humidity tends to lift, wallpaper starts from about 200baht per meter length fitted, the shops selling wallpaper actually include the fitting in the price.

    Paint, now Thailand is renowned for its low quality paints, also the Thais for some reason have a tendancy to mix in black paint with the white paint which then turns it grey, I have absolutely no idea why they do this.

    A good quality Thai paint is TOA, a 5 gallon tub of it costs about 1,400baht, this is the exterior stuff, a lot of Thai contractors will take the tubs of paint home and then refill them using a cheaper paint, ie sefco or temco which costs about 500baht for 5 gallons, so explain to them that until the painting is finished all empty tubs stay on site, The Thais all want these empty tubs for some reason so when the job is finished let them have them.

  7. #7
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    Flooring.
    Which flooring to choose?
    I personally would recommend marble or granite, on big jobs I order the granite or marble fron Salabury, marble starts at 350baht for one sq met, thats 30 by 60cm slabs and granite 550baht per sq met, thats 40 by 80 cm slabs, obviously the larger the slabs the more expensive the stuff is, the swimming pool pictured earlier was made using 10 by 20cm pieces, these cost 100baht per sq met, we had to use small slabs as the swimming pool has curves in it, these small pieces do not look very good in a room as they are too little and look bitty.
    Also using granite or marble helps to keep rooms cooler which is a main consideration when living here.

    Ceramic tiles, now these seem to be the mainstay for most houses, although with them costing around 170baht upwards, I would personally spend the little bit more on marble.

    Carpet, dont be ridiculous....

    Wooden floors and parquat, yep these look great, parquat starts from around 450baht laid, WARNING, do not use grade "B" parquat, in the end you will hate the finished job and probably have it redone.
    The main problem with parquat though is that it tends to lift outside of bathrooms and other areas where it may get damp, also it is quite high maintenance.

  8. #8
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    hmmm, what not to use.

    OK, we are back to wood again, this is something you do not want in your roof or holding up your ceiling, yes, the contractor will lie to you saying that the insects wont want to live there, but they havent told the insects that yet, you really want as little wood as possible.

    Now most roofs are made using iron, infact I believe its cheaper than wood now, although we still charge the same price, jees welding is a skilled job, although I have to admit that most Thais wouldnt be able to get a welding job overseas, hey, you think its too expensive? then get up on that roof yourself and weld it up, jees you cheapskates.
    Ok, roofing costs: cheap cement board tile roofs about 600baht per sq met, these are the 60 cm by 120cm tiles. the monier tiles which are damn heavy and thick need a lot more steel, so your looking at 2,000baht per sq met at least.

    Ahhhh, the ceilings i here you ask, ok just use "c line" its alloy supports and real quick and easy and costs about 220baht per sq met, but upgrade it to the lined stuff that reflects the heat, yep it may cost you and extra 20baht per sq met but its worth it.

  9. #9
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    Footings and load bearing walls
    Now in the UK bricks are baked, so then they are extremely strong and can hold up a lot of weight, here unfortuneately those little red things that Thais call bricks are sun baked and these cannot withstand a lot of weight, so generally everything is supported by concrete beams and posts and the bricks are just used for infill, ie making the walls and that sort of thing.Anyway here is a nice picture of beam work.

    Now generally for the footings these will be hand dug out, ie a dozen Thais with shovels, yes it does take longer than using a digger but it saves at least 500baht, so for that day you have lost the contractor has made an extra 500baht, a wheeled digger costs 2,500baht per day, and the big beasty track macro 7,500baht per day, hey now dont start complaining as that 500baht could usefully be used down soi yodsak, yes even us builders have needs.

    Ahhh, I nearly forgot to mention an important aspect about making walls, in good old blighty we would render and then plaster the walls, it gives a lovely smooth finish, but alas here, the walls are only rendered off, yep it just dont look as good.
    although in Sri Lanka they use white cement to plaster the walls and that seems to work fine and gives a nice finish.

    Well I have been looking for a nice picture of a hole to post so you can get the feel of what a hole for the footings should look like, well I shall try to explain it, for a two storey house reckon on a one meter deep hole about 1 meter wide, anyway here is a nice picture of a hole that we put marble in and made into a swimming pool.


  10. #10
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    Contractors
    Well now you need someone to build your dream home, the nightmare has just started, now Thai builders are quite good, but alas they are using Thai materials, now I am not going to say use me, mainly because we have to use Thai materials aswell.

    The first thing to do is get three quotes, one of these you will find is a rip off merchant, he will most likely be fifty percent more expensive, he is probably not your best choice, the other two will most likely be quite close in price so choose who you feel most confident with. a good test is always to hand the plans to the builder upside down and see how long it takes him to turn them the right way up.

    As the job progressess you will most likely add extra jobs to the list of things you want, please try to remember that these are not included in the quote and will cost more, and if your an old git with a dodgy memory write it down or pay for it straight away so there is no confusion on billing.

    Now I could post pages on the lack of materials and tools in Thailand but i wont bother, I will just discuss ceramic tiles, now 5 years ago they used to sell all the grade "A" tiles here, now all the grade "A" tiles are sold to foriegn countries and the grade ":B" tiles are now sold as grade "A", yep, things dont look good, how good a job of tiling a floor could you do if there is upto a 3mm differance in tile size, actually I shall keep this thread here on tiling, now in the UK we would have nice level floors and walls and would just use tile adheshive,damn its a quick way to make a few bucks, but unfortuneately here nothing is straight or level, so we have to use cement, we are then looking at about 10 square meter of wall tiling per day per guy, and before people start this is in bathrooms so there is a lot of cutting, now a good tiler will charge 140baht per square meter for an easy job..

    Anyway back to the most important stuff, this is the time to decide on what stuff is undergroud, phonelines and power cables are a good start.


    A special note to Americans, shouting at the Thai contractor will not in any way help him to understand English any better whatsoever,yep, believe it or not the louder something is shouted will not make the language that they do not speak easier to understand, also calling them Thai monkeys will not help in anyway whatsoever.
    actually it is probably best if Americans dont even consider building a home here in Thailand

  11. #11
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    Carpet, dont be ridiculous....
    But a decent carpet with underlay feels sooooo goooooood.

  12. #12
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    Why didn't ya use some hexagonal or circular tiles on the beautification project? Any shape but square. Any material but plain boring concrete. Make some steps the shape of leaves, or with a leafy texture (imprint the actual leaf into the cement before it goes off.)


    I could clean up if I shut up.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtydog
    Contractors
    Well now you need someone to build your dream home, the nightmare has just started, now Thai builders are quite good, but alas they are using Thai materials, now I am not going to say use me, mainly because we have to use Thai materials aswell.

    The first thing to do is get three quotes, one of these you will find is a rip off merchant, he will most likely be fifty percent more expensive, he is probably not your best choice, the other two will most likely be quite close in price so choose who you feel most confident with. a good test is always to hand the plans to the builder upside down and see how long it takes him to turn them the right way up.

    As the job progressess you will most likely add extra jobs to the list of things you want, please try to remember that these are not included in the quote and will cost more, and if your an old git with a dodgy memory write it down or pay for it straight away so there is no confusion on billing.

    Now I could post pages on the lack of materials and tools in Thailand but i wont bother, I will just discuss ceramic tiles, now 5 years ago they used to sell all the grade "A" tiles here, now all the grade "A" tiles are sold to foriegn countries and the grade ":B" tiles are now sold as grade "A", yep, things dont look good, how good a job of tiling a floor could you do if there is upto a 3mm differance in tile size, actually I shall keep this thread here on tiling, now in the UK we would have nice level floors and walls and would just use tile adheshive,damn its a quick way to make a few bucks, but unfortuneately here nothing is straight or level, so we have to use cement, we are then looking at about 10 square meter of wall tiling per day per guy, and before people start this is in bathrooms so there is a lot of cutting, now a good tiler will charge 140baht per square meter for an easy job..

    Anyway back to the most important stuff, this is the time to decide on what stuff is undergroud, phonelines and power cables are a good start.


    A special note to Americans, shouting at the Thai contractor will not in any way help him to understand English any better whatsoever,yep, believe it or not the louder something is shouted will not make the language that they do not speak easier to understand, also calling them Thai monkeys will not help in anyway whatsoever.
    actually it is probably best if Americans dont even consider building a home here in Thailand

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