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  1. #1
    Jod
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    RFI for basic structure building

    Having read many of the house build stories here, I decided to register in order to try and glean some up to date information and general answers for building a low cost Thai single storey house / shop unit upcountry.

    It's not being built for a farang, however there will be safe electrics and proper toilets, (so maybe not strictly 'Thai style').

    I have a number of questions regarding the basic outline structure that I'd appreciate some help with.

    1. The Design
    I believe that ideally this should be based around concrete posts at 4m intervals so a 12m x 12m building would require 16 pillars.

    2. The Supporting Pillars
    Is it best to use precast pillars or have the columns poured onsite? If using precast pillars, approximately how much do they cost at the present time?

    3. The Slab
    What depth of concrete is required for the base slab? I've been told that 10cm is enough, but do not want to find too late that it's not enough. Is it best to get this delivered direct from Siam Cement or to have it mixed onsite? Again costs of material per cubic metre would be helpful.

    4. The Roof
    To keep the construction simple, I've been told that simple gable ends are easist and cheapest to build. Are there any recommendation as to what would be a suitable angle of pitch to use and what the difference is in cost for different roofing materials?

    5. The Walls
    For a basic structure, I believe that using Supablock for all walls will be sufficient, however some have told me that red brick is a better material even though it requires more labour to build.

    Apologies for starting out with so many questions, but having read through many build stories and hearing advice from people that I'm not sure have any experience in the process of building in Thailand, only in Western world countries, feedback from those that have 'been there and done it' would be useful.

  2. #2
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jod
    I believe that ideally this should be based around concrete posts at 4m intervals so a 12m x 12m building would require 16 pillars.
    Basically correct. 4m spacing is "standard" in Thailand. Longer is OK but posts (columns), and cross beams need to be larger.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jod
    Is it best to use precast pillars or have the columns poured onsite?
    Best poured on site. Sorry don't know cost of precast columns.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jod
    What depth of concrete is required for the base slab? I've been told that 10cm is enough, but do not want to find too late that it's not enough. Is it best to get this delivered direct from Siam Cement or to have it mixed onsite? Again costs of material per cubic metre would be helpful.
    Rather than slab better to use reinforced concrete footings to support columns. Concrete floor beams then connected to columns.
    Best to get premix delivered from Siam Cement or TPI so mixture is consistent. Price varies so you need to call for cubic meter prices.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jod
    To keep the construction simple, I've been told that simple gable ends are easiest and cheapest to build. Are there any recommendation as to what would be a suitable angle of pitch to use and what the difference is in cost for different roofing materials?
    In pic, 8/12 Pitch Hip Roof. A good choice. This uses CPAC Monier roof. Check at Home Mart for price.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jod
    For a basic structure, I believe that using Supablock for all walls will be sufficient, however some have told me that red brick is a better material even though it requires more labour to build.
    Either is fine but Supabloc better insulating qualities. Red brick likely cheaper as material cost will offset increased labor cost.

    This "simple" house under construction in Isaan as we speak. Long and narrow due to lot limitation. Electrics and plumbing "western" standard. Flooring and roof tiles mid cost but good quality. Doors and windows, aluminum. Price about 600,000 baht, all inclusive (except furnishing) as shown on floor plan





    Last edited by Norton; 28-02-2011 at 11:01 AM.
    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.

  3. #3
    Jod
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    Norton, many thanks for the information.

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    Nice looking little place Norton, I am considering building something about that same size on the farm for the In-Laws, my design was similar but I put the bath and kitchen outside but under roof for cooking and odor purposes and have a bigger front porch for hanging out in the shade while others work. I will just use precast columns and regular cement block for ease and price of construction. I'll compare aluminum vs. wood windows, I didn't price out the aluminum ones before because they wanted wood for the house. I'm looking at bringing it in around 300K but as I said it's not for me so while it will be built to last it will not be fancy. My carport/motorcycle/exercise room is actually bigger with a better roof and fancy trim work and I got that done for around 250K so I think I'm in the ballpark with my estimate. I hope yours comes out well!

  5. #5
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    just a comment on the slab - we visited a local house on the weekend, one of the rear walls in the bathroom/laundry area has developed a crack - about 3mm 1/8th inch at the top about 2m from the ground, but visible to ground level.
    That part of the building was built up to keep same level as house, so some subsidence still occurring; clay underneath can't have been compacted properly (?).

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    To add to Norton's post, all of which is excellent advice, I offer the following:

    I agree with Norton's comment to use reinforced concrete footings and individually poured columns, rather than precast columns. It makes for a much stronger construction. The space etween the floor bleams is typically filled with compacted dirt and/or sand and then covered with 10cm of poured concrete with wire mesh reinforcing as the initial flooring. This flooring is then usually covered with tiles.

    An inexpensive roof can also use corogated tiles (110cm x 50cm) or Colorbond metal roofing. Each are lighter than CPAC Monier concrete tiles and therefore require less support steel, hence a lower overall cost.

    I would definitely use Supabloc on the exterior walls, as Norton said for excellent insulation qualities. With not too many interior walls, using Supabloc throughout would be ideal. Another consideration for the interior walls, other than red bricks, is to use thin concrete blocks. All you are doing with these blocks is filling space, not adding any strength to the wall. There are many alternatives to Supabloc, all providing basically the same insulation characteristics. So check around for the best price.

    Good luck with your future build.

  7. #7
    Jod
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    Again, thanks for the responses. I misunderstood exactly what a 'slab' was and it does indeed seem that the concrete fillings and then the pouring of a 10cm reinforced floor is what is being proposed.

    Thanks for suggesting poured on-site rather than pre cast pillars. This was discussed last night and will probably be the route taken.

    With regard to the roof, it would appear that the heart is set on a quality roof construction even for a cheap build, so CPAC Monier will probably be the choice and maybe just standard block walls implemented rather than the more expensive Supablock. The roof choice is a basic Hip arrangement, and the structure will be extended out to encompass the whole of the front porch area. If at a later date, there is a requirement for additional living space, this can then be simply erected on the reinforced floor and a simple terrace extended out from there.

    One thing that did come up is when I showed my plans on a wiring diagram. The concept of the grounding earth was understood (to my surprise), however the idea of a ring main was met with complete surprise. As the property will not be so big and will not have a plethora of electrical gadgets, I guess radial circuits are perfectly acceptable. A 4mm T&E supply to the shower and another to the kitchen area for fridge & induction hob along with 2.5mm T&E for computer room, living area, general kitchen outlets and bedroom(s).
    Last edited by Jod; 02-03-2011 at 12:43 PM.

  8. #8
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jod
    I misunderstood exctlywhat a 'slab' was and it does indeed seem that the concrete fillings and then reinforced floor is what is being proposed.
    To be expected. Most common in Thailand. You will have concrete columns, a raised concrete floor beam with void below floor level and a concrete beam at ceiling level. In this case all poured concrete with rebar.


  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jod
    and maybe just standard block walls implemented rather than the more expensive Supablock.
    big mistake, especially on the sunnier sides

    you will find that a concrete house heats up in the day and will not cool down very fast owing to the heat retained in the walls

    using Superblock or QCon helps alleviate this, at a reasonable cost

    also make sure you insulate the roof well, money well spent
    I have reported your post

  10. #10
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    Nice thread here. Didn't see a a complete answer on slab thickness though. Assuming poured footings, reinforced foundation beams below grade, how thick should the reinforced slab be on the grade?

  11. #11
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    on compacted grade 100mm with reinforced mesh is sufficent.
    if its a suspended slab( nothing to support the underneath) then 100mm with reinforced steel rebar or precast slab with concrete finish will be necessary.
    something like that

  12. #12
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    Thanks splitlid!

  13. #13
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thailazer
    Didn't see a a complete answer on slab thickness though.
    Use of the term slab may be misleading especially to us merkins. Slab is something poured on the ground. The subfloor is concrete but not on the ground. Around 1 meter above ground level supported by floor beams which are not poured on the ground either. The floor beams are supported by the columns which have a poured reinforced concrete footing. Depends on soil conditions but average 1.5m depth below ground level and about the same in width. End result, the entire structure is supported by the footings below each column.

    Footing.




    A bigger pic than the one above. Note the red brick on lower right which goes a few centimeters from ground to bottom of floor beam. The old git is looking at them.



    Concrete sub floor. It will be about a meter above ground level. Preformed cement sections are supported by floor beams. Steel mesh laid on top then concrete poured on the surface.

    Last edited by Norton; 02-03-2011 at 09:59 PM.

  14. #14
    Jod
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    Thanks for the detailed explanation Norton. Much appreciated.

    Re building material to use, looking to go for Supa/Q block or possibly cavity concrete block for the main living area & bedroom exterior walls, but the outside wall for the exterior Thai kitchen and store will simply be basic single concrete blocks.

    Does anybody have current material prices for Cepac Monier tiles / ridges etc or indicative all in costs (including trusses and underlay) per sqm?

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    cpac monier tiles- about 12.5 - 13 baht per tile (depending on amount)

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    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    ^Yep. About 10 tiles per sq meter needed.

  17. #17
    Jod
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    Well, it's taken an age to get the lady to actually decide on a layout, but after several redraws I've managed to get her idea planned out.

    Dimensions for the main living / shop area are 12m x 8m and the front terrace 3m x 8m.

    The outer walls for the bedrooms will be 'Supablock' material and the rest which will be more open with window grilles and maybe louvre windows will be in plain concrete block.

    The kitchen area will be Thai style, so just cabinets built of tiled concrete blocks which will help keep costs down.

    A single hip roof will cover the whole area including the front terrace with no requirement for any valleys.
    This benefit of enclosing the whole area is that additional rooms can be added if required in the future.
    CPAC Monier is the preferred material, however Synthetic sheets may be used if costs become an issue.



    Any comments regarding the general layout welcomed.

    Thanks.

  18. #18
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    a few to start with.

    the area at the front of the house,right of the bedrooms is for what?

    put the bathrooms on the outside walls, this will allow for windows and also act as a barrier for the bedroom from heat from the sun.

    No windows in bedrooms?

    wardrobes are too narrow and long.


    theres a start.

    also due to its shape do you know how high the roof is going to be?

  19. #19
    Jod
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    Quote Originally Posted by splitlid View Post
    a few to start with.

    the area at the front of the house,right of the bedrooms is for what?

    put the bathrooms on the outside walls, this will allow for windows and also act as a barrier for the bedroom from heat from the sun.

    No windows in bedrooms?

    wardrobes are too narrow and long.


    theres a start.

    also due to its shape do you know how high the roof is going to be?


    The area to the right of the bedrooms is to be the shop.

    Will look into rearranging the bathroom position, but want to ensure that each bedroom has access to an external wall so that a window can be installed. (Seems they 'disappeared' from the drawing at some point)

    I was thinking of a 40 degree angle for the roof. This would make the high point around 3.5 metres above the walls. May consider lowering the pitch to around 30 degrees and having the high point at around 2.5 metres.

    What size would you recommend for a wardrobe / storage area?

  20. #20
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    30 degree roof pitch is fine.
    wardrobe- 1000mm wide is suficent and suitable for a standard 800mmish door. 500mm deep is fine for a single rail for hanging clothes.

    on the layout to get to the shop you must walk past the lounge and kitchen. better to have this different as every tom dick and harry will be peering in at you whilst you watch corrie.

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    id put the bathrooms on the backwalls and then the bedroom(so they will each have windows, the kitchen i would locate closer to the shop as this will be used alot and more convenent if positioned there.

  22. #22
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jod
    May consider lowering the pitch to around 30 degrees and having the high point at around 2.5 metres.
    I would do this.

    Quote Originally Posted by splitlid
    put the bathrooms on the outside walls
    For sure..

    Quote Originally Posted by Jod
    What size would you recommend for a wardrobe / storage area?
    No dimensions on the plan so hard to tell. Wardrobe does not need to be deep. 60 cm ok but entrance needs to be in front not the way you have it. Sliding doors the width of the wardrobe work good. Consider buying a premade wardrobe rather than the walkin you have. These can be placed to the right/left of the beds. Walled in rooms you have can be used for storage.

  23. #23
    Jod
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norton View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jod
    May consider lowering the pitch to around 30 degrees and having the high point at around 2.5 metres.
    I would do this.

    Quote Originally Posted by splitlid
    put the bathrooms on the outside walls
    For sure..

    Quote Originally Posted by Jod
    What size would you recommend for a wardrobe / storage area?
    No dimensions on the plan so hard to tell. Wardrobe does not need to be deep. 60 cm ok but entrance needs to be in front not the way you have it. Sliding doors the width of the wardrobe work good. Consider buying a premade wardrobe rather than the walkin you have. These can be placed to the right/left of the beds. Walled in rooms you have can be used for storage.
    The wardrobes will be walled in units with a door because there's a lot of 'clutter' that I'd also like to see hidden (out of sight, out of mind) and it's a relatively cheap option.

    Will speak with the 'boss' about dividing the living / kitchen area with a wall.

    Will get revised drawing done in the next day or two after 'boss' has agreed to the modifications.

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    Jod

    I would move the kitchen area away from the bedrooms, so its top right on your drawing. Just to limit the affect of food cooking smells on the bedrooms.

    Also put the bathrooms "back to back" i.e. so that they are divided by one wall. That way only one soil stack will be required to which all the foul and waste pipes can be connected up to.

    Whatever you decide best of luck mate.

  25. #25
    Jod
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    Quote Originally Posted by Top Cat View Post
    Jod

    I would move the kitchen area away from the bedrooms, so its top right on your drawing. Just to limit the affect of food cooking smells on the bedrooms.

    Also put the bathrooms "back to back" i.e. so that they are divided by one wall. That way only one soil stack will be required to which all the foul and waste pipes can be connected up to.

    Whatever you decide best of luck mate.
    Top right on the drawing will be the shop area, so not practical to put the kitchen there.

    Agreed it would be nice to make the bathrooms back to back, but when trying to create some living space, I need to keep some wall area for the TV and this would mean having the bedroom door open with the bed straight ahead which I've been 'reliably' informed is bad feng shui.

    The idea of walling off the shop area from the living / kitchen area has also met with a frosty response, so I guess I'll just let her keep trying different ideas and talking with her family before even contemplating starting.

    Thanks for the input and content here. It has certainly assisted in getting some idea of costs, but it does seem that 'Thai' style of living is quite different to what Westerners consider.

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