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  1. #1
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    ChrisInCambo's Avatar
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    Tips for Reducing Build Cost Without Cutting Corners

    I got quite excited when I saw the other thread called 'save money on building', but when I got inside I realised it wasn't the subject I expected it to be. I didn't want to hijack that thread so I've started another one.

    It would be great to share money saving tips on a build, we all want to get the most bang for our buck and most of us know what the 'best' in class is, but if the truth be told for most of who don't have seven or eight figures burning a hole in our current account a building project is a series of compromises. Bigger land vs flasher house, bigger house vs bigger garden space, uPVC vs aluminum etc.

    It would be great if we could all share our tips for cutting costs so we can get the most bang for our buck. Bonus points for lessons that have been learned the hard way!

  2. #2
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    I'll get the ball rolling:

    Overspend on the things that can't or can't easily be changed later and underspend on the things that can. For example if it's a toss up between a bigger plot and a pool, take the bigger plot, the pool can always be added later. If it's a choice between fitted kitchen and a more elaborate roof design, go with the roof.

  3. #3
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    1. Order all the raw materials and fittings yourself and build a small shed to lock-up the stuff which can be stolen by the workers. Contractors normally add 10-20% on top for everything and also over order for their own secret projects.

    2. Shop around for these materials (getting the best rate possible) and check out the second hand traders particularly for kitchen cabinets and other indoor fittings.

    3. Be clear regarding your building plans as any changes will mean the builder will tack on extra charges even when they are not justified.

    4. Labour rates, per square metre should be around 2 to 3,000.00 Baht depending upon the quality of the builder. If someone quotes less then that you will end up getting fleeced and or a poor quality job.

    5. Build the foundation/ cement slab and get the roof up first as you will limit losses due to rain damage etc.

  4. #4
    Member ThaiAm's Avatar
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    Don't build near Mama and Papa. At least 50 km is OK
    Don't build close to the road, allow a buffer sufficient to palnt a row or two of trees to muffle the road noise. You would be amazed at how many mufflers that should be replace are not replaced.
    Do not use wooden doors they will crack and shrink/expand more than tolerable.
    Same for windows.

  5. #5
    Have you got any cheese Thetyim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThaiAm
    Do not use wooden doors they will crack and shrink/expand more than tolerable.
    Nothing wrong with wooden doors and window frames PROVIDING you use a suitable type of wood.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThaiAm
    Don't build close to the road, allow a buffer sufficient to palnt a row or two of trees to muffle the road noise. You would be amazed at how many mufflers that should be replace are not replaced.
    And how many mufflers that shouldn't be replaced are replaced by something far noisier!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thetyim
    Nothing wrong with wooden doors and window frames PROVIDING you use a suitable type of wood.
    Agree...............I advised a mate to check out the local place that sells used building materials and he picked up all his windows, door frames and kitchen cabinets for next to nothing.

    The wood has also had time to dry out and hence no further shrinking or warping.

    Saved a bundle he did as well as purchased aged wood which he made look brand new.

  8. #8
    better looking than Ned
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    Quote Originally Posted by Airportwo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ThaiAm
    Don't build close to the road, allow a buffer sufficient to palnt a row or two of trees to muffle the road noise. You would be amazed at how many mufflers that should be replace are not replaced.
    And how many mufflers that shouldn't be replaced are replaced by something far noisier!
    Most hotted diesels run a straight 2.5" pipe.
    Noise barsteds

  9. #9
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    bankao dreamer's Avatar
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    I agree with LT buy all the materials yourself, I worked in the building game for a few years so maybe I have a bit more experience. But dont be daunted take your time do some research. When I was considering building in concrete it took a couple of hours to work out how much rebar I needed and how much it was going to cost, same for concrete and other things. That way if your paying all in for a build ask for a break down of something you have worked out for yourself and compare the figures.
    SCROTUM PASS ME PISTOL

  10. #10
    Newbie dutara's Avatar
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    Do as much as you can yourself. Even if you aren't handy with tools learn as much as you can about what is going on, down to the smallest bit. Very true is the old saw that the devil is in the details. Ever been in a hotel room and notice that the water in the shower never drains dry, there is always a little puddle in a corner of a tile that has now turned black with mold? That was due to someone being off by just a few millimeters when the tile was set. This could possibly lead to the rotting of the underlying floor, etc.

    Supervise it yourself. Be there and be active. Delegating is a big mistake. Don't be afraid to look over people's shoulders. Be ready to resort to drawing pictures and diagrams to get past language problems. I like the idea of building a locked shed for materials, I've even seen pre-fab aluminum structures for this (looks like a big doghouse), this way no sneaky little hands grabbing between the boards. Keep a tight grasp of inventory, what is being used, etc. Notice around Asia how strict bosses can be? There is good reason. If they see you doing some of the actual work and that you know what you're doing this will build up your cred as someone to respect.

    Use different workers to do different aspects of the house, and try to find people who specialize: the foundation, frame, roof, electric, plumbing, tiling, etc. When you interview the people who will do the work ask intelligent questions (this goes back to paragraph 1). If they get impatient send them away, as it's going to be more intense when the work is underway.

    If you have a Thai missus don't leave her in charge of the workers, ever. One fellow told me he was having some work done and had to go off and run an errand in the afternoon. While he was gone missy went over to the guys and told them to do things differently. When they explained that it was a bad idea she got all huffy: I'm older than you, how could you know better than me! And I am the boss! The fellow returned home to find a job that was just a few hours away from being done had turned into a pig's breakfast.

    I haven't done this in Thailand and don't know if the stuff exists here, but in the US there is something called 'water seal' that is used to protect wood. I suggest you invest in a few gallons of this and coat all the wood used in the framework (it's like applying paint) before they start putting it up. Give it a few days to dry. If you want, after the frame is done get the brush out again and splash some of the cut ends, joints, holes, etc.

    Try to not be in a hurry. Eg, after roof is done wait until it rains a time or two and watch for seepage. It will be a lot easier to spot and fix at this point.

    Think maintenance, how easy will it be to repair something when the walls are up, access to drainage traps, etc. As a counter-example, in certain South American countries the flush tank (or whatever the proper name is) for the toilet is built into the wall, so when it needs to be repaired it means making a hole in the wall, then repairing the tiles etc.

    Good luck.

  11. #11
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    To add to the recommendation to buy your own material, I suggest you try to negotiate a discount from one of your local suppliers. Before starting to buy my materials, I checked out basic prices at various local supply stores. I also talked to my builder about who he normally bought material from. In my case, the local Home Mart had the best prices to start with of all the local supply stores. My wife and I then sat down with the Home Mart Manager and negotiated a 7% discount on all material we bought from him. We committed to buying "most" of our supplies from him in return.

  12. #12
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    draw a rough plan of what you want house to look like when finished and dont change no matter how much you are tempted. keep a progress diary of works completed each day.building is basic common sense. start at the bottom .work your way up. then finishing work down. have a works plan. footings.block.heads.ect and never try deviate from it.all your wooden fittings should be stored in house to allow shrinkage before fitting,the longer you can allow the better.store all doors, planks flat cover with plastic and compress with weights to try prevent warping while they season in the atmosphere the are to be used. most important patience,more haste less speed. finish each section once started and it will make for an easy life. keep the site tidy,will make problems easy to spot. buy a good level. remember if you start wrong hard to finish right, so be insistent right from the start about quality,they will soon learn waste of time trying to fob you off and good luck

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loy Toy View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Thetyim
    Nothing wrong with wooden doors and window frames PROVIDING you use a suitable type of wood.
    Agree...............I advised a mate to check out the local place that sells used building materials and he picked up all his windows, door frames and kitchen cabinets for next to nothing.

    The wood has also had time to dry out and hence no further shrinking or warping.

    Saved a bundle he did as well as purchased aged wood which he made look brand new.
    LT is this place anywhere near Bangkok?

  14. #14
    ding ding ding
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    The best way to save money in any building project is have your wife or girlfriend have absolutely fuck-all to do with any of it as generally they have no idea how to operate when faced with greasy builders and the scum that tag along for the ride.

  15. #15
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    I was down HomePro or something similar a couple of weeks ago, they had a sale on, up to 80 percent off, thought to myself might aswell buy the stuff now ready for when I need it, the stuff at 80 percent off was in worse condition than the stuff I am taking out and getting ready to dump from my place, aint no such thing as a bargain in Thailand.

  16. #16
    ding ding ding
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    ^ Yep, new Homepro opened in Roi-et last week, "massive" opening sale......was down there for a look around, it was all seconds and shite that was heavily discounted. Load of bollocks if you ask me.

    Ain't no good value to be had here anymore, just overpriced shit, left right, and centre.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spin View Post
    The best way to save money in any building project is have your wife or girlfriend have absolutely fuck-all to do with any of it as generally they have no idea how to operate when faced with greasy builders and the scum that tag along for the ride.

    Probably the best piece of advice so far with a few exceptions.
    I donít have that problem because my wife is half American and knows how to kick Thai ass.

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