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  1. #1
    loob lor geezer
    Bangyai's Avatar
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    Building a house in the boonies (circa 1984 )

    Reading all the construction threads here its surprising how things have changed when it comes to building your own home. Back in 1984 when I was living in a village outside Khon Kaen , there were no building regulations and if you ( or the wife ) had some land and wanted to build you just got on with it without any red tape.
    Another thing that has changed a lot is the flow of information. Now you can search the internet for advice and save yourself a lot of potential grief by picking the brains of people who have already built their Thai homes. In 1984 I was completely left to my own resources and every day was a learning curve. Needless to say, made a few mistakes but got there in the end

    First thing I needed was some plans to give the local village builder an idea of what I wanted. I drew these up to scale and also made a scale model of the house just so that there would be no misunderstanding about what I was aiming for :



    Worth noting that none of the local builders had ever seen house plans before and that whereas I was trying to get them to go metric they were still using the Thai measurement ' sork ', the length of your arm from elbow to fingertip.

    One thing I was aiming for was to avoid having any of the posts coming up in the middle of the living room ( as was normal in the village ) so the plans I made put them all in the wall line, only 9 in all, 6" square each.

    Stage one......the wooden frame goes up :




    Can't remember exactly how much this cost but I seem to recall my first load of wood cost around 80,000 baht.

    Next came the roof, which was green aluminium sheets. This was a mistake as although they saved weight they also turned pretty corroded within a couple of years.




    Later on, when we sold the place to an American for his mother in law to live in, one of the first things he did was replace the roof which was completly brown with corrosion and dirt.

    Next came the ceiling.......the only house in the village of 500 houses to have one !! This was considered very posh at that time. In most Thai village houses, any partition walls upstairs are only about 7 feet high so if you're a kid and want to perve at your mum and dad you can peer over the top.




    Then came the wooden supports for the wall planking.




    Next up came the floor. Here I made a major mistake in buying new wood planking. Although the builder fitted the floor together very nicely the wood wasn't properly seasoned and after a few months drying out gaps appeared in the floorboards up to half an inch wide in the worst areas




    Next stage was the wooden paneling for the walls. Here one of the builders minions made a mistake in cutting the strips to size resulting in me having to buy an extra couple of thousands baht worth of wood.




    Unfortunately, a lot of the pictures I took are missing so now we leap to the end of stage 1 before I had to go back to the U.K. and do some work. Before leaving I saved a bit of money by painting the whole house myself ( including window frames ) using Cuprinol stain for the wood and white exterior emulsion for the ground floor.




    Returning from England, work continued and we finaly ended up with this :




    I built the breezeblock wall myself with the help of my father in law and a passing Danish bloke who was even more destitute than myself. What a hard time his mother in law gave him since I had unwittingly become the benchmark falang !




    On the inside I put up the ceiling and tiled the floor myself. Another mistake here. The floor tiles came in several grades and I naturaly bought the cheapest. Later I found out why they were cheaper....they were not quite uniform size, some being upto an eighth of an inch bigger than standard. This meant that in some places the grout line was less than straight.




    Total costs including furniture came to around 350,000 baht. At first we had no electricity except a dodgy line that ran from the brother in laws house next door. He in turn got this supply via another wire stretched over the road to the temple.
    In order to get a proper supply I had to pay the electricity board 18,000 baht to put in two large cement poles from the crossroads to our house about 70 metres away.
    Waste was taken care of by two cess pits and God provided the water for free, except in the hot season when the wife had to fetch it from the village well.

    So.....been there, done that and hope I never have to do it again.

    P.S. Got to live in it for about 4 years before giving up village life .

  2. #2
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    The Master Cool's Avatar
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    Lovely, thanks.

    Any idea how it's holding up nearly 3 decades later, besides having to change the roof?

  3. #3
    Mid
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    Nice one , bet you'd do it all again tomorrow given 1/2 a chance .

  4. #4
    loob lor geezer
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Master Cool View Post
    Lovely, thanks.

    Any idea how it's holding up nearly 3 decades later, besides having to change the roof?
    Well, as far as I know from my ex family its still standing although the new owner sold half the garden and there is now another house on my old vegetable plot which used to look like this :




    Surprising really since the walls were built on a foundation of cement only 6 inches deep with very little rebar. The local builder said the ground thereabouts was so hard it wasn't needed. Must have been right if its stood the test of time.

  5. #5
    loob lor geezer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mid View Post
    Nice one , bet you'd do it all again tomorrow given 1/2 a chance .
    Yep, after you I'm first !

  6. #6
    splendid and tremendous
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    Great stuff, Bangers - the pics have a lovely rustic charm to them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bangyai
    Back in 1984 when I was living in a village outside Khon Kaen
    I had you down as a young whipper snapper for some reason - Old bangers has been here for fucking donkies..!!

  7. #7
    loob lor geezer
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    Quote Originally Posted by somtamslap View Post
    Great stuff, Bangers - the pics have a lovely rustic charm to them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bangyai
    Back in 1984 when I was living in a village outside Khon Kaen
    I had you down as a young whipper snapper for some reason - Old bangers has been here for fucking donkies..!!
    That'll be on account of some of my more juvenile posts
    Unfortunately I'm all of 53 .....but hey , you're as young as you feel .....which varies on whether I've been drinking beer or Sato .

  8. #8
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    Great pics. Took your bloody time to post them though!

  9. #9
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    Great thread Bangyai, tried to give you some green but can't at the moment!

  10. #10
    loob lor geezer
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    ^^
    Yes Marmite , I left them all back in the U.K.
    To post these , ( not having a scanner ) I had to lay the pics on the bed and take pictures of them using my digital camera.
    Used to have a lot more pictures showing details of the construction ( joints etc ) but Ms Bangyai Mark 1 took them when we went our seperate ways after 14 years together.

  11. #11
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    Excellent story.

  12. #12
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    sunsetter's Avatar
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    great stuff cheers for sharing, got anymore old pics?

  13. #13
    loob lor geezer
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunsetter View Post
    great stuff cheers for sharing, got anymore old pics?
    Plenty back in London but ...ahem....some of them might land me in jail .

    I had planned to look you up when I was back home in May but I was unexpectedly busy seeing people and helping my mum get things ready for my grans 100th birthday. Next year maybe.

  14. #14
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    sunsetter's Avatar
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    ahh no problem mate, will catch you somewhere im sure

    so, those pics ............

  15. #15
    Member chedi's Avatar
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    great old stuff.
    thanx

  16. #16
    Member wombat's Avatar
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    i like the security aspect with the internal stairs

  17. #17
    loob lor geezer
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    Quote Originally Posted by wombat View Post
    i like the security aspect with the internal stairs
    At the time I went against the accepted village norm on several points. As already mentioned, one keeping the posts within the walls instead of sprouting up all over. Other main deviations from the then norm were :

    Integral bathroom ( instead of at the end of the garden in an outhouse )

    Large balcony ( the standard in the village was 3ft by whatever length. Too narrow to put chairs out on and chill out. I wanted something big with a view over the rice fields.

    The windows did not have skylights above. Traditional village houses had wooden windows which when shut, made the interior dark. To avoid this they have a few glass panes above the wood windows. I thought this was silly so just had glass windows. This is a picture of another TD members project house ( Genghis61 from
    his thread http://teakdoor.com/construction-in-...ouse-tips.html (Renovating 40yr Thai village house - tips?) )
    that illustrate what I mean.




    Finally .

    The kitchen was on the inside instead of at the back of the house. Not smelly as I also had a kitchen door ( oooooo ) and an extractor fan above the gas oven.
    Last edited by Bangyai; 06-06-2011 at 08:55 PM.

  18. #18
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    aging one's Avatar
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    Thanks for that Bang Yai, I love looking back at neat things people have been able to accomplish with just will power and brains. Good on ya.

  19. #19
    Member Andrew Hicks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by aging one View Post
    Thanks for that Bang Yai, I love looking back at neat things people have been able to accomplish with just will power and brains. Good on ya.
    Me too!

    Very nostalgic as I had my own house built in a Surin village about seven or eight years ago. Likewise there were no permits asked for and we just paid cash for a bit of land and got on with it.

    I wrote a book about the whole Isaan experience, including about four chapters on building the house.

    When folks used to ask me what I did all the time in a small Thai village I had to say nothing, except sitting at my laptop writing about it. It's a great book!



    Andrew

  20. #20
    Member Dino's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing that. Can't imagine the headache of building pre-internet. These forums are a God send.

  21. #21
    loob lor geezer
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    Just as a post script. Whilst back in the U.K. last week I was up in the loft and amongst other things found a model of the house that I made with wood and cardboard so as to give the wife and builder an idea of what I was aiming for as an end result. The model was under an old sheet and a bit dilapidated but at the time it proved quite useful.

    Excuse the crap photos done in the dark in a hurry

    Front elevation




    rear side





    Roof off











    First floor








    Roof on

  22. #22
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    Wow, just wow. Thank you for posting!

    And actual models.. I guess that's what people did before Sketchup..

  23. #23
    Member SpicyMartin's Avatar
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    Bloody hell...... great report, pics and model! Thanks for posting.

  24. #24
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    Fantastic thread BY, thanks dude..

  25. #25
    loob lor geezer
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    Quote Originally Posted by WhiteLotusLane View Post
    Wow, just wow. Thank you for posting!

    And actual models.. I guess that's what people did before Sketchup..
    ^ Thanks for those comments. Yes, before computers and sletchup it was not so easy. I showed the plans I had drawn to the wife but she just couldn't visualise the finished house so I spent a few hours making the model.
    When it was originaly made none of the walls were buckled and everything slotted together perfectly. However, the passage of all those years in a loft thats cold in winter and hot in summer has caused it to buckle a bit.

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