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  1. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    The market decides and you have already found the solution. Once completed how do you advertise availability, a sign at the main road and a phone number? Do you have a local contact for any "repairs" etc?
    Good questions. About 10 years ago it was a combination of signs and word of mouth, now you can add face ache to the mix - Mrs Toot is quite a fan of the social media site for business purposes - hates it for the friends angle and rarely uses it outside business. The places are rarely empty for longer than two weeks which i think is a factor of market pricing and as you say she seems to have got it right - not millions but stable useful income turning to profit in a fairly short timeframe.

    Repairs, yes she has local contacts for minor stuff like painting, plumbing and electrics etc. The places are in 3 different locations 2 outskirts of Bangkok, 1 in the Saraburi area and 1 in the Pak Chong area so it's not practical to have one POC.

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by NamPikToot View Post
    Shu, this used to be the benefit of forums, advice. Despite most of the negative shit you see on here there is a cohort of nice people based in Thailand and ones who have long experience in things there. My point, there are not many builds or advice here now because the readership has already settled and built but that doesn't mean you can't tap them up and rekindle fond memories - mostly they are happy to help you.

    Look up Dennis's snowbird build and you'll see Norts is keeping an eye on it and will help when he can with advice and eyes on..Thai Dhup's build is fantastic reading and out of most peoples reach ( ), BiPs was again different and had certain challenges which were interesting to see how he overcame them, but its about ideas and all builds give you ideas.

    The best advice i have seen on this forum starts with plans..weird i know but you mentioned awkward plot size etc. On the forum there have been many builds who've benefited from sharing their initial thoughts and plans and getting advice from the members - usually a build is sacrosanct - you'll get some ribbing but serious posters (and there are many) will take time to advise and help you so for goodness sake don't be put off and ask away.
    Thanks.
    I am cautious because I am not convinced about the RoI, more particularly her R on my I.
    It's funny how these places work out. I stayed a year in a decent place, 2 storeys with 10 rooms on each floor. All clean and tidy with aircon and tv, reasonable bed, run by decent people. The family used 3 of the rooms and of the remaining 17 rooms it was rare for more than 4 to be occupied. They couldn't make it work and the family moved to Bangkok to look for work. I was the only tenant. Then the caretaker branch of the family got a new tenant, actually a pair of female M6 students from the nearby school. They didn't study, just came home about 0200, sometimes with company. Which could have been okay except they were my downstairs neighbours and so woke me up every night, doors opening and closing.
    I looked around and found another place. In my search I found some scruffy places that were fully occupied and some smarter places that were not. All within a stone's throw. It was interesting to survey the market and I was left with no clear opinion about the 'right' way to do this.

  3. #53
    Thailand Expat David48atTD's Avatar
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    Thanks NPT for this ... really interested in the financials, design, market for product etc ... it's more then just a simple built, it's a financial project.

    None of this "Build it and they will come crap".

    ---

    One marketing idea is to spread the word through the local Motosaiwin (the men who take passengers on the motorbikes)

    ---

    At the end of the canal where the Thai Farm is, there is a series of same apartments as your wife is building, but smaller and no carport.

    BC, about 7/8 years ago they were BHT 1,000 + utilities, now circa BHT 1,500

    ---

    I really like the design your wife has (with or without an internal wall) and the carport feature.
    “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago”

  4. #54
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    ^I think it depends on location. In my university town, apartments (rooms) and dorm-type places are always springing up bcos of the need for housing by students and university employees. The rent of flats (maybe 4*7 or 4*8m) would be 4 to 5k pesos, depending on the make of the flat & proximity to the uni.

    Double storey y apartments (usually 2 bedrooms on the upper floor) would be 8 to 12k. These 2-storey apartments are usually rented by families. In my work town, the flats are usually smaller (4*5, 4*6, 3.5*9), usually just one level (but in a 2 or 3-storey building). Those flats would be rented for 2.5 to 5k per month. The flats are always fully rented out, from what I've seen. My work town is near Manila, so the rents are a bit high. If the area was in Visayas or Mindanao - more provincial places, then rents would be lower.

    @toot - does each flat have its own meter for electric & water? Here in PI, they usually do. The electric man comes 1x/ month to read the meters, and each unit gets its own bill.

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by NamPikToot View Post
    she seems to have got it right - not millions but stable useful income turning to profit in a fairly short timeframe.
    Also you both have experince in repeat building similar, elsewhere. I suspect you and her are well aware of the returns or wouldn't be building more. Were you or your wife, builders/project managers, prior to meeting each other?

    A proper legacy to leave to ones family.

    Two more question:

    1. You show a column foundation 1m sq. with some concrete already poured in the centre how deep is the 1m sq. portion? I presume the centre portion is somewhat deeper. Is the total depth from the fundation top i.e the 1m sq. opening and the smaller deeper, concrete filled centre, 1m or more and does the deeper section, match the ring beam width?

    2. What fees does one incur:

    Initial official permision to develop, official site visits to confirm building compliance, annual taxes/rates, contractors/ongoing insurances .... to pay

    Thanks for informative post. The layout, construction stages and tips, financial, marketing and photographic diary.
    Last edited by OhOh; 14-06-2020 at 09:52 AM.
    A tray full of GOLD is not worth a moment in time.

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shutree View Post
    I am cautious because I am not convinced about the RoI, more particularly her R on my I.
    Shu, i would be cautious too. A build is a one time deal and the ROI is obviously a factor of occupancy and charging rate - i forgot to mention the land cost is not part of the ROI as its not really a depreciating asset.

    Mrs Toot buys in areas where there are factories in the main, large ones but a distance away (car or motocy commute say 10-20 Mins) and as such she seems to be able to maintain a high occupancy rate. She's found that when one factory is planned more follow so she keeps and eye out on land prices and whats being considered in terms of infra etc. Her market therefore is workers against a backdrop of a steady labour market - COVID aside. She's also been lucky in a couple of instances so its not all cold and calculated.

    In your case you are right to be cautious and you have seen the results of investing in an area without a properly researched customer base. If the land is already bought there's no point in investing in a build with little chance of return and so i would search for other land (perhaps sell the one now and bank the money and let someone else find out if its workable there) and take your time - these are 20-40 year commitments so a year or so getting your plan, land and area right is a drop in the ocean. As i already mentioned, Mrs Toot has sold land previously because the area didn't turn out as she's hoped in the years she held it for but she still made a profit.

    Be wary of getting badgered into a financial commitment on the build, i'd take Mrs Shu to some of these Mary Celest apartments and let her see for herself if you've not done so already - picture and words and all that.

    BTW all this sounds rosey for Mrs Toot but the reality is that its taken her 15-20 years to get here, that's hard work, saving, penny pinching and patience, oh and a little luck, she also doesn't do the Thai face thing. Her first pick-up she bought with cash she'd saved and went to the showroom in her work gear looking a bit tatty and disheveled, she was ignored so she sat down and took out the 1/2Mil Baht and dumped it on the table and was immediately surrounded by helpful sales staff - once they'd given her some water she picked up her money and walked out and went to another dealership down the road who weren't as snooty.

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by David48atTD View Post
    I really like the design your wife has (with or without an internal wall) and the carport feature.
    Thanks. I can lay no claim to all this, its all her as you mention and i'm just on hand when she needs support/advice or to vent actually very little rattles her. I have seen her on the phone sorting some work issues out, fending off her sister who was trying to annoy her and walking around a build answering questions from the contractor simultaneously - barely a raised word.

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by katie23 View Post
    @toot - does each flat have its own meter for electric & water? Here in PI, they usually do. The electric man comes 1x/ month to read the meters, and each unit gets its own bill.
    Katie, yes each one has separate water and electricity meters off Mrs Toots main supply. As Shu mentioned many Landlords/Ladies charge a premium above the cost of their metered supply but Mrs Toot doesn't and i suppose its one of her selling points / customer loyalty things.

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    Were you or your wife, builders/project managers, prior to meeting each other?
    OhOh - I have some building experience from when i was very young and renovating my own places over the years and yes i have project management experience but not in the building trade mine is in Engineering. Mrs Toot none other than self taught business acumen.


    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    You show a column foundation 1m sq
    I probably garbled my explanation earlier in the thread so apologies. The foundations are set in a hole 1M x 1M wide, about 60cm deep but in the middle is a further hole that extends the 60cm depth to 1M - this is concreted first before the rebar basket is added on top and acts as a mini pile. Hope that is clear.


    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    What fees does one incur:
    Initial official permision to develop, official site visits to confirm building compliance, annual taxes/rates, contractors/ongoing insurances .... to pay
    I will have to get back to you on that. I know she had to submit plans, pay for the Land Registration to be amended from purely agri land and yes there are annual taxes - i'll find out.

  10. #60
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Looks good mate. Kudos to your missus. Appears she knows what she is doing.

  11. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norton View Post
    Appears she knows what she is doing.
    Thanks Norts.

    Now yes, but the current situation masks the reality of learning as she went with the odd dead end in both business and with these lettings - she faced a lot of difficulties in life and business and doesn't give in easily.

  12. #62
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    University of Hard Knocks is sometimes the best. I went there myself.

  13. #63
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    Moving on to.................Wall Porn.

    As mentioned you'd not normally begin a build running into the wet season without a roof up, but she had the opportunity to secure the services of the chap she's used before.

    The usual chronology of the build process in the tropics is footings/foundation, slab/base, columns/roof supports, roof and then walls and internals.

    Due to the rush to take advantage of the so far less than wet season, some of the usual order is being flouted and here the builder is forming columns and starting the perimeter wall before the roof, whilst waiting for the columns to cure properly. So next we have Columns and Walls.

    Room for some Rooms - par deux-wall1-jpg


    I first looked at this picture and got on the phone to Mrs Toot about the wall until she pointed out that the left hand wall is lower due to the step down which is the back area on the plans which can be a wet/cooking/washing area ...hence the step.

    You'll note he's nailed (not literally) the offset courses, i have seen builds with infill block work one on top of the other. Also if you squint you'll see thin metal rebar on the top course which further locks the the courses together - all these details make for a quailty build and many contractors will try to avoid these details in favour of speed especially when your back is turned.

  14. #64
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    An ususual looking bond, but probably supposed to be stretcher bond.

  15. #65
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    a few more shots and then a break for a bit.

    A word of caution on materials. Its cheaper to do as Mrs Toot is doing by buying the materials so the contractor doesn't add their margin to these also. Many don't want to be so hands on and deal with the arse ache of having to be on point for requests from the builder. Materials aren't an exact science and the method is usually to buy c80-90% of the estimate and then drop in a further order for the remainder once its clear what the final requirement is - you can get a shop like SCG to estimate based on plans but they never get it right so the 80-90 method seems to work and minimises waste through over ordering (waste which usually goes to the builder) and so to my main point.

    If you allow the builder to order, they will invariably over order and bank some materials - its one of the many wheezes where they increase their margin. Another is keeping an eye on materials if you don't know the builder - materials will go missing and get blamed on theft. You have to remember too that labourers on minimal wages are attracted to the odd bag of cement, some steel here or there, some paint or a roll of cable.

    I am not trying to paint a picture of outright dishonesty, its just the reality many may face without keeping and eye on things or being less hands on.

    Room for some Rooms - par deux-wall2-jpg


    Columns still being formed whilst the walls are going up

    Room for some Rooms - par deux-wall4-jpg


    Another thing i like about this chap is he keeps the site clean and tidy, many don't and the dis-organisation in other sites makes monitoring "waste" difficult and the opportunity for materials to go walkabout easy.

    Room for some Rooms - par deux-wall6-jpg



    Room for some Rooms - par deux-wall7-jpg

  16. #66
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverna View Post
    but probably supposed to be stretcher bond.
    Its is indeed Nev. I like his block work, he uses a tight ratio of 1 cement to 3 sand so its strong - many builders stretch (pardon the pun) the cement out to 1 : 5 if they are providing materials..not all do but some and again its something to watch for - short cuts and penny pinching in these areas will inevitably lead to increased maintenance cost or catastrophically reduce your building lifespan.

  17. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by NamPikToot View Post
    Also if you squint you'll see thin metal rebar on the top course which further locks the the courses together
    Are they virtical bars?

    If so are they set out by the first course joint locations and at every joint? Do they have a right angle bend at the base?

  18. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by OhOh View Post
    Are they virtical bars? If so are they set out by the first course joint locations and at every joint? Do they have a right angle bend at the base?
    They are just vertical bars sunk into the mortar between blocks on the lower course and then cemented into the block cavity on the course above - its just an extra strengthening measure.

    You can buy steel locking bars (sort of elongated C shaped) which get cemented in to the block voids where two blocks meet to tie them together, but proper laying and bonding means you don't need these - most block work i have seen they try to get away with minimal mortar, this builder is generous with the fill on the block voids.

  19. #69
    Thailand Expat lom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NamPikToot View Post
    most block work i have seen they try to get away with minimal mortar, this builder is generous with the fill on the block voids.
    It's always easy to be generous with what others have paid for , and looking at your wall pic I assume that the job was not done by one of his most skilled workers. Maybe one who became mao lao. (right side, top rows)

  20. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by NamPikToot View Post
    vertical bars sunk into the mortar
    Thanks.

  21. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by lom View Post
    Maybe one who became mao lao. (right side, top rows)
    Well we know Thais are not the brightest at times, he's obviously started the top row working right to left (short block first) and found he's just over a full block - not short of one like some posters on here. No harm done but thanks for your input.

  22. #72
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    ^ Good on ya NPT for sharing this, looks very well honed to the market and always interesting to see new builds on TD

  23. #73
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    Thanks KiL, i was going to update yesterday but the chimp enclosure is quite upset and thought it best to leave it until later. Its going at quite a pace and i don't want to put the mockers on it but it may be less than 3 months.

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    Nice little build thread NPT.
    I have seen plenty of these builds over the rural south, in between Chumphon and Phuket. Usually on the edge of rubber or fruit plantations, alongside minor roads, connecting two or more villages. Some finished or in early build stages, blocks of 5 seem very popular due to build costs and ROI.
    You sometimes see them in urban areas too, where they add air con, hot water and a rustic finish for holiday lets. Occasionally two story jobs with a small shop on the ground floor and accommodation above, for high flyers like you know who.
    The rural builds usually come with a small balcony for shoe parking. More upmarket versions have room for plastic garden furniture.
    Interesting read, thanks.

  25. #75
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    @toot - in post #65, some parts of the wall have rebar (4th pic), some don't seem to have (3rd pic). Is it standard practice to put rebar there in TH or not? (Anyone can answer). Btw, usually how far apart are the rebars? Here, concrete walls usually have rebar - since PI is in the earthquake zone.

    I remember seeing houses being constructed in the Viet countryside - they used bricks and didn't use rebar. So if there's a strong EQ (very rare), the houses will topple like pancakes - but then VN is not in the EQ zone. My mom said that it's common practice to use bricks (and not CHB) in Vietnam - in the old houses.

    Thanks for the updates!

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