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  1. #176
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    Single 7.5 cm AAC Block Exterior Walls

    The original contractor we engaged to build our house (Kittysak) has pulled out after he became concerned about my request for details on such sundry incidentals such as using rebar chairs to support the steel reinforcing. At a meeting with him I saw the look on his face when Yuri showed him a picture on Google of rebar chairs. A bit like a deer in the headlights. So we moved on and have spent some time talking with Bandee House Construction, giving them a copy of our plans and asking for a price based on these. The price came back and while it was THB 310,000 more than Kittysak's we were satisfied they knew what they were doing and would build what we wanted. This was backed up by a visit to a house under construction for another expat on the outskirts of Surin.

    At the most recent meeting to finalise details on the build I was bemused to note they had quoted on single 7.5 cm AAC block external walls. The plan we gave them clearly stated double 7.5 cm AAC cavity external walls. They justified their decision by saying the single block wall will still give "nice cool house." My scepticism must have been apparent as the sales consultant went to great lengths to assure me we would be happy with the end result.

    A question to forum users who have built their house using single 7.5 cm AAC blocks - how cool is the interior in the middle of May without the air con on? Is the house comfortable without using air con during the day? Comments / observations and experiences on this would be very much appreciated.

  2. #177
    Days Work Done! Norton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peciacake View Post
    A question to forum users who have built their house using single 7.5 cm AAC blocks - how cool is the interior in the middle of May without the air con on? Is the house comfortable without using air con during the day? Comments / observations and experiences on this would be very much appreciated.
    Thaidupp could answer but haven't seen him here lately. Try sending him a PM.

    https://teakdoor.com/building-in-tha...ml#post3757691 (Thai Dhupp and Princess Joy's Thai House Build)

  3. #178
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    Thanks Norton, much appreciated.
    Cheers...Greg

  4. #179
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    New Spade and Shovel

    My beautiful wife bought me a new spade and a mini shovel for my upcoming birthday. Isn't she wonderful.... so thoughtful of her...
    Hope she likes the new vacuum cleaner I'm giving her for Xmas. It's her favourite colour.

  5. #180
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    Quote Originally Posted by peciacake View Post
    The Result of a Taxi Driver Operating A Tractor


    You have to laugh. Your soil looks quite sandy so should be easy to move and level. Love the bit about not gluing the pipes - you have to wonder what goes through their heads, likely he'd run out of glue and thought fuk it.

    I have witnessed the dearly departed FiL set about a relatively easy saw, screw and glue some wood together project which took him 5 hours with a blunt saw, old rusty butchered screws he'd salvaged for just such a project and a flat head screwdriver with a chunk missing causing it to slip out of the grove repeatedly. It was so painful i went out and got him some new kit for his next project only to find out later he'd lost half of them or loaned them out never to see then again. Chimpanzees can often achieve a better result and be left with tools in better shape.

    I have also witnessed a bloke drilling a hole in a wall with a battery drill and as it ran out of charge he used a hammer to smack the back of the drill to finish the hole off. It took a moment or two to realise he was using my drill that the Mrs had lent him as he'd burnt out his 600W non-hammer drill.

  6. #181
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    Hi Mike,
    The similarity to my FIL is striking - he has exactly the same approach. Old tools, reclaimed and reconditioned screws and nails, blunt chisels and saws - that's all he ever used. When his old cow shed was pulled down I walked around for days discovering tools buried in the dirt. With a bit of TLC they have been brought back to life. Yesterday, while doing some more work on the water reticulation system the brother in law and I did an inventory on pipe fittings. I'll share a photo tomorrow of what we found along with a shot of the reconditioned tools.

    Hope the Mrs asks you before she lends your tools these days...

  7. #182
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    ^ They don't get lent period i don't care if somchai breaks something and he has to sacrifice his Lao Khao money to buy a new chisel, welding rods or grinder disks - my hire shop is closed.

    I am quite picky with tools, they get sharpened post use and oiled if required so they are ready to use next time, seeing rusty chisels, screwdrivers and planes gives my a Herbert Lom twitch

  8. #183
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    Reclaimed Tools from the FIL's old Cow Shed


    Every item in this image was found in amongst the remains of the FIL's old cow shed after it had been pulled down.
    Most were buried, covered in dirt, rice straw and cow shit. After a bit of TLC with a wire brush and some emery cloth
    all are useable, albeit well past their best.
    The builders will be using this room during construction of our house so I'm keeping my tools in storage until completion
    No sense leaving them here on full display - the temptation to "borrow" tools that are in as new condition would be too great.

  9. #184
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    ^ that saw doesn't look salvageable, if it was 70's or earlier with a wood handle you can sharpen them - modern hard points are throw away like that plastic handled jobbie.

    I don't rate your chances of any of them being left by the time your build is finished

  10. #185
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    Pipe Component Inventory


    The FIL installed a network of water pipes throughout the property. Without exaggeration it would run to over 500 metres of pipe.
    This image gives an idea of the pipe components stock recovered from the floor of the old cow shed (except the new lengths of 1" pipe).
    The majority are new / never used. Some over 10 years old but unused.
    You'd think the poor bloke could have included some glue in the inventory... He must have been allergic to the stuff.

  11. #186
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    555 my FiL used to salvage old used pipe for re-use - no idea why but he came from a generation that made do and re-used, a sentiment i fully concur with except where used PVC pipe is concerned, oh and condoms.

  12. #187
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    Quote Originally Posted by peciacake View Post
    New Spade and Shovel

    My beautiful wife bought me a new spade and a mini shovel for my upcoming birthday. Isn't she wonderful.... so thoughtful of her...
    Hope she likes the new vacuum cleaner I'm giving her for Xmas. It's her favourite colour.
    Gotta love it. Thai shovels are good for 2 or 3 digs and then they fold in half like a beer can.

    Good luck with them.

  13. #188
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    ^ I cut the Thai shovel blades in half and reshape the front with an angle grinder.

  14. #189
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    ^ i bought a stainless steel spade and fork from the UK, which was fine except the wood handles got eaten by termites. Had to get a new ones made from pipe.

  15. #190
    CCBW Stumpy's Avatar
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    I brought over 4 True Temper(brand)shovels in my cargo container. I had all of them is the US for 10+ years and now 6+ years here. They are like gold to me. Shovels available here are not tempered steel. They are just stamped and assembled and for some reason short handled. Good thing for Peciacake, he won't have them long...

  16. #191
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    These are high grade Japanese steel with Manganese alloy, so they will last longer than me. Although I had to question the wife's choice of a birthday present, I couldn't fault her eye for quality.

  17. #192
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    Quote Originally Posted by peciacake View Post
    Single 7.5 cm AAC Block Exterior Walls


    A question to forum users who have built their house using single 7.5 cm AAC blocks - how cool is the interior in the middle of May without the air con on? Is the house comfortable without using air con during the day? Comments / observations and experiences on this would be very much appreciated.
    Lol Norton... I'm still around....Hi...yeah I did answer the PM but for ref here... we used the 150mm Supablock on the external walls, and tbh in the cooler months it's fine with no AC or fan, even. In the hot months there is a noticable difference inside, and with the AC on, the rooms themselves maintained a much cooler temp that those outside. Those AAC blocks keep the heat out and the cool in but its about a RANGE of measures to tackle the ever-present heat, not just relying on AC.

    To summarise... in addition to those AAC blocks...high roof line to pull heat away from the rooms, air flow-through in the roof void to let the heat out, insulation under the tiles AND over the ceilings, High room ceilings, 3m+ on the ground floor, and nearly 4m upstairs to lift hot air away from living spaces, narrower windows set a little higher up on the wall, to minimise suns rays heating up interiors and hot escaping when windows are opened.

    Then, big overhangs again to stop the sun shining directly into the windows,and tree plantings to again shield the house from the sun. We also have working shutters which can be used to block the sun out completely as required. The AC system was calculated for each rooms M3 so that it is not working too fast n stopping or endlessly trying to keep up.

  18. #193
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    Hi Mark,
    Thanks for your post and apologies for the belated reply - been a bit tied up lately (see following posts...). We've had to go with 7.5 single AAC block walls for the external walls. The budget just wouldn't stretch to 15 cm or double 7.5 cm / cavity block walls. As mentioned, your other recommendations have been incorporated as part of the original design criteria. The house will replicate an Aussie Colonial Farmstead in many aspects: wide verandahs on all sides, R38 rated glass fibre insulation in the ceiling, Bluescope colourbond roof pre-fitted with 5mm of foam and silver radiant barrier, venturi design for flow through ventilation to create a "breezeway" through the centre of the house, and another down one side, heavy curtains and no west-facing windows, vented roof cavity. Would still like to be able to have the double block cavity wall, but with Solar PV supplying our electricity we won't feel the hurt in the hip pocket through big electricity bills.
    Once again many thanks for your reply, and a great blog: https://thaihousebuild.com

  19. #194
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    Barbed Wire Wrangling

    Not a skill I'd planned to master but the opportunity came up for us to get some cheap soil - 170 THB per load. The only catch was we had to take it straight away. Too good an opportunity to pass up as we needed to get a low section of our land filled so we can start fencing the block.

    Given there was approx. 250 metres of tangled barbed wire in the way I hesitated at first. Handling tangled rusty barbed wire isn't my idea of relaxed retirement. After careful consideration and a good hard look at how I was going to do the job (no Thais were even interested in earning a full day's pay) I began the task of untangling and re-rolling the wire. Note the complete absence of the correct PPE. If one of my team had done the same back in Oz he'd be fronting the Safety Committee and given a formal warning. Funny how one's standards change...

    Some how I managed to roll it into a position out of the way without any injuries - well away from any spinning tail shafts or axle assemblies. Ended up getting 110 loads of soil delivered without damaging any equipment or me (see next post).

    Definitely not the recommended way to handle this stuff though, unless completely unavoidable. What I did was bordering on stupid, given the potential to loose an eye or end up with tetanus. Much, much safer to use two people with the right PPE and the right equipment - bolt cutters would be my first preference.


  20. #195
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    Soil Delivery

    We got the call at 7:00 AM Wednesday morning - a farmer has changed their mind about raising their land at the moment - would you like to take the soil instead? After grilling the earth moving contractor for five minutes on what sort of soil it was and how much per load he wanted we agreed on receiving 110 loads of Isaan premium soil. SWMBO insisted it was not to include the rotten red clay that sits about a metre below what laughingly passes as topsoil, and agreed on a price of 170 THB per load for "the good stuff." The stuff that sets like concrete in the dry season and then turns into thick clinging mud in the wet season.... Beggars can't be choosers. AND, she reminded me, we were getting a 20 THB per load discount. All I had to do was move the barbed wire without staking myself. Bargain

    So by 9:00AM the barbed wire was out of the way and the trucks started rolling in. And they kept coming all day until by 3:00PM we'd received 110 loads of "the good stuff." I'd hate to see the bad stuff. Apparently it's worse than the red clay... Note that in the image below I'm wearing my gloves; the same gloves I should have been wearing to move the barbed wire...

    A good result. Next, to find a decent tractor operator to level the soil (see below)



  21. #196
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    A Decent Tractor Operator

    It just fell into place beautifully. There she was, SWMBO, discussing with the local contractor who we want to build our fence about getting the soil delivered and now needing it levelled. "How much are you paying?" he asked. Yuri turned and put me straight on the spot. Well, let's see how good an operator he is first, I said, thinking about my previous experience with Thai tractor operators.

    So we met at our land at 9:30 this morning, Fri 10.12.21 and stood back and watched with delight. This guy is good. Bloody good in fact. He got stuck in and had the job done by 3:30PM including a 20 minute lunch break. Even Yuri was impressed enough to sit and watch as he went about getting the soil levelled and compacted with the ease and competence of some one whose been doing this for many years. He made it look easy. A pleasure to watch if tractor watching is your thing.

    Chalk and cheese compared with the taxi driver masquerading as a tractor operator when the FIL was in charge of civil works. This made my day - he even pointed out an area that was, in his opinion, too low, recommending we get an additional 15 loads to get the contour right so it drained away to the block next door. Yuri queried this with him - we don't want to get offside with the neighbours. No worries - he knows the owner and they do wet planting rather than dry sowing. Bonus!

    After such a good result Yuri got straight on the phone to the fence post supplier - when can they deliver? Turns out they have a truck available for Sat 11.12.21. Things are finally starting to move.


  22. #197
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    Fence Posts Arrived - Fencing Contractor scheduled to Start

    250 X 2.5 metre fence posts turned up today, Sat 11.12.21 after we confirmed the order late yesterday afternoon. Great service from ONE M, Ubon Thani - we were fortunate they had another delivery in Surin today. The posts are 100 THB each plus delivery @ 3,000 THB - they knocked this down as it was a split delivery

    There is 464 metres of fencing to be done which will give SWMBO some peace of mind once completed. At present the Eastern boundary, where Yuri is standing, has no fence. Not ideal when local Water Buffalo are allowed to just wander on to the property and sample the trees we've just planted.

    The fencing contractor will start Mon 13.12.21. He is the same guy who drove the tractor yesterday and did such a great job. Fingers crossed he can do the same with the fence. Recommendations on a decent brand of petrol driven fence post auger would be appreciated. Given he's on a day rate for the job a decent post hole digger will save hours / $'s. Given the rock hard soil it will save his worker's backs too.


  23. #198
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    Fence Construction

    After Day 1 being a complete write-off (does the term "herding cats" resonate with anyone?) it was pleasing to see steady progress being made today.

    Day 1 was, from what I've come to understand about Thailand, a fairly typical start to any construction project. Friends and family all join in the discussion, each adding their two-penneth worth to make sure all views have been taken into consideration. Then the brother-in-law took charge and started giving his thoughts on the set out and how to measure angles to the Fencing Contractor (the Ace tractor driver). The Fencing Contractor and his team were using the traditional 3:4:5 method to get the 90 degree angles right - they were on their game and ready to crack on.



    The BIL had other ideas and went about making all sorts of measurements while adding extra string lines and set-out posts. Two and a half hours later and a compromise had been reached. They would use both the 3:4:5 method and the BIL's multiple UX survey method.... Herding cats definitely easier. Retired early on Day 1, battered and bruised by Thai logic....Wondering if facing Curtly Ambrose on a seaming first day 'Gabba pitch would be easier than getting this bloody fence built

    Day 2 dawned peacefully with the BIL no where in sight (or on site thankfully). The team were able to really get going with the aid of a petrol earth auger we wisely invested in on the weekend. For 5,198 THB from Do Home this little bit of kit made life easy for the workers, who after some initial scepticism were sold. "Where can I get one?" asked the boss to Yuri. Note the poor placement of the fence posts - someone was wearing the pumpkin and not the head when these were unloaded....



    We reckon this will save us at least a couple of days when compared with manually digging 250 holes 50 cm deep through rock hard Isaan soil and orange clay. The first 50 holes took less than 2 hours. Onwards and upwards - bring on day 3 where the pitch should be as flat as a tack and runs easy to score.

  24. #199
    CCBW Stumpy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peciacake View Post
    Definitely not the recommended way to handle this stuff though, unless completely unavoidable. What I did was bordering on stupid, given the potential to loose an eye or end up with tetanus. Much, much safer to use two people with the right PPE and the right equipment
    I first saw the picture and thought....oh boy here we go but after reading your comment you seem quite aware of the myriad of potential injuries you luckily avoided. One thing many westerners tend to forget as they are doing work and not wearing good basic safety gear is how far they are away from a descent medical facility. Rusty barbed wire is tension loaded and can break and whip around and lay a person wide open. If your trek is a long way from a hospital this could be extremely problematic.

    Progress looking good. Enjoying the thread

  25. #200
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    Quote Originally Posted by peciacake View Post
    Day 2 dawned peacefully with the BIL no where in sight (or on site thankfully). The team were able to really get going with the aid of a petrol earth auger
    Good to see the workmen drilling holes whilst wearing standard issue Isan safety flip-flops.


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