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  1. #1
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    A "not so Grand Design" in Ubon Ratchathani

    Well, after a long delay partly because of Covid and then me prevaricating, the missus and I are about to start building. Or perhaps I should say, we are about to start starting while we wait for the designated lucky day. According to the local abbot, there was only one good day left this month and 3 next month...including the 13th , Christmas Day and the 27th (just before everybody stops work for New Year). The cynical might think these are the only days left that the monks are not already booked for weddings or house blessings. So the provisional lucky day is Jan 11th


    A "not so Grand Design" in Ubon Ratchathani-screenshot-overview-jpg


    A "not so Grand Design" in Ubon Ratchathani-screenshot-2023-11-16-193026-png

    After eliminating a couple of potential builders for various reasons it came down to a choice of 2 more, finally settling on Khun A/Ae/Eh or however you would transliterate เอ๋ ? He is a full time builder, not a farmer doubling up for some off season work, and the demo houses we looked at were ok, no complaints from the owners.
    We had some Sketchup drawings that were going to be turned into proper plans by a guy at the local Or Bor Tor but while we were dillydallying he moved on to greener pastures so we had to pay a proper architect to draw up plans, which is where the first minor hiccup has happened. Despite giving him lots of Sketchup drawings and screenshots of how we visualised things he did his own version. Nothing too major that requires structural revisions, just stuff like putting a window where the wall mounted TV is planned, not leaving space for the washing machine in the clearly designated laundry/outside toilet, and no windows in the workshop cum shed cum storeroom. We have a meeting planned with Khun A/Ae/Eh in a couple of days to sort these out.
    My Sketchup drawing:

    A "not so Grand Design" in Ubon Ratchathani-screenshot-2023-11-16-193212-png


    Approx 230sq.m. of internal space including 2 bedrooms, Buddha space for the wife's mumbo-jumbo, decent sized kitchen and living areas. Lots of covered outside relaxing space as well, something I considered essential. Also the workshop/store/escape from the wife space and space for a small home gym and all her hulahoops !

  2. #2
    Thailand Expat taxexile's Avatar
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    looks excellent. but i would completely cover the area between the house and the what i assume will be the workshop building, for shade and to keep the rain off, and i would have 2 bathrooms in the house.

    good luck with the project.

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    Some of the architect's errors :
    A "not so Grand Design" in Ubon Ratchathani-20231116_121036-jpg
    A "not so Grand Design" in Ubon Ratchathani-kitchen-3-jpg
    My idea, clearly showing an extractor where he placed a window, and the archway walls he left out (highlighted in yellow above)
    A "not so Grand Design" in Ubon Ratchathani-20231116_124728-jpg
    A "not so Grand Design" in Ubon Ratchathani-20231116_120955-jpg


    As I said before, nothing major that requires structural changes but just little mistakes that should not have been made.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails A "not so Grand Design" in Ubon Ratchathani-20231116_121014-jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by taxexile View Post
    looks excellent. but i would completely cover the area between the house and the what i assume will be the workshop building, for shade and to keep the rain off, and i would have 2 bathrooms in the house.

    good luck with the project.
    there is only the 2 of us, so one bathroom inside is enough plus the outside for visitors on the verandah imbibing too much booze and needing a quick piss. There is going to be shadecloth over patio area, I want to landscape that with orchids ferns etc. Plenty of dry space on the 36 sq.m. verandah !

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    The land is just under one rai, about 500m from the center of town and 80m down a dirt track. Rice paddies at the rear, and vacant blocks to the front and one side, a disused market garden on the other, so nice and quiet.
    highlighted in yellow:
    A "not so Grand Design" in Ubon Ratchathani-map2-jpg


    We are going to have ta word with the neighbor about her shonky power pole on the corner outside our land ! After this rainy season it is leaning a lot more !
    A "not so Grand Design" in Ubon Ratchathani-img_4817-jpg

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    why not put the washer where the shower is....the drain and water supply are there, nobody will probably use that shower and you can still wash your hands after making a colon blow.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikenot View Post
    My idea, clearly showing an extractor where he placed a window, and the archway walls he left out (highlighted in yellow above)
    Why not have the extractor go straight up? That way you get light over your stove?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Topper View Post
    why not put the washer where the shower is....the drain and water supply are there, nobody will probably use that shower and you can still wash your hands after making a colon blow.
    That's another thing, there was never supposed to be a shower in there ! It could go in that spot, I will have to think about if there is enough knee space.

    Why not have the extractor go straight up? That way you get light over your stove?
    I would rather clean cooking splatter off tiles than a window. Also the best height for the extractor is around 60-70 cm above the cooking surface, standard windows are 110 or 100 cm high so it would look a bit weird.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikenot View Post
    I would rather clean cooking splatter off tiles than a window. Also the best height for the extractor is around 60-70 cm above the cooking surface, standard windows are 110 or 100 cm high so it would look a bit weird.
    Fair enough, but isn't cleaning up cooking splatter for the wife? Having a wall there also gives a place to hang tools or seasonings.

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    Well, a month later and visual progress:

    A "not so Grand Design" in Ubon Ratchathani-img_7151-jpg


    Yesterday one of the workers laid the water pipe around the block. When we got 3 guys to lay the water pipe 80m from the main road to the land 3 weeks ago it took them 4 hours...this guy did about the same length plus 5 taps in less time on his own !
    They started measuring and marking out this morning, and then had to move all the stakes when the missus decided one side of the house was too close to the track past the land, a track that I have only seen used a few times by a kid walking to school and which has now been blocked off at the other end so it's not exactly busy! We measured and spray painted it out before and everything was ok then but today it wasn't when the stringlines were laid out.
    As I mentioned before, the architect had made a few minor errors but Khun Ae said not to worry, he can fix them up. We made sure his copy of the plans had all the corrections but I will keep an eye open to make sure they get done.
    The Or Bor Tor's office did query a couple of the squiggles correcting things but approved them anyway. The wife did have a bit of a whinge about having to get approval
    'why government want money, before we just get neighbours to come help build, no problem"
    "Things have changed dear, and we are not building the 2 room farmhouse shack that you, your 4 sisters and 2 brothers grew up in!"
    And the building approval only cost 400 baht, hardly significant in the total cost.

    11th of next month is confirmed as the lucky day for the first pole ceremony so the wife is getting that organised. She asks me "should we do this/that?"
    "How would I know dear, that's your department"
    I assume they will finish marking out the site, and then wait until after the New Year holidays before they start digging out the holes

    Since we got the water connected I have been working on the garden in the back block. I had already planted bananas (Hom Thong and Nam Wa) , 4 varieties of papaya, 4 varieties of mango, dragonfruit, galangal and ginger over the last couple of years, carting water in the pickup when needed. Now that water is on tap, I've started beans, snow peas, cucumber, melons and tomatoes, plus started improving the soil by planting cowpeas, sunn hemp, sunflowers and daikon and mulching the site of future vegie beds with chicken manure and rice straw....plenty of that on the farm. The cold weather of the last few days has been perfect for a bit of manual labor ! It's been too windy for my usual morning bike rides so I need the exercise.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for the progress report. Only 400 baht for the building permit? Here (in PH ����) it costs thousands, depending on the size of the build. But yeah, if you're in the deep province & on family land, one can get away with no permit. But if you'll build in a city or a big town & especially if in a mooban, then one needs a permit. Will look forward to your house (mis)adventures.

  12. #12
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    An interesting build and looks like you have the bases covered at the start - always a good thing!

    My sixpence worth .... Always futureproof as much as you can. You mentioned about the footprint being moved and the footpath wa virtually unused with 'one schoolboy', etc etc. Fine. that is NOW. what happens if all those adjacent plots get built on and suddenly there is a tonne of foot traffic? It might still not be so important if you plant up a suitable screen or build a wall depends on how you value security and privacy. Also, your feelings on this and other matters might very well change over time.

    The space above the bedroom in the corner, on the floor-plan, not elevation(!) is crying out to be an en-suite. yes...I hear you..'only two of us', etc but again, that is now. As you get older, you may well be glad of your bedroom sanctuary with ensuite facilities, and if not you, then maybe your wife. you can't predict who might end up living in, putting pressure on your bathroom arrangements.

    Lastly, I may have missed in in the text.... did you raise up the ground? is there a flooding potential, even a 10 yr or 30 yr event? Other properties coming along after may raise up their land, making you the new low point, and guess where water runs to!!? Plan ahead if this is an issue

    Best of luck with it, and I am looking forward to following this one to completion

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikenot View Post
    and Nam Wa
    They best tasting bananas in the world, IMO. Nice progress update!

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    @ Thai Dhupp ... the front block of land, where the house will be, was raised close to 1 meter some time ago, before the wife bought it. From looking at the Google Earth timeline it was sometime between 2006 and 2014. The back block has also been raised, by about 50cm, by the previous owner. So the house site is about 1,5m above the rice paddies at the rear, no danger of flood I think. there is also an existing drainway along the track into our land, if there was more than about 20cm of floodwater it would go into the drain, along side the main road and away downhill somewhere.
    there are only 2 other blocks for future development that would need access via that track, so no problem there. Even if the rice paddies at the rear are developed the easiest access to them would be from the other side. And I've stopped slashing the track past our side gate, just to discourage anybody from exploring down there. If any of the owners of the other blocks want to get down there they had better bring a tractor, or brushcutter. I'm the only one that takes care of the track in from the main road, I don't mind slashing the scrub there but that's enough.

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    @mikenot - re: future proofing,, I don't know what your ages are, but if you (or one of you) is a senior citizen or near it, then I suggest to make your doors, bathrooms, hallways, etc wheelchair or walker accessible. Maybe have a provision for ramps too. It's good that your house is only 1 storey.

    Also, you may need to have a live-in maid or caregiver in the future, so provide a room (and toilet - it may be a common toilet). I've been watching loads of tiny house vids & the disadvantage with some of them is that the hallways or doors are too narrow. Good luck in your build!

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    @katie23 : Yes, internally it is one level (apart from shower recess) and it would be easy to build a ramp at front door in the future. It would have been a better option (re best use of land space) in some ways to have a 2 floor design but we thought about our old age and stuck to single floor even though it gets closer to boundaries of land than I would prefer. I got knocked off my bike a couple of years ago, fractured hip and pelvis, so I know what it's like to hobble around with a walking frame !

    If either of us get to the point of needing a live-in maid, the first choice would be The Step-Daughter in Thai tradition who could have the second bedroom. But I also thought that the gym could also double as a granny flat for a maid or whatever with minor alteration (a doorway direct into 2nd toilet/laundry). If we get to that point I would not be using it as a gym !

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    ^seeing the mobility issues of my aunt (and now my mom) makes me glad that they both live on the ground level of their homes. Both of them can't handle stairs now & my aunt (~8 yrs older than my nom) has dementia & needs 24/7 care. My last visit to her was 4 yrs ago & at that time her mind was still OK. (We live in different countries.)

    I've also had knee & ankle injury (different times) due to hiking, so I appreciate 1-floor living. However, my flat is on the 2nd floor (1st floor for the Brits) so there was that hurdle.

    Re: a granny flat - great idea. I've seen another house renovation wherein they converted a 2-storey house into 2 self-contained flats (one on each floor). The owner was a senior citizen & the upper flat was intended for relatives who visit.

    All the best on your build! Happy New Year 2024!

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    Well, first pole day has come and gone so the wife can stop stressing a bit. A few days after New Year the boss was back on site to finish marking everything out, followed by the makro next day. By early afternoon he had dug all the holes for footings and scraped away a ramp for the concrete trucks to get up on to the site. For some reason Khun Ae didn't get him to dig out the holes for power poles, the labourers had to do that by hand next day. I've got my suspicions about how deep they dug them as 4 bags of cement and a cube each of sand and gravel was ordered but they used less than half for the 5 poles. When pulling the wires through though the poles seemed steady enough when the biggest guy on the crew leant a ladder against them and trusted them enough to climb up !
    Jan 11 rolled around and the missus was up at 2am to go to the market, I climbed out of bed at sunrise to take all the tables, glasses, lucky ornaments and whatever out to the site. Then had to go collect the invited village elders...I suggested we hire a minivan for this but cheapskate wife thought it was ok to put a bunch of oldies (some of whom can only walk with a frame or walking stick) into our pickup ! the 2 guys who were doing the lucky ornaments for the poles got stuck into their job right away....and into the Sangsom and Leo at 7:30am.
    A "not so Grand Design" in Ubon Ratchathani-img_7198-jpg

    The builder had thought out which would be the first two poles, the two village elders had different ideas, then the abbott turned up and decreed the builder was half right, half wrong, so a slight change of plans and moving of rebar before the builders tied on the fish trap, spindle, banana shoot, sugar canes and the lucky tree branches the wife looked high and low for. Mean while the wife, the stepdaughter and I started throwing money into every hole...I knew that all those satang coins would get used sometime..plus marigold petals, and the #1 hole got gold leaf, wooden lucky stakes blessed by the monk, and a buffalo horn.
    When all was ready the elders, wife and family did the Issaan animist voodoo thing first, then it was the abbott's turn to do his thing. Splashed the holy water over the hole, then the rebar, started chanting, until it was time to pull the pole up.
    now let's see if the video link thingy works.....



    then it was time to feed everybody, the builders knocked off nearly a bottle of sangsom with their meal and it was still only around 10am. they managed to get all the other rebar up though, and the concrete trucks arrived late afternoon to cover the footings.
    i was a bit concerned at the footings laying on the dirt but just before we left a truck pulled up with 2 pallets of red bricks, and one of the workers started putting them under the rebar...it would surely have been easier to do that before adding the weight of the columns ! Today (Jan13) they put up the formwork for the lower half of the columns, the bit below ground, in the morning with the concrete scheduled to arrive in the afternoon. There has also been a delivery of rebar today, presumably for the ring beams. The workers have decided to hijack my parking spot in the shade of a big tree to work...cheeky buggers. I've noticed one of them eying off the fruit on my papaya trees, cucumber and tomatoes....ok as long as they leave enough for us!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails A "not so Grand Design" in Ubon Ratchathani-20240111_085533-jpg   A "not so Grand Design" in Ubon Ratchathani-20240111_085530-jpg  
    Last edited by mikenot; 13-01-2024 at 10:21 PM.

  19. #19
    CCBW Stumpy's Avatar
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    Great stuff Mike. Oh I remember the blessing of the first support.

    Look forward to more. Enjoy your build. I enjoyed mine.

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    Mike, your entire thread made me smile.

    Thanks for sharing and wishing you two the best of luck building your home.

    Many here may not comment, but EVERYONE loves a build thread!

    Cheers

    David

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    We had no 'blessing' etc with the construction of our house, there was only one monk consultation throughout and that was nominating an auspicious day to move in, turned out to be the day after daughter' birthday.

    Neither in Sa Kaeo, Mrs P's mum had a new house built and moved in 2022, the only ceremony involved in the building process was a roof shout, nil monk-ey business.

    Is this more of a northern thing? Don't think I've ever seen a monk in the 11 houses including ours all built 2016-18.

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    ^ We are in Ubon Ratchathani, so certainly not the north. Kenny at Paradise_N_Thailand on Youtube is in Sisaket, he had his first pole day on the 11th too, and he had 3 monks. The only other pole blessing that I have seen had a monk too. As we had the animist voodoo thing first I guess it can't help to hedge your bets ?
    The wife has already started thinking about the house blessing and party for when it's finished...hang on dear, let's worry about that later !

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    Thailand Expat prawnograph's Avatar
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    ^ point taken, anything north / Isaan is fairly unknown territory to us, a year in Sa Kaeo as far as we've been for any length of time.
    I'll say you're 'more north' than us then!
    We're not the village people, our town in Chanthaburi is a little different, three wats, two Chinese shrines and separate Catholic junior + high schools, a diverse population of around 9000 with a token farang.

    Back to the housing - keep up the good work

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    Thanks for the build update, mike. I forgot that the Thais have a "1st post" ceremony. In PH, we only have the house blessing after the build is finished - with a priest or pastor (depends on beliefs of family). Some also throw coins into the foundations (for luck). Some kill a live animal (chicken, duck or pig, but usually birds are used) and pour the blood on the foundations/ tie beams. I think for my parents' house, they did the coins but not the blood.

    I checked your floor plan using feng shui principles (the little that I know of) and as yet, you're safe. There are no doors that are across each other, etc. I dunno if your wife believes/ follows feng shui.

    Cheers & enjoy your build!

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    Thailand Expat DrWilly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikenot View Post
    there is only the 2 of us, so one bathroom inside is enough plus the outside for visitors on the verandah imbibing too much booze and needing a quick piss. !
    Mendy and Ootai have demonstrated that’s not necessary.

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