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Feedback – House Story and Water Questions

feedback from Malcolm L

Hi – we just got back from the site today. The window glass is in so we have a “dry” house now. Thanks for info about brick vs cement block walls – glad we made the right decision – it was my builder’s recommendation anyway so I’m not claiming superior knowledge – but it is another plus point for my builder.

Re water tanks, I’m gravitating back to S/S from plastic tanks – we couldn’t bear to have any moss growth – yuck ! So, my current thinking is a S/S tank; below ground for the gravity advantage of trickle down in the event of water supply failure; in a concrete pit with steps down and maintenace access space around. How dfo you go about deciding the right size ? Is one tank (or two) better ? And how did you decide on the size and capacity and pressure of the pump/s ?

!@DSC03014.JPG(l120)As far as a stainless steel tank underground. If you do a concrete pit, the pit could be made into a water chamber, no need for the tank. I’m attaching a photo of one in construction. If you go this route you’ll need to make sure the builder knows what he is doing. It requires the heavier cement blocks and with cement poured in between. Notice also the rebar strands used for strength. I don’t think it will work out very well to use the tank.

As a follow up to my earlier notes, here are the problems we experienced during construction which I was too late to catch – and so we’ve adapted as best as possible.

  • My own original design called for the floor level (it’s also a bungalow) to be 30 cm above ground and one room at the end of the house at 15 cm above ground. This latter is my workshop with it’s own external door and I didn’t want to have to step up or down when walking in/out the double doors which give access to my pickup or SUV for loading/unloading. My plans had a very gentle slope leading up to the exterior door. The estate draughtsman who finalised my plans prior to submission suggested 100 cm and 60 cm respectively. He never gave me a good reason – just “It’s better !” – he said it wasn’t for fear of flooding because it doesn’t flood in that area – which I eventually went with. The builder however ignored these dimensions – or didn’t notice the difference in levels – and made all the floors at the same level ie 100 cm above ground. The net result of the higher floor levels is that my “very gentle slope” became much steeper. To minimize this increase in slope angle, we had to extend the length of the slope by 3 meters. This of course cost me more in cement, sand, aggregate and underfill which I decided not to charge to the builder. In return, he did a beautiful job on the longer slope and included a drain channel just outside the double doors to prevent rain being blown in under the doors. Lesson #1 learnt – keep a closer eye on work-in-progress and make sure you (and the builder) understand what is on the plans and follow closely what the builder is doing.

  • One bathroom ended up slightly smaller than planned – result was we couldn’t put in a bathtub as planned. The reason is twofold – a slight diversion by the builder of a few cms from plan in locating the 4 corner posts of the bathroom (too close together) – and then the builder placed the walls on the “wrong” side of the posts. Altogether, the critical inside dimension where the bathtub was going ended up about 15 – 20 cm short. The critical dimension became 130 cm instead of the planned 150 cm for the tub – we couldn’t find a tub to fit. Hence, guests have to take a shower now. Lesson #2 – as #1 above.

  • In order to check my roof plan was OK, I made a scale model of it. There was one doubtful area (integrating the carport into the roof structure) and I decided to consult the estate draughtsman and roofing contractor about it. The concensus was “Yes, there is a slight problem but we can resolve it when the roof is completed”. Hmmm – no way ! The so-called slight problem is still there. Now I’m considering a non-integrated solution ie a canopy that does not blend but rather contrasts with the rest of the roof. Lesson #3 – as Lessons #2 & #3 – also don’t “wait” until a job is completed before resolving a problem – clear it up satisfactorily before going on. We are still considering how best to do the carport without it being a too obvious add-on afterthought.

Best Malcolm L

Great story and thanks for sharing it! I especially agree about points 1, 2 and 3!

4 Comments

  1. As a follow up of the water tank matter, we bought the diamond brand SS tank – this seemed to be the most highly recommended among the shops we went to – and they have already been installed in a concrete pit with access all around for inspection and maintenance. During this search, we learnt that our water supply from the estate comes from a bore, then to a water tower. We have been recommended to have a filter system so this is the next project – and we have to get oa move on because we want to move in before the middle of October.

  2. Yes, I also bought a diamond. It seems to be the best brand, the stainless is slightly thicker than the other brands.

  3. Vilage practice is to use large cement jars buried aBout 1 meter below ground, about 600Baht each hold 1000 litres i think?? must check rule of thumb, average house uses 6 jars which will harvest rainwater from the roof of a typical thai house enough for one year

  4. ps another tip

    try using and old fashion hand pump in case of electric failure, Its the type that loooks like a village green pump from 150 years ago. they still make them here for around 500 baht, they look quite neat

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