some thoughts from Dozer
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Innovation: how far do you take it?

After seeing the Spanish Style villa here: innovative California Spanish villa one thought occurred to me — how far does the average Joe innovate? After all, most of the current construction methods used in Thailand were imported from Europeans living here. Keep in mind that even though the owner/architect of the Spanish Villa has 30 years experience as an architect he still had a battle on his hands to convince the contractors that a house could even be built without foundation pillars. ‘You can’t do it that way’ was the mantra — until he eventually convinced them he knew what he was talking about and that in fact it could be done.

During the design process with an architect you have input in exactly how the finished product will look. Here is where you should also think about details such as wall construction (eg. double wall?) and windows (wood or aluminum). In fact you should pretty much decide on all materials in advance and get a detailed plan and electrical layout done. This site may be a good tool in seeing and thinking about various options you may have in the building process.

Then during the construction phase of the project there will be a lot of opportunity for incremental innovation, such as using a spacer under the rebar framework in a concrete floor to make sure that the framework ends up in the middle of the pour for added strength. spacer under rebar mesh . If you mention this idea to a builder they will easily understand and agree — but it is an excellent example of incremental innovation because, if you don’t say anything they will do the standard manual pull up method.

So you’ve got a bunch of ideas and you really want to do things completely different….. I wouldn’t necessarily advise it. Since some things you don’t know how to do, it is handy to fall back on the experience and expertise of the builders. As you start deviating more and more from what the norm the risk grows exponentially. OK it depends on who you are and your construction experience. I’m sure the Spanish Style Villa project is on track and will turn out great, but remember the owner has 30 years experience as an architect and also happens to be Thai. I’ve seen and heard a lot of problems that develop with person’s who believe they know how to do it different — but haven’t dealt with the intricacies involved in the process here.

Summary: keep it simple and use incremental innovation to improve the quality of your project.

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