New Projects - Pattaya and Buri Ram

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New Projects - Pattaya and Buri Ram

Postby Traveler » Fri Nov 16, 2007 11:41 pm

Hi all,

at first the mandatory "it's a great site", kudos to doozer.

I have currently two projects on my agenda :

Project 1 :

I own a plot in a new development in Pattaya (via a company). It's located rather at the high end of the market which causes the price of 1.3 million for two ngan = 0.25 rai = 400 sqm.

The village provides some smart features, like a water well, two intermediate underground water tanks (about 1 million litres each) that are either filled by town water, the well or by truck if necessary. All support lines (water, electricity, phone, cable tv, satellite etc.) are underground. The village will also provide common areas like pool, spa, fitness centre, maid and rental services when finished. There are limitations regarding the height of the buildings to preserve the views, the distance of the building to the borders of your plot and the appearance of the houses. More on that later.

I first intended to have the developer build my Thai Bali villa. I spent lots of time on their construction sites of the other villas, talked to sub-contractors and of course to other owners. This finally convinced me that it wouldn't be wise to have them build my house, as some quality problems were reported to me and I observed many shortcomings of their doings myself.

The houses are build on stripe foundations with load bearing walls, flat concrete roof, central hot water boiler, grounded electric, raised ceilings, downlights and so on. Actually they claim to build by european standards but my observations were otherwise.

Soil was neither filled up properly nor compacted which resulted in cracked walls, plastic pipes weren't glued, fishponds only had an outflow but no inflow, drain pipes from the roof suddenly ended in the ground rendering them useless, electric wires often took the shortest way instead of being laid horizontal above switches/plugs or vertical if applicable - and so on.

The finish of the houses is definitely above average, no doubt about it. Roof looked good to me too, but these are less important issues that can be fixed later if needed but how to fix the problems caused by poorly compacted soil below your foundation or pipes that drain the rain water from your roof directly to your foundation washing away the soil ?

In short : I am going to build the villa incl. pool myself.
But this is a future project I am going to discuss here later.

Project 2 :

I am also going to build a house for my ex-Thai wife in the Buri Ram area. Since this is a present and I am a cheap charlie at times I intend to keep it somewhere in the range of 500.000 - 1.000.000 (if possible) for the building.

Land :
We just bought a plot (rice field) close to a "highway", size 1.5 rai (approx. 60m x 40m) for about 180.000 from a relative. Usual price is about 210.000 for such a plot. The land needs to be backfilled about 1.5m, better 2m. A relative of my ex-wife wants to dig a water reservoir, so we will do that for him and keep the soil to fill dirt our plot. The upper layers (top soil) should be preserved for proper planting later own. Fill dirt will be compacted every 0.3m.

House :
The key figures of the house are as follows :
Around 200 - 240 sqm in the main building consisting of three bedrooms all with ensuite bathroom, the Master Bed will also have a walk-in wardrobe, combined living and dining, laundry, open american kitchen, kitchen storage and "stuff" storage. A two car garage, external Thai kitchen, pumproom, visitor toilet and a sala plus one or two covered verandas will add to the size of the building. A playground, kids pool with waterfall and a lap pool will be added later.

Perimeter walls :
Almost the whole plot will be surrounded by a 2m high wall, made of cinderblocks and poured poles. Foundation about 0.6m x 0.6m x 0.2m at about 1m depth, poles 0.2m x 0.2m.

Foundation :
I was thinking about a stripe foundation but decided to go for reinforced individual footings, 1.5m x 1.5m x 0.3m minimum size about 4m deep (1.5m-2m backfill !) hopefully gets me to the layers of the soil that are able to support the weight of the house.

Floor :
About 1m above ground, the floor in the bathrooms will be 5-10cm lower and in the showers another 5-10cm lower. Reinforced concrete pour, about 0.1 - 0.2m thick. Rebar will be hold in place by distance blocks. I intend to have them made by pouring cement into pieces of PVC pipe which I use as forms. Capillar breaking layers of gravel and foil will be underneath the floor. The plumbings should be accessible by a crawl space.

Walls :
Double cavity walls made of the medium sized cinderblocks, filled with concrete and rebar. Did that before and it works fine. The walls will be load-bearing but I still intend to use poured concrete poles (0.3m x 0.3m) to add strength.
There will be roofing cardboard underneath the walls to avoid rising water (capillary effect). The outside rendering will be made with cement with some dye (probably light orange). Inside will be painted (mostly white and/or light yellow, probably some parts light blue and green).

Roof :
Synthetic tiles (no asbestos !!!) on a metal support structure. Using the bigger synthetic tiles will result in greater distances of the rafters -> less material -> less time -> less weight and less money. Below the tiles I will put one or two layers of reflective foil as insulation to reduce radiation.

Ceilings :
Sheetrock (gypsum) with downlights. If necessary I will put some insulation material on top of it.

Windows and doors :
Alloy windows and wooden doors.

Electric :
Grounded electric all through. All lights and fans will have a dimmer combined with a switch, that way you don't need to re-adjust everytime you switch back on. I hate those standard 3-step switch boxes for the fans. All electric lines will run in rails over the ceilings into PVC pipes in the cavity walls. This will give better access to the wires.

Water :
A water tower (at least 2-3 cubic meters) filled by an automatic pump connected to a drilled well, this will provide water pressure even during a black out. I also intend to harvest water for drinking purpose. Haven't decided yet how to store it. Different septic tanks for white and black water. Grey water will be treated in a grease trap. All water lines will run over the ceiling into the cavity walls.

Cooling :
The house should use passive cooling, no aircons (except for the Master Bed, maybe), considering orientation (sun, winds), shading, thermal mass (walls, slab, soil, eventually water feature), insulation and convection.
Even though the standard recommendation for a humid tropical climate is to build with low thermal mass with a single room depth, we all made the experience that the hallways of concrete buildings stay cool in summer - due to their high thermal mass (when being protected from radiation). I try to use this principle in combination with good ventilation. I also want to use the convection below the roof to create a constant air stream through the building. Upwards blowing fans in the center of the building should add to this effect to keep the house cool. I also intend to use plants to "catch" some winds and direct them to the house plus using trees and high rising bamboo for shading. I will add drawings later on, a picture often says more than thousand words.

Work :
Foundation, floor and walls will be build by day labour
Roof and ceilings will be done by specialised sub-contractors.
Water and electric I do by myself.
All work will be done under my supervision. I speak Thai fluently so no communication problems.

Material :
I will have total control about materials, no corner cutting possible.

Timetable :
This is the delicate part of the project.
The backfill of the plot will be done after the rice harvest (don't forget, it's still a rice field !).
The perimeter wall will most likely be build at the end of the rainy season to give the soil a chance to settle and hopefully compact even more and because I don't have time before.
So far no prob.

Since I want the house being build under my supervision (for a good reason) and since I got not more than 6 weeks holiday the house must be build within those 6 weeks at the end of next year !

I hope with some good planning and preparation this should be possible.
At least the "raw" building (foundation, floor, walls, roof, windows and doors) must stand, the finish can be done later.

Later on I will add some draft drawings of the two versions of the house that I have in mind.
I would be glad for any input, hints or comments about your thoughts or things I may have forgot.
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Postby jazzman » Sat Nov 17, 2007 3:12 pm

Sounds like a well conceived project already. You may be pressed to get all the work you want doing in 6 weeks. A non stop project from start to finish of this size would take about 90 - 120 full working days. Of course, everything depends on how many workers you put on the site, but there is the limit to the maximum that can be going on at any one time.
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Postby dozer » Mon Nov 19, 2007 11:36 pm

Yes, sounds like a well conceived plan. Good job on inspecting the existing builder's work on the current site instead of just 'going ahead' with it as happens so often here for some reason. Correctly managing a project yourself you can increase quality and get a better project price also. The village project will be a good experience. Post some pictures to the picture gallery ( if you have time.
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Postby Nawty » Thu Nov 22, 2007 7:50 pm

for an ex wife ??? thats a first !!!!
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Postby jazzman » Fri Nov 23, 2007 7:15 pm

Building a pool may neverthess need some expert advice, not only on construction and equipment but also how to avoid the luxury good price tag for everything you need. Over to you , Nawty...
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Postby Nawty » Fri Nov 23, 2007 8:50 pm

Moi ?

Yes, if you need some advice on the pool, I can email you someones email address, they doing a pool for me and going along swimmingly....except for the delays on my builders part.
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