Building in Don Tau It, Kanchanaburi

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Building in Don Tau It, Kanchanaburi

Postby apetley » Wed Dec 26, 2007 10:24 pm

I first came to Thailand in 2001.
Thailand because it was the cheapest exotic destination on the Thomas Cook website and I needed a totally different holiday.
Same old story I guess, fell in love with a lovely lady and the country and have now been living here permanently for nearly 2 years.
After finding a nice piece of land in a quiet village 18 months ago we will finally begin building Jan 14th
By the way, Don Tau It is about 35k' north of Kanchanaburi on the main road to Supanburi.
We have 9 rai of paddy fields so have put down soil to a depth of a metre on the front 2 rai and allowed that to compact for a year.
A brother of a friend has drawn up the house plans for a very reasonable 5000 Bht.
Getting a building quote was the most difficult part as it was the usual story that as soon as they knew my wife was married to a farang then the price went up.
The design is for approx 230 sq metres and initially I wanted a price just for labour, I was to buy the materials.
Asking price was from 800K Bht up which I thought a trifle excessive to say the least.
However, wifeys uncle finally came on the scene. Previously I and the wife had been unsure if it was a good idea to use 'family' in case of any major problems.
However after a good chat and seeing some of his work we asked him to put together a quote.
He came up with 1.4 million!
Wifey calmed me down when she explained that this was to build almost the entire house.
He would supply labour, and the materials for the pillars, walls(double with air gap), floors, ceilings, roof, roof tiles, plumbing, electrical wiring and the siht tank out back.
Because I am a farang he guessed that I may want more than the usual finishings.
Therefore I will supply the floor tiles, the bathroom fixtures and fittings, electrical fixtures(lights, fans), kitchen, windows and doors.
We have estimated an extra 400-600k for these.
Hopefully over the coming months I will write up the progress towards what I hope will be my very own coolthaihouse.
Upper floor
Ground floor
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Postby apetley » Fri Dec 28, 2007 10:43 am

We went to the local Orbortor to arrange for a temporary water supply yesterday as the builders will be onsite from 10th January building their own temporary accomodation. 150bht and they will give us a call sometime next week to arrange. Very straightforward and over in 5 minutes.
Temporary electric has already been arranged at about 4500bht. That fee will be refunded once we hook up the house when it's finished.
One thing that surprised me is that at the Orbortor they said we do not need a building permit. Anyone want to comment?
After all the hassle of getting planning permission off of local councils in the past back home in the UK this just seems too easy.
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Postby Rick B » Fri Dec 28, 2007 6:41 pm

Sounds like you're getting off to a good start. In response to your question about building permits, in my area (Sam Chuk, Suphanburi) you need approval from the local Tesaban if your property is withing the Tesaban limits. If your land is outside the Tesaban limits, I was told you don't need a permit.

I'm also building a 2-storey house and had to put in some piles before starting the foundations. Have you evaluated the need for piles?

Good luck on your project and hope you'll post some pictures after you get started.
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Postby Nawty » Fri Dec 28, 2007 8:04 pm

Yes, don't get to carried away with the ease of it all. The permit thing depends where you are, here in Bkk you certainly need one...but having said that, it is very relaxed and you can almost do anything with it afterwards you want, unless it is a commercial or large condo etc.
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Postby apetley » Fri Dec 28, 2007 8:25 pm

Thanks for the replies.
As we are in a small village outside the Municipality I guess the Orbitor are right, no permit required!
As for the piles the engineer who signed off the plans has told us they are not required.
We will have the usual reinforced footings, about 1.5 metres deep and approx the same across at the base, all 21 of them!
Bought the first fixtures for the house yesterday.
2 toilets! Boontavon in Bangkok have an end of year sale, saved 5000 Bht!
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Postby dozer » Fri Dec 28, 2007 9:14 pm

As far as using 'family' for the building process, there are probably more pros than cons (per my experience). After all, they will stick it out and try to make you happy, more than someone you don't know. One thing I would suggest though, is sit down and the beginning of the project and have a heart to heart 'business is business' talk, something like even though you are family I want to do the project according to the contract we draw up, only pay upon milestones as agreed, no withdrawal of money early, etc. etc. That way every one is on the same page from the get go!

The permit thing depends where you are, here in Bkk you certainly need one...but having said that, it is very relaxed and you can almost do anything with it afterwards you want, unless it is a commercial or large condo etc.
This is exactly the case. Up country I don't think you normally need on, here in Pattaya you do. They don't care how you build what is on the inside (different from a permit in other countries where they want to check the quality, etc) and only care that the general foot print of the house is 'about right'. Small deviations can be handled Thai style but would be a problem if the end project was a two story instead of a one story for example. In any event it definitely is easier and less hassle where you are as far as paperwork goes, enjoy it!
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Postby apetley » Sun Dec 30, 2007 2:20 pm

Hi Dozer, already had the business chat and agreed a timescale for payments.
Briefly, there is an initial deposit of 200k Bht at the start of work.
300k after the footings, base and posts are complete.
300k on completion of downstairs outer walls, ceiling and roof framework.
200k on completion of upstairs outer wall and roof tiles.
200k when the interior walls and plastering is complete.
Final payment of 200k when the house is painted and for the 'finishing touches'.
Builder is happy for this to be a few weeks after everything is complete in case something substantial comes to light.
As stated earlier he will also do the plumbing and electrical but we will supply the 'western' fixtures and fittings we want installed.
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Postby dozer » Sun Dec 30, 2007 11:32 pm

Sounds like you are on the right track, I will throw in another suggestion which doesn't apply so much to you, since you know and trust the contractor, but would apply to others in a similar situation with a contractor who may not be so well known. The contractor will always try to maximize the first payment, it makes everything flow easily for them. However, this is the 'risk' factor for the client, I am hearing all the time about people getting burned out of their deposit money. (Not all of them are planned rip-offs, things just sometimes don't work out well for the contractor and sometimes they can just up and leave, especially if they are ahead on the payment schedule). On a house project with materials included such as this, I would try to break up the initial 200k into smaller chunks. The contractor will claim he needs money to buy materials to get started, but at the beginning of a house project not that much money is needed to buy materials. I would also suggest the figures are front loaded, since the footings, base and posts again are not that heavy on materials. To summarize, I would try to minimize the initial payments into smaller chunks and rearrange the figures so the contract isn't front loaded (leave the heavier part as much as agreeable to the end). After all, 'most of the contract profit' should be agreeable to the contractor to be left to the end, since what he will be worried about is not having money to buy materials or pay his workmen.

Just a thought as it seems to be a common problem these days especially with contracts which are labor + materials.
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Postby apetley » Tue Jan 08, 2008 7:58 pm

I have been trying to find some pics of the land we will be building on but my digital camera seems to have died so I only have what I want on my mobile so not great quality I'm afraid.
The pic shows most of what we will be building on and having as our garden.
The tree in the middle of shot is about 100m away and the levelled area is approx 2 rai.
I took the pic standing on the small road running through the village.
The small blue pipe is the temporary water supply.
I was not told that I was the one who had to supply the meter.
When I asked what would happen if I use the supply without the meter the guy said he would be keeping an eye on it for a while haha
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Postby jazzman » Tue Jan 08, 2008 8:55 pm

A water meter only costs about 300 baht.
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Postby apetley » Tue Jan 08, 2008 9:11 pm

Jazzman, do you know if the meter I buy stays when I get officially connected or will the water company then install their own meter?
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Postby jazzman » Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:33 am

It's not the same complexity/complicity as getting connected to the electricity. In our village, the 4" PVC water main runs along the front of our ;and. We dug down to it, and using a metal, self-sealing connector saddle, which stays in place, we created a 3/4" branch. We fitted our own meter then just verbally told the water office what we had done and gave them our address. A young girl, probably doing a part time job because she always comes on a Sunday, comes once a month with the water bill and to collect the money. This is a permanent arrangement.
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Postby apetley » Thu Jan 10, 2008 7:41 pm

Well the builders turned up at lunchtime and I was gobsmacked at how quickly they put up their own temporary accommodation.
I guess that was a priority as most of them will be sleeping there tonight.
Pipes and cable were connected to the water and electric respectively so they had the basic amenities.
Tomorrow morning they will dig the holes for the footings.
Wifey checked with the foreman that the official go ahead is not until the 14th.
He assured her that was when they would be pouring the footings.
There will also be a small ceremony on that day for good luck in the future. I just go with the flow as far as thats concerned. Don't believe a word of it myself but it's important to my wife and her family so I let them get on with it.
BBQ chicken was on the menu this evening.
One of the labourers bought a couple from his house and slaughtered them as we looked on. Looked tasty if a little on the scrawny side for my liking.
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Postby sjc270661 » Fri Jan 11, 2008 4:12 am

Hi Bruv,

just wanted to wish you and Nikky the best of luck with the house. That is one HUGE plot of land. Let me know if you want a hand putting that tiled floor down, I'm sure I could handle a month or so in Thailand while I do it. Maybe two :wink:

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Postby apetley » Sat Jan 12, 2008 3:31 pm

Well, after starting the excavation of the footings yesterday they were completed today.
One minor drama as there was a little water at the bottom of each hole after they were dug.
Each one is just about 2 metres deep and our builder wanted to check with the engineer that the water would not be a problem.
He(the builder) was pretty confident that they would be ok.
The engineer, when he arrived, said that there was no problem so smiles all around.
After a little chat about our house the engineer told us that if we were building in Bangkok he would recommend piles of about 21 metres because the soil is so soft and water logged! Thats like a 7 storey house down!
This is the reinforcing for the base of one of the columns being made up.
Work of art!!!!
Some of the reinforcing for one of the columns being made up.
Each hole is nearly 2 metres deep and takes about 50 minutes to dig even with an excavator.
The area containing the house is cordoned off and position of the footings marked.
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