New Farm House and Shed in Uthai Thani

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New Farm House and Shed in Uthai Thani

Postby xerostar » Sun Feb 03, 2008 11:42 am

In January we purchased a 114 Rai in the Sawan Arom area of Uthai Thani. I designed a house for my two bothers-in-law and their families. They are experienced builders and they will be planting a crop of Cassava as soon as the house is habitable.
So they will be busy boys over the next few months.
We may stay with them once a year for a few weeks until I retire and move to Thailand permanently. Then I will build my own house with a few refinements.

The design is similar to a traditional Australian farm house with a 3 Metre verandah around the whole living area.

I wanted it to be simple in layout and to use columns as anchors for the roof. I also wanted the house to be cool and comfortable so I chose materials that will prevent the house from becoming a hot-box.

The shady side of the house is the North side (front) which faces the road.
We are building the front of the house parallel to the road.
To be exact the house faces North Nor West. ie 22.50 degrees West of North.
The rear verandah can be used to hang clothes out to dry during the wet season.

Thais have been using concrete bricks to build single walls.
They do have about one Metre of roof overhang to partly shade the walls, but it's not enough.
They often use thick fibro sheets for the roof and the roof frame is fairly heavy welded steel. No insulation anywhere.
So the whole structure becomes a heat sink that heats up all day from the sun and takes all night to cool down!

For this new farm house and shed we are using SuperBlocks - very light aerated concrete that have a very high resistance to heat transfer (unlike concrete) So Single block walls only.
Double walls are not needed when using Superblocks.
They also absorb noise, so the interior can be a lot quieter than a concrete block house.

http://www.superblock.co.th

The roof will be corrugated steel sheets. These cool down quickly because they are thin. They also reflect a lot of heat from the sun.
The ceiling will have a layer of synthetic wool (paper) insulation on top.

http://www.coolorcosythai.com/

This prevents the infra red radiation coming from the roof to penetrate the living area (as you all know).
We may also provide insulation directly under the steel sheets and some form of ventilation of the roof space.

The verandah (3 Metres wide all around) provides a lot of shade for the living area walls and windows and it provides a shady outdoor area at any time of the day for the inhabitants. Country Thais love to sit outside in the shade (probably because their houses are too hot inside!)
So they spend most of their time outside - including cooking and eating.
This farm house should suit them fine!
We may enclose some parts of the verandah with insect screens later on so we can sit "ouside" at night without resorting to spraying repellant or getting itchy from mozzy bites.
The verandah will be 10cm lower than the inner living area mainly to prevent dust or leaves blowing in off the verandah when doors are left open.

It will be cool in the bedrooms at night because the bedrooms are on the East side and will have maximum shade for most of the day.
They will all get early morning sun in the bedroom windows (Country Thais seem to be early risers so that's OK!)
We will plant plenty of shady plants around the perimeter of the house that will provide shade to the outer edges of the verandah - tiled concrete floor.
We could also provide low walls at the edge of the verandah, but this may limit breezes from reaching the windows.

The farm shed will have the same dimensions and will be built a few metres behind the house.
This won't have a verandah but it will have the super block walls and they will be 3 metres high.
The columns will be a little heavier since we have less of them. We will also have one heavy beam for lifting heavy objects with a chain block.
There will be a 6 Metre wide entrance door and a similar opening for the exit.
This is mainly so the tractor (complete with plough) can come through un-hindered and exit just as easily without having to reverse. There will be heaps of room for a workshop and storage as well as parking for a few cars. They may fit big sliding doors later on, in case they want to lock up.

My main concern with both roofs is the resistance to strong wind. As you can imagine large areas of roof can generate
a lot of lifting force during a storm. The shape of a roof acts like an aircraft wing too, as you know.
All the concrete columns have the reinforcing rods protruding from their tops. These are welded to the steel roof frame.
The columns are buried in concrete footings and they in turn are joined together by the concrete floor.
So it will take more than hurricane force winds to lift the roof off. At worst we may lose a few sheets of steel.

Originally I had designed both house and shed under one big roof, but there were disadvantages:
a) the roof structure became really huge and very heavy steel would be needed to make a roof frame. (using the same shape of roof)
(not only expensive but we would need a crane to lift the components)
b) the danger of fire - if there was a fire in the shed - it could spread into the house (or vice versa)

Let me know if you think of any concerns that I have overlooked.
Any questions gladly answered.

Here you can see photos of early progress:

http://twinkeltoes.com/Thailand/NewFarmHouse.doc
Attachments
FarmShedSmall.jpg
12cm x 12cm columns 3 M apart
walls 3M high
Area = 18M X 18M
FarmHouse3Dsmall.jpg
Gives some idea of the finished look of the house.
FarmHouseSmall.jpg
10cm x 10cm columns 3M apart
walls 2.5M high
Area = 18M X 18M
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Postby dozer » Sun Feb 03, 2008 9:04 pm

For pricing be sure to compare the superblocks with QCon, http://www.qcon.co.th/indexen.htm, basically the same quality product. I know you can make a good deal if you order directly from QCon.

Also, good choice on using a roof which can have a low profile. If your house has a big foot print, such as this, cement tiles are not a good option because of the minimum slope requirements of 20 - 25%. You see some really silly roof heights around Pattaya because people neglected this in the planning phase.
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Update on Farmhouse and shed

Postby xerostar » Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:44 pm

I've received a few more photos of progress on the Farmhouse and Shed
construction in Bo Yang Udon Thani

You can see the photos at:

http://twinkeltoes.com/Thailand/NewFarmHouse2.doc

I've also include some of my diagrams. They may be useful for other CoolThaiHouse builders.

Some things have gone to plan and others not.
While I was not on site, I expected a few things to go wrong but I have to take responsibility.
Not speaking Thai, trying to get my wife to convey ideas over the telephone is no easy task.
Her English is not that hot either.
Having not provided full detailed plans was a mistake.
I mistakenly expected the brothers to inject a bit of imagination and creativity.
The two buildings should have had at least a 4 Metre space between them.
My diagram showed a 2.5M space – so that was what they built ..
This proved a problem when connecting sewer pipes and stormwater pipes as there was not enough room to swing a cat in there! My fault!
They stuck rigidly to the plans in some ways and were without plans at all at some stages.
Despite this the boys have done a great job so far.
Last minute changes in the plan were made to cater for more bedrooms. That went OK.

I managed to get some good pictures of the block of land.
Taken form old satellite photos.
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Re: New Farm House and Shed in Uthai Thani

Postby xerostar » Fri Jul 25, 2008 8:31 pm

Update on project Bo Yang Uthai Thani

We decided to take a 3 week holiday and visit the farm during July '08.

As with most plans of mice and men, things have not gone to plan.
The major problem being that my two brothers-in-law have had a falling out
and one of them has walked off and refuses to live at the site.
The other brother, out of mis-guided courtesy has remained living in the Shed.
We have other family members who will no doubt be happy to move into the house
as time goes by and their children grow up.

So for the time being we have a house and no tennants except for myself and my wife when
we visit the place every six months for a few weeks.
The wife is happy with the place but I am not.

The boys did a great job and the standard of finish is pleasing.

The only gripe was that - you guessed it - no p-traps on the bathroom floor waste pipes!!
This is one of my pet hates!
I sent them diagrams but they must have already poured the concrete before they saw
my drawings!
That will be yet another job for Ron -later-Ron! Dig up the bathroom floor!

How many Farang have had the same job to do?

I have uploaded the latest series of photos to:
http://www.twinkeltoes.com/Thailand/NewFarmHouse3.doc

You may recall I wanted this house to be cool.

At this stage it's not! It's just another hot box!

The shed on the other hand is as cool as you could hope for!
The slightest breeze blows through and it cools off quickly.
When it rains, the noise is incredibly loud.
It's too loud for normal conversation but I expected that.
It's a great shed with heaps of space.

The house - on the other hand ..
Even with all windows open, all day, the house heats up and refuses to cool down!
So I found myself naked on the bed, fan on full blast and sweating until 3am.
The cool night air is reluctant to flow through the place.
The new fly screens did not help the air-flow either.

Removing the man-hole cover did allow a rush of air to flow up into the roof space
and I'm sure this points to a partial solution.
i.e. Getting rid of hot air in the roof space.

At this point we still haven't installed the Cool or Cosy insulation in the ceiling
so I am hoping that it will bring a huge improvement.
Fingers crossed for a miracle!

I've been thinking I may have to consider using 10cm thick polystyrene ceiling tiles to
block the heat coming from above if the Cool or Cosy does not work as it should.

We had the "silver paper" sarking installed directly under the steel roof sheets.
I have the feeling that this only brings one advantage and that is the reduced noise
when it's raining. The ceiling provides a noise barrier too of course.

I also think it was a mistake to use concrete for the verandah.
I'm not sure if there is any alternative to concrete though.
Having seen the results of termite attacks, I think wooden verandahs
would be out of the question.

I have noticed that the verandah does heat up a lot during the day.
The sun hits it on an angle for most of the day on one side or the other, except around midday.
The verandah tiles are very warm to walk on, even after dark.
I suspect some of that heat is flowing in via the steel reinforcing to warm up the house floor.

Now I realise it would have been better to extend the eaves further to protect the verandah
from the sun. We could install canvas awnings as a temporary measure I suppose.

I designed the bedroom sizes to be 3M x 3M which is adequate for 5 foot double beds with bedside tables at each side. However the rooms are really too cramped. They will be more so when the wardrobe doors are fitted.

So I'm beginning to think seriously about major alterations that could solve the heat problems as well as open up the living spaces to more comfortable dimensions.
Don't tell the wife though!

We have planted a number of trees that will bring some shade to the sides of the house but
they won't be effective for a few years yet.
There is quite a lot of reflection of heat coming off the surrounding bare clay soil too.
We intend to cover this with sand and get some lawn growing so that may help a little too.

Even though we built the house 20 Metres away for the road, I feel we should have built it
much further away. As you may have experienced, most Thais don't have adequate mufflers fitted
and the racket is just deafening at 20 Metres. It's not even a really busy road either.
Our place in the middle of the Perth suburbs is as quiet as a cemetery in comparison.

What can one say? Mai Pen Rai?

Any advice, laughter, criticisms etc all accepted in good humour.
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Re: New Farm House and Shed in Uthai Thani

Postby Nawty » Sat Jul 26, 2008 9:16 am

Good luck with it, sure you will sort it all out.

When I end up with a block of land suitable for a stone house, I am going to build a sandstone solid block homestead type on it.
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Re: New Farm House and Shed in Uthai Thani

Postby jazzman » Sat Jul 26, 2008 10:41 am

Hi,
I tried to view your pics but all I got was an automtic download of Word files covered with garbled code.
-J
How to build a $20,000 / £14,000 house and a $???? MOTEL Updated 21 March 09 - with BOQ and costs
Don't let this happen in YOUR house.
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Re: New Farm House and Shed in Uthai Thani

Postby xerostar » Sat Jul 26, 2008 8:38 pm

OK I've converted the MS WORD docs to PDF Files and uploaded them to my web site.

http://twinkeltoes.com/PDF/NewFarmHouse1.pdf
http://twinkeltoes.com/PDF/NewFarmHouse2.pdf
http://twinkeltoes.com/PDF/NewFarmHouse3.pdf

The 3 files generally cover the building story from start to finish ..
The files should be accessable to all computer users.
Cheers
John
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Re: New Farm House and Shed in Uthai Thani

Postby dozer » Wed Jul 30, 2008 5:31 pm

I just had a look - excellent presentation. I hadn't seen solar powered ventilators before, pretty neat. Also liked the way you rigged up the irrigation system.

If you ever have time it would be really neat to see some of these pics posted directly to the forum picture gallery as they will get wider viewing as opposed to large pdf files!

Thanks for the updates!
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Re: New Farm House and Shed in Uthai Thani

Postby Smithson » Fri Aug 08, 2008 11:29 am

Looking at the pics, the shed and house are very similar. So if the shed is cool at night this would be mainly due to the greater ventilation. Look at the old style Thai houses, very few walls and lots of open area. The windows in the house are quite small and there's lots of walls to block wind flow. The wall between for hong nams and hong aharn stops the breeze flowing through the house, as does the small wall between the entrance and bedrooms

Your roof doesn't seem to provide anywhere for heat to escape. Are the eaves ventilated? The easiest option would be those spinning roof ventilation fans.

Increasing insulation may reduce the house heating during the day, however it may also prevent hot air escaping at night.

There are trees you could plant that grow extremely quickly, 6 months and the should be providing some shade. Shading the concrete surrounding the house may prevent it heating thru the day, so you could consider some plants for this.

We bought plants cheaply in Prachinburi, I was told this area supplies large parts of Thailand. Large palms start from B250, palms with coconuts are B1,500. I would look for something similar in your area.
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Re: New Farm House and Shed in Uthai Thani

Postby xerostar » Fri Aug 08, 2008 12:35 pm

Thanks for your replies and the suggestions.
Yes Smithson that wall does stand in the way of the prevailing westerly wind.
When I get back in December I will get the insulation done and also the roof ventilation
by way of inlets above the verandah and some exit vents up near the roof apex.
Maybe I could just eliminate that wall to allow the breeze to flow through.
However if I close the bedroom door for privacy, there is no air movement anyway - except for the fan.
If I could pull cool air in from directly outside the window, I think it would help.
Maybe vents in the bedroom ceiling would help?
I will also consider replacing the windows with full length windows (doors) on the bedrooms that should allow more air to flow through.
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Re: New Farm House and Shed in Uthai Thani

Postby Smithson » Fri Aug 08, 2008 1:09 pm

We bought a land, it had a slab with some walls and an old tin roof.

During the day standing under the roof was unbearable, even though there was hardly any walls. We put a thin layer of thatch on the roof and the difference is incredible, it's like being under a tree.

We also built a bedroom, which is very well ventilated, but doesn't actually allow the breeze to flow from one end to the other. It's comfortable, but is still slightly warmer than the other areas.
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Re: New Farm House and Shed in Uthai Thani

Postby Nawty » Fri Aug 08, 2008 8:53 pm

Smithson wrote:We bought plants cheaply in Prachinburi, I was told this area supplies large parts of Thailand. Large palms start from B250, palms with coconuts are B1,500. I would look for something similar in your area.


How tall were the coconuts ?

I was told older coconut trees are very hard to transplant.

Also do you remember seeing any different varieties of coconut, I am particulalry looking for the 'pygmy' I think it is called, only grows less than half normal height and has black nuts....also a white trunked one I saw that I want to get if I can find it anywhere.
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Re: New Farm House and Shed in Uthai Thani

Postby SunTzu » Mon Sep 08, 2008 8:15 pm

--> Xerostar :

Shadow and air flow is the key to cooling down places over here. Then comes insulation.

According to the pictures (very nice, btw), your trees will take some time to grow sufficiently. Without having to change the house structure, these few suggestions will not solve the problem, but might help, preferably in combination :
- plant some tall/fast growing palms (cheap) to provide shadow quickly. They should be planted very near your house, so that they provide as much shade as possible on the roof when sun at peak (noon). When your more valuable trees grow bigger you can get rid of these without remorse.
- shade the area where the main wind comes from. This way, cooler air will flow in, rather than hot+dry.

- as Smithson said, nothing worse than concrete/metal to trap heat and radiate it at night. Bare ground works pretty much the same : the slightest cover (grass, groundcovers, mulch) would reduce its temperature already (providing shadow...). The thicker the cover, the better.


Nawty wrote:I was told older coconut trees are very hard to transplant.


--> I guess they are heavier ! Lambaak ! ;)
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