Building House in Udon

Any story related to building in the LOS, whether everything turned out hunky dory or not!

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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby Galee » Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:47 pm

I wouldn't mind a peek at your build. Where in Udon is it?
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby MrRee » Tue Apr 27, 2010 11:31 pm

Galee wrote:I wouldn't mind a peek at your build. Where in Udon is it?

The exact location will have to remain undisclosed for now, but I will post the location at the right time in the future.
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby BKKBILL » Wed Apr 28, 2010 11:00 am

Really, as they say a picture is worth a thousand words. Don’t quite understand “the sticky guidelines for posting in this section of the forum”. If you have looked at other building threads here you will see pictures have helped the narrative. Don’t think photos three months after a building thread would be very interesting. I guess if you get criticism, flaming, etc. it could be how the story is being told. If putting photos in with your story is too time consuming Dozer has wisely put in a picture gallery for members.
As you say “But hey, I'm American”.
It is going to be interesting to see where this all goes.
It's not who you know, it's whom you know.
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby MrRee » Thu Apr 29, 2010 8:26 pm

Just following the rules for posting here. :? Posting pictures after the fact has the advantage of being able to show the chronological flow, mishaps, mistakes, and fixes better as compared to scattering it all over dozens of pages of posts. I do plan on using the gallery for that when the time comes. Anyway, trust me - same ole same pictures of yet another worksite are nowhere near as interesting as the story. Update coming over the weekend. Wait till ya read what happened this week... :arrow:
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby MrRee » Sun May 02, 2010 11:02 am

Update 3a

The builder has been fired and sent on his way. Following him are 2 very pissed police officers and a host of other folks and vendors who unwisely lent him money or extended credit on only his word and a flash of his contract.

Although there have been multiple expressions of relief from all the workers, we are left with having to redo problems he created in the interest of hurrying things along so that he could collect his next payment.

One problem was compacting the dirt as they filled around the footings. This was supposedly done the week I was commuting a lot and was only onsite every other day. We discussed it and my Uncle's job was to ensure it happened. Early during this past week, I noticed holes had been dug in the dirt fill and water was being pumped into the holes. Red flag, but I was reassured they were compacting as discussed. Then, the backhoe was called in to fill dirt from ground level up to near floor level. As I watched this happening, I noticed there was no compacting going on and a quick conversation with the driver confirmed that no compaction at all had been done. To illustrate it, he mashed the bucket into a section that had alledgedly been compacted, and sure enough, it sank like putting your finger on a hot pie. That was the final straw as the builder had unneccessarily sacrificed quality just so he could get to the next payday to kite his debts.

So, as I right this, I've got workers digging all that dirt back out down to the footing bottoms and refilling and compacting properly. It will take about 5 days with 7-8 people doing it all by hand. I skipped using the backhoe because, quite frankly, the driver the company sent with the backhoe is a novice and I would not dare have him performing a surgical excavation and doing it manually is safer, cheaper, and creates jobs in the community.

Another problem we have to deal with is that a few of the columns were poured too high.

Prior to booting the builder (the foreman and his people), my wife managed to talk the people we wanted originally to get onsite ASAP. So now we have two highly respected and recommended foreman-quality guys running the show and all the labor we need. One is family and the other is known by everyone in the wife's village to be THE most experienced, knowledgeable, and best to work with. My brother confirmed it all, and his opinion carries weight with me.

Now, that leaves the gaping question about where the heck was Uncle and his quality control? I'm not happy about that at all and discussed the matter privately with the wife. I am thinking he may have been sweet talked or intimidated by the builder into accepting some other-than-standard approach. Quite frankly, I no longer have faith in him to do the job and would prefer him to just be a laborer, but there are "face" issues at play and that may not fly.

Another post to follow soon.

Take-away lessons: Where there is one red flag, there are bound to be others. Act quickly to correct and do not try to wait and see. Having problems during a complex activity with many people involved is normal as it provides confidence that one is discovering or being made aware of (hopefully) all the problems. Not having any is when I would have to think maybe someone is blowing sunshine up my behind. TIT.

Budget for screw-ups and do-overs. If you are essentially soloing your own build, they are inevitable if you expect to get what you envision when it is completed. There is a learning curve no matter how well you think you've prepared and those lessons are not free. :arrow:
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby MrRee » Mon May 03, 2010 11:10 am

Funny thing just happend. Cumulus nimbi all around and it starts to rain pretty hard. I head to shelter quick fast. I turn around and nobody is following me. Everyone just carries on like it's a sunny pleasant afternoon. So I figure everyone is just wrapping up and will soon head to shelter. So I observe for 5 more minutes and then ask my Uncle: "Hey, why is everyone still working? It's pouring down already". He looks at me and says, "They are scared you might think they are lazy if they stop because of a little rain.".

So I told him to yell for everyone to get the hell outta the rain before they get sick; to which they hesitantly comply. Now, just about everyone is family, mind you. Of course I care a hella lot more about their well-being than a few minutes lost time. It's either amazing dedication or there are some pretty hardcore bosses out there...

Take-away lesson: Look out for their well-being because they may very well sacrifice it for you; and that does no good for anyone or the project.
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby setaputra » Mon May 03, 2010 11:45 am

I hope your build gets back on track.

No disrespect or hard feelings, but I find your take-away lessons a tad naive. But we all deal with people a different way. Thais usually respect a firm type of respect, dissimilar to any western style - but that's off topic.

Good luck with the build and commuting.
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby MrRee » Mon May 03, 2010 2:57 pm

fredlk wrote:How come no photos during the build? It would make your story a bit more interesting.

Well, if a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a video worth? :wink: I'll try to post videos for those interested now and then to break the monotony of text. The videos show a pan of the worksite and some of what I have been talking about in this thread and other threads. As suggested by the forum rules, I'll likely address specific build questions by starting another thread in the appropriate forum and provide a link here when warranted.

Worksite full pan
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsZNV1qzh6o

The cavalry has arrived! Almost all are family who have been called in from far and wide. If you freeze at about 00:05, you can see how the dirt on the left was just tossed over the foundations. The right side was totally dug up and compacted properly. If you freeze at 00:10, you can see the village "master builder" in the blue shirt. He's been building for over 40 years and has been foreman on more foreign houses all over Thailand than I could probably count. Ditto for the co-foreman in the blue hat and white/red shirt below him - he's another Uncle (not the one in charge of quality control). The guy in the purple shirt is one of two of my nephews working onsite - great kid. If you freeze at 00:20, the guy handling the steel is my little brother. Not everyone is shown, but they are around somewhere.

Rear of house
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APDG6c9FchA
My back is to the road. The far side where the tents are will be where the private road will be made. The digging on the right and left are folks fixing the compacting problem.

Front of house
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwNgy20pU4E
Meh. Nothing exciting here. Just another worksite.
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby MrRee » Mon May 03, 2010 3:31 pm

Budget for this first house is THB 5,000,000 all-in. I do not really expect it to come anywhere near that, but that's what I am willing to spend on it. I consider this first one a learning exercise. It should be really nice with all the planned amenities. Stay tuned! :arrow:
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby setaputra » Mon May 03, 2010 3:45 pm

Is the compacting just on the floor areas?
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby MrRee » Mon May 03, 2010 3:55 pm

setaputra wrote:Is the compacting just on the floor areas?

Compacting is [supposed to be] everywhere and anywhere there is dirt.
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby setaputra » Mon May 03, 2010 4:03 pm

So the answer is, you don't know? or yes?

I'm not being critical. I think we're all trying to help as others on this forum help us.

Soil is laid, compacted, then further soil laid and compacted et inf,

After full compaction columns, footings etc are made into the compacted soil. I may be wrong, I hope i am, but the video looked as if only the floor areas are being compacted and they of course are not load bearing. Are you putting prestressed slabs with reinforcing rebar mesh as a floor?
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby MrRee » Tue May 04, 2010 5:56 am

Thanks! Cheers!
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby dozer » Tue May 04, 2010 12:55 pm

Thread cleanup some posts removed.

Please note that youtube vidoes can now be embedded within the thread. There is a youtube 'tag' on the upper right side of the posting window which creates a start and end youtube tag eg:

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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby MrRee » Tue May 04, 2010 7:39 pm

Thanks, Dozer. The only part of the YouTube URL that needs to go between the tags is what follows the 'v=', correct? I was able to post vids on other forums that way, but not here. Just confirming for the next time.
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