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 dozer » Wed May 05, 2010 7:02 am

Like this:

[youtube ]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PsZNV1qzh6o[/youtube ]

without the space after youtube.
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby MrRee » Wed May 05, 2010 10:10 am

Update 3b

So I'm back from another commute to see the new mini-me and the Mrs. and very fatigued. Looks like things progressed nicely during my day long abscence. I'm really happy with the worksite atmosphere and worker attitude. Everyone is having fun, joking around, and getting the job done. I approved Uncle's request to give everyone OT at the end of the normal work day to help with digging out the dirt and that was a great added morale booster. Heck, with a day rate of a couple hundred baht, they can have all the OT they want. Looks like it was time well spent, too.

One thing to note about OT is that according to everyone onsite, they expect OT at straight time rather than the legally mandated time and one half. Of course, I will be paying time and a half whether they want it or not. :?



In this video, the workers are busy digging out dirt and preparing for the concrete pour. A nice twist was the suggestion to also drill holes in the foundation wall and stick rebar in it, then connect that rebar to the rebar for the flooring. This was not in the original plan, but it is sort of like insurance against the floor moving up or down. I'm loving my team and their experience! You can see this being done in the video.

You can also see the foreman and my nephew chipping away at the columns that were poured too high.

Take-away lesson: My family rocks!
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby MrRee » Fri May 07, 2010 3:14 pm

Update 3c

I must say, I must say...I am more than overjoyed with progress and build quality. The problems I had with the hired builder are a thing of the past and things are moving along very nicely.


In the above video, taken yesterday morning, the 2nd floor beams are well along and looking good. We made a decision to upgrade from 19 to 25 grade steel and a stronger rebar pattern. Nothing wrong with the original plans, but the foreman (I swear there is a glow around him and a halo) thought it better to overcompensate in case there are any problems with the columns which were poured before he inherited the project. This will be further overcompensated when the walls go in.

I am excited that the floors are being poured perfectly. My brother and I spent a good chunk of the day at the store ordering water piping. We're going with green pipes for hot water and normal blue pipes for cold water. We're also going to lay the electric wire underground within a continuos flex pipe for a clean look.

While at the store, I was attracted to the Stiebel 150L hot water tank. Yes, I read the debates on this and other sites, but I am curious to see how it works out. At the same time, we are making provisions for putting in under sink tankless heaters if it doesn't work out so well. The house will have 4 bathrooms, kitchen, and washing machine. There is also a maid's or inlaw room that could be fitted with a 4-6 person jacuzzi. Cost-wise it just makes more sense to go with the single unit rather than 3 or 4. The buyer will have the option to go tankless if that is what they want long-term, but it seems to me any added electric bill could be easily offset with solar electricity. I'm still thinking about solar electricity as well as an automatic tripped generator. I've observed power outages about once or twice weekly which last for an hour or so.



I made the above video at risk of great personal peril. It shows the top view of the beam formwork. I intended to walk around as it seemed easy enough to do from the ground and the workers seem to be perfectly comfortable walking around up there. It's a totally different story when you get up there, though. I am truly amazed and have newfound respect for how safely they work in a totally unsafe and dangerous environment. Yes, I urge them to use protective gear and safety lines, but they will have none of it and insist that they are just fine. Accident-free thus far. I can only hope it continues. Anyway, what I wanted to show was the layout of the formwork for the planned single mega-pour of ALL the beams at once. Should make for a very strong structure in case a stray bomb lands in the event of any future conflict.

Flash: My brother just came back from buying fittings for the green piping. Turns out we have to buy a threading machine seperately for THB 5,800 or THB 10,000. Damned if they ever mentioned that during the rather lengthy discussions with the employees at the store. They got me on that one, but whatever. The green piping I refer to is PP-R (80).

You can also see from the above video where they are starting to lay the pipes. The design is pretty sweet. There is a single small "junction room" under the steps which will house most of the connections for all the plumbing as well as the U-joints for the grey water and black water. Lost a ring? Just check here. Have a clog? Just check here. The room will be accessible from the exterior (just tell the plumber to go 'round back) and located under the interior steps.

Take-away lesson: You know you have a great team when you can buy a lounge chair, sip on iced tea, and tap away on your iPhone while listening to great smooth jazz. Now, if I can only figure out how to get a massues over here in the tent without someone dialing up the Mrs... :wink:
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby MrRee » Sat May 08, 2010 11:31 am

Update 4a

Today is a slow day. The beam formwork is all done, but CPAC won't be able to deliver until tomorrow morning. The rough plumbing is in (still need a backflow flap on the grey water drain pipe so water doesn't come up from the floor drain when the washing machine is draining). We decided to use that small area under the steps for something else and move the U pipes to an inground box outside. So, in the meantime everyone is making themselves busy rechecking work, prepping additional scaffolding, pouring concrete for the drainage manholes around the perimeter, digging out the dirt from the last 2 rooms, and other low priority work.



This video shows some of the above. It also shows one of the main beams we beefed up with the thicker steel. It doesn't show another optional beam we are going to add above the carport.

Correction: The threading machine for the green pipe is actuay just a pipe heater. Heat the tips, insert into the connectors and bam you're done.

Take away lesson: Iron Man 2 should be in English in at least 1 theater in Udon. Sure, my Thai is somewhat fluent, but it still hurts my head to sit through a whole movie.
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby MrRee » Sun May 09, 2010 4:04 pm

Update 4b

The beams were poured today, but we held off pouring a couple pending the change for the additional optional beam. The flooring for the maid's quarters, maid private bathroom, 1st floor bathroom, and under steps has been poured as well as the pit floor for the grey and black water tanks.



The video shows the above and the base for the blocks which will provide the overcompensating support for the front columns mentioned previously. Aesthetically, it will have a very nice strong look which will add to the curb appeal. The interior will also have thicker blocks than originally planned for added strength as well as acoustic dampening. As anyone familiar with Udon knows, pretty much the whole area has fighter jets and the occassional C-30 flying overhead. Not often - currently about 4 jets every other day or so taking off or landing. I have yet to observe any noise from any commercial planes.

Pardon, but I did not mention that the orientation of the house has the front facing 50 deg. NE. The front of the house will face a private road with pretty much zero traffic and a nice park-like view. No house will be buit across from it to obstruct that view in the future. There will be a big round about with the big tree and other to-be-planted vegetation to give it a sort of Central Park feel with lots of tree shade and color. But, I am getting ahead of myself.

I personally feel the correct orientation is important for several reasons. Direct heat from the sun will be minimized on any one wall. Noise from the village road is minimized because that road is some distance from the back of the house. The rooms at the back which may get some road noise are the kitchen and maid's room entrance on the first floor and the big kid's room and the kids' bathroom on the second floor. However, there will be layers of "vegetation walls" which should disperse most of that noise.

Nope, there will be NO CONCRETE PRISON WALLS allowed in the community. I hate those things with a passion. There are so many aesthetically better and more secure natural solutions. Flowering thorn bushes with security wire and chicken wire sandwiched between, for example. Can't beat concrete walls for keeping out snakes, but that problem takes care of itself as there is more development and less food for them.

I've got a neighbor across the road hiding behind walls with what looks like gun holes along the top. I swear sometimes I think he is peeking out of the second floor curtains with range binoculars and a sniper scope. Again, the orientation of the house is such that there won't be anything to see from such a vantage point. Maybe a glimpse of a small corner of the big kids' room, but that is about it. Should be a very private and comfortable house when done.

Anyway, the workers have pretty much completed all the low-priority stuff and we are all waiting for the concrete to dry before we can move on. So, it's a short workday for everyone except those working on compacting the last two rooms. And THAT, my friends, means KFC and Swenson's time for me.

Take-away lesson: Samlors really are fun to drive through the countryside on nice days.
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby MrRee » Sun May 09, 2010 4:21 pm

Flash: FYI the PM system is back up. Hit me with any questions or critism you want. I will be more than happy to discuss almost anything via PM.
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby Burkie » Sun May 09, 2010 8:56 pm

Build yourself a hedge like I did.. Takes about 1 year tmature and is not a nest for snakes as is fueng fa/ bogenvillia....180 meter outside and inside walkways..100 m give or take.. will send pics if you request!!
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby Sparky » Sun May 09, 2010 10:44 pm

Hi Burke , Would love to see the pics of your hedge , give us an idea of how many plants closeness etc . Thanks
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby MrRee » Mon May 10, 2010 9:09 am

Burkie wrote:Build yourself a hedge like I did.. Takes about 1 year tmature and is not a nest for snakes as is fueng fa/ bogenvillia....180 meter outside and inside walkways..100 m give or take.. will send pics if you request!!

There is a thread somewhere on this site that has pics and such of someone who did that (may have been you?). That is very similar to what I have in mind. Loved it.

Edit: Yep, it was you. I read it a while back and LOVED the idea. I'm stealing and modifying it a bit. :mrgreen: Here's the thread for anyone interested: viewtopic.php?f=12&t=1694
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby Sparky » Mon May 10, 2010 9:16 pm

Think Bougonvillia would look alot nicer thanthe hedge you mention ABOVE .
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby MrRee » Tue May 11, 2010 4:21 pm

Update 4c

We ordered quite a large quantity of steel today. Outof curiosity, I watched intently as it was delivered. I specifically told my brother to count every single steel strand before signing the delivery form. The count should add about a 10-15 minute wait to the delivery guy's o-so-precious time. We were in the middle of the count and I turned my back long enough to grab some water. When I returned, the count was still ongoing but the delivery guy was walking away with his signed delivery form. I was not happy about that at all and it makes me wonder if anything we've been ordering is being accounted for when it is delivered. The count was correct this time, but it really, really makes me wonder if he's just trusting that everyone is delivering correct quantities after all the crap about orders we dealt with previously with the old builder. Anyway, I pulled him aside and spoke with him a bit about it and notified the Mrs. to follow-up.

I look around and I see at least a full truckload of cement laying on the ground around the tent - leftovers from when the old builder was telling him how much to order - and I now have to seriously question if he has ever really checked that we are ordering only what we need and are getting everything we order. While I expect and budget for waste, it does add up. Just looking around, I figure there is about THB 30k or so of waste laying around.

I will be a lot more invlolved in ensuring orders are proper placed and properly recieved going forward.

Take-away lesson: Trust, but verify.
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby MrRee » Wed May 12, 2010 10:45 am

One of those days when you just have to say, "Doh!"

I arrived onsite and noticed there is now a lot more scaffolding than before. Hey, cool, they ordered more and things are progressing nicely. Then I sat down and surfed the net a bit and watched a few videos when from the corner of my eye, I observed 4 of the workers casually walking over to the trees lining the road with hacksaws. Then it hits me: Damn there are a lot more stumps than before. D'oh! They were cutting down my gorgeous mature trees (the tall skinny ones in the videos) to - as my wife later told me - save money. But, but, honey - we WANT those trees! What good is a backyard view of tree stumps? D'oh!

Luckily, they mostly took the younglings because the older ones are too thick to use. Boy am I glad for that and for postponing a trip out of town today. Had I been gone, I would probably need resucitation. Sometimes life here just boggles the mind...

Take-away lesson: Hug your trees and be sure that everyone knows how much you care about them lest their apathy towards deforestation claims them all.
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby MrRee » Wed May 12, 2010 4:56 pm

Update 4d

Not a whole lot to report since most of the past couple of days was spent waiting for the first beam pour to dry, building scaffolding for the second beam pour, and making the last of the beams. Yeah, I know I said we were going to do a single pour, but I misunderstood the foreman (the guy who glows and has the halo over his head). What he said was he was going to pour everything he had up at the time - essentially one side of the second floor - then reuse the formwork and as much scaffolding as he could to pour the other side; thereby saving a few baht and some time. While the first side was drying, the workers setup the beams on other side and moved the formwork over as needed. Makes sense to me. As the second pour is drying, they'll lay the prestressed concrete floor on the other side and pour the last room on the first floor which currently has scaffolding on it. Makes sense to me. My bad about the translation/interpretation. Some of the words were Isaan and I really suck at understanding when they mix it up like that.



The video shows some of the above. I also want to point out something about the left and right outer walls which one does not find in a lot of home designs here. Most walls stop bang right at the columns. These walls will just have a roof over them and therefore the design cheats a bit and extends the walls out up to a meter on each side beyond the columns. A pretty cool way to gain extra interior space without additional columns or compromising structural integrity.

Take-away lesson: Partly cloudy days and a cool breeze...love it.
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby MrRee » Sat May 15, 2010 3:04 pm

Update 5a

Finally! It's really beginning to feel like a house now and not just a bunch of concrete and steel. The 2nd second floor pour is ready to go. I took this video from the 2nd floor front balcony outside the master bedroom. See that gaping hole. Yeah, that is the master bedroom. Errr, well, before the prestressed slabs go in for the floor. Just beyond it is the master bedroom bathroom and the kids' bathroom. The master bathroom is smaller and will contain only a shower. A small jacuzzi could also fit, but why bother when you can put a huge jacuzzi in the downstairs "family/guest" bathroom (or put the washing machine(s) there). The acoustics for a high quality BOSE sound system in the downstairs jacuzzi room should be great.

Anyway, once the pour starts in a couple of hours, the workers will work until 2100 so everyone can have off tomorrow to go back home for a day. Why? Because today is payday! Hopefully, CPAC won't disappoint. I may go ahead and make the killer commute to see the wife and kids, too. School starts Monday and I plan to be there for my daughter. She's very excited.



Getting back to the video, I'm very happy with the quality. No skimping allowed. The policy is if it isn't right, don't "fix it" - do it over. I purposely don't show the view from the master balcony, but it is awesome. Makes me think maybe I should keep this house for myself sometimes...

On another note, I finally tracked down the source of the quartz rock you may have noticed piled up for forever. I haven't used it yet because it contains way too much dirt and the place we ordered it from still wants to charge THB 540 per cubic meter. They can bite me if they think they can deliver below spec quality and still charge me for the crap I can't use. I'm sending my brother over to get it. I'm pretty sure I can get it for a fraction of what I'm being charged by the middleman.

Take-away lesson: Middlemen are good for American Football and not much else.
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Re: Building House in Udon

Postby MrRee » Thu May 20, 2010 4:49 pm

Update 5b

Well, CPAC didn't cooperate and the concrete arrived the day after and at the end of the day. Hey, TIT. The pour went well albeit well into the night. Since then, the rough plumbing was finished and the 2nd floor columns are being poured. The foreman thought it best we mix the column concrete ourselves to guarantee the quality while we wait for the prestressed concrete slabs to arrive. Takes about 5-7 days from when ordered. We discussed possibly doing it ourselves, but decided to stick to the plan and order them.

Note: Just because the truck says CPAC, it does not neccessarily mean that it's actually CPAC. What happens often is that CPAC sells off its old equipment without removing their branding. Then some outfit buys the truck and *poof* they are in the business of selling CPAC. Most workers/crews do not realize or understand the switcheroo or difference and consider CPAC is always CPAC. Caveat emptor!



The above video shows the progress of the build. I'm very pleased except for CPAC's service. The second floor could have been finished already, but it is what it is. We are pushing forward with the columns so we don't delay getting the roof up. I've got a roof specialist coming in with his own team to do that in a couple of weeks or so. My team will be putting up the first floor walls and the wood staircase at the same time.

The video below is a follow-up to the French drain discussion. The soil on the water-filled side is essentially clay and the water just sits. We'll be filling all that in with dirt and do a surface half-pipe drain (dirt only) and plant it with flowers and such. Nature wins - French drain not good for clay soil environments. That's about .70 m at the deep end. The other side, near the paved village road, is functioning perfectly. Being more of the "normal" humus type soil, water sinks right into the ground as expected. Hopefully, this video is helpful to anyone considering the idea. It was an interesting full-scale experiment. Completing the drain and filling in the side I don't use is low priority and workers work on it when we have slow days such as when awaiting CPAC or if it's the day after payday and somebody wants to keep working.

[youtube][/youtube] oops. No more battery to upload. Will post soon.

Take-away lesson: When in doubt, try it out.
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