Building a house in Khon Kaen for 800,000 baht

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Building a house in Khon Kaen for 800,000 baht

Postby kknaj » Sat Oct 23, 2010 7:53 pm

This story is about building a house in inner city Khon Kaen for around 800,000 baht. 5-10 mins from the city center depending on traffic.

I live in Khon Kaen with my girl friend. She is a nurse. We borrowed 1.2 million from the bank using the pre-purchased land as guarantee. We tried to get a loan before buying the land but was not approved. Using a builder that buys all materials and does the job fully would cost around 1.1 -1.2 million baht but doing it ourselves we should be able to do it for around 800,000. So far we have been fortunate to get really good prices on just about everything. The builder has been very helpful is showing us where to get the best quality for the best prices. One of the reasons we chose him.

Not all has been smooth sailing with this builder. mainly due to his families money troubles and asking for money a bit too much due their troubles with their son. The builders wife who works on the building project with him is the money handler and sometimes asks for too much. Sometimes we buy them drinks or food and sometimes she is a bit bossy about it. There was no agreement we would provide as such. I'm happy to do so on a regular basis but prefer to do it from my own initiative than being asked to do it.

She is the only one I consider difficult. The rest of the team work well and do a good job. They have a few higher skilled laborers who do the more technical work and measurement work. The builder himself works part time on the more technical stuff and the supervisory work. He also has to take care of his grandson when school is out so the grandson has been at the site daily for the last 2 weeks. Not surprisingly the grandson doesn't like his grandma :P (The builders difficult wife)

The money has been a bit of an issue because the bank only gives money AFTER the work is complete. They give the money in increments of around 20% at a time. Every few weeks we have to hire an asses-er to calculate a percentage of work complete. Then this info is relayed to the bank and the bank gives more money.

I will post some pictures of the progress so far and relay some stories. Hopefully will be helpful to some as this website has been quite helpfull to me in learning the house building trade in Thailand.
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Re: Building a house in Khon Kaen for 800,000 baht

Postby kknaj » Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:04 pm

Progress so far
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IMG_3365_small.jpg
Corner plot 100 sq wah. Nice quiet location
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Re: Building a house in Khon Kaen for 800,000 baht

Postby kknaj » Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:12 pm

Pics
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IMG_3397_small.jpg
Pillar form work
IMG_3384_small.jpg
Foundation and concrete form work
IMG_3381_small.jpg
40cm high form work for foundation
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Re: Building a house in Khon Kaen for 800,000 baht

Postby kknaj » Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:29 pm

House design and floor plan.

I've changed the original design to make it a bit bigger and add an alfresco areas out the side back next to the garden. This house is designed specifically for a corner plot and would have to be modified to suit other land arrangements.
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house 1 landscape small.jpg
Landscape rough draft
new concept design.jpg
House exterior design. Comes from a thai house design book hardcover you see in most bookshops.
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Re: Building a house in Khon Kaen for 800,000 baht

Postby Max&Bee-in-CM » Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:30 pm

Hello & the best of luck on your build. We had a similar problem with the person who dug our water hole to
60m - before the work was even finished his wife was very pushy and wanted money. Agreement was full
payment on completion and after smurf was inserted and water pumped for a full 24 hours. The wife, for
whatever reasons wanted money before water was pumped.

For those of you who have followed my project, you will know what my response was.

I see you have a lot of water around your ground beams. Water is my constant and daily companion, I
have learnt to love its yellowish gooish feel between my toes.
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Land fill mistakes

Postby kknaj » Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:42 pm

One of the mistakes we made at the start was not adding all the land fill at the start. We added about 20 cm high for the house only. It was raining nearly every day and was hard to get the land fill guys from my gf's village to get the dirt. We ended up changing the supplier due to getting lame excuses for slow delivery from a guy that had lousy equipment.

The builder started work and dug down about 5cm from the landfill to make the foundation even. Later we added more dirt to the land to fill in the foundations and around the house. The mistake was at the back of the house there is not enough land fill and no easy way to push more in. So the laborers will have to do it manually taking a lot more effort. No one has complained but I see it as our fault.

And due to the way it has been done makes a 40cm foundation a bit pointless. 30cm would have been enough if AFTER a full 20-30cm land fill was done at the start. It would have been easier for the builder too because you can buy 30cm high steel foundation steel holders from Global House instead of them having to make them. I'm not only interested in getting a good price but making the whole job as efficient as possible for the builders. It's a fixed price job but I'd like it to be as smooth as possible for the building team. I plan on using them again for other projects.
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Pillars and concrete mixing

Postby kknaj » Sat Oct 23, 2010 8:59 pm

Our builder likes to mix most of the cement themselves using a large black mixing tray you see at most hardware stores. The only time we have used a cement truck delivery is for the foundation pour. The pillar cement was all mixed manually. I like our pillar design because they are wider than normal giving the house a more substantial look. Also we have external pillars not internal pillars. This is because I cant stand the look of internal pillars in most houses I see. often in very ugly places. Perhaps thai's don't notice them so much but I do and makes the house look cheap and nasty (my view).

Therefore I designed the house in a way that has only 2 internal pillars that are not obvious. One of these is hidden by using a double wall in one small part of the house 1 meter wide. The 2 internal pillars have 6 steel rebar lengths (not 4) due the the distance between other pillars in the house (5 meters apart). The rest of the external pillars are around 3.5 - 4 meters apart.

I dont know how good it will look in the end but I thought it was worth a try. I've noticed the more modern designs in books are doing the same thing. I guess we'll just have to wait and see the final outcome.
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Complete pillars
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Re: Building a house in Khon Kaen for 800,000 baht

Postby kknaj » Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:09 pm

Max&Bee-in-CM wrote:Hello & the best of luck on your build. We had a similar problem with the person who dug our water hole to
60m - before the work was even finished his wife was very pushy and wanted money. Agreement was full
payment on completion and after smurf was inserted and water pumped for a full 24 hours. The wife, for
whatever reasons wanted money before water was pumped.

For those of you who have followed my project, you will know what my response was.

I see you have a lot of water around your ground beams. Water is my constant and daily companion, I
have learnt to love its yellowish gooish feel between my toes.


Hi Max, Thanks for your post. I know what you mean about water being a regular companion. I actually dislocated my knee by slipping on the clay wearing those "crocs" brand flip flops. They dont supply an grip at all in those conditions. I put my knee back in myself and refused to go the the hospital even my gf is a nurse. Its happened before about 10 years ago so i knew how to fix it. I wore knee supports for about a week after and now its normal (2 weeks later). Since then I have been wearing more grippy shoes. Last time I wore bare feet i got bogged down.

The builder has been regularly pumping water off the land using a water pump over the course of the project. lucky we have empty lower land nearby to make this easy.
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Re: Building a house in Khon Kaen for 800,000 baht

Postby Max&Bee-in-CM » Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:27 pm

kknaj wrote:I actually dislocated my knee by slipping on the clay wearing those "crocs" brand flip flops. They dont supply an grip at all in those conditions.

Incredible, same thing happened to me, my green army crocs are worn out with no grip whatsoever, I went sliding right at the front of the house, lucky it was after 5pm and not many people were there to see it. The water barrel was a good 30m away, that was one messy and disgusting trek.
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Re: Building a house in Khon Kaen for 800,000 baht

Postby kknaj » Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:48 pm

Max&Bee-in-CM wrote:
kknaj wrote:I actually dislocated my knee by slipping on the clay wearing those "crocs" brand flip flops. They dont supply an grip at all in those conditions.

Incredible, same thing happened to me, my green army crocs are worn out with no grip whatsoever, I went sliding right at the front of the house, lucky it was after 5pm and not many people were there to see it. The water barrel was a good 30m away, that was one messy and disgusting trek.


I was unlucky enough to slip in front of all the workers. It was actually my loud and sudden outburst of swearing (in English so no one understand what I was saying... mother f'er etc for about 5 seconds) that made everyone look. Hurts like hell for about 2 minutes then after that I can walk again. I'm usually quiet agile around building sites helping my Dad on many painting jobs in Australia. I advise anyone walking around a building site when its wet to wear very grippy shoes (not "crocs" or flip flops and be careful of any wet dirt or clay.

The builder helped hose me off after I could stand up. felt foolish for a day or 2. Didn't stop me from being there everyday to inspect the work and make sure everything is in the right place.
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Grandma's Ute

Postby kknaj » Sat Oct 23, 2010 10:00 pm

This is my gf's Grandma's ute we are borrowing during the construction. We'll be buying a car next year so for now we get around on a Honda Click and use the ute for buying building materials. Some deliveries are delivered free from the supplier such as 30 bags or more of cement, steel, bricks etc. However I have taken over 20 trips in this ute or the builders ute to pick up smaller amounts when we run out of something. I know where all the supplies are so I do all the deliveries now.

The Ute or "pick up" has over 700,000 kms on it! amazing. It use to take daily trips to Udon Thani and back on a daily basis. The Mum now has a new Toyota Hilux as of a couple of years ago and travels a lot less. Amazing this car keeps going and going. It was sitting under a shed for the last couple of years getting almost no use. When we first got it we couldn't start it after a couple of days. Since installing a new starter motor in it it starts every time easily. I think we'll get a newer model next year because the car moves all over the road as I approach 80 kph or 45-50 mph. I think the steering is very loose. At lower speeds you cant noticed it. On the highway it's another story.
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PVC Plumbing and guttering rant

Postby kknaj » Sat Oct 23, 2010 10:29 pm

The plumbing of the house is concentrated on the back left side of the house. There are 2 bathrooms and a kitchen as well as a laundry room. I also wanted to add a drain directly under the outside tap as you see everywhere in Australia but I've never seen it in Thailand. I want to minimize water surrounding the house so the house doesn't sink or move around in the future. I've seen plenty of newer houses with cracks in the walls after just 1-2 years from movement of the house. Since we will most likely sell the house I don't want to be responsible for major fix ups. We will also put gutters around the back of the house and drainage ways leading away from the house to keep the land as dry as possible. The front of the house probably wont have gutters as I'm sure my gf and the builder will try to convince me gutter are "mai sway" (not beautiful)

I've never seen a house in a western country that doesn't have gutters. Thais have a false idea that gutters are ugly. Probably because they don't know you can paint them to match your roof. I've painted plenty of gutters in Australia with both oil and water based paint and the paint lasts as long as any other surface provided you use the right primer.undercoats and high quality sun resistant top coats.

In my view, If there were any houses in the world that needed gutters it would be thai houses. Using cement to keep away water makes the house look ugly. Way too much concrete is used around the houses I see here especially in the villages. Its rare to see a house with nice grass and a garden.
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PVC Plumbing
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Re: Building a house in Khon Kaen for 800,000 baht

Postby kknaj » Sat Oct 23, 2010 10:40 pm

This is our new bathroom idea. We can buy the tiles for about 10,000 baht per bathroom. It would be about 7000 baht without the small designer tiles you see separating the 2 colours. Using photo shop I removed the middle tiles to see what it would look like. But I think its "Mai Sway" to remove them so we'll just have to pay the 50-60 baht each for the designer tiles.

First picture is without the designer tiles, second photo is how it should really look.
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bathroom version 2.jpg
photoshoped to remove the designer tiles, but it looks "mai sway"
43bbc70d1b.jpg
Bathroom idea
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Re: Building a house in Khon Kaen for 800,000 baht

Postby fredlk » Sun Oct 24, 2010 7:11 am

I am impressed with what you are doing for the amount of money.
Working within that kind of budget cannot be easy, but I am sure it will be very rewarding to see what you have achieved in the end.

I am also working with a limited amount, but mine is limited to time rather than Baht and Satang.
My budget was adjusted upwards as the house grew and so now I will just have to wait longer until everything is built.

For what it's worth I prefer the tiles without the border. I love the grey and white combination. It looks very smart.
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Re: PVC Plumbing and guttering rant

Postby Maseratimartin » Sun Oct 24, 2010 9:04 am

kknaj wrote: We will also put gutters around the back of the house and drainage ways leading away from the house to keep the land as dry as possible. The front of the house probably wont have gutters as I'm sure my gf and the builder will try to convince me gutter are "mai sway" (not beautiful)

I've never seen a house in a western country that doesn't have gutters. Thais have a false idea that gutters are ugly. Probably because they don't know you can paint them to match your roof. I've painted plenty of gutters in Australia with both oil and water based paint and the paint lasts as long as any other surface provided you use the right primer.undercoats and high quality sun resistant top coats.

In my view, If there were any houses in the world that needed gutters it would be thai houses. Using cement to keep away water makes the house look ugly. Way too much concrete is used around the houses I see here especially in the villages. Its rare to see a house with nice grass and a garden.


:D ...yeah the gutter story....I like your comments and want to add something:

Thai is to show off.. :shock: ...Gold everywhere...finance the newest Toyota Fortuner....complicated roofs....all this to impress others....Gutters are technically the right way but nobody (mostly thai) will see it...and then they also cost so much... :o ..as a result they are condemned as ugly! :lol:

I also hate when you plaster all your land with concrete....it is just ugly :cry: ....and I know what I'm talking about as we also live in Hong Kong where they use concrete to prevent land slides in a nature park!?!

Especially when you don't have a huge garden around your house to compensate all the water coming of the roof you should play safe, collect it and conect it to the city drain...

One question regarding your house plan...I see that most thai floor plans have the main entrance to a house directly beside the couch in the living room. If you like it go ahead....but for me this would be an absolute no go! :wink: Don't hate me....peace and love! :)
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