PHITSANULOK COUNTRY HOUSE

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PHITSANULOK COUNTRY HOUSE

Postby falangsabai » Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:48 pm

Thank you to every one who has responded to my various forum inquiries on everything from building on ponds and new fill dirt, retaining walls, snake proofing, and more. I have done a lot of home renovation but never built a house. Your feedback was invaluable in guiding my process, some of you even provided personal communication for which I am very grateful.

Today we signed a contract with our builder. I completed our house layout using Floorplanner. This is a very quick and easy to learn free internet program (floorplanner.com). I knew exactly how we wanted the house laid out. We have already got a large amount of custom furniture and Asian collectibles,so I wanted to design the house around them.

My partner Cat has persevered, usually with good spirits through 5 months of plan discussions, and no less that 15 trips to various purveyors of building supplies etc. for costs and inspiration, followed by several negotiations with builders.

I find it difficult to fathom Thai sales people sometimes. Cat would chat about an item with the sales person for over 10 minutes. I finally would interrupt and ask: where is it made ?, what material ?, is it in stock ? (3 simple questions) She would not yet know (what do they talk about?) and when she asked , the sales lady asked Cat if it was difficult to work with someone with so many (3?) questions. Often they did not know the answers without checking (grudgingly). In one paint shop the sales guy was very put out because I asked what the coverage of a can of certain paint was. He told Cat nobody ever asks that! (say what!) Go figure. TIT!!!

We have met with 3 builders to cost the build. Of the three one did not even bother to do a quote.probably because we are “small baht”.

From this website and others I have gotten an idea of possible cost. The current price range for a relatively uncomplicated house seems to be between 7,000 - 12,000 baht per m2. The price being cheaper if you have the expertise to spec the job and direct the workers. I don’t. Our plans are now for 128m2, (under roof 170m2) with about 30% of the house built up over a 3 meter deep pond. Of course we wanted to keep the cost as low as possible, but though simple, we want our home well constructed with reliable materials. Looks like the house itself will come in at about 10,500 baht per m2, not, including, driveway, carport, garden or retaining walls.

Both Cat and I have worked with a number of “chang cha ban” (village handymen) and are aware of the pitfalls. We erred on the side of caution and did not go with the lowest quote we were given. We found our selected builder by cruising around and checking out builds. He is a university trained, licensed designer/engineer/ builder, with roots in this community, and has been building for a few years. He is also bonded for a million baht (for what its worth). Allegedly the work will be guaranteed for a full year, with free repair if needed. We were comfortable with his manner and the professional level of his presentation. He produced a full set of detailed blueprints without charge as part of his proposal. He is to supply all of the labor and essential building materials which seemed prudent to allow him to maintain control and responsibility, but we are providing, tile, paint,light fixtures, kitchen and bathroom fixtures and cabinets. Combined the total cost is just over 10,500 baht per m2 of floorspace. This will be turnkey, with electric hookup, water pump and tank, commercial septic tank system. The large kitchen will be very “falang” with extensive Rosewood cabinets. The foundation will be supported on 16 machine driven pilings.

Construction is to start in April and be completed by early September, or sooner, weather permitting. We of course intend to keep a close eye and tight rein, each and every step of the way.(and maintain our sense of humor if possible). We will try for a state of “qualmaton” and “yen yen”. We know that even with the best first impression the going will be difficult and frustrating at times…only time will tell. Next update after ground breaking.
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Re: PHITSANULOK COUNTRY HOUSE

Postby BKKBILL » Sat Feb 25, 2012 4:50 pm

You seem to be off to a fine start.

There will always be pitfalls so do keep that sense of humor as it will hold you in good stead.
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Re: PHITSANULOK COUNTRY HOUSE

Postby Max&Bee-in-CM » Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:52 pm

BKKBILL wrote:You seem to be off to a fine start.

There will always be pitfalls so do keep that sense of humor as it will hold you in good stead.


whats rule number 2?
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Re: PHITSANULOK COUNTRY HOUSE

Postby Max&Bee-in-CM » Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:00 pm

falangsabai wrote:I find it difficult to fathom Thai sales people sometimes.


That is just the start - you can know more when you start to build. Anyways, looks like you did lots of homework, and are off to a good start.

If you want to cut the chit chat at the shops, do what i do alot of the time, and thats shop alone. Have a map to your home ready, photocopied, with tel + directions,
get the wife to write a quick note what you want if its required, and hit the shops. I get in and out of Vittaya (where we order rebar, conwood, etc) in under 5 minutes,
if bee and the kids come along, lucky to get out in 20 - usually have 4-8 people all surrounding the babies like they never see a baby before, with the word "falang" out their
mouths every 3rd word.

What they talk about - where is your house? where did you meet your falang? does you husband have any other westerners i am single? do you eat falang food? which village
were you born in? does your husband eat spicy food? where does your husband come from? how much money your husband give you every month? i can go on and on.... seriously
bee translates the stuff i dont understand, and alot of it is extracting information they want to know what sort of "mia falang" the girl is and the type of relationship.

Good luck on the build.
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Re: PHITSANULOK COUNTRY HOUSE

Postby BKKBILL » Sat Feb 25, 2012 10:45 pm

Max&Bee-in-CM wrote:
whats rule number 2?


Max, to know rule number two you have to comprehend rule number one. :mrgreen:

falangsabai, looking forward to the ground breaking update.
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Re: PHITSANULOK COUNTRY HOUSE

Postby unclezillion » Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:23 pm

falangsabai welcome to the madness of building in Thailand.
You will need to be firm but affable from the off whilst not expecting things to go as planned.
Also remember that your other half may turn into the enemy of what your ideas are! Ask Rodger Ramjet :mrgreen:
it is interesting that your build is in the rainy season: should be fun.
Any chance of seeing an idea of what you are planning to build?
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Re: PHITSANULOK COUNTRY HOUSE

Postby falangsabai » Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:21 pm

Thanks to all for your clearly perceptive encouragement. Here's my completed floor plan version showing the furniture to scale. The blue prints are currently being revised. The blue areas show where the house will be over the pond. The size is approximately 36' x 37'. We wanted to keep the design simple to showcase our furniture and collectibles. The outside will be landscaped with tropical trees and plants. The patio/balconies are oriented for an uninterrupted view and the incoming breeze, and out of direct sun. The pagoda style roof will have a 1 meter overhang for sun and rain protection. We're happy with one bathroom, and chose to put more of our budget into a big comfortable kitchen. The balconies will be fully screened in. Except for two sets of glass pane "picture windows" the windows will all be louvre to allow for any breezes. We are hoping that air conditioning will not be needed, but will install it if we need to. The second phase will be our carport and parking area. As for the rainy season, our builder chose the start date of April 9 because it is a very auspicious date. It is mostly symbolic because his intention is to suspend construction as needed during rainy periods. Completion is targeted for September but sooner if possible.
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128m2-furniture.jpg
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Re: PHITSANULOK COUNTRY HOUSE

Postby kknaj » Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:16 pm

Good luck with your build!

Since you are using a more qualified builder who does turn key builds I'm sure you wont have too much to worry about. Knock on wood as they say. There are several stories on this board that went quite smoothly with such builders. I would go for the more professional and more expensive builder too if i wasn't there to manager it myself. Or if I just didn't want the hassle.

One thing to look out for is pillar placement in your designs. Make sure they are not in awkward places and if they are find a way to cover them. When you do your own custom designs you have to look at that kind of thing.

A few other things to check are:
Window heights - 200cm high is the old/thai norm, But 220cm looks much better for us taller falang.
Using pictures not words - If you want something to look a certain way, show pictures, don't use words. Use pictures.

If something doesn't look correct, point to it a say "Mai Sway" (Not beautiful) and show them how it should look.

Choose tiles and colours based off pictures or photos or real life experience, not how a single tile looks on a wall :P Too many examples around that make me cringe... including from my first build. They are not the worst but could have been much better.

Hope you have fun and enjoy your new home.
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Re: PHITSANULOK COUNTRY HOUSE

Postby Max&Bee-in-CM » Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:42 pm

Nice square design. One thing I am sure you considered is the footing and column placement in/next to the pond - making sure the footings does not sink even 2 or 3 cm or the ground beams may crack, also waterproofing those footings and ground beams and ground columns exposed to constant pond water, stuff like that. Also stopping water seepage under your house floor through the soil on the sides.

Also, if you have a pond right next to the house, you may need mosquito nets/flyscreens on the windows - although some on CTH swear they have no mosquitoes, I find that very very hard to believe living in the tropics. Building
in the rainy season is not fun at all, for you, the workers and the truck drivers delivering supplies. Make sure you get the roof metal on and primed, and all the tiles on before the rain hits, or the insides will be a sloppy mess. Not sure if you are using QCON/superblocks/AAC blocks - but if you are they dont like rain, and heavy up like a fat chick on steak.

Good luck.
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Re: PHITSANULOK COUNTRY HOUSE

Postby tangaroa67 » Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:09 am

Can I ask, is the price of 10,500 baht/m² based on the 128m² floor area, or the 170m² roof area?

I've wondered the same of other builds too (but never asked).
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Re: PHITSANULOK COUNTRY HOUSE

Postby falangsabai » Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:24 am

The m2 cost is based on the 128m2 floorspace. This is my calculation. I took the builders quote and added the anticipated cost of items we will provide and divided the total by 128. This builder did not base his quote on m2 but on the actual labour and materials required. I hope this is useful.
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Re: PHITSANULOK COUNTRY HOUSE

Postby tangaroa67 » Tue Mar 06, 2012 3:24 pm

Thank-you. Yes :)
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Re: PHITSANULOK COUNTRY HOUSE

Postby gliffaes » Sun Mar 11, 2012 6:38 am

falangsabai wrote:The m2 cost is based on the 128m2 floorspace. This is my calculation. I took the builders quote and added the anticipated cost of items we will provide and divided the total by 128. This builder did not base his quote on m2 but on the actual labour and materials required. I hope this is useful.

Thats interesting I got a price of 3000bm2 no materials and with materials a crazy price Im pretty sure I could have got this down more but I want the guy to make a reasonable profit and its still very small money really.
Materials will whack it up to 8k a meter I reckon most of that in steel and concrete.
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Re: PHITSANULOK COUNTRY HOUSE

Postby Ians » Mon Mar 12, 2012 9:50 pm

Marshall,
I would look at increasing the overhang of 1 metre to at least 1.5 or even 2 if you can - the less sun on the walls / windows the better.
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