My building story:

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

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Re: My building story:

Postby jomoblues » Sat Dec 14, 2013 3:15 pm

If my explanation above doesn't make much sense, my apologies. I've pictures to post which should make it easier to understand.

But first of all------------work was interupted by the need for my wife to organise the traditional Thai ceremony of blessing and more importantly to seek advice about which was the most auspicious date upon which to perform the ceremony. After numerous conversations and due deliberations it was determined that this would have to take place on the date of the King's Birthday--05/12/13; so there were 5 days to kill.

The team used the intervening time to fabricate rebar columns as we ran down the clock.

After talking to a friend who had had the ceremony performed a couple of months ago, my wife was directed to the old man in the village nearest to our land who had a bit of a monopoly on performing all rites and observances relating to new house blessings in this area. He informed Jan what items were needed for the ceremony and that he would also prepare his regalia and bits and pieces for use on the day. The day came and Jan had decided Baht 300 should be an appropriare compensation for his services, he'd charged her friend Baht100. So she put rhe money in an ang pow (red packet). As she gave it to him he asked how much it contained and she was informed he needed Baht 500 as it was a big house. Due ceremony performed on the way back to the car, (I was the designated driver for the day) he said he'd need another Baht200 because it really was a big house. Later on in the decided he needed a further Baht100 to cover his 'expenses'. Never mind, it's a once only expense and not wishing to spoil my wife's day we covered his expenses and I drove him home as quickly as decency allowed before he thought of some other compensation he'd just remembered.

JoMo
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Re: My building story:

Postby jomoblues » Sat Dec 14, 2013 3:24 pm

Sorry for the typos above. I'll read through my comments before posting them in future.

JoMo
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Re: My building story:

Postby jomoblues » Sat Dec 14, 2013 5:35 pm

Pictures relating to the capping of the piles and connecting to the house columns.
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Re: My building story:

Postby jomoblues » Sat Dec 14, 2013 5:38 pm

Slightly in the wrong order, but you get the idea.

JoMo
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Re: My building story:

Postby sirineou » Sat Dec 14, 2013 7:35 pm

jomoblues wrote:Sorry for the typos above. I'll read through my comments before posting them in future.

JoMo

Thank you for taking the time to post your building story, don't worry about typos , we all know what you mean and that's the important thing , most of as here are not Oxford skolars :mrgreen: and could not care less,we simple appreciate your effort . Your Build is well documented, your writing style, pleasant and easy to understand, and your pictures well taken.
You are right not to spoil your wife's haply ceremony day for what amounts to a few dollars, there is greater value in that , IMO you have the right attitude, one that I share , and I think it will serve you well during this build and life in general.Building a house can be streasful to you and your relationship with your wife, Dont sweat the litle things :)
Look forward to the rest of your build. Keep up the good work :D
I talk to my self because I am the only one who will listen
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Re: My building story:

Postby terp80 » Sat Dec 14, 2013 8:10 pm

Thanks for the good posts. Sirineou is right about everything, but for me it's difficult to accept that kind of BS and stay Jai yen yen. :)
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Re: My building story:

Postby jomoblues » Sat Dec 14, 2013 9:31 pm

Thank you to Sirineou and terp80 for your positive and encouraging feedback, and also to Fred for giving me the nudge to get back on track with my build story.

I've several more posts to make to bring the story right back up to date; which I will attempt to complete tomorrow. In real time we are pouring the concrete for the first floor ground beams in the morning.

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Re: My building story:

Postby jomoblues » Sun Dec 15, 2013 1:11 pm

To quote a nautical expression from the era of sail; we are cracking on.

Immediately after the ceremony was completed, the site moved into a state of heightened activity. The crew was increased from site manager and 4, to site manager, foreman and 10 workers. Two more huts were assembled in the usual fashion, and tube lights rigged up at various points around the work area, plus a 2000lt plastic tank for water storage was installed (more on the subject of water later), as well as a shower area and hong nahm. So we now have 3 of the 4 cardinal points of the compass covered by workmans' huts to hopefully control/ restrict access of soi dogs and two legged creatures to the site. And there is a need to.

In spite of the fact that there was a night watchman living on the site since the go live, there had been an overnight visitor(s) and building supplies and tools had gone missing. I suppose the fact that the watchman had moved his mia noi in with him may have had some material impact on his night time activities and drawn him away from his paid duty of taking care of business, for some personal business? I'm not sure and maybe I'm being unkind to him but the point is that we are in an exposed location with no wall at this time and there needs to be active management of the operations for 24 hours of the day. Too many people pass by on their honda waves and think its OK to come on site for a chat, which long term is something I'm hoping to discourage without causing offence and all the tribulations that that can bring! On the positive side, now that there are more workers on site, we are making good progress and security (at least for now) seems to have improved.

As the rebar for the columns had already been assembled, they were all erected within the day. My wife went round each one as a final aspect of her 'good luck' ceremonial and tossed 9 coins in each hole. I said she may as weel as tossed them into the pockets of the builders as the coins were noticably absent the next morning. Can't say for sure where they were but we knew where they weren't. But as the wife said, it was the act of putting them in the holes that was significant, not what happened to them subsequently. So on we go!
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Re: My building story:

Postby jomoblues » Sun Dec 15, 2013 2:44 pm

Once we had the concreted columns all above ground level, the holes were back filled and all the extra soil cleared away and the area generally cleaned up in preparation for the work on the ground beams to commence. It was pleasing to me to note that the columns were being watered each day so as not to allow the concrete to dry out too quickly.

For some reason I can't find any photographs for this stage although I'm sure some were taken---never mind.

Just stepping away from the story for a moment or two, I have to say how pleased I am with the professionalism and commitment I have witnessed so far from my contractor. OK I know we are only just underway on what will be quite a long process, so my comment is qualified, but even so I'm impressed. I've read horror stories as I know we all have, but there have been successes as well, and so far I'm inclined to the positive. I am a good judge of character; it was a necessary and important part of my professional life to possess this skill; so I'm hoping that I've got it right this time. As I mentioned earlier in my story (introduce yourself section), my wife and I came at this project off of a very slow burn and even changed my retirement date by a year to make sure that we had prepared ourselves properly for the major lifestyle changes a move into retirement and relocation to Udon Thani would bring and like Darwin's Finches--- we're learning to adapt.

Over a number of years we did the rounds of some of the major builders dotted around the ring road and they mostly left us with anxieties and reservations whereas he was the first that gave me any confidence that he had an understanding of, and an interest in the house that we want to build. Others just wanted to direct us to something they would build for us 'off the shelf'. Of the ones we went back to we obtained 3 quotes and BOQ's and his was the 'best value' for money by a good margin. Contracts have been signed and price fixed. We are developing a rapport and there is respect flowing in both directions. My wife has also developed a friendly businesslike relationship with his wife too.

What really impresses me is his attention to detail. He visits the work site every day and reviews the work of the previous day with the site manager and provides instructions for the following day. He takes all critical measurements for himself and has rejected work on at least two occasions so far. At no additional cost to me he has also made several recommendations (which I have accepted) to alter some of the specs detailed in the engineering drawings/ architectural plans I had drawn up last year. Some are minor and perhaps satisfy his particular way of doing things but others are more considerable and will incur material costs for him, but he's prepared to do this and that to me shows he's proud of the work he does and wants it to be right for his clients.

I'll spare you the detail of his alterations (unless anyone is interested) as I know this is a bit of a dry read---sorry. JoMo.
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Re: My building story:

Postby unclezillion » Sun Dec 15, 2013 6:39 pm

looking good :D welcome
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Re: My building story:

Postby jomoblues » Sun Dec 15, 2013 8:13 pm

Thank you Unclezillion for reading my story and posting a comment.
Always appreciated. JoMo
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Re: My building story:

Postby jomoblues » Sun Dec 15, 2013 9:39 pm

So where was I? Oh yes, ground beams.

Having an increased workforce on site is mostly a positive thing but it certainly brings some additional challenges with it as well. A couple of spouses have appeared, so we now have 15 on site most days; not sure what the nocturnal arrangements are and not my business to know, but the vibe is good---just glad that I don't have to meet the burgeoning payroll.

There's a need for me to increase the amount of time spent checking the work that's being completed, because obviously more work is now being done each day, and quality varies. There's a core of experienced workers who obviously know what they are doing, but there's a number of youngsters (probably relatives of the seniors) who seem to mess around and make a joke of everything. Although my contractor is checking everything carefully, and notionally the site manager and foreman are doing checks as well, it is obviously in my best interest to complete my own just to be sure. I'm using my wife as interlocutor so as not to offend; she's very chatty and is working out the relationships that exist between the people on site and explaining that her husband doesn't mean to cause offence (he's just a silly farang) but he's very precise about what he expects and likes to check everything for himself.

The advise I've taken from reading peoples' stories posted here and the words of wisdom from senior contributors to this site is to check and check again. So I've started the practise early so as to condition the workers to the sight of me walking around with my plans, tape measure, spirit level etc and playing at building. I've an agreement with the contractor not to interfere with the actual work and should I have any issues I'll address them directly to him, which I believe is the appropriate way. Work on the ground beams including fabricating the rebar and setting the forms in place is a case in point. The contractor had instructed the team to space the metal which wraps around the rebar at 15cm distance rather than 20cm as shown on the plans. Mostly this was done correctly but there were issues of inconsistency from the youngsters. Also, I noticed rebar was touching the sides of the forms in some instances and sat on the soil or below it in other places. When I spoke to the contractor, he too had already noticed this and corrective action was taken to put it right.

To cheer up the team at the end of a hard day's work my wife bought them some Thai whisky and BBQ chicken with sticky rice, so everyone's spirits were restored. JoMo
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Re: My building story:

Postby jomoblues » Sun Dec 15, 2013 10:06 pm

This series of photos includes one where the contractor has marked out with red string the precise location where the forms to be situated, and a couple which nicely show the placement of the concrete spacers to keep the rebar away from the sides of the forms and off the ground.
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Re: My building story:

Postby sirineou » Sun Dec 15, 2013 10:24 pm

So far they seem to be doing a very professional job,the footings were well constructed, clean and square, their base seem to be thicker than necessary,
A plus,
foundations is not a place to be cheap with the concrete.
You are right to be there every day, no one will watch out for your interest as well as you .
Not interfering with the workers is the proper way to deal with the chain of commandant and not step on any ones toes.
I am involved in the construction of Hi-rise concrete buildings here in New York . the company I work for is responsible for completing the basic concrete structure,
every evening we have a meeting with the G.C.
where we discuss what had occurred that day, concerns and ways to rectify such concerns, evening is the best time because it gives the contractor time to deal with such concerns before the next day begins,
Perhaps such arrangement could be had with your builder and you,if you don't already have,
of course that does not stop you if you notice something not up to your standards from bringing it to his attention during the day if he is available.
I talk to my self because I am the only one who will listen
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Re: My building story:

Postby jomoblues » Sun Dec 15, 2013 10:40 pm

OK, last one for today. I promised Fred that I would be up to date by today, but its not going to be the case; sorry. Hopefully, I'll be right up to date by COB tomorrow and then I can start using the present tense for my posts.

I've still to discuss my water supply problem; ask for advise on that subject and also about water heaters-----and there's something rattling around in my head about all aspects of the house build being equally important but some are more equal than others (apologies to George Orwell) and I've yet to finish off the ground beams which in real time will be tomorrow. BUT I'm in need of a G&T to console myself over yet another abysmal England performance against the Australians at cricket. I'm an Englishman but a lover of cricket which transcends tribalism and the way that the Aussies are playing at the moment is quite magnificent. Such on field intelligence and skill in their application has to be admired even though it hurts. Enough!

JoMo
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