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 » Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:20 pm

'YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS' (John McEnroe).

One other piece of work that is attributable to the fall out over money which messed with the workmens' minds is this shabby attempt at my front step. I could see them faffing on with it late on the 16th but the atmosphere was so charged on the day I foolishly let them get on with it. It is completely wrong and does not look anything like the plan, also running a tape measure over the first tread it measures 42cms at one end and 38.5 at the other.

The contractor has agreed to dig it out and do it again. Jomo
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Re: My building story:

Postby jomoblues » Sun Dec 22, 2013 9:31 pm

Finally we have started to move forward with some positivity. The first floor columns have been clad ready for the concrete pour. I was very pleased to witness the use of a plumb bob, tape measure and spirit level as well as a tool I'm not familiar with, a length of clear plastic tubing with an air bubble in it which they placed vertically on the columns. I imagine it works very much like a spirit level??, but I'm not entirely certain.

After they had the columns somewhat straight they tied them all together and butrussed everything to make sure they were all perpendicular and strong enough to cope with the weight of the concrete. JoMo
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Re: My building story:

Postby sirineou » Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:30 pm

Hung in there Jomo, all these things are par for the course. Glad to see you back on track :D
The clear tube level technique works very well. Water always seeks it's own level, so if you have column and you want an other column to be the same height, simply hold one end of the tube on one column with the water level of the tube at the top of the column, and then hold the other end at the other column and and wherever the water level is, it the top of your other column, simple, low tech, inexpensive and very accurate.
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Re: My building story:

Postby jomoblues » Mon Dec 23, 2013 6:03 am

After the contractor was happy with the preparation of the columns, the readymix was arranged. It was a long hard day for the workers.

I hadn't actually considered much for myself how the concrete was to be poured into the columns, but when I did I imagined that there would be some way in which the work would be done mechanically. I was wrong. Once the concrete mixer arrived on site, it was positioned near the end of one run of columns and the team set up a basic scaffold arrangement at the foot of the first column and formed themselves into a line. The concrete was poured from the mixer into a tin trough, it was scouped out bucket at a time and handed from one to another up to the top of the scaffold and poured into the column, after which the bucket tossed to a catcher at the base of the scaffold. There was a worker with a hammer who tapped the sides of the form work around the column to settle the concrete and the worker at the top jiggled the rebar to help with the process and apart from the forces of gravity that was it. I'm not sure how good this method is, we'll know for sure when they remove the forms in a day or so. When the concrete in the column struck a certain mark, they moved on to the next one. It was a very laborious process which lasted all day as they slowly moved the scaffold and repositioned the cement every other time as they worked their way round the site.

While this was ongoing the plumbing team arrived to start work on the ground floor pipework. The positioning of pipework is not as per the drawings and despite my discussions with the plumbing business owner and my contractor they have used the short 90 deg bends instead of the slow 90 deg bends I requested; so they will have to come back on site and correct their mistakes.

JoMo
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Re: My building story:

Postby fredlk » Mon Dec 23, 2013 7:04 am

I read your mood and believe me we've (nearly) all been there.
jomoblues wrote:... apart from the forces of gravity that was it. I'm not sure how good this method is

Most of the houses built have their columns poured this way. It's the Thai standard.
jomoblues wrote:despite my discussions with the plumbing business owner and my contractor they have used the short 90 deg bends instead of the slow 90 deg bends I requested

As sirineou said, hang in there, it's just one of many 'misunderstandings' you'll encounter. You have to start taking your anti-stress medication right about now. :D
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Re: My building story:

Postby sirineou » Mon Dec 23, 2013 7:37 am

Labor is relatively cheap in Thailan hence the bucket brigade :)
It is a good idea to vibrate the concrete when pouring it to a form ,it removes air bubbles from the concrete mix and helps it settle in the form eliminating honey combing.
unfortunately the vibrators they have in Thailand have very short probes and are not adequate for columns that are 3m tall, one way to get around this is to jam the vibrator against the rebar and let the rebar transfer the vibration through the column, I see they use a vibrator on your beams, why they would not use them on your columns is beyond me.
In the US I have vibrator that clamps on the out side of the form and vibrates the whole form, but unfortunately it is 120v and would not work very well in Thailand, otherwise I would bring it with me next time I come.
For a small form a vibrating sander pressed against the side works well, or one can get constructed by bolting a clamp on an old electric motor,and leaving the nut slightly loose, and unbalancing the motor by installing an off center wheel, or cam in the shaft, it works well.
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Re: My building story:

Postby jomoblues » Mon Dec 23, 2013 1:37 pm

Thank you Fred and Sireneou for your words of support and also for the clarification on building techniques in Thailand. As the saying goes 'necessity is the mother of invention' and this is very much in evidence on some of the local methods being applied to building procedures on site. I also keep forgetting how cheap labour is and hence my surprise at the preference for man power over mechanical options. Tools also seem at a premium and it's amazing how many uses they can find for a hammer and a bit of 2x4.

Actually I'm OK with whatever practice they use just as long as it provides an acceptable standard of work once completed.

Thanks sireneou for sharing all the other improvised methods on vibrating concrete; clearly I need to start being a bit more creative in my thinking.

JoMo
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Re: My building story:

Postby Mike Judd » Mon Dec 23, 2013 5:17 pm

The only problem with dropping concrete from a height, is that the stone goes to the bottom leaving the cement and sand caught on the way down. Vibrating it too much brings the water and cement to the top also, there is a right way to mixing and placing concrete, fortunately it is very forgiving and even when not laid absolutely correctly , it still turns out strong enough for the average job. Lack of a vibrator can be over come by having someone tapping all over the formwork with a hammer, that will bring the slurry cement to the outside surface and avoid that bony look where the formwork had been. Which Thai's think it's O.K. to cement up after, but does nothing for the strength of the Beam/column. I know I'am a bore to keep repeating this, but Thai's LOVE lots of water in the concrete (They then don't have to spread it ) and they are not that fussy about the correct placement of the steel, it does require a min of cover of concrete,(20--30m.m.) and it's wasted if it's touching the ground in a slab.
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Re: My building story:

Postby jomoblues » Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:52 pm

Well, the form work was removed from the columns today.
(My posts may suggest that this has happened too soon but two full days have elapsed since the concrete was poured; I was a bit backed up in updating my story that's all).

Mike----you are absolutely correct in what you state about the use of a hammer to lightly tap the columns and what that actually does to the concrete and the effect that it will have on their finished appearance. That's what my team did and although I had some concerns about them using this method (mainly because of my ignorance on the subject) they obviously knew what they were doing and I am absolutely delighted with the end results.

JoMo .
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Re: My building story:

Postby jomoblues » Mon Dec 23, 2013 9:15 pm

In fairness to the team I believe they are doing a good job on the concrete work so far. I know the contractor is (mostly) staying on top of the job and I'm getting much closer to the detailed work now, but credit where credit's due---it's been mostly good so far.

Today, as soon as one team had cleared away the form work another followed immediately behind to wrap the columns in plastic to help them from drying too quickly. They are also continuing to water the ground beams each day for the same reason, so they are being methodical.

You can see some of the pipe work for the 2 kitchens and the outside shower room/ toilet on one of the photos, but as mentioned previously it is mostly wrong and will have to be redone before the on-site team can start with the slab work. I'm expecting the plumbers back on site tomorrow to rectify their errors.

JoMo
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Re: My building story:

Postby jomoblues » Tue Dec 24, 2013 8:27 am

Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink. (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

I have a problem with water supply and I'm annoyed with myself for not addressing this earlier, but here we are. I would appreciate any help or suggestion from anyone who may have experienced a similar problem or who can offer a solution/ work around for me.

The scenario:

We currently have a supply from the local village water tower. The water is not treated in any way naturally but looks particularly dodgy even by local standards. It has a yellow tinge to it and sometimes an oily sheen on the surface. In addition the supply is subject to regular interruptions. I haven't had it tested as yet but it does not look very salubrious for using in the home once we complete the house and move in.

Option 1. Bore hole supply. Conversations with locals suggest that all the water in this area is 'salty' (Do they really mean salty?) This opinion seems to be bourn out by a couple of contractors who Jan called out to test drill on our land. The first guy wanted 3,000 baht before he would even unpack his rig and the second one said he'd completed test drilling about a kilometre away for another farang and they could only find salty water. Somehow Jan and the contractor convinced each other that it would be a waste of time drilling, so that option was shut down. Maybe we will have to go back to this idea because,

Option 2. Request mains supply from Udon Thani water company. The wife went to apply for a mains supply and they were very helpful in processing her application and the survey team came out the same afternoon. The mains supply is slowly edging its way towards our village but its still not within easy striking distance for our needs. In conversation with the surveyor, Jan was informed that it may be possible to process her application but given the distance it would probably cost in excess of 120,000 baht to hook us up. He offered an alternative idea of speaking with the 'poo yai baan' (apologies for spelling) and encourage him to apply for the village to be connected to the mains. We thanked him for his time and suggestions and said we'd get back to him if we wanted to pursue this option. Our only other conversation with the local village head man was enough to make us realise that he would not be interested in doing anything about it.

Is there any value in drilling a bore hole, even though the water is 'salty'? I'm pretty certain we would be able to find a good supply, its just that everyone other than me seems dead set against even bothering. Whatever supply we decide upon I am aware that we could supplement it by collecting as much rain water as we can but it obviously wouldn't be sufficient by itself, or as the primary source. As I said at the beginning I'm at a loss on how to proceed and would welcome any suggestions that may help me along.

Thank you, JoMo
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Re: My building story:

Postby fredlk » Tue Dec 24, 2013 11:35 am

jomoblues wrote:Is there any value in drilling a bore hole, even though the water is 'salty'?

I would drill the bore. That way you have a regular and good supply. 'Salty' might mean high in minerals. Mine has iron in it, but minute amounts and is clear, untainted and drinkable. It's also my own and always available and that is worth a lot.
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Re: My building story:

Postby Roger Ramjet » Tue Dec 24, 2013 1:18 pm

jomoblues wrote:I have a problem with water supply and I'm annoyed with myself for not addressing this earlier

Have you considered option C and installing rainwater tanks. Just about every property outside a city/town in Australia relies on rainwater butts.
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Re: My building story:

Postby pipoz » Tue Dec 24, 2013 2:52 pm

jomoblues wrote:Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink. (Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

I have a problem with water supply and I'm annoyed with myself for not addressing this earlier, but here we are. I would appreciate any help or suggestion from anyone who may have experienced a similar problem or who can offer a solution/ work around for me.

Is there any value in drilling a bore hole, even though the water is 'salty'? I'm pretty certain we would be able to find a good supply, its just that everyone other than me seems dead set against even bothering. Whatever supply we decide upon I am aware that we could supplement it by collecting as much rain water as we can but it obviously wouldn't be sufficient by itself, or as the primary source. As I said at the beginning I'm at a loss on how to proceed and would welcome any suggestions that may help me along.

Thank you, JoMo


Hi Jomoblues,

I am not sure where about you are located from the Udon Thani Center, but I am on the south side down past Ban Chan.

Bore Well: I tried three time (three different location on my 3 Rai) to bore for water, each time drilling down between 40 to 50 meters and yes I found water at between 35 m to 40 m down. At best it was OK for landscape irrigation, not good enough for a shower, certainly not good enough to consume. My guess is I will need to go down 80 m plus to find something suitable for just the kitchen, bathroom or shower.

I also have a mains fed water to the property from a local dam, some 2 Kms up the road. That dam has a number of tanks (on a stand about 10 meters above the road level an appears to have possibly filter system at the base, before discharging into the Blue PCV street main (which then feeds my and other properties). By the time it reaches my place, I have an incoming 40 mm street pipe with a 25 mm diameter tap feed to my meter, with average to low pressure (since it didn't have much Head to start with).

From my meter at the front of the property I have a simple manifold and run two separate PVC pipe feeds to two systems. I have 5 tanks in all, (each 2000 Lts).

Irrigation & Garage: One feed goes to 3 tanks for general outside water consumption, irrigation and possibly the garage and its toilets. Capacity 6000 Ltrs, with booster pump and not filters system

House: The other second feed goes to 2 Tanks for shower and possible consumption which will service the house. Capacity 4000 Ltrs (which I can expand), with booster pump and will have a filter system.

The tanks fill up by night and or day, automatically, under mains pressure and the float switch in the last tank in each system shuts it off what all tanks are full. Because my tanks are at ground level, I have fitted an in line booster pump on each system, after the last tanks, that give me my required water pressure. Each tanks cost me around TB 4500 (from memory) and each pump cost about TB 8500, plus a bit more for valves & PC pipe.

For House System: I will be fitting the water purification/filtration system to the second system in two months time, so that I have quality water at all time from that second system, for the kitchen and bathrooms/showers/toilets. Don't have a price/cost on this yet

PS. I can always fill my tanks from a water tanker if for some reason the mains feed gets broken or the dams dries up one year

Sorry its a bit long winded, but hope this is of some use or give you an idea

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Re: My building story:

Postby Mike Judd » Tue Dec 24, 2013 5:09 pm

I have the same problem, too far from the village that get all their water from the temple bore,( Salty as well) There is nothing like rain water as long as you can store enough to get you through the dry spells as there is plenty of rain other wise. The occasional Tanker might be needed though.
I did read some where, about how when too many trees were cut down over in Western Australia, the salt rises up and gets in the underground water supply, forgot the reason given but there you are, there are not too many trees left in most parts of Thailand where there are habitable areas.
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