Our house at Wat Sing

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

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Re: Our house at Wat Sing

Postby planemad » Fri May 24, 2013 2:57 am

Hi roger, thanks for probably the best bit of advice yet. My build is complete, so nothing to gain, however, we frequently brought a case of Leo, a bottle of something or other and food but it was never dished out until after the days work was complete. I have been in Thailand long enough to realise that providing the booze at lunchtime would most likely write off the afternoon shift. That said, when we were on site there was always the expectation that a drink was available at the end of the day, so they certainly did the work. Pavlovs Dogs?!
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Re: Our house at Wat Sing

Postby Tommy » Fri May 24, 2013 9:31 am

Lol... Not really. Just that for them, it's a "culture" to sit down for a beer or two after a long days work.
My daily routine is 2 bottle of Leo, 10baht of ice cube every evening around 6pm. Substitute with a small bottle of rice wine once in awhile. Works great so far
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Re: Our house at Wat Sing

Postby planemad » Sun May 26, 2013 1:26 pm

Great way to end the day Tommy, as the sun sinks gently behind the palm trees.....life hardly gets much better does it!
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Re: Our house at Wat Sing

Postby Tommy » Sun May 26, 2013 10:10 pm

That's a very beautiful scenario u imagined but usually not the case for me. 0.0

Hope that u will have time to write more. Like reading your story like narration of the build.
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Re: Our house at Wat Sing

Postby planemad » Wed May 29, 2013 3:38 pm

So, having left Wat Sing, we returned to Bangkok. We had a warm feeling about what we had seen on the official “Day 1” of the build and were excited about what progress we would see over the coming weeks. For now however, Christmas was just a couple of days away and whilst I am not particularly religious, I rather like the trappings, for me it is never Christmas until the tree has been erected and decorated, nothing else, just put the parcels under the tree and wait for the day! Have you noticed, the older you get, the less parcels there are with your name on? Whilst the wife is Buddhist, she has assimilated Christmas to a tee, she was like a kid nagging to know what was in her presents! It reminds me of when I was a kid and I love it, sadly, the feeling of goodwill to all passes so quickly!

Christmas morning arrived and the wife (child) opened all her pressies, followed by me who did not take long to unwrap a bottle of Jonnie Walkers Black Label, at least I was into the Christmas spirit (sorry). By now it was approaching lunchtime and we were not meeting friends till the evening, so what to do (productively) with the afternoon. We decided that a trip to one of the household stores would be a good way to spend the afternoon. At Bang Na where we live, there is a large Home Pro on the way to the airport and another at Mega, there is also a Thai Watsadu next door to Mega but we decided to visit the larger of the 2 Home Pro’s which is the one on the way to the airport.

We had been saving money like mad over the previous 12 months for just this occasion, so, Christmas Day with a large wad in our pockets, it was time for some very serious shopping! The list included floor and wall tiles, light fittings, doors, windows, kitchen sinks, bathroom fittings, power showers, water pump and storage……the list went on and on! Our first problem however was not WHAT to buy but HOW to get it to Wat Sing, seemed appropriate that we addressed that problem first! We got lots of hummmmms, “cannots” etc until we suggested that our shopping bill was likely to be about 200K. The lines to HQ were opened straight away and became red hot and suddenly the problem had reduced quite drastically so we felt happy to enter the store.

I know all of you will have been to Home Pro at some time or other and will know the feeling of utter desperation and desire to run away when confronted with the hordes of sales people just waiting for you to set foot inside the store. Today was different however, we had “Big Money” and all of the staff had winking Santas hats on, one of which was to become our official tour guide. First stop the tiles very closely followed by Santas little helper, we spent a long time choosing the tiles and our assistant was making notes of part numbers and quantities required. When we were happy that we had covered everything (quite literally), we went to the man with the monitor who went through our list “no have”, “other shop” and occasionally, “yes”. So, after many return journeys up and down the aisles, we finally decided that we were satisfied that we had all the tiles we needed.

Next stop doors and windows, well, to be precise it was doors. We rang the builder to ask his advice on the readymade windows we were looking at, sadly, he washed his hands of windows “Cannot do”, must get someone who makes windows to make and fit (I think then I heard the first distant rumblings of potential trouble). So, doors it was, that was easy, one little lady was very helpful pointing out the outside doors with strengthened glass panels and the inside ones were no problem, lots to choose from and we left that department quite happy.

After that things got a little vague, we visited the lights section, lots of domed circular fittings with decorated glass panels on. Once I got the wife away from “Hello Kitty” the basket soon filled up and we thought we had got off with that quite lightly (sorry about the pun) until one of the helpers informed us that there was no choke, starter or tube in the boxes, they were extra, but no problem, they were on special offer…..my, my, must have been our lucky day!

So, after visiting the water department for a pump and storage tank and a million other places, it was time to discover the damage for our afternoon out. Not for us however the queue down the little aisle to the checkout, oh no! We were VIP and as such got the easy chairs and a glass of cold water whilst we waited for all the little tickets and bills that we had accumulated to be totalled up. Actually, it was not quite as bad as we had anticipated, the total came to about 170K, now, how to get this lot back to Wat Sing?
The option they arrived at was that we had accumulated about 5000 baht discount for our total spend, we could use that (or part of it) to pay for the transport, either way, WE were paying. It was the easy option and no money actually came out of our pocket. Delivery was set for 10th Jan. We did also get a little gift with whatever discount was left, but I doubt the value would have got us much even in Daiso!

You might ask why we opted to buy so far from the site. Quite simply, we do not have our own transport, so going places from Wat Sing, Chai Nat etc. requires a lift from other people who we do not wish to trouble. Added to that, there is a large selection of stores around Bang Na where we could take our time and revisit as many times and whenever we want in order to secure exactly what we wanted to turn the house into a home.

Finally, we had managed to while away the afternoon and the evening approached……Christmas Day, Evening, so let the festivities begin. Happy Christmas Everybody.
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Re: Our house at Wat Sing

Postby terp80 » Sun Jun 02, 2013 6:02 am

Hi planemad: I have just finished reading your building story - so far. And very enjoyable reading it is. A little different from the more usual diary format. Can't wait for the next installment and for some more pics! :)
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Re: Our house at Wat Sing

Postby Galee » Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:05 am

One of my biggest frustrations with HomePro is the number of items they have on show for sale and the actual items they have for sale are two entirely different things. :evil:
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Re: Our house at Wat Sing

Postby planemad » Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:28 am

Thanks for the comments guys, as I have said my build story is retrospective so I am not asking for the best way to do things, what's done is done so it's simply a sort of diary. I must say that I am quite enjoying documenting the events even though I was absent for much of it, 'er indoors took care of things, and when you get to see the finished project, I think you will agree she did a pretty good job (good thing she doesn't read much English as I would hate her to see the credit I am giving her! :lol: ). It's funny actually, recalling the events and my thoughts at the time. Things that were initially quite frustrating later became a source of amusement, maybe there is a lesson to be learnt from that.

Back on site and we arrive back at Wat Sing (early again :|. It was almost 2 weeks since we were here, so I was not quite sure what to expect. Actually, we were quite surprised, of course the columns had been completed, the form work removed and the holes filled in. In addition, the perimeter of the house had the outlying pillars connected which had also been completed and the form work removed. They were in fact only a day or so away from laying the ground slab upon which the rest of the house was to be built! All in all, good progress.
cl Jan 5.jpg
Jan 5, and this is our first sighting of the build since "Day 1".

I could see some brick work going on along the ground formers, I didn't have a clue what that was for but felt sure it would become apparent later on......it didn't!
cp Jan 5.jpg
Outline formwork complete and all column holes filled.

cq Jan 5.jpg
Some good neighbors, Buddha lives next door

We had not planned to sat long this time, mainly because there was little to see apart from the guys hammering together more form work for the main floor carcass, I could see that a LOT of woodwork was required for that.
cx Jan 5.jpg
All the details of the build are being supervised by the gent in the brown coat, laid down in the sand.

As you can see, the mountain of form work was slowly growing, so we were quietly confident that we would see a significant change when we returned on the 10th of Jan, that was also when HomePro had promised to bring all our "stuff". We simply had to hope they were up to the task!
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Re: Our house at Wat Sing

Postby planemad » Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:47 pm

Sorry about the long delay between posts, but the unthinkable has happened, I had to do a few days proper work, but I think the worst is over now and I can get back to doing what I do best....

It is now the 10th of Jan, 5 days since we were last on site and time for the next pilgrimage to see what progress had occurred since we were last here. Upon arrival, it was evident that a LOT had happened. The sand pit that was the ground platform for the house was completed and the form work for the upper beam members or floor supports were well underway. As all the work was being done by hand and the woodwork was being re-used to create supports and forms for the concrete beams, we had a perfect view of all that was being undertaken at the different stages of development.
E Jan 10 2013 (7).jpg
What the area would have looked like before the support and form work was added.

E Jan 10 2013 (33).jpg
Every effort was made to ensure complete accuracy.

E Jan 10 2013 (25).jpg
Slowly, a steel jungle was emerging

E Jan 10 2013 (21).jpg
And here were some we prepared earlier!

It was really heartwarming to see the speed with which the build was progressing, the builders estimate of Songkran seemed quite doable.

At this point, the builder came to chat about the roof. I felt that completing the floor was the order of the day, but as I was coming to the end of my months stay he wanted to get a few details sorted out whilst I was there, suddenly it all made perfect sense. Now, the family are right in the sticks, there is a small enclave of maybe 6 or so houses but nothing else. It is 5 k to Wat Sing and 15 K to Chai Nat, so I found what happened next quite amazing! First, and what seemed like only a few hundred metres, we were at a large steel yard where we ordered (and paid a deposit) all the steel work for the roof. Funny really, the guy who served us saw "Falang" and greeted me with "Gutten Morgan", which for the non linguists is good morning in German.....I'm British! However, courtesy of the Royal Air Force, I spent 6 years in Germany and spoke quite reasonable German, so I responded in German which completely dumbfounded him, he was not expecting that. He tried to explain that his father was German and therefore spoke the lingo, made me smile as I asked a few questions and it became clear he didn't have a scooby.

Next stop a few K's further along, turn down a cart track an suddenly a HomePro (or Homework or similar, I forget now) appeared in front of us. For Gods sake, we were in the middle of nowhere and there is a big DIY depot, even bigger surprise, we were the only customers.........for days I wouldn't wonder. The objective was to choose the colour and style of the roof tiles. We wanted Cepak Monier tiles and this place had them, we chose the light tan with a maroon tinge to them, only 16 baht each. The total for the roof was to be less than 150 K which I thought was very good as I have followed many builds here and seen where the costs appeared to be through the roof (sorry). We had made a conscious decision to keep the roof simple for the sake of the budget. We both like the multi-faceted roofs the Thais seem to appreciate so much, but they cost extra time and importantly, money.

So, back to the site and a coffee. Home Pro called, we would like to deliver your order, but where are you? Our highly detailed map of straight lines was beyond them, so we navigated them in over the phone! They arrived in a 4 tonner which was quite clearly FULL and "they" consisted of a young driver and I guess his girlfriend. Good job we had unlimited builders on site or the wife and I would have still been there now. We could not ask, nor would we expect her parents to help, they are in their 70s and don't need that. Half an hour later, the truck was cleared and the family seating area was no more. It now contained over 200 packs of tiles, toilet suits, washbasins, electrical fittings, water tank and pump, cuddely toy...the list just goes on and on. After we finished, a small tip for the driver and his lass and a case of Leo for the builders, only to be opened at knock-off and we were very happy, mainly as HomePro had delivered on the date they said they would.
E Jan 10 2013 (43).JPG
In-laws house before arrival of HomePro

E Jan 10 2013 (42).jpg
In-laws house AFTER HomePro

By now, we were well into the afternoon, so we decided to head back to the big city, but a quick look around, a few more pics for the album then we could be getting along. At this point I noticed that the raised floor at the front of the house was of a straight construction, according to my plans (ha!), the bedroom should extend 1 meter beyond the patio.
E Jan 10 2013 (23).jpg
The far end should extend by 1 metre for the distance of the last pile span.

I called the builder who simply said "cannot", the wife explained that the original plans were for a house built directly on the ground. Our house was to be raised 1.2 M above ground therefore, the additional metre would require extra support work in the form of extra piles......we were told, anyway, the builder WAS using our plans, but the one we supplied him simply to point out which living space was to be used for what, this was never intended to be the blueprint it had obviously become. Wife and I chat and decide to let sleeping dogs lie, cost to change would be quite large and the bedroom was still a very good size, so no need for confrontation. What irked me was the fact that the builder must have been aware of this from day one, but neglected to comment. That could have had serious consequences for the house and I would like to impress the point upon everyone contemplating their own build either ensure that the builder if FULLY aware of your requirements and can work from proper drawings or employ a site foreman who will keep everyone in line. This is all fully detailed in the coolthaihouse list of do's and dont's, ignore it at your peril! In our case it was nothing more than a minor gripe, it could have been so much worse.

As a post script to this, the house is now complete and we are very happy (in the main) with what we have paid for. The builder was, generally, excellent and made sure that the house was constructed as accurately and strongly as possible. I would recommend him to anyone, but with a number of provisos. But this is for another day, still plenty of building to do yet.
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Re: Our house at Wat Sing

Postby planemad » Wed Jul 03, 2013 2:26 pm

It is now 15th of Jan and my month in Thailand is coming to an end, where does all the time go? It was only a few days since we were here last, so we did not expect to see too much progress. As it happens, there was quite a lot to see, all of the rebar was in place having been raised off the concrete base by about 80 cm and most of the form work for the proper floor was also complete. It was difficult at ground level to make sense of what had been done, but stand on one of the finished places and everything seemed to be as it should be.
F Jan 15 2013 (7).jpg
Wooden form work in place

F Jan 15 2013 (9).jpg
The steel jungle

F Jan 15 2013 (11).jpg
One last pic and time to go!

I have to say I was very happy with the progress made over the last month. The builder assured me the place would be ready for Songkran and I was due back just a few days after the festivities (sorry, Songkran is not my favorite time of year). So, one last look, and it was off back to the big city. My emotions were running high, what did the next 3 months have in store and what would I see when I returned. I was happy with the builder, but till now I had been there every couple of days to question what was going on. I was happy that the wife was looking after things, but for a Thai, she is not very pushy, so would the builder try to steamroller her. She does have a very savvy cousin living just 100 m from us, so she could always call on him for advice and assistance, so, yes, I was happy with what was happening...........but!

It's 18th and it's Swampi for a trip back to Oman. The departure area in Swampi, for me at least, is a very lonely place. I am left with my thoughts and I am on my own, the first time for a long time, and I should enjoy the moment, but it is actually quite depressing. So, onto the Omanair (plug, plug!) flight and back to Muscat.

Almost as soon as I am settled back in my accommodation in the middle of the Omani dust bowl and it is time to make contact with the wife. By now she has returned to Wat Sing for some extensive supervision and sent me some more pics. Amazing once again the progress over the last 5 days. The concrete beams were now fully exposed and the floor pour was being prepared.
G Jan 22 2013  (2).jpg
The builder surveys all that he has done

G Jan 22 2013  (3).jpg
The uprights are extended to raise the ceiling a little
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Re: Our house at Wat Sing

Postby planemad » Wed Jul 03, 2013 3:40 pm

As I mentioned at the end of my last post, the builder suggested that he would like to raise the ceiling a little as he felt it was on the low side. To do that, he would have to re-clad the uprights to take an extra 1/2 m or so. This did not seem to be a problem as more space is better for circulation etc.
G Jan 22 2013  (5).jpg
The extended columns

The next set of pics arrived with me having been taken on Jan 28th, just 6 days after my last visit. This time the floor had been poured and the in laws were busy keeping the fresh concrete wet. This they did for over a week until the builder was happy that he could continue with the build.
H Jan 28 2013  (1).jpg
Floor and supervisor progressing well

H Jan 28 2013  (2).jpg
Remember the days when you didnt need a hose pipe to do this?

H Jan 28 2013  (4).jpg
FIL works MIL supervises, the same the world over!

H Jan 28 2013  (7).jpg
Looking good, just a few walls, a roof and............

That was the last set of pics I got for almost a month. Nothing much to show as a few bricks are put into place, so better to leave the story (for me) till there was something worthwhile to see.

In the mean time, 'er indoors started the business of legalising everything, i.e. getting the land into her name, sorting out an electric supply and of course water. I rather felt there was room things to come unstuck here. As you might recall, the land registry people said no need for plans, just do it! That had always been of concern to me, however, there seemed no problems getting the land re-measured for transfer into the wife's name. Electricity took something like 6000 baht and a few days to sort and the water supply was already there, we just needed to add our names. Of course, much of this could not be achieved until the house had been granted a number for which it had to be about 80% complete before that could be arranged. "She" said there was no problem at all from any of the authorities, money did not change hands and just like my sex life right now, everything was in hand! :oops:

Even though we spoke everyday, it is really frustrating to hear that this and that had been done, but I could not see the progress. Wife is not good with pc's and cameras and had to rely upon cousin for assistance. Cousin has just started his own business repairing factory machinery, so was away much of the time as his biz seems to be taking off quite well.

It was a long month!
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Re: Our house at Wat Sing

Postby weescotsguy66 » Fri Jul 19, 2013 5:03 pm

Great Sorry so far looking forward, to the finish product

Oman Air would not thank you for them I prefer BKK to Dubai then Muscat better timings, and alot better service the lounge are so much better than the Muscat offering.

You really need to get some transportation soon taxis can be a pain, and best buy new even a small Yaris is only 600K and is nippy.

What about Termite Prevention Methods did you use any?

Looking at the quality of the steelwork they look rather more professional than I have seen on other builds.
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Re: Our house at Wat Sing

Postby planemad » Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:08 pm

Hi Weescotsguy,

Thanks for your comments. I choose Omanair cos they fly direct to BKK, just 5 hours 30 mins and I live at the most 10 mins from the airport, so book in online, get there an hour before the flight and away. As for choice of airline, I speak as I find, and so far, never had any problems. As for the airport, 100% with you on that although another airport is springing up across the runway from the existing one, should be online by the end of next year.

Taxis and transport, well, in town I don't have a problem with MRT, BTS or the occasional Taxi and the personal transport is now sorted out via wife's cousin and an insider from the trade. I will get behind the wheel in about 10 days time, so maybe will comment then.

The builder, as I have said has, in the main, done a sterling job. I do have a few gripes, but really, nothing much to worry about. Your comments regarding the steel work is reassuring and I hope you will continue to agree when you see the skeleton for the roof, which I shall be posting quite soon. Anyway, good talking to you and I hope we can chat again.

OK, so I am back in Oman and waiting impatiently for the next batch of progress pics to come through. The problem is that both her cousin and her have no idea how to reduce the size of the pics, so I get an email of 50 to 60 meg and only 5 pics, which, depending upon the internet in Oman can take ages to download.

There is not much of a narrative from here on in as I can only see what is happening from the pics. I think the only problem we had was the choice of roof tiles which we picked in December, but when we wanted them mid Feb, "no have" so 'er indoors had to choose something else. As it happens, they had something very similar, so no tears on that one.

Almost as soon as I had got back, the first batch of pics eventually arrived and showed real progress. The columns were complete and the roof framework was well underway. A Songkran completion date looked well on the cards!
J Feb 19 2013 (1).jpg
Finally the house appears to be taking shape

H Jan 28 2013  (8).jpg
See what happens as soon as I turn my back!

K Feb 21 2013 (2).jpg
The framework for the steps at the front

K Feb 21 2013 (5).jpg
Looks rather large for a ball cock!

K Feb 21 2013 (4).jpg
Looking good!


OK, that about covers the build up to early/mid Feb, I needed to wait for the next set of pics before I could see what was happening next.
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Re: Our house at Wat Sing

Postby planemad » Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:22 pm

OK, so carrying on from where I left off, still nothing to add so I shall let the pics tell the story.
Ka Feb 24 2013(2).jpg
They are now putting up the framework for the roof

Ka Feb 24 2013(1).jpg
Skeletal progress on the roof and the rear steps

Ka Feb 24 2013(3).jpg
From a different angle

L Mar 4 2013 (9).jpg
Early March and the internal walls are going up

L Mar 4 2013 (13).jpg
Roof framework complete, just waiting for the tiles

L Mar 4 2013 (16).jpg
A view from the side and rear


As you can see, quite a lot of progress since the last report, (fingers crossed) still feeling confident .
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Re: Our house at Wat Sing

Postby planemad » Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:36 pm

Now mid March, just 3 weeks to go to Songkran, now I am sure it will not be ready as the builder promised. That however is not a big problem as we had not intended to move in directly, but take time furnishing it etc so we can use it for a few days at a time when we are in Thailand. December 2014 should be the BIG move in date. So, keeping up the build progress, here are another batch of pics covering early March till about 3rd week in.
M Mar13 2013 (2).jpg
The tiles have arrived and the roof is mainly complete

M Mar13 2013 (3).jpg
I rather like them, actually, I think the tiles look great

M Mar13 2013 (4).jpg
Another view

M Mar13 2013 (5).jpg
The frame work for the kitchen work counter is well underway

M Mar13 2013 (6).jpg
More of the kitchen counter

M Mar13 2013 (7).jpg
This is a part view of the master loo


Whilst the build will not be completed on time, it continues (in my opinion) to look good.
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