Many of the final bigger items have been finished now, though the connection of the electric got way beyond a joke in the end.
Good things are that the bathrooms are now finished, though we're holding off on the glass shower screens for now. They need to be made to measure by Cotto through SCG and though we're pretty sure we want one in the en-suite bathroom, we're not sure if the main bathroom is a good size for one, and my wife is worried about safety issues as that will primarily be used by our 8 year old. I think it'll be fine on all counts, but no need to rush a decision so will hold back for now.
The plumbing has been completed, though I'm unsure of the pressure and don't think it's enough. We've got a smaller size Mitsubishi pump (WP 155) which is using 150W and kicks in at something like 1.8 bar and tops out at 2.2 bar. It seems strong enough when it first starts up which is where the 2.2 bar is in play, but once it's running it's a bit lower. We'll see what it's like to live with, but I'm anticipating going up to the next model at least which is 200W and ranges from 2.2 to 2.6 bar (from memory) and is a straight swap for about another 2,000 baht.
The smartwood has been done throughout and looks very nice indeed. The house electrician mistook it for real wood when he first saw it, which is the effect we were hoping for. The first coat of stain was a bit too 'antique teak' so subsequent coats were 'mai daeng' and it's finished very nicely. The balcony at the sliding doors got an extra coat of antique teak so it's a shade different, but nothing that's bothersome. It all goes well and gives a nice finishing touch to the house. We found today that it's a bit slippery under bare feet when it's wet, but these are the sorts of things we will discover about our designs when we live in for a bit.
Now, the electric...
We paid for to have cable pulled to the house on Friday 15th and expected fitting maybe Wednesday 20th. On Thursday we went in and were told confidently by someone that it had been done the day before. They checked the book and it hadn't, and was actually booked in for the following Saturday. Well, we had a date so we left it at that. Saturday mid-morning we went to the house and some lads were parked up in the electricity lorry having a smoke. Said something about something being missing to my wife, and that was that. Half a job done. Went back first thing Monday morning and straight in to see the manager who called in the guy in charge of the pulling team. They agreed it wasn't done and it would be done Wednesday as they had a big planned job on Tuesday that affected the amphoe that took priority. We played on it a bit and they agreed they'd get the team back on site at 1:30pm Monday. And at 1:30pm it was throwing it down with rain and didn't stop until after 2:30pm, so we didn't expect any action that day. Went back on Tuesday and got confirmation that rain stopped play, that Tuesday really was out because of the big job, and that they would be on site first thing on Wednesday morning. And finally, they were. Well, a different team who called out the previous team for doing a crap job, but ended up getting it fixed. That was 21k and 13 days.
Over this time, the house electrician had replaced the neat fusebox with something out of a machine shop that was a bit of a shock at first, but can easily be covered over with a painted box. And he'd replaced the main connector at the wall with an underground cable to the electric office's standard, and run that to where the meter was due to go. That was about 40k. He's done nice, tidy work throughout.
So once the cables had been pulled we were called by the girls at the electric office to come and pay for the meter, and when we got there they had the paperwork all ready, assured us it would get processed today and the meter would be fitted later. Another 16k. But fair enough, the meter was fitted that afternoon, and the builder was on site to make sure everything done in the house was up to standard and we were finally connected.
The whole process was ugly. I have suspicions we never *really* needed 3 phase to start with though have seen internet recommendations for it and had a friend of my dad confirm that with houses like ours, it can be required. Still, doubts remain. I also suspect we were messed about with the speed of installation, though it could be stress-paranoia and the negative feelings about the large additional expense of nearly 80k (well, maybe 50k more than single phase). But rounds of discussions between myself and my wife, the fixer, the builder, local and distant electricians, local electricity office and regional electric office and it all seemed to keep returning to one thing - we needed to agree to doing it their way if we wanted to get it installed. So misgivings, potential ill-feelings at possibly being had, and all the delays have to be swallowed up because nothing is going to be allowed to spoil the feeling of success that we're getting from completing our house. We can, and will, live with it. We have more important things to concern ourselves with now.
Interestingly, others are noticing the house too. The builders have been saying for a while that people occasionally park up and take photos, and a few people have wondered down the drive to chat with him about it. We're unintentionally taking on a profile in the town that is more about how other people see us now, and less about any change in who we are.
We've been here about 9 years, and for 6 of those lived in a small but decent one story house on a soi with some very nice normal people, and a few low-lives. We drove a 19 year old car, an 8 year old bike, dressed in 99 baht market clothes and spent very little money. And we were fine with that. We got looked down on by some, mostly those who thought that if you didn't buy things on credit and flaunt what you didn't really own, you were lower than them. We just let them get on with it and saved our money. We moved to a big two story detached house about 3 years ago after getting a new bike at some point, then got a new car on 50% finance, and are now about to complete a total build (including land) of just under 5 million. It's nowhere near the biggest or flashiest build around here, but it's in the top few dozen for cost maybe.
So when my wife met one of our old neighbours (no friend at all, and who's son ended up verbally abusing my wife in the street) in the bank the other day, he asked where we were living, the discussion led to our new build, the question was asked about how much we'd borrowed, and my wife innocently replied that it was all paid for in cash. Today we got home and his bike is parked in front of the house. He starts on with some waffle and my wife cuts to the chase: "So why are you here - do you want to borrow money?". Yes he did - two grand that he'd pay back without interest in 7 days. My wife said "We cannot help" and walked away. I told him we weren't a bank, wished him good luck, and he left.
We're not going to be viewed as we used to be anymore. We're now the farang family with the 5 million baht house who have MONEY! We won't be surprised if this isn't the last request for money we're going to get from people who think we've got more money than sense. We have no need to offend people if we need to decline requests for money, but they're going to get nothing. It'll blow over as all gossip does, but for a while there maybe some more effects from us building this house than we'd really considered. It'll probably more challenging for my wife than it is for me, because I can get away with playing the stupid farang who doesn't quite understand.
Anyway...who cares about all of that! We move in on Saturday