Building my country home

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Building my country home

Postby falangsabai » Sun Nov 27, 2011 10:53 am

Hi,

My name is Marshall, retired American, and I've been living in Thailand now for seven years. I am familiar with many of the pitfalls of owner built and contractor built home here. None the less I want to give it a go and oversee the building of my own home. We have just recently purchased 351 talang wah of rice land (in Phitsanulok) and have filled 250 talong wah up to 1.5 meter. There is also a large "bung" pond on the land and we hope to build part of the house "in the water". I've done a lot of home "fix ups" over many years but am not an experienced home builder. I want to manage my own project, and am hopeful that in cooperation with an experienced construction boss I can achieve a reasonable facsimile of my "dream house" on a reasonable budget. This web site appears to offer a wealth of useful information.
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Re: Building my country home

Postby MGV12 » Sun Nov 27, 2011 11:34 am

Hi there Marshall ... a warm welcome to CTH

Sounds like you are on top of the situation as best anyone can be here ... hopefully you will start a build story so that we can see what's going on; as well as contribute where we can.

Good luck

“Some days I am an optimistic pessimist ... other days I am a pessimistic optimist”
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Re: Building my country home

Postby Ians » Sun Nov 27, 2011 1:37 pm

Hi Marshall, welcome.
I'm also in Phitsanulok and in the final stage of building - let me know if I can assist with anything
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Re: Building my country home

Postby falangsabai » Mon Nov 28, 2011 8:13 am

Hi Ians,

Thanks for the welcome. Where is your home in Phitsanulok. Have you posted any story or pics about your build. My e-mail is <email address removed and sent by PM to Ians. Please don't post personal info; you can contact members via admin until you are able to use PM system - mod> Your experience would be of great value to me. Thanks
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Re: Building my country home

Postby Ians » Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:17 am

Link to some photo's and comments.

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2476

I haven't posted much lately as really there hasn't been all that much to report and everything is pretty well standard - nothing new, innovative or outstanding, the building is progressing without any major problems except lack of communication "builder to workers" and being slow - this forced us to give the builder a hard push a few weeks back - get X + Y done by months end or else we will considered parting company (the contract was for end of Nov. finish so we were well justified to say get a move on or else) - worked wonders, more work done in the past 2 plus weeks than the previous 8 weeks.

Guess the major problem is we didn't have complete working and detailed drawings, therefore the problem has been getting the "builder" to pass onto the workers in clear terms what we discussed and agreed on certain items or areas of the build - without clear instructions the workers just went along with their own ideas of what was required (can't blame them). I could guarantee that if where was something to be done other than what was shown on the conceptual drawings it would be wrong - and it was - most days I could visit sight and find a problem from minor to major, the major ones being something that would impact on the next or further stages of build.
You not might realise, but there is no co-ordination between trades - for example, the brickies / renderers do their bit and then the plumber comes a long and chops into the walls for pipes etc - then the sparkies fronts up and cuts trenches down the walls for the cables and switches etc. because the builder hasn't told the renderers there is cabling to put into this wall , or they forgot the aircon guy had to run some pipes or cables etc etc, and so it goes on.
Another problem is language - luckily my wife has good English and a quick mind so my thoughts can be translated fairly accurately.

The house in the Wanna Lake Home project.
Any time you want to look let me know.
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Re: Building my country home

Postby elgato » Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:32 am

Welcome Marshall :D Looking forward to seeing posts of your build.
I thought I was wrong once but I was mistaken.
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Re: Building my country home

Postby falangsabai » Sat Feb 25, 2012 3:08 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. Cost per m2 seems to range between 7,000 - 12,000 baht 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.

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 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 the 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 kitchen will be very “falang” with extensive Rosewood cabinets. The foundation will be supported on 16 machine driven pilings.

He has committed to start construction after Songran and complete the build within 5 months 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: Building my country home

Postby Ians » Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:54 pm

Marshall and Cat,
Congratulations on getting started, call anytime if you want to review what we have done or to chew the fat over any ideas etc. We will be moving in over the next week or so - as of today, still a few outstanding items but nothing to stop us moving most of our gear in.
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Re: Building my country home

Postby falangsabai » Sun Feb 26, 2012 4:49 pm

Hi Ian,
Thanks. Congratulations to you too. I think I;d rather be in your position-close to finish rather than just starting but....
I've started a thread in build stories called Phitsanulok Country House. Will try to keep it up to date
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