Building an Australian style house in Chiang Mai

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Building an Australian style house in Chiang Mai

Postby Max&Bee-in-CM » Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:30 pm

We purchased almost 3 rai of land in San Kamphaeng, Chiang Mai (actually 2 rai, 300 ngarn, 14 wah) a few months ago.

We started building activities on the 7 May 2010, and work is progressing steadily now.

I am aiming for a total budget of 3 million baht for the land, house, garage, fencing, landscaping, and maybe some
furniture if we are lucky.

My wife's father is a builder, so he is managing the project, and we are sourcing and purchasing all equipment, materials
and services ourselves. This makes it more rewarding, and sometimes more frustrating, as we have met both decent
and honest people, and a few slippery snakes so far. we are suing local Thai labor from the nearby area, and also some
people from the wife's home town close to Chiang Mai.

My goal is to share some of the most important lessons learnt along the way building here, and have other people
share their good and bad experiences also.

Lessons:
1. Make payments via direct deposit or bank cheque - this way the person cannot come back and say you have not paid them
2. Get a written statement for the work to be carried out - example for the soil infill, specify the reference point from which the
soil height is to be measured, and specify total area.
3. Keep a sign on and off register at sight, and have each worker and the supervisor sign off each day on the hours worked
4. For macro work (bobcat), get a receipt from the driver on the arrival and departure time, as this may vary with what the
owner of the macro thinks his person worked.
5. Get 3 or more quotes for materials in writing, then show the the lowest quote to the company you want to buy from, they will
often match it, as they want your business.

I am also happy to share the project costs, in order to assist others in planning their project, and also get ideas from others
on how to minimize costs.

I am sure there are many more lessons to learn...
Attachments
COST TRACKING - 30 June 2010.zip
Running project costs as at 30 June 2010
(20.93 KiB) Downloaded 420 times
the house design.jpg
The design of the house
the land.JPG
The land before any building activities
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Re: Building our house in Chiang Mai

Postby geordie » Wed Jun 30, 2010 9:46 pm

were the buffalo thrown in with it ??
Welcome to CTH good luck with the house look forward to following your progress will you be publishing the spreadsheet with updates regularly
my comments may be wrong but never deliberately
If it aint broke, dont fix it
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Re: Building our house in Chiang Mai

Postby Max&Bee-in-CM » Wed Jun 30, 2010 10:17 pm

the buffaloes served as great lawn mowers for the first month or so - they have since gone back to their
owner in the neighboring farm. we may invite them back over when its time to fertilize the trees.

yep, i will post the costs up every fortnight...
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Re: Building our house in Chiang Mai

Postby MGV12 » Thu Jul 01, 2010 9:46 am

Max&Bee-in-CM wrote:We purchased almost 3 rai of land in San Kamphaeng, Chiang Mai (actually 2 rai, 300 ngarn, 14 wah) a few months ago.

We started building activities on the 7 May 2010, and work is progressing steadily now.

I am aiming for a total budget of 3 million baht for the land, house, garage, fencing, landscaping, and maybe some
furniture if we are lucky.

My wife's father is a builder, so he is managing the project, and we are sourcing and purchasing all equipment, materials
and services ourselves. This makes it more rewarding, and sometimes more frustrating, as we have met both decent
and honest people, and a few slippery snakes so far. we are suing local Thai labor from the nearby area, and also some
people from the wife's home town close to Chiang Mai.

My goal is to share some of the most important lessons learnt along the way building here, and have other people
share their good and bad experiences also.

Lessons:
1. Make payments via direct deposit or bank cheque - this way the person cannot come back and say you have not paid them
2. Get a written statement for the work to be carried out - example for the soil infill, specify the reference point from which the
soil height is to be measured, and specify total area.
3. Keep a sign on and off register at sight, and have each worker and the supervisor sign off each day on the hours worked
4. For macro work (bobcat), get a receipt from the driver on the arrival and departure time, as this may vary with what the
owner of the macro thinks his person worked.
5. Get 3 or more quotes for materials in writing, then show the the lowest quote to the company you want to buy from, they will
often match it, as they want your business.

I am also happy to share the project costs, in order to assist others in planning their project, and also get ideas from others
on how to minimize costs.

I am sure there are many more lessons to learn...


Hi there and welcome to CTH:

You give an all-encompassing budget but where do you see the actual house [turn key] coming in?

As you say, sharing is good .... In my experience:
Maybe your wife's father is the exception but you would find that the majority of small contractors would take steps if you mentioned payment by DD or cheque; very big ones in the other direction! Cash is usually the only acceptable payment for a number of reasons .... which doesn't stop you keeping an account where they sign for each payment.

Your signing on and off requirement suggests you are paying by day rate ..... with your wife's father in control maybe that will work but usually doesn't. With Thais [and others] it's not so much how long they work or how hard they appear to work ... it's what they achieve during the time they are on site. A price for the whole thing, or per section, or per talang or linear metre usually works better.

It's good to start out with firm guidelines in your mind but, while keeping control, it's also essential to work with your team and local practises if you want to keep stress levels [all round] at a reasonable level.

Good luck ... when do you hope to move in?

“Some days I am an optimistic pessimist ... other days I am a pessimistic optimist”
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Re: Building our house in Chiang Mai

Postby Max&Bee-in-CM » Thu Jul 01, 2010 11:19 pm

Hi, Thanks for your comments...

I see the house coming in at about 1.4 million, inclusive of bathrooms, kitchen, AC - but we will need to work hard to get that price.

Yep, we definitely keep our own receipt book - for those people or companies who dont have a receipt of their own - the company that installed the
electric pole is one such example.

We are paying the staff directly, dad manages the staff at site every day in terms of allocating work, and they sign a roster every day worked. Every
fortnight we pay them for days worked - salaries range from 150 baht to 300 baht per day. Builder dad did not want to accept anything, and is happy to build the house for his daughter and granddaughter, but we will give him between 10k and 15k per month to cover all his petrol and accommodation and other expenses (his home is in a town 120 km away). It is unusual I guess, but it gives a true indication of the real construction costs without any builder markups or "empty receipts" that I have heard about from others.

He is comfortable that he can build the house (17m x 13m) at 6500 baht complete per square metre. We hope to move in 1 October.
Attachments
IMG_5202.JPG
Half way through the form work for the ground beams.
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Re: Building our house in Chiang Mai

Postby harry+ratchanee » Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:54 am

Hi
Welcome to CTH
Be great to see your build.
We hope to build in the Chiang Mai area, near On Tai next year.
Looking for good architect and builder.
Who did you use for plans any contact information would be appreciated ( you can email me personally kho303@aol.com )
Is your father-in-law available for a future build sometime next year??
Hope all goes well with the build, look forward to the photos.

Harry and Ratchanee
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Re: Building our house in Chiang Mai

Postby BKKBILL » Fri Jul 02, 2010 9:05 am

Yes welcome aboard.

Few will be able to match your per square meter price for building.

Looks like you are off to a grand start and fredlk won't be so lonely since setaputra is just about finished his build.

I am another one who is planning a build in Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai province next year.
It's not who you know, it's whom you know.
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Re: Building our house in Chiang Mai

Postby fredlk » Fri Jul 02, 2010 9:29 am

BKKBILL wrote:Few will be able to match your per square meter price for building.
Looks like you are off to a grand start and fredlk won't be so lonely since setaputra is just about finished his build.
I am another one who is planning a build in Mae Taeng, Chiang Mai province next year.

It seems that everyone is starting after me and finishing before me. (I'm not complaining, just stating facts. :D )
And your price is less than half of mine. I hope you manage it.
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Re: Building our house in Chiang Mai

Postby Max&Bee-in-CM » Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:41 am

Hello all....

Looking for good architect and builder.
Who did you use for plans any contact information would be appreciated


We used a wife's cousin in Doi Tao, her home town, located 150 km from CM. We used another
cousin engineer to sign the plans, in another city (big families here!!)

What I found was that I had to design the house myself more or less, as it was very difficult
to communicate my design ideas to someone who has not designed an Australian style
house before, hence I found it easier to just give him the design shown above, and he translated
then into AutoCAD for the engineer and builder. he also did all the rebar and structural designs.

I will be happy to pass you contact information for them, however you will most likely need to
prepare plans before giving to them, and get someone to translate for talking. Pictures also
help, especially of the facade, so they have an idea of the look.

Is your father-in-law available for a future build sometime next year??


This is my first building project here, so I am curious to see the costs and quality, if its good I
am sure dad will be happy to build. But please be advised that he does not have a construction crew
at the moment, we had to source labor from the local village and he also brought some people from
the home town, Doi Tao. We stared off with 4-5 Myanmar people, but had to let them go when we
found out they didnt have work permits.

Our biggest issue so far (apart from the soil guy trying to rip us off), is getting enough workers.

Few will be able to match your per square meter price for building.


I hope I can attain that price also! It is only by buying everything ourselves, and running around searching for the
best deals for raw materials. It is also because it is "family price" and fully transparent - dad has absolutely no
markup, the wife and me buy and organize delivery of all materials, and manage the time sheets and salary
for the workers. I understand this is not possible if using a company or a local builder for the job - the builder
would not want you to know the true costs.

We got a quote from a local building company for the house, it was 1,669,921 baht - NOT including the bathrooms,
kitchens, aircon - so all up it would have been 2.2 million - way too expensive. See attached Excel file. I wanted to
compare with what dad could build, to what a company would charge. I can see huge markups in labor costs and
basic material costs from the building company!

And your price is less than half of mine. I hope you manage it.


Would you have a cost excel you can post up, I would be interested to see where your major costs lie.
Attachments
Costing from Thai Builder.zip
The quote for the house from a local Thai building company
(24.25 KiB) Downloaded 353 times
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Re: Building our house in Chiang Mai

Postby fredlk » Fri Jul 02, 2010 10:53 am

Max&Bee-in-CM wrote:Would you have a cost excel you can post up, I would be interested to see where your major costs lie.

No I don't have anything like that.
If you read my posts at http://www.coolthaihouse.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1698 you will see that I have written about the costs and charges as they occur.
To date with only the floors done and excluding the price of the land I've spent ฿1,819,337.00 exactly.
I think to get the first of the 2 houses completed, watertight, glazed, plumbed and fitted will cost a further 1 million Baht or thereabouts.
Fred.
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Re: Building our house in Chiang Mai

Postby fredlk » Fri Jul 02, 2010 11:24 am

I should add that the costs for my build are an approximate 15,000 Baht per square meter.
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2 July: Project Status

Postby Max&Bee-in-CM » Fri Jul 02, 2010 9:11 pm

The formwork for the ground beams is about 75% finished. We hope to finish tomorow and be ready
to pour concrete on Sunday.

We have 8 staff working, but a few need to go back to the farm very soon, so we are rushing to get
the floor done in the next week.

The problem we are having with staff is: Many local workers are busy either with planting season,
or with other construction jobs in the area. We are located about 18km from CM city, so in order
to use staff from the city, we would need to pick them up and drop off daily, but don't have the
pickup truck or driver to do this. I offered to do this, but dad said its too dangerous if police
stop me! Several people have come by the site looking for work, a few were hired and let go due to
either poor quality or laziness.
Attachments
IMG_5267.JPG
Formwork today
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3 July: Project Status

Postby Max&Bee-in-CM » Sat Jul 03, 2010 8:54 pm

Today all the formwork has been finished. Tomorrow we will get 10+ trucks of soil around the perimeter of the
house, and also sand to fill the bottom of the formwork.

Didn't really understand what builder dad wants to do with the soil inside the formwork, so will go to site early
tomorrow and look and learn.
Attachments
IMG_5398.JPG
Rear right of house - bathroom, toilet, 2 bedrooms
IMG_5397.JPG
Rear left of house - kitchen and living room
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6 July: Project Status

Postby Max&Bee-in-CM » Tue Jul 06, 2010 11:07 pm

On 5 July 3 trucks came and poured concrete into the ground beams.

On 6 July, the concrete was dry, and the form-molds were removed.

The house is beginning to take shape.

However, most of the workers have gone back to the farm, leaving only
2 workers at site. The next job for them would be to fit the form-molds
for the ground columns, in preparation for filling the columns with
concrete.
Attachments
IMG_5547.JPG
The completed base of the house
IMG_5544.JPG
The completed ground beams, looking from the back to the front of the house
truck3.JPG
Truck number 3
truck2.JPG
Truck number 2
truck1.JPG
Truck number 1
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Re: Building our house in Chiang Mai

Postby Viking » Wed Jul 07, 2010 12:38 pm

Hi,
Love following your build. I'm sure it's going to be a beautiful house.
One question pops up. Why did they remove the form-molds after one day?
My concrete knowledge is limited but even in cold Norway they leave the form-molds on for a while and waters the concrete to ensure that it cures properly before it dries. From the pictures it dose not look like they have been watering/covering the ground beams to ensure a high humidity level during the initial stage of the curing process.Improper curing can cause scaling, reduced strength, poor abrasion resistance and cracking. I would not like to build a house on a foundation prone to any of that.
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