Building A House In Chiang Mai At The Worst Possible Time

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Time For Another Update

Postby Greenside » Sun Feb 02, 2014 12:06 am

Progress still slower that hoped but the end (of the contract, at least) is in sight. They're running more than three months behind schedule which is a pain in the neck for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that we're losing what we hoped would be rental income on the house we're living in. Also, having a two year old and a four month old baby without a bedroom to put them in makes for a lot of tiptoeing around in the evenings. Compensation by way of the penalty clause will help but it doesn't make up for the sleepless nights just at the time you really need to be sharp.

Image
Image
The spa is almost finished although, due to a lack of communication between the pool guy and the contractor, the air inlets on the sides are 5cm too low and so that is about to be corrected. The seat is terrazzo and looks great and the floor and outsides are sandwash. The lip of the overflow was made with some leftover granite from our kitchen.

Image
Image
The pool tiles were replaced using the right adhesive and grout and it was cleaned today. They had a tough time making a neat job around the skimmers with the 4 inch tiles so I found some 30 x 60cm tiles in a nearby colour and so they were able to just cut 4 pieces and it looked much better. The upper surface of the steps is sandwash. The deck tiles feel like the right choice - they're wet in this picture but a non-glare light grey normally and don't seem to get too hot underfoot. Exterior doors and windows are UPVC and they have still to have the screens fitted. I'd very much have preferred wooden bi-folds but the budget wouldn't run to it.
The show bricks are a bit of a problem in one area. They were from a different batch and noticeably darker than their neighbours. Cleaning them doesn't produce a good result so I think we're going to try dirtying down the others nearby before coating with TOA 213 water based silicone.

Image
The exterior is coming together with fixes to the concrete finishes in progress daily at the moment. The amount of extra work these people make for themselves by not using masking tape or cleaning up grout before it dries defies belief - they had to spend almost two days on the pool deck, scraping and scrubbing. The steelwork for the pergola turned out well but the electrical contractor forgot to install a feed for the lighting until it was too late. We did a work-around but it means that the lights come on and off on the exterior lighting timer and not from a switch inside the house although I can keep them off with a local switch.

Image
The west side. The aircon condensers will sit on stands separate from the house and we've done our best to conceal the pipework. If you're considering hiding those ugly conduits, make sure it's on the plan from the beginning and get the aircon contractor to OK the routing. The hatch in the wall under the third window from the right is access to the plumbing for the bathtub.

Image
The back view. The soil level is too high which is on the list to be fixed when the drive is built.

Image
The living dining room is starting to take shape now the doors are in place. The hanging polystyrene sculpture protects the pendant lamp fixture that will be above the dining table.

This part of the project is the most stressful as (assuming you got the basic structure sound) it's all the little details that will be the things you'll have to live with and that others will notice first. With semi skilled workers installing expensive fittings, constant trips to get overlooked items and dozens of deceptively crucial decisions to be made daily, it's not something to be sceduled while you're not on hand every minute. More when I can find some time :D
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Re: Building A House In Chiang Mai At The Worst Possible Tim

Postby gliffaes » Sun Feb 02, 2014 5:56 am

Looks nice I like that pool finish too.
Yes they are pretty dumb when it comes to keeping things clean and making their life so much easier ad better, Ive found the worse thing is after painting is keeping anyone and everyone OFF the walls, people have a habit of touching leaning and even feet on the walls and with my soil which is red it leaves red marks , hard to remove.
How did the budget do?
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Re: Building A House In Chiang Mai At The Worst Possible Tim

Postby Greenside » Sun Feb 02, 2014 9:20 pm

The budget is about where I expected it to be in baht (that is 8 - 10% more than the contract price + owner supply items) but the weakness of the pound/baht exchange rate has hurt a lot. Sadly the recent recovery came too late to help things much. The consolation is that building costs have increased a lot in the last year so holding off would have eaten up most of the exchange rate gains.
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Re: Building A House In Chiang Mai At The Worst Possible Tim

Postby terp80 » Tue Feb 04, 2014 1:29 pm

Looks really great! I'll have to stop by one day when it's convenient for you. I know you've been super busy lately, and not just with the house. Good luck with the finishing touches. :)
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Re: Building A House In Chiang Mai At The Worst Possible Tim

Postby Khunchai » Wed Oct 08, 2014 3:10 pm

Greenside, what kind of camera and lens are you using to take those pictures? :?:
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Re: Building A House In Chiang Mai At The Worst Possible Tim

Postby kiwimartin » Wed Oct 08, 2014 10:30 pm

Khunchai - I have been admiring Greenside's photographs (and house too)...maybe it is the most well photographed story on CTH.
Greenside, congratulations on the build and design...I love the 3 sided enclosed courtyard created around the pool.
I would be very interested to hear how the raised vented ceilings are working for you. Does your roof space include a fan to assist venting?
We have been working with Intertech Steel Roofs and will try something like this ridge vent prototype we have developed with them. They suggested something more like your solution (which looks great) but we are interested in experimenting...
jpg-2.jpg
jpg-2.jpg (10.31 KiB) Viewed 1401 times

...based on this Aussie design -
ridge vent.jpg
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Re: Time For Another Update

Postby pipoz » Thu Oct 09, 2014 1:39 pm

Greenside wrote:Progress still slower that hoped but the end (of the contract, at least) is in sight. They're running more than three months behind schedule which is a pain in the neck for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that we're losing what we hoped would be rental income on the house we're living in. Also, having a two year old and a four month old baby without a bedroom to put them in makes for a lot of tiptoeing around in the evenings. Compensation by way of the penalty clause will help but it doesn't make up for the sleepless nights just at the time you really need to be sharp.

Image
Image
The spa is almost finished although, due to a lack of communication between the pool guy and the contractor, the air inlets on the sides are 5cm too low and so that is about to be corrected. The seat is terrazzo and looks great and the floor and outsides are sandwash. The lip of the overflow was made with some leftover granite from our kitchen.

Image
Image
The pool tiles were replaced using the right adhesive and grout and it was cleaned today. They had a tough time making a neat job around the skimmers with the 4 inch tiles so I found some 30 x 60cm tiles in a nearby colour and so they were able to just cut 4 pieces and it looked much better. The upper surface of the steps is sandwash. The deck tiles feel like the right choice - they're wet in this picture but a non-glare light grey normally and don't seem to get too hot underfoot. Exterior doors and windows are UPVC and they have still to have the screens fitted. I'd very much have preferred wooden bi-folds but the budget wouldn't run to it.
The show bricks are a bit of a problem in one area. They were from a different batch and noticeably darker than their neighbours. Cleaning them doesn't produce a good result so I think we're going to try dirtying down the others nearby before coating with TOA 213 water based silicone.

Image
The exterior is coming together with fixes to the concrete finishes in progress daily at the moment. The amount of extra work these people make for themselves by not using masking tape or cleaning up grout before it dries defies belief - they had to spend almost two days on the pool deck, scraping and scrubbing. The steelwork for the pergola turned out well but the electrical contractor forgot to install a feed for the lighting until it was too late. We did a work-around but it means that the lights come on and off on the exterior lighting timer and not from a switch inside the house although I can keep them off with a local switch.

Image
The west side. The aircon condensers will sit on stands separate from the house and we've done our best to conceal the pipework. If you're considering hiding those ugly conduits, make sure it's on the plan from the beginning and get the aircon contractor to OK the routing. The hatch in the wall under the third window from the right is access to the plumbing for the bathtub.

Image
The back view. The soil level is too high which is on the list to be fixed when the drive is built.

Image
The living dining room is starting to take shape now the doors are in place. The hanging polystyrene sculpture protects the pendant lamp fixture that will be above the dining table.

This part of the project is the most stressful as (assuming you got the basic structure sound) it's all the little details that will be the things you'll have to live with and that others will notice first. With semi skilled workers installing expensive fittings, constant trips to get overlooked items and dozens of deceptively crucial decisions to be made daily, it's not something to be sceduled while you're not on hand every minute. More when I can find some time :D


Greenside,

That terrazzo finish looks great in the spa. How much trouble was it to find someone who could actually do it properly

Regards

pipoz
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Nearly Almost There...

Postby Greenside » Tue Oct 28, 2014 9:43 pm

Right. Without pouring out the same tired old excuses to explain why I haven't been posting updates (well, since you asked, two small children who wake up at 5.30 and demand you go to sleep with them at 7:pm, broken computer, almost complete rewiring of the house, replacement of spa wall mosaic ti..... Oh, never mind.) Did I mention that we moved in in May? Here's the answer to the last two questions:

1) Camera used was mainly a Canon 7D with either a Canon 10-22mm or 24-75mm f2.8 lens. Thank you for the kind comments - if you want to see more pictures (although not of the building project) see here.
2) It was hard to find someone to do the terrazzo in Chiang Mai. 20 years ago it seemed to be all the rage - you see loads of public buildings and shopping malls where it was used a lot but for some reason it went out of style and so the skill disappeared. In the end, it turned out that the couple who did the sandwash verandah on our studio could do it but were only prepared to use stones that they could get locally which restricted the colour somewhat. Nevertheless, it turned out pretty well and is comfortable to sit on while looking good.

I've made a few notes of things I think other people crazy enough to do a project will find helpful and will return to post about them and describe the last stage of the build as soon as I feel strong enough :)

In the meantime, here's a picture of the pool area at night as seen from the living room. Since taking it we've started to collect large pots which stand around the far corners and house some nice plant cover.

Image
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Re: Building A House In Chiang Mai At The Worst Possible Tim

Postby pipoz » Tue Oct 28, 2014 11:00 pm

Hi and I see that you have no gutters. I have a similar design

Have you noticed any problems with the no gutter approach

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Re: Building A House In Chiang Mai At The Worst Possible Tim

Postby Mike Judd » Wed Oct 29, 2014 4:14 am

Yes I noticed that as well( No gutters) I have a similar U shape house ,although a lot simpler. They don't seem to have big enough gutters in Thailand to cope with any down pours ,even if you do put them up, then theres the question of down pipes with a U shape house you would need one at every change of direction to work. I have a drain running all around the house ,positioned where the max overshoot from the roof lands, I made it 250 m.m. wide with a slight slope to it, but still have to get a grate of some kind yet, they say those plastic ones around pools don't last ,although my neighbours plastic grate on his pool seems to be holding out after 6 years. They make plenty here in Oz in Stainless or Galv steel, but most are 150m.m. wide, which probably would do the job. What are you thinking of doing or does the water all drain away O.K. in a down pour with all that surrounding area and the roof water. :?: :?:
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Re: Building A House In Chiang Mai At The Worst Possible Tim

Postby Greenside » Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:57 am

Gutters: Agonised long and hard over the gutter question. The verandah roof is quite low on two sides to provide shade and I think that gutters would make it clunky and a bit heavy looking. Also, the amount of water in the two corners is huge when it rains hard and it seems to me unlikely that any kind of normal arrangement will work 100%. We put in drains to take downpipes from gutters if we need them but have decided to wait and see after a full wet season.

The downsides: Water cascading onto the deck makes a lot of noise. Small bits of concrete and other roof stuff lands on the deck although we're hoping that will stop by next season. You have to have tiles rather than sandwash on the deck or the falling water will discolour, if not erode, it.

There are 15 floor drains on the deck and they make a very good job of removing the rainwater - maybe 10 minutes after a storm there is no significant standing water. The drains lead to two 5 ring soakaways in the garden but one fills up in a prolonged storm which is not so great. Even though it doesn't stand for too long it remains to be seen if it will affect the grass that we have just had laid.

You can get nice stainless floor drains from Global House.

Image

Easy to clean, too.
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Re: Building A House In Chiang Mai At The Worst Possible Tim

Postby pipoz » Wed Oct 29, 2014 10:54 am

Greenside wrote:Gutters: Agonised long and hard over the gutter question.
There are 15 floor drains on the deck and they make a very good job of removing the rainwater - maybe 10 minutes after a storm there is no significant standing water. The drains lead to two 5 ring soakaways in the garden but one fills up in a prolonged storm which is not so great. Even though it doesn't stand for too long it remains to be seen if it will affect the grass that we have just had laid.

Easy to clean, too.


Thanks a lot, I had a similar concept in mind, with drains running to soak-away pits say 10 m from the house perimeter. Also in my case I also plan to fall my external hard pavement towards my adjacent land on the west side (which is partly farmed) which is some 500 mm lower than the house plot. From there it can soak into the ground

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Fairly Finished....(ish)

Postby Greenside » Fri Jul 17, 2015 3:07 pm

Feeling a bit guilty about not coming back to post progress, but to tell you the truth getting the garden in hand and the interior in some kind of order was such a lot of work that I felt I needed a rest. Turned out to be 7 months - time flies when you're not building a house!

So here a couple of pictures of the way it's all turned out so far. All in all we're pleased with the build quality and I'm going to compile a short list of things we learned from the experience and post it here.

Image
The main house with the Studio in the background. The the entrance from the road is a 40m drive on the right of the picture.

Image
The Studio was completed in 2011 and we lived in it while the main house was being built. Being onsite all the time has many advantages (as does having Global House just 5 minutes away!). We are currently looking for a tenant for this, by the way.

Image
The front of the main house from the reverse angle. The drive leads left past the Studio to a car port.

Image
The finished (but not yet decorated) pool area. There are now plants and vines growing on the pergola to either side of the door and eventually this will provide a complete green screen making the whole place very private.

Currently, we're trying to find our way with the Malaysian grass which has been in place since November. Areas are turning brown and dying underneath the top green layer and we're not sure why. It gets the equivalent of 2.5mm of rainfall every day and the soil remains damp to the touch until well into the afternoon on all but the hottest days which is what our grass supplier recommended and we've fertilised it with organic and chemical compounds too. Our most recent thoughts are that maybe we're keeping it a bit long (about 50-60mm) so as of this week we will be cutting it shorter and more often. Any other suggestions will be appreciated!
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Re: Building A House In Chiang Mai At The Worst Possible Tim

Postby olavhome » Fri Jul 17, 2015 6:24 pm

First of all congratulations with Your build. Impressed, both that and also the garden looks really nice.
About the grass, have not used to much fertiliser ?
Strange, because I also seen the malayan grass recommended.
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Re: Building A House In Chiang Mai At The Worst Possible Tim

Postby Greenside » Tue Dec 29, 2015 10:25 am

Fertilized the grass with Urea (40-0-0) and organic fertiliser mixed 1:2 and a light dose every three months seems to keep it looking good. Would like a simple push along spreader but they don't seem to exist over here. Although the Malay grass is officially drought resistant, it does go brown pretty quickly if it's not getting enough to drink - it shows up inconsistencies in the sprinkler system without mercy.
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