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Pattaya, Thailand home construction, home building.  Q and A from readers.

Note;  NEW ENTRIES are now being posted to the blog -- here!

 --September 9, 2004 --

-- Electrical comments -----

Great web site. I think there's a mistake in the "Electrical" section. It mentions a size 16 ground wire (proper term: "grounding electrode conductor") which is bonded to the ground rod. This wire should run from the ground rod to the main bonding jumper (neutral to ground bond), which should be located in the main panelboard. In the picture of the panelboard, there is one larger black colored conductor bonded to the ground bus. I assume this is the grounding electrode conductor, and it appears to be a #6 or #8 (American Wire Gauge, or AWG.) #16 AWG conductors are only used for control wiring. The same panelboard picture has me concerned about something else. The 2-pole, 45 Amp main circuit breaker appears to have #12 AWG conductors (the two white ones on the bottom left). Are these coming from the meter box? If so, these wires are rated for 20 Amps, and would burn up before the 45 Amp main trips. And 45 Amps sounds low, unless you do not have air conditioning. I'm not familiar with Thai Electrical Code (or if there is one), and my source is the National Electrical Code (NEC). But wire and circuit breaker sizes should be international, and it appears you're using Square D circuit breakers (in which case my wire sizes are correct). Obviously, you don't have to follow the NEC (which requires a 60 Amp minimum sized main circuit breaker and an 8' ground rod (5.5 meters)), but you should have a system that is safe. That's why in the USA, we require a licensed electrical engineer to sign the electrical drawings. I would not recommend the owner create these plans, as you suggest. Anyway, if you have any questions I'll be glad to help. I create these drawings all day at work, while daydreaming about Thailand. By the way, a house like this in Salinas, California would cost at least 20 million baht.  -- David


Thanks for the input.  The picture of the circuit breaker shown, was when taken not complete.  I just took a new picture and updated the cool shots electrical page and the info electrical page.  You can notice that the heavy black ground wires (grounding electrode conductors) in place of the two white wires at the bottom left (which have now been removed).  As far as the 45 AMP circuit breaker, we had used a 63 AMP but the electric department inspector made us remove it and install 45 AMP.  This is standard in the area here for every house (nothing specific to the cool thai house) -- each house must have a 45 AMP.  Interesting note about the grounding rod overseas being sunk to a depth of 8 feet.

---Water Storage Comments---

Dear Sir,

an enjoyable and informative read. I hope that you will continue to document the ongoing use of your project, and any future ones.
as a note to supplement the issue of water tanks.
City supply / water tank combo's
Through bitter experience I have found that the stainless steel tanks are generally welded using the incorrect materials. Either the stainless rots out or more commonly the impurities in the welds themselves corrode through. Either way a stainless tank has a life of about 18~24 months before leakage will occur. It may not be major leakage but enough to be annoying (and enough rust to turn your laundry dirty).
The other problem is that of water pressure.
If you are on city or water tank supply, it's simple physics. Those with the lowest water tanks will still have water long after the higher ones have run dry. To sink a tank under your drive is not expensive and the plastic tanks are sturdy and less subject to degradation. It will also free up some yard space.
Even if your supply is erratic the tank will trickle in and remain operational.
Do ensure that your builder puts an adequate support under it though, you don't want it settling badly. -- Paul


Great points.  On the stainless water tanks, there are different quality levels, I'm hoping that the 'diamond' brand (the most expensive) will hold up without the mentioned problem.


--September 7, 2004 --

---So how much is LAND anyway?????---

An excellent site you have certainly made a good job of putting together this information. I intend also to build a house around Pattaya, starting in 2005, and have a few questions that you could maybe answer.
Firstly how close to Pattaya is your development and secondly where did you find you building plot and what approx was the cost per tw
By the way I have completed a number of similar developments in New Zealand, but that is another story.  -- David


This project is about 5 or 6 kilometers on the other side of Sukumvit, opposite side from Tesco, south.  The finding of land is a very critical point, a lot depends on how close you want to be to Pattaya, since outside Pattaya there is basically an endless supply of land.  The area that this project is in is getting heavy development and is very popular, Iím not altogether sure why, but development feeds on itself, there are many large developments going in around here (and many built before such as Paradise Villa 2 Ė multi-luxury homes).  The land around this project has been running around 2000 tw, I just bought another piece for 200,000.  Up the road there is a subdivision where the developer has put in a nice road, that is going for 2m per rai which seems overpriced, but it is adjacent to the main road which boosts the price.  There is some other land around here Iíve looked at for about 750,000 rai, but there is a 6 rai minimum.

As you get closer to Sukhumvit in this immediate area the cost goes up exponentially.  A friend bought 300 tw for 1.6 million (same area as this, close to Sukhumvit) but today it would cost about 3m.  A developer just bought 100 tw for townhouse development for 1m, she is also an agent so that shows you the price is probably right.  Oh, and by the way the friend who did the 300tw developed apartments has sold 14 out of 16 prior to finishing the project!  Itís just crazy bubble mania!

If one is looking to build a house and resale value isnít really a factor and you donít have to be that close to Pattaya there are some real nice areas.  I just know from reading adverts, but think a rai, could be had for about 200,000.  If I wasnít worried about resale (which I am), I would have built elsewhere.  Also, another hot area is around the big reservoir, marbachan, it is a little ways out but is very popular and resale would be good.  I think it is over pricey, with a rai over 1m or so depending on view, etc.  It is overly pricey in my opinion -- because there is a lot of land available and it is far from Pattaya.  That being said, it is a good area for a mega-house.  There is a smaller reservoir here, I looked at one plot of land with no view, but nice needing no fill dirt and OK road access a 1 rai 1 gnan plot was about 700k.  As I looked around more I got the feeling that this is one of those Ďnot so popularí areas as someone had subdivided 10 plots of land right on the water and hadnít sold one.  There were still signs of many developments which went South around there.  Point being; you really need to watch it on area selection.

As long as we are on the subject of land Ė I might as well bring up land cost Ďcloser iní.  Around the beach in Jomtien it is about 10m per rai.  As you get out a bit (1 kilometer) it goes down to about 6m per rai.  There is a lot of available undeveloped land in Jomtien, and it is all really expensive.  Pattaya proper of course would be really expensive and wouldnít really be suitable for building a house anyway.

1 rai = 4 gnan = 400 tw

---Is using a company expensive? ---

Surprised you went the company ownership route to ownership given the legal expenses and on-going auditing costs. Can you let me know how much you spent and are spending with this route.  -- Rob


Actually, in the site I donít actually specify the legal setup for this house.  This is something that is dependent on each person and each project.  However, for those going the company route, legal expenses run about 20k for setup and ongoing about 15k Ė 20k per year.


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