This is one of the most important aspects of a new house. The house is anchored with foundation columns which are set in concrete footings in deep square post holes. The process is as follows: 1.) Post holes are dug and a square rebar frame which stands about 3 meters tall is concreted in place. 2.) A rebar frame is put in place for a base 'footing' which attaches the foundation pillar frames. 3.) Concrete is poured over the footing. 4.) Lastly, the concrete is poured within wood frames around the post frame to create the foundation pillar.
In case you're thinking that the contractor should know how to do this and they always do it correctly -- just today I saw a house where the columns were being set in an very poor manner, the same way as you would set up perimeter wall posts. The motivation in this case was an owner who had contracted for a fixed price, including all materials, for a house to be built while he is out of the country. It is a sad situation because the savings for doing the foundation column in a very very inadequate manner will save about 1000 Baht, where the house price is closer to 2 million Baht.
Here is the story of the poorly done foundation columns:.
Here is what what should happen. First a square hole is dug which is 1 meter square. Then a base of concrete is poured to keep the rebar pillar frame in place. Then form wood is used to make a large square for a foundation pour up to the ground level. The sizing of this form box will be about 60 centimeters wide. This is an important step as shortcuts will lead to foundation pillars shifting and walls cracking, among other things.
In this case the foundation hole was just 60 centimeters wide. Then a can was used to do the pour. The can was inserted and then dirt was placed around the can. The pour was done and then 5 minutes later the can was lifted out of the ground. This method is commonly used to create the post for a perimeter wall, but if used for a house proper will lead to an substandard structure. (This is what the picture to the left is showing, ie. the can pulled out 5 minutes after the cement pour).
Doing the foundation column like this can cause a lot of settling cracks, and other problems which only time will tell. It just isn't very sturdy. If you compare the house done for a foreigner and that regular Thai house: The house built for a foreigner will be a lot prettier and will be 'finished' off to a foreign standard. It will have things we take for granted -- like a sheetrock ceiling. The Thai house will be much simpler and cheaper (maybe 200,000 Baht or so total cost). But important things like the foundation columns will almost always be done to standard.
What follows are some shots of the standard way of doing foundation columns for a single story building......
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This page was last updated October 2nd, 2009