Archive for February, 2011

Retirement House Security In Thailand

This is an appeal for information and advice regarding security for your retirement house in Thailand.

The appeal comes after I received the question below from a visitor to the website and which I have kind of half answered as you can see below. So if anyone has any advice regarding security protection for your house in Thailand and would like to post a comment below, then it would be gratefully received.

This is the query I received:-

From: Manuel N.

Subject: security for your Thai house

Message Body:

Hello Alan:

Let me first say how much I enjoy your web site and how helpful it has been.

I have been travelling to Thailand for brief periods of consultancy work at one of the universities for the last 15 years. I have recently retired and I am considering having a residence in Thailand to spend a few months of the dry season there.

However I would rather build something on rural land rather than buying a condominium in Phucket or some of the other tourist spots. I am aware that it is not possible to ”lock up” the place for 7 months of the year without security problems. I think I can deal with the issue of land ownership, but security is a problem. Any advice you can give would be appreciated.

Many thanks!

And this is my reply:-

Manuel , many thanks for your email and kind words about the website. If the website has helped you then it has been worth the effort for me to build it.

(Of course it will never finished… this retiring thing has a long way to run yet)

And you are luckier than I am. You CAN retire in Thailand whereas I am still stuck in a JOB to pay for it.

As to security, I can only offer my judgement as I have actually not actually retired to live in Thailand yet. But I will make a post on the website to see if anyone can offer any experienced-based advice.

I suppose there are several strands to security. Where your house is located would be one. If it’s in (for example) Pattaya or Phucket then I have heard that crime is high and you could well be targeted by gangs.

The other aspect would be what are you leaving in the house that potential thieves would want to steal? Anything small and light, quick to sell for a profit would be a target, tables and chairs I think not.

My wife’s Thai friend, Som, has a house in Pakchong not far from our house and it has been empty for years. Som lives in Bangkok and very rarely visits her Pakchong house. But she employs a gardener to keep the house looking nice and ‘lived in’ and also a part time security guard who does the occasional patrol.

I’m not too worried about leaving my house in Pakchong empty when Kanyah comes to stay with me in the UK. When she does that Thai neighbour will look after the house for us. I am more concerned about the danger of leaving our house in the UK empty when I retire to Thailand than I am leaving the Thai house empty.

Sorry I can’t offer more than that, Manuel, perhaps someone will come forward and offer advice from their own experience of security in Thailand.

Best Regards
Alan Brown


All The Concrete Posts Are Finished Up To Roof Level

Pictures taken in Pakchong, Thailand second week of February, 2011

Progress Update On Building Our Retirement House At Pakchong (Pak Chong) In Thailand

Piles Of Steel Mesh Metal Lattice Fencing Panels Ready For Erection

Image Of Thai House Pakchong Fence Panels

Stack Of Made-Up Fence Panels

Kanyah’s nephew, Jalan is pre-assembling these galvanized steel mesh panels that will form the perimeter security fence around our land at Pakchong (Pak Chong) in Thailand where we are building the dream house that we intend to retire to.  There is more detail on this kind of fencing including cost information on the Steel Mesh Fence Construction plus Progress Report web page.

Concrete Posts (Columns) Complete Up To Roof Level

All the concrete posts (columns) are complete up to roof (eves) level now. At this level there will be a concrete ring-beam running all around the perimeter of the house upon which the roof rafters will sit. You can see a similar ring beam already complete on the second floor level. (Note for Brits. In U.K. the Ground Floor is called the “Ground Floor” and the next floor is called the “First Floor”.  In Thailand these are called the “First Floor” and “Second Floor” respectively. I am using the Thai  nomenclature throughout this website.

Image Of Thai House Pakchong All Posts Finished Up to Roof Level 1

All Posts Finished Up to Roof Level

In the picture above you can count the number of posts (columns) there are 4 in each direction, 4×4 – 16 posts. This is called a 16-post house.

Image Of Image Of Thai House Pakchong All Posts Finished Up to Roof Level 2

All Posts Finished Up to Roof Level 2

In the picture above you may be able to see that the supports holding up the second floor concrete are made from pieces of wood nailed together. You may also notice that the concrete beam  between the two rightmost posts is lower than the remainder.  This is intentional – the lower area will become the balcony and is on the same level as the Dining Area and the Kitchen. There will be a step up into the main internal accommodation. this is to prevent water ingress from the monsoon rains.

Image Of Thai House Pakchong All Posts Finished Up to Roof Level 3

All Posts Finished Up to Roof Level 3

Above, notice the quaint mixture of technologies in the steps and ladders department. Aluminium steps on the lft and bamboo ladder on the right!

The House Build Is In Advance Of The Construction Schedule (Program)

Image Of Construction Schedule Task 11

Construction Schedule Task 11 - Ahead Of Schedule

Above you can see an extract from the Construction Schedule for our house build.

Task 11 “Upper Column” is scheduled for completion a few days into March 2011. In fact, those columns were complete about a week ago – certainly no later than the middle of February.

This puts our construction about two weeks in front of program. (Schedule for you Americans). This is of course very good news. Not only does it mean that (if this trend continues) our house will be finished on time or earlier, but also it gives confidence in our builder who prepared the Construction Schedule before we signed the Construction Contract. It demonstrates that thisbuilder is an expert in his profession.

Make This Check Before You Sign A Construction Contract To Have Your House Built

When you are ready to have your retirement house built in Thailand check out the Construction Schedule that my builder produced and see if your proposed builder can produce an equivalent. You can download the full Construction Schedule on the House Build Construction Schedule page.

My Movies In Thailand

There are a few new pages I have added since the last post and these can be be found on the My Movies In Thailand page.

The new pages show some movies I filmed in Pakchong (Pak Chong) when I was there in early January, 2011.

They include the Pakchong Cowboy City Countdown 2011 – Happy New Year 1 movies and the Our Land In Pak Chong videos.

Steel Mesh Fence Construction, Topsoil and Progress On The Second Floor

Pictures taken in Pakchong, Thailand first week of February, 2011 

Progress On Building Our Retirement House At Pakchong (Pak Chong) In Thailand

Image Of Progress On The Retirement House Build Now Up To The Second Floor

Progress On The Retirement House Build Now Up To The Second Floor


Pretty obviously, the first picture shows the progress on building the house. Not a great deal to say really except that progress is good. They are preparing to cast the concrete ring beam at second floor level. If you look closely you can see the steel rebar for the columns up to roof level. 

The pile of small stones you can see in the foreground will be used to form the access road – see below. 

I have updated the Construction Schedule and Timeline and you can see those on the “Retiring In Thailand Timeline” page. I’m planning to visit Pakchong again for 11 days at Easter time – I already have my air ticket. At that stage according to the Construction Schedule the concrete columns up the roof level and the roof itself should be finished and the second floor walls be in progress. 

Steel Mesh And Plants Fence-Hedge Construction

The next few pictures show the concept for the perimeter fence of our plot of land. the idea is to construct a steel-mesh fence and then to grow plants over the mesh to hide it from view. The result will look like a hedge but unlike hedges, there will be no chance for there to be holes through which our ducks and chickens can escape, or wild animals to enter. Additionally, the hedge will form a visual barrier both ways so that we can’t see our neighbours’ houses and the neighbours can’t see into our land. The benefits of the fence-hedge concept over for example wooden fence or brick wall:- 

  • Low cost (cost information given below)
  • Fast to construct
  • Long lasting
  • Low maintenenace (when the right plants are selected
  • Impervious to small animals
  • Can’t see through

We will have to be careful in the choice of plants to grow on the fence. We don’t want the type of plants you can see in the photos of “The Mansion” hedge-fence – that needs too much hard work trimming it. Instead, Kanyah will put down some plants that climb the metal mesh but not grow bushy. She did tell me the name of the plants – it is a plant that has leaves that you can eat, like a vegetable. I’ll get the name from her, and put some pictures of it up here. 

Image of the fence at The Mansion, Pakchong 1

Fence Construction at The Mansion, Pakchong 1


The image above shows the cheap lattice fence-hedge construction and concept. This is actually a fence-hedge picture taken at The Mansion in Pakchong where kanyah is staying while our house is being built. 

Image of the fence at The Mansion, Pakchong 2

Fence Construction at The Mansion, Pakchong 2


Image of the fence at The Mansion, Pakchong 3

Hedge Growing Over The Fence at The Mansion, Pakchong


In this photo (above) you can see how the hedge grows and hides the lattice metal fence. 

Images Of The Latticework Fence Material For Our Retirement Home in Pakchong

Image Of The Materials For Our Fence At Pakchong

The Materials For Our Fence At Pakchong 1


As you can see in the image above, the fence materials comprise galvanised steel chain-link fencing in rolls, and galvanised steel tubes to comprise the support frame. 

Image Of The Support Tube Materials For Our Fence At Pakchong

The Support Tube Materials For Our Fence At Pakchong


Above, the galvanised steel tubes that will form the frame for the fence panels. 

Image Of One Panel Of The Steel Mesh Fencing Erected

One Panel Of The Steel Mesh Fencing Erected


The picture above shows one panel of the steel mesh fencing erected. It’s not clear how the panels will be supported. I suppose they will put some pots in the ground at the end of each panel. Have to wait for some more photos to see that. 

The Katin Plant That Kanyah Will Grown On The Fence

Image Of A Katin Plant

Katin Plant


Above you can see a picture of the Katin Plant that Kanyah will plant all along the security fence that she is having erected all along the perimeter of the land where we are building our retirement house. 

The Katin Plant in the photo is small, it’s barely more than a seedling, but these plants grow quite tall, like trees. The advantages of using the Katin Plant to cover the lattice metal fence are:- 

  • The Katin plant does not grow “bushy” so it will not need a lot of trimming to keep it neat as, for example the hedge-fence at The Mansion (see above) does.
  • The fruit of the Katin plant are actually edible vegetables. Katin is eaten raw with Nam Prik and has a taste similar to Cha-oom. The vegetable hangs in bunches of strings about 100 to 150 mm long. The fruit is shown in the photo below.
Image Of The Edible Fruit Of The Katin Plant

The Edible Fruit Of The Katin Plant


Tastes a bit ‘strange’ to the Western pallette! 

The Price Of Fencing In Thailand

The cost of the materails to build the perimeter fence around our land in Pakchong was 115,900 Baht ( £2,318 at 50 Baht/£). The perimeter of your land is 180 meters not including the front line adjoining the main road where we will be putting a wall and gates. This is for a one Rai plot of building land. (One Rai = 1,600 square meters. More about Thai land measurement units

So, 115,900 / 180 = 644 Baht/m (Or 13 £/m) which is very cheap. 

Of course there is the labor cost for putting up the fence. This is 320 Baht per man-day. 

Kanyah did give a price for the labor of 64,800 Baht. (Don’t know where she got that from, though) 

If that does turn out to be the true labor cost, the total will be 115,900 + 64,800 =  180,700 Baht (£3,614) or 1,003 Baht/m (£20/m) 

Adding Top Soil Including Cost Details

The level of the main access road to our land is about half a meter (500 mm) higher than the ground level at the point where our house is built. Kanyah wanted to have what will become the front garden flat so she had 10 truck loads of top soil laid on the land in front to the house. 

Note that the house foundations were already in place before this soil was added – the house is not founded on the back-filled soil! 

The soil cost 1,400 Baht (£28) per truck. Total for ten trucks = 14,000 Baht (£280). 

Add to that the cost of the tractor to level the soil out. Plus she wants two more truck loads. I will have to get the volume (or weight) of the soil from Kanyah. 

Image Showing The Additional Top Soil To Make The Land Level

The Additional Top Soil To Make The Land Level


In the picture above you can see that on the left hand side there appears to be a ‘track’ running down between the blue house neighbours land and our house. This is 3.5 m wide and will form the main access road not only to our house but also to the land at the rear on which we have an option to purchase. 

Image Showing The Additional Top Soil To Make The Land Level 2

The Additional Top Soil To Make The Land Level 2


Image Showing The Additional Top Soil To Make The Land Level 3

The Additional Top Soil To Make The Land Level 3

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