Archive for April, 2011

Our Retiring In Thailand Project Seems To Be In Deep Trouble

This is just a quick text update on out retiring in Thailand house-build project. Since I arrived here in Pakchong on Friday 22 April, 2011, we (myself and my Thai wife, Kanyah) seem to have been very busy, but not accomplished much.

In fact the house build project seems to be in serious trouble. (I say ‘seems’ because you can never quite get to the truth about things here in Thailand.)

I have taken a ton of videos and some photos here in Thailand to show you and I’ll start uploading them to the website over the next few days. In the mantime here is a quick synopsis of what we have been up to in the last 7 days.

  1. Day 1. Friday 22 April arrived in Thailand 1500 local time and met by family and friends at the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport. Went to Kanyah’s daughter’s house (her daughter’s name is Daeng) in Bangkok for an hour, picked up some of Kanyah’s belongings and then driven to Pakchong in our Toyota Hilux Viga pickup by Kanyah. That journey normally takes two hours but we wasted two hours trying to get out of Bangkok and on to the road to Pakchong! ‘They’ blamed the new roadworks and bridge build that was going on as the reason they they couldn’t find the way..All I know is that after spending 18 hours travelling to Thailand I wasn’t very happy at spending two hours trying to get out of Bangkok and then another three hours driving to Pakchong…
  2. .

  3. Day 2. Saturday 23 April. Visited the Thailand retirement house build plot and met the builder. Discussed a whole load of issues then went to the wood merchant to agree on the wood for the walls and floor and then to Home Pro to select doors and sanitaryware.
    #

    Buying Wood For The Wooden Floors from The Wood Merchant In Pakchong (Pakchong), Thailand
    .
    Before we went to the wood merchant, I had a look at the few lengths of wood on site. The wood was tongue-and-groove and quite narrow and thin. Many of the planks had large areas of discolouration - white colour – which even when stained still remained noticeably lighter than the darker areas of the wood. Not at all what I was expecting.

When we arrived at the wood merchant in Pakchong I must admit I was most disappointed by the lack of variety and poor quality of the wood available. I have learned a lot bout the kinds of hardwoods in Thailand and will do a separate article on wood and the hardwoods of Thailand and South East Asia later. (I’m talking about woods like Teak (obviously) Mai Makah, Mai Pradoo and many others.

I expected to see all these woods at the wood merchant, but was told that no, these woods are not available in Thailand. In fact the only wood they had was “Mai Malay” – a hard redwood from Malaysia. The wood offered was well undersized (1″ by 6″ was specified by my Thai Architect on the house plans), more like 5/8″ instead of 1″ when I measured it. O.K. I know that 1″ is nominal and sawn size and that the planed size is less, but 5/8″? Somebody is pulling a fast one here.

Many of the planks were bent (in the horizontal plane) and had the white discolouration of the planks that I saw back at the site.

After much complaining (by me)  I selected a short (about 2 m long) piece of wood that looked half decent and decided that that would be “the standard or the “sample”. Only wood up to “the standard” would be accepted. Having agreed the type of wood we left for the site with me carrying the sample piece of wood. On the way out we were asked to pay for the wood! And we paid. Not the builder – us!

Anyway, here are some photos of the wood:-

Image of Pakchong House Floorboards Sample 1

Pakchong House Floorboards Sample 1

Above, the “Approved” floorboard alongside unacceptable planks.

Image of Image of Pakchong House Floorboards Sample 2

Image of Pakchong House Floorboards Sample 2

Above, a close up of the floorboards.

The Biggest Problem Of All – Lack Of Progress

The main issue that we discussed was the program and that’s where we have a major problem. Our builder keeps asking for payment for the next stage of the build when he hasn’t even finished the stage that we have already paid him for. It seems he has a cash-flow problem and as a result our build is a couple of weeks behind program whereas a month ago I was reporting that we were two weeks in front of programme.

This is a major issue for us because the build is progressing very slowly and we wonder if this builder has any intention of actually finishing it.

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It’s verging on the nightmare scenario where the builder walks away taking all the profit he has made up front and leaving you with a part-complete house to finish – if you can find another builder willing to take it on. More on this later when we have sorted it . (If we can)

    .

  1. Day 3. Sunday 24 April. Can’t remember much about this day except that Jalan (Kanyah’s nephew who is checking the house build for us) had to go back to his farm in Kamphaeng Phet to make a claim for some government hand out to farmers and that his son, Suranat was driving to Pakchong so that he could take us to Hua Hin – Kanyah  (and myself) not knowing the way. By the way I insisted that this time I was going to get some real holiday (as in seaside and seafood) instead of just watching a house being built in Pakchong (or not being built as in our case).
  2. .

  3. Day 4. Monday 25 April. Suranat drove us to Hua Hin. Stopped at  Samut Songkhram, a coastal province at the mouth of the Mae Klong river to buy dried seafood stuff, like dried squid, dried prawns and Kapi. Found a very nice apartment to rent for 900 Baht/day for the three of us. Nice room and huge balcony where later had a seafood dinner.
  4. .

  5. Day 5. Tuesday 26 April. A day the beach at Hua Hin. Bloody hot. Apart from the heat, just like Blackpool (In U.K.) masses of deck chairs and beach vendors, including donkey rides! Had a seafood lunch (photos later) that had no taste and was very expensive. I went back to the apartment in the afternoon to get on the Internet and Kanyah and  Suranat went to Cha Am and bought  load of seafood for our evening meal. By this time I was sick of prawns and crab meat! Decided we had had enough of Hua Hin and would go back to Pakchong tomorrow.
  6. .

  7. Day 6. Wednesday 27 April. Suranat drove us to Pakchong. Stopped again at Samut Songkhram again to buy seafood stuff. This time they bought a load of Hoy Dong – a kind of fermented or preserved clam. Seafood lunch (again!).
    .
    On arrival at Pakchong (a seven hour journey by the way including  breaks for shopping & lunch) went directly to the construction site. Our neighbor reported that nothing much had happened while we were away. A bit of wood delivered and some rendering – that’s all. The site labour had asked our neighbour for money to buy food because our builder had not paid them!  Had a beer or too and a joke with the neighbors listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s “Have You Ever Seen The Rain” and others.
  8. .

  9. Day 7. Thursday 28 April. Waiting for Jalan to return from Kamphaeng Phet so that we can have a meeting with our builder and see how to progress the build. Finally met the builder late in the afternoon on site at our land in Pakchong and held an impromptu meeting.
    .
    The meeting was held on site with with drawings and papers placed on a variety of  desks comprising various planks of wood covered in cement droppings,  a pile of wooden window frames, the drop-tail of our pick-up and so on. Not the kind of environment I am used to for site meetings in the UK. (Remember I am a professional engineer in the construction industry).

    .

    The subjects discussed fall into two categories, one being various technical standards, materials and methods used in the build, and the other being the program and money. In short an agreement was reached on all subjects, although I conceded  on many of the issues and agreed to pay the builder 50,000 Baht towards buying wood for Stage 5 even though we had already paid 100% for Stage 5 and it was not complete. I’ll be posting more info on these discusions in the next post, but this is long enough already so I’ll wrap it up now.

  10. .

See you in the next post.

How To Tile A House Roof In Thailand

Photos showing step-by-step how the concrete tiles were placed on the big roof of our Thai retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand.

These images were taken by Kanyah in Pakchong (Pak Chong) a few weeks ago. I’m sorry put these photos are out of sequence with the other posts like Roof Tiles On – But Problems Are Arising which shows photos taken on 29th March, 2011.

Image of A Pallet Of Roof Tiles

A Pallet Of Roof Tiles

Above, as the Caption says, a photo of a pallet of roof tiles. What more can I say?

Except, perhaps that roof tiles in Thailand are very, very heavy, and need a strong supporting roof structure. Also, as you will note in the photos below, they take a lot of human effort to lift into place.

Weight Of Ceris Terracotta And CPAC Cement Roof  Tiles in Thailand

This is an extract from the structural calculations undertaken by the structural engineer employed by our Thai Architect who designed our house:-

Image of Thai House Concrete / Ceramic Roof Tile Weight - Structural Calculation

Thai House Concrete / Ceramic Roof Tile Weight - Structural Calculation

Above, the structural engineer has taken 60 kg/m2 for the weight of the roof tiles when he performed the structural calculations for our own retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand. This was based on CERIS terracotta roof tiles.

Below are details of the weights of CERIS terracotta roof tiles from the Ceris website:-

Image of Weight Of Ceris Terracotta Roof Tile

Weight Of Ceris Terracotta Roof Tile

Also, I changed to CPAC concrete roof tiles to achieve a cost-saving change from the CERIS terracotta roof tiless I initially agreed to. Here are the weights of the CPAC concrete roof tiles:-

Image of CPAC Concrete Roof Tile Weight

CPAC Concrete Roof Tile Weight

Above, the CPAC concrete roof tiles weight 4 kg each and you can have 10 tiles per m2, so the total weight is 40 kg/m2, much lighter than the CERIS terracotta roof tiles but still heavy.

Image of Tiling The Main Roof 01

Tiling The Main Roof 01

Above, the bottom of the human chain used to place the roof tiles on the roof. Two people on the ground and one on a ladder.

Note how rough the concrete beam looks. This will be rendered to a smooth finish as shown in the photos of the wall at the bottom of this page.

Image of Tiling The Main Roof 02

Tiling The Main Roof 02

Above, looks like one person on the second floor and five on the roof, plus the two on the ground and one on the ladder adds up to nine people in the human chain to get the tiles to the roof. On the roof at the left of the picture you can see the tiles neatly stacked on the rafters ready for laying.

Image of Tiling The Main Roof 02

Tiling The Main Roof 03

Above, a good days work. All the tiles on the rafters ready for laying tomorrow. (The truth is I have no idea how long it took to get to this stage. Kanyah doesn’t give me that kind of detail)

There is no sign of the heat reflective foil that is supposed to go on the rafters before the tiles are laid.

Image of Tiling The Main Roof 04

Tiling The Main Roof 04

And look, the next day the tiles are almost all laid!

(Next day, or days later – I shall never know…)

Notice the wood going up at the eves. Hope it’s been varnished.

Image of Tiling The Main Roof 05

Tiling The Main Roof 05

Above, a photo of the gable. It looks very neat, but it’s not the appearance I wanted. From this angle you should not be able to see the gable tiles, just the Thai-style ‘barge boards’.

Tiling The Main Roof 06

Here is a close-up (ish) of the gable and I want to draw your attention to the underside of the roof tiles where you can see the heat reflective foil that is art of the CPAC cool roof system.

Image of More Soil Raising The Height Of The Drive

More Soil Raising The Height Of The Drive

A shot of the finished roof but mainly the built-up access road or drive. At this stage I have lost count of the number of truck of soil we have had delivered.

Image of Front Wall Road Side View

Front Wall Road Side View

The front wall is nearing completion. Notice the steel mesh fencing panels at the right. You can see that one panel is installed at 90 degrees to the wall and I assume this forms the boundary with our neighbor on this side. But there is another panel continuing in line with the wall and I guess this is in front of the neighbour’s house. Could be that Kanyah gave the neighbour a bit of fencing?

Image of Another View Of The Front Wall From The Road Side

Another View Of The Front Wall From The Road Side

In the photo above you can see the smooth finish given to the wall which was built from cast-in-situ concrete posts and concrete block infill. The smooth finish was achieved by ‘plastering’ the rough block wall with a cement mixture. In the U.K. we call this ‘rendering’. Remember in my commentary on the second photo above (Captioned “Tiling The Main Roof 01″) I pointed out how rough the concrete beam looked? Well all the concrete beams and columns will be rendered to produce a smooth finish, just as you can see with the wall. This rendering will then be painted.

Image of the Front Wall Showing The Opening For The Gate

Front Wall Showing The Opening For The Gate

Image of Inside View Of The Wall 'Wing'

Inside View Of The Wall 'Wing'

Image of the Front Wall At The Gate Position

Front Wall At The Gate Position

Above, it’s not clear what they are doing here. My guess is that they are making a flat strip of concrete for the gate to run along on wheels. Better than a large swing gate or gates.

Image of the Front Wall Viewing From The Garden Side

Front Wall Viewing From The Garden Side

Yet Again All Construction Work Comes To A Halt On Our Thailand Retirement House Build Project In Pakchong (Pak Chong)

Only a few days after our builder and labor had returned to site to continue building our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong) as explained on the Thai House Roof Construction Problems page, he (and the labor) left site again!

This Time There Is No Mystery

The difference this time is that there is no mystery why the builder has left site. It’s Songkran and the biggest Thai holiday of the year.

Songkran Holiday Day In Thailand

Songkran Day is the traditional Thai New Year’s. It falls on the thirteenth of April every year. April is the hottest month. It is when the sun moves into the constellation Aries and the year changes.

Even though it is the hottest time, it is the time everybody looks forward to it. People take time off from work all over the country and there are games played everywhere. The official holiday is the three days from the thirteenth to the fifteenth of April. It is also the National Elderly Day and Family Day.

However, most people will ask for more days off or for vacation time. If they are not working for the government, they have to ask their employers. During April there is no ploughing going on so farmers can rest and have fun to their heart’s content.

During the three days of the celebration, there are activities like making merit with the monks, releasing birds and fish, pouring water on the monks, Buddha images, respected elders and other people. The water used is clean water that is mixed with perfume. The water used to splash on ordinary people can be just plain water.

This is the Thai holiday that people pay more attention to than any other. Many people go home to celebrate with their families. Lately, the fun and the tradition of the Songkran Festival has declined somewhat because of the tight economy, but it is still the most important holiday in Thailand.

Work Re-Starting Soon

Yesterday (Friday 15th April 2011) was the last day of the Songkran holidays and I’m expecting that the work will start on site again next Monday. I’ll check that with Kanyah tomorrow as I prepare for my trip to Thailand next week!

Here’s The Story Why Work On Building Our House In Pakchong Stopped – Twice!

Construction Of Our Retirement House In Pakchong Restarts – In Fits And Starts

In the previous post but one “Roof Tiles On – But Problems Are Arising” I mentioned the fact that work had stopped on the construction of our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong) and I’m pleased to be able to report that work has now commenced again – kind of…

Big Problems Building Our Retirement House in Pakchong (Pak Chong)

I reported in a previous post Roof Tiles On – But Problems Are Arising how all construction work ceased on our retirement house build project in Pakchong (Pak Chong) as the builder and all the labor disappeared from site on 30th March, 2011.

In that post I mentioned that a couple of issued had arisen on site and that I would explain them to you and why the builder had left the site as soon as I had got to the bottom of it, so here goes…

Big Roof – Big Roof Problem

This issue came up when I looked more carefully at the photos received from Kanyah on the Steel Roof Rafters Installed Post.

This is the photo that made me think something was amiss:-

Image of House Frame Roof Side View 1

House Frame Roof Side View 1

Above, the photo that made me worry and gave me a couple of sleepless nights. Can you spot what is wrong?

Hint, look at the roof rafters and the ridge girder compared to the roof concrete ring-beam.

Next look at this 3D rendering of our house produced by our Thai architect at concept stage:-

Image of Thai Architects 3 D Rendering of the Roof Gable Concept at Stage

Thai Architects 3 D Rendering of the Roof Gable Concept at Stage

Above, now you can see what appears to be missing from the steel rafter progress photo above. In the above concept drawing it’s clear that the roof extends beyond the house. It overhangs (called a ‘cantilever’ in building terms) the house. The steel rafter progress photo above does not show the ridge girder and the rafters for the roof overhang.

This omission I marked on the next photo, below.

Image Steel Roof Rafters Showing Missing Rafters

Steel Roof Rafters Showing Missing Rafters

I sent that marked-up photo to the builder and to Kanyah to find out what was going on and why the builder was (apparently) not following the Thai Architects roof plans.

The answer came back “don’t worry, the roof is not finished yet”.

Big Roof  - Big Roof Problem Gets Bigger…

Then I realised something else that really had me worried.

Those concrete beams at roof level should not be there! I was looking again at the photo above “Thai Architects 3 D Rendering of the Roof Gable Concept at Stage” and I couldn’t see any concrete extending (cantilevering) from the end of the house. This is clear in the next marked-up rendering produced by our Thai Architect at concept stage:-

Image of Thai Architects 3 D Rendering of the Roof Gable March 2011 - Annotated

Thai Architects 3 D Rendering of the Roof Gable March 2011 - Annotated

The photo below (not our house) shows a properly cantilevered roof. No ugly cantilevered concrete beams.

Image of Cantilevered Roof - How It Should Look

Cantilevered Roof - How It Should Look

Next I looked at the cross sectional drawing produced by our Thai Architect as part of the construction drawings. No cantilevered roof beams were shown:-

Image of Architects Section Drawing At Roof Level

Architects Section Drawing At Roof Level

Above, see that red box? I marked that and it is what the builder has constructed, but it is not shown on the Thai Architects original construction drawing as you can see.

I pondered what to no next. I wanted a cantilevered roof, but not cantilevered concrete roof beams which I thought would be unsightly.

Perhaps the concrete cantilevered beams could be cut off using diamond cutting technology?

I need to know if those ‘concrete ears’ have any structural purpose.

If not I was suggesting that they be cut off. This should be easy using some kind of diamond cutting:-

http://www.diamonddriller.co.uk/services/sawing.htm

http://www.cuttingtechnologies.com/services_wire_sawing.html

So I started sending emails to Kanyah, our builder and to the original Thai Architect, with pictures like the ones above and these:-

Image of Concrete Roof Beams to Cut

Concrete Roof Beams to Cut

Image of Detail Cut Concrete Ears

Detail Cut Concrete Ears

Above, I was planning to cut off these cantilevered roof beams (or ‘ears’ as i had started to call them) using a diamond saw. Pretty drastic surgery!

As you can imagine, by this time I was pretty anxious because I had two big problems with the roof and was getting little information from Thailand.

Then our Thai Architect started to reply to my cries for help. Firstly he pointed out that my marked up drawing, above “Architects Section Drawing At Roof Level” being a section through the building would not have shown the ‘ears’. Also, he pointed out that the ‘ears’ were shown on the structural plans as you can see in the picture below.

Image of Structural Drawing At Roof Level - Annotated 2

Structural Drawing At Roof Level - Annotated 2

He also explained that the rendered drawing he had produced at concept stage (see “Thai Architects 3 D Rendering of the Roof Gable March 2011 – Annotated” above) was just that – a concept rendered drawing – and that the roof beams were added in the detail design phase and therefore did not show in the rendered drawing.

Knowing that I was concerned about the visual appearance of the cantilevered beams (the ‘ears’) he produced and emailed to me an updated version of the rendered drawing including the beams. As you can see in the picture below, the cantilevered beams are inconspicuous and not ugly.

Image of Thai Architects 3 D Rendering of the Roof Gable March 2011

Thai Architects 3 D Rendering of the Roof Gable March 2011

O.K. I surrendered on that one. Then I had an email from Kanyah showing that the ‘missing’ rafters and ridge beam had been installed. (You have probably seen these pictures but if not, just wait until you see the “How To Tile A Roof In Thailand” Post.)

Now I don’t know why the rafters weren’t all delivered and lifted into place at the same time. I assume a crane was used to lift the rafters and by lifting the ‘missing’ rafters on a second visit would have incurred additional hire costs for the crane.

Also I don’t know how they managed to extend the ridge beam where it wasn’t long enough at each end. I hope they didn’t (but suspect they did) simply weld an extension beam to the existing ridge beam. you can bet I’m going to take a good look at that when I go out to Thailand next week!

So it seemed that this problem was solved…

… and that

… Then came along “Little Roof Big Problem”

Little Roof – Another Big Problem

It took some investigation work by our Thai Architect in Bangkok to get to the bottom of what all this was about.

Although Kanyah had told me there was a problem with the small roof (the balcony roof) she didn’t tell me what he problem was. Perhaps with her not being a technical person she didn’t know. She also told me that the builder had ‘fixed’ it but again she didn’t tell me how. And I received no emails or communication from the builder.

I did have a guess at what the problem might be and a little later I received an email from our Architect who had been talking by phone to the builder and to Jalan, Kanyah’s nephew who was supervising the build for us. The email confirmed my suspicion as to what was wrong…

Don’t Allow Shallow-Sloping Roofs In Thailand!

The Problem Started With My Choice Of Thai House Design Concept Plans

If you go right back to the beginning of the design process for our retirement house in Thailand all as recorded on this website you will know that it all started with Thai house plans for a small traditional Thai house downloaded for free from the Thai government website.

This is described on the Free Thai House Plans page where you can see pictures and drawings of the concept house that we started with and also get all the links to the websites where you can download free Thai house plans. Here is a sample from one of the drawings that formed the inspiration for our house:-

Image of Inspiration for Our House - Roof Slopes

Inspiration for Our House - Roof Slopes

Above, this is where started our house design. A traditional Thai house plan downloaded from the Thai government website.

You can see that I have added the roof slopes, 45 deg for the main roof and 10 deg for the balcony roof.

The final construction drawings for our house, as drawn by our Thai Architect were 35 deg for the main roof and 10 deg for the balcony roof.

It seems that our builder, when he got to the point of laying the roof tiles, realized that the angle of slope of the balcony was too shallow, particularly as there was no gutter between the main roof and the balcony roof. All the water from the main roof would cascade onto the balcony roof. The deep depth of water on the balcony roof would force water between the tiles and the roof would leak.

This is roughly how our Thai Architect explained it after talking to our builder:-

  • The “Inspiration for Our House – Roof Slopes” drawing with the 10 deg balcony roof slope would have been OK because the specification for the roof material was for concrete sheets which can have a large over-lap and therefore safe for deep water.
  • I changed the roof type from concrete sheets to concrete tiles which are much smaller and have much less overlap.
  • Concrete tile roofs typically need a minimum slope of 20 deg. (I would have said 35 deg minimum, but lets go with 20 deg for now)
  • Our Thai Architect added a roof gutter to collect the water from the main roof and preventing it from cascading onto the balcony roof.
  • I told out builder not to provide that gutter to save money. (I have since asked the builder to provide the gutter)
  • According to our Thai Architect, our builder has taken two mitigation measures (but nobody told me):-
    • The 10 deg slope was increased to 12 – 15 deg.
    • The lap of the tiles was increased.
  • Our Thai Architect has proposed various other solutions to prevent the balcony roof from leaking.

My decision is (apart from adding back the main-roof gutter) to leave everything as it is for now and see what happens during a heavy rainfall. If some additional measure is required then deal with it at that time.

Accusations And Bad Feelings?

These problems have led to accusations and bad feelings all round but the basic problem has been lack of clear communication:-

  • The builder blames the design by the Architect
  • The Thai Architect blames the builder for:-
    • blindly crashing on with the build without producing shop drawings
    • not raising issues with the Architect and discussing them before continuing
  • At first I blamed the builder for not building to the Architect’s drawings (I later apologized for that when I realized he had followed the drawings)
  • I blamed everybody on site, that means the builder and Kanyah for not informing me about issues
  • I blamed the builder for making changes to the Architect’s design without authority
  • I blamed Kanyah and Jalan for not checking properly
  • I blamed myself for a load of things:-
    • Not picking up on the shallow angle balcony roof issue at concept stage. (I knew the issues relating to shallow roofs and potential for leakage. I am a building design professional  and have been in meetings with Architects in the U.K. where the roof slope has been a matter of discussion and deliberation for hours. Check me out on the Alan’s Construction Industry Bio page.)
    • Not checking the original Architects Structural drawings well enough to make sure I understood the roof beam design.
    • Jumping to conclusions about the provision of the ‘ears’ based on an early concept stage Architects rendering drawings instead of checking the structural drawings more carefully.

So you can imagine that tempers were getting frayed, and that’s probably a contributing factor to Kanyah not phoning me and sending me photographs for a couple of weeks.

At this stage the Architect visited site.

The Next Day The Builder And The Construction Workers Were Nowhere To Be Seen

The next day the builder and the construction workers were nowhere to be seen and he didn’t answer his phone for days.

I was worried that he had been upset by all the criticism that may have been flying round and decide to call it quits. But what came next?

Sweltering Summer Turns To Freezing Winter As Freak Weather Storms Create Turmoil In Thailand

Blasts of icy wind from China wreck havoc on Thailand plunging what a few days ago was a blistering hot summer  into a winter monsoon season overnight!

The temperature plummeted faster than a bungee jumper on his downward fall and vast areas of souther Thailand were suddenly flooded meters deep.

Image of Koh Samui Thailand Floods 1

Koh Samui Thailand Floods 1

More on Thailand’s  freak weather, earthquakes, over a million people to be stranded, floods, freezing temperatures and unseasonal tropical downpours.

The Reason For The Builder Leaving Site (For The First Time ) And All Constuction Stopping

At last we get to it. it wasn’t the roof problems that caused our Thai builder and all his labor to stop the building work on our retirement home in Pakchong (Pak Chong). it was the bad weather!

Quite simply, the freak weather reached as far as Pakchong (Pak Chong) and the torrential downpour for three days meant that no construction work could continue.

Thailand Freak Unseasonal Weather News Items From ThaiVisa.com

18 March 20111 – 3 April 2011

Freak Weather In Thailand Turns Summer Into Winter For Over A Week

These news items are taken from the thaivisa.com website and describe the drastic and unprecedented change in weather in Thailand.

I live in the U.K. (AKA Great Britain or England) and these weather changes affected me directly. Here’s why…

Construction Of My Retirement House in Pakchong (Pak Chong to some) Abruptly Came To A Halt

Although now (early April) is the summer in Thailand this changed in weather brought vast downpours of rain to Pak Chong and the builder and labor decided it was too wet to do any useful work on the house.

That’s pretty simple, but what also happened was that the builder wasn’t answering his phone when my wife (Kanyah) who is watching over the house build in Pakchong tried to contact him to find out he wasn’t on site.

This went on for three days and having read in the press about builders in Thailand just leaving a construction project half way through and knot knowing why the builder wasn’t on site I was really worried.

When it turned out that it was a simple case of “rain stopping play” and the builder and labor returned to site just as soon as the rain stopped I was mightily relieved!

Anyway on to the weather reports…

Posted 2011-03-17

Colder Weather In Thailand Is Caused By Global Warming

Weather Department on Thursday said that the global warming is the major cause of dropping of temperature in Thailand.

Department’s Deputy Director General Somchai Baimuang said that the cold weather is likely to continue until tomorrow.

Temperature on Thursday has dropped across the country, with that in Bangkok dropped to 19 Celcius and that in northern province of Loei went down to 6.12 Celcius.


Posted 2011-03-18

Sharp Drop In Temperatures Felt In Thailand As Mercury Plummets Nationwide

The sharp drop in temperatures over the past few days makes it seem as if winter has returned to Thailand.

The mercury plummeted to between 16 and 18 degrees Celsius in Bangkok and its neighbouring provinces, while the temperature on Doi Inthanon, the country’s highest peak, plunged to just 3.4 degrees yesterday.

Meteorological Department acting chief Somchai Baimuang said yesterday that the drop in temperatures had stemmed from an intensely high-pressure ridge, which was now hovering over Thailand.

“Never before in my working life have the temperatures dropped as much as 10 degrees in a single day. Never before have I experienced a winter in the summer,” he said.


Posted 2011-03-24

Earthquake In Burma/Thailand Strong earthquake felt as far south as Bangkok.

RT @REUTERSFLASH: Magnitude 6.9 earthquake hits Thailand, 69 miles north of Chiang Rai – USGS

RT @REUTERSFLASH: Two large quakes, one at 7 magnitude, strike in northeast Myanmar, near Thai and Laotian border – USGS


Posted 2011-03-25

More than 50 dead in quake: Myanmar official

YANGON, March 25, 2011 (AFP) – At least 50 people were killed after a strong earthquake struck Myanmar near its border with Thailand, a Myanmar official said Friday.

Tremors were felt as far away as Bangkok, almost 800 kilometres (500 miles) from the epicentre, Hanoi and parts of China during the earthquake on Thursday, which the US Geological Survey (USGS) measured at magnitude 6.8.


Posted 2011-03-27

Disaster Zones Imposed In South Of Thailand After Flooding

Southern Thailand is suffering from downpour-triggered floods, with all 16 of Nakhon Si Thammarat’s districts, eight of Phattalung’s districts, and three of Chumphon’s districts declared disaster zones yesterday.

In response, the government will open a flood situation follow-through centre at Government House this morning.

Phattalung yesterday declared its Muang, Kuan Khanoon, Kongra, Srinakarin, Pa Payom, Khao Chai Son, Sri Banphot and Bang Kaew districts as disaster zones. The situation was particularly severe in Muang and Kuan Khanon, where a total of some 8,000 households and 45,000 rai of farmland were under deep floodwater. Chumphon’s Mungam Lang Suab and Sawi districts were also declared disaster zones.

Meanwhile, the Meteorological Department’s southern region office continued to warn people on the southeastern coast. especially those in Phattalung, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani and Chumphon, of heavy downpours until tomorrow as well as possible flash floods and landslides. Small fishing boats were also urged to remain on shore due to strong winds and 2-3 meter-high waves during this period.

In related news, 150 homes of 1,200 people in 10 tambons of Trang’s Muang, Na Yong, Huai Yod and Wang Wiset districts were flooded yesterday, while many areas of Surat Thani were flooded, especially the low-laying Kanchanadit district. The district is now under 50cm-deep water and at-risk residents have been evacuated.

The continuous rainfall prompted Ranong to have its seacoast residents to move their belongings to higher grounds for fear of flooding condition from rising tides. They also watched out for landslides.


Posted 2011-03-29

Flood Situation Gets Worse In Thailand’s Mid-South THOUSANDS STRANDED ON KOH SAMUI

Bad weather closes Nakhon Si Thammarat, Samui airports; deaths rise to 9

Flooding in the South has stalled services at Nakhon Si Thammarat and Samui airports.

Thousands of passengers were stranded on Koh Samui in Surat Thani province yesterday, while Nakhon Si Thammarat Airport has been closed since Sunday.

Tourists on the island of Samui had completely lost access to the mainland as of press time because ferry services were also suspended.

As the severe flooding raged on in the South, the death toll rose to nine.

Flood waters are now wreaking havoc in the provinces of Chumphon, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Surat Thani, Trang, Krabi and Phatthalung.


Posted 2011-03-29

More Cold Weather In Thailand Expected

The mercury in many parts of the country will plunge by three to five degrees Celsius for a few days due to a low-pressure ridge, the Meteorological Department said yesterday.

Greater Bangkok could shiver in 19-degree weather while even the South might see temperatures drop as low as 22 degrees.

A northern weather bureau said the hot season would return early next month, at about 39-40 degrees.

“It will be scorching then just like any other summer.”

April 17 is expected to be the hottest day of the year, as the sun will be directly overhead.


Posted 2011-03-30

1 Million People Stranded As Floods Rage Through Thai South Nightmare islands

1 million stranded as floods rage through South; 9 killed, with Nakhon Si Thammarat hit the hardest; Heavy rain likely to continue for next few days

Nearly a million residents living in flood-hit areas in the South have been left stranded with no access to land and air transport, even as the number of deaths increased to nine, with the grim prospect of heavy rains pounding many of the areas for the next few days.

A storm yesterday aggravated difficulties for the hardest-hit province of Nakhon Si Thammarat, damaging 250 homes in coastal areas and the Talum Phuk peninsula. The raging winds felled a number of power poles, causing blackouts in many areas.

The latest official update on the disaster yesterday reported seven deaths, with 979,665 people living in 310,406 affected households. The flood areas cover 63 districts in seven southern provinces.


Posted 2011-03-30

At Least 4 Dead, 100 Missing In Krabi Mudslide Thai floods kill 15 dead, thousands stranded

KRABI, March 30 — At least four people were killed and more than 100 are missing in a mudslide at Krabi’s Khao Phanom district, while rescue workers have halted their operations fearing further slides.


Posted 2011-04-03

Flood Crisis In Thai South Still Bad

The flood crisis in Surat Thani remained critical late last night amid surging rivers and high levels of water.

Helicopters were used to airlift about 1,000 stranded villagers in Nakhon Si Thammarat to safety for a second day running.
Flood-related fatalities increased to 45, with latest five coming on top of 40 in an official update yesterday. Some 21 occurred in hardest-hit Nakhon Si Thammarat, according to provincial clerk Decha Kangsanant.


Posted 2011-04-03

Last Week’s Freezing Temperatures A ‘Freak Event’

The sudden plunge in temperatures last week could be a rare climatic phenomenon, according to a Thai expert.

Assistant Professor Prateung Jintasakul of Rajabhat Nakorn Ratchasima University said the mercury plunged unusually sharply in the Northeast to 15-16 degrees Celsius from March 28 to 31, even though it is summer.

The academic said the same thing occurred during the Ice Age 10,000 years ago when pandas fled extreme cold in China to northeastern Thailand.

In 1982, fossils of pandas were found in the northeast province of Chaiyaphum by a French anthropologist. The fossils could be dated back to the Ice Age.

“So far, it’s not yet conclusive but it certainly is highly unusual. What happened during March 28-31 could also be attributed to alteration of the Earth’s axis or magnetic field etc.”


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