We Started Building Our Retirement House In Thailand Today

Thursday 06 January, 2011, construction started at last on our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand! 

That’s quite amazing considering we only signed the contract with the builder on Saturday 1st January. 

This is the culmination of a years work almost exactly to the day looking for and purchasing the land, designing the house, finding a Thai Architect to make the construction plans, finding builders and obtaining quotations and finally agreeing a price with our preferred builder. 

Our builder has given us a construction program showing a build period of 6 months, finishing in June this year. 

Construction Works On Site Today

The builder arrived on site at 1100 in his pickup with 3 labourers and a pile of construction ‘items’ which they promptly unloaded. They then roughly marked the position of the house with twigs at two corners and we agreed the position after making a change from the drawing. 

Image of Construction Material

Start Building Thai House - Construction Stuff


Off they went and returned with a pile of wood, presumably to mark out the house position ‘properly’ and then went off to lunch at a nearby eatery. 

Image of the First Wood Delivery

The First Wood Delivery - For The Setting-Out Frame


After they returned the wood was used to set out the house. Levelling was done with the traditional level made from a length of transparent plastic piping filled with water. 

We went for a trip around nearby to take some photos of the hills, had some lunch and returned at around 1530. 

The builders had finished for the day and accomplished the setting out of the house. You can see this in the pictures. Each of the short branches of wood is the centre of each post 4 x 4 = 16 posts. 

Image of the Setting-Out Frame (1)

The Setting-Out Frame (1)


Image of the Setting-Out Frame (2)

The Setting-Out Frame (2)


Image of the Setting-Out Frame (3)

The Setting-Out Frame (3)


Digging holes for two posts will start tomorrow. 

Electricity Connection Started

And, the electricity company arrived and installed the ‘temporary’ electricity meter. That was complete by 1030 when we arrived after receiving a telephone call in the Internet/Copy shop in Pakchong where I was having some documents relating the house build scanned to put on the website. 

I took a look at the meter and saw that the rating was 15/45 A. (15 to 45 Amps). “Ah, good, I thought we can get a full 45 A from day one.” When I asked what current the cables would be sized to carry I was told 15 A only and that 15 A was all I could have for construction. The cables would be changed for bigger ones after the house was completed and we had the ‘permanent’ power connection. 

Image of Electric Meter for temporary power

Electric Meter for Temporary. Power


Looking at all the ‘permanent’ meters in the vicinity and comparing it with our ‘temporary’ meter installation I could find absolutely no difference! So why ‘temporary’ and ‘permanent’ I have no idea. 

The route of the incoming overhead wires was agreed and the number of posts to carry the wires was decided. The installation cost was estimated to be a total of 20,802 Baht, made up of:- 

  • 6,802 for the meter
  • 14,000 for the electric posts and cable connection.

Kanyah paid 7,000 Baht cash on the spot and has to pay the remainder tomorrow when the electricity company will have returned to site and installed the posts and cables.

Getting the Permanenet Electricity Connected – Update 06 February 2012

In response to a question from a reader I have described how just over a year later we chnaged over from the temporary electricity supply to the permanent supply. You can read all about that on the Getting A Permanent Elecrical Power Supply Connected In Thailand Post.

The “Yok Sow Eg Sow Tor” Ceremony

I’m told by Kanyah that this is the ‘blessing’ of the house and can only take place on certain dates as decided by a Monk based on her birthday date. For the ceremony, two posts of the house have to have already been built. The dates set by the monk were 13th or 20th January or 14th or 21st February. 

Not wanting to delay construction, Kanyah decided that the ceremony would take place on 13th January, hence the builder had to get his skates on to get the two posts built in time. that, apparently, decided the start date of today. Privately, I don’t see how the excavations for the foundations, the foundations themselves and two posts can be complete in the 7 days remaining. Remember the foundations are 2 m deep! 

When I raised this point with Kanyah she poo-poo’d my suggestion and said it was easy for them. (The builders) 

Back to the ceremony itself, which so I am told by my wife includes:- 

  • Wrapping Green, Yellow and Red material around the two posts.
  • Putting Banana and Sugar Cane trees on the posts.
  • Putting a number of leaves on each post, the name of which escape me.
  • Lighting ‘the smelly stuff’ (I think she means Joss sticks).
  • The blessing by a special person. (Not a Monk, just someone who knows the words).

What Does “Yok Sow Eg Sow Tor” Mean

(Added 23 March 2011) 

I’m taking a flyer on this one and I may be a mile of the mark, but this is my best explanation. “Yok” I think, means “to lift up”. “Sow” is definitely the Thai word for “post”. Not sure about “Eg”, maybe it should be “Eek” which means “again”. By the way, I have not seen this written anywhere else in a Thai tansliteration, nor even Thai, come to that, these are my words based on the way Kanyah says it. I can only think that “Tor” means “ceremony” but I’ll go and check that out on a Thai dictionary. If all that is correct then “Yok Sow Eg Sow Tor” means literally “Lift post up another post ceremony” or “Two post ceremony”. 

That’s it for today. I typed this post at the site of building the house and now I am back on the hotel balcony hooked up to the ‘net and will simply post it onto the website. 

Bye for now 

Alan and Kanyah

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