Archive for the ‘Cost Of Building A House In Thailand’ Category

This Email Will Rattle Most People – It’s How I Felt (And Have Been Feeling For A Long Time)

I actually sent this email to my lovely wife, Kanyah. Apart from intending to explain my frustration and discomfort with what she is doing out there in Pakchong, it was also intended to have an effect – to change what seh was doing.

I Deleted The Email From Her Email Account After She Phoned Me

The she called me. Yes she was eventually getting round to doing what I had been imploring her to do for months – basically to stop living in the hotel and to move into the house.

She told me that…

  • The house itself would be finished and ready to move into in three days time
  • The drive (for the car) would be finished in three days time
  • The local Sherrif had been to see her about getting her house papers and getting her name registered on them
  • She would be leaving the hotel at the end of the month (one week away) and moving on to stay with our neighbour
  • Tomorrow she will go with our neighbour to see the monk to get the date for blessing the house so that she can move in
  • and… please send more money!
  • She also said that when I push her and we end up arguing, she feels “down” and loses her motivation to push things forward.

Kanyah Is building This Retirement House in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, For Me Not Just For Herself

But what really  prompted me to delete the email was when she said the “when you see how wonderful the the house is you will be proud of what I have done”. Then the penny dropped with me. She was doing all this not just for herself but also to please me. She wanted me to be proud of her. That’s why she was doing it – for me – not just for herself.

Anyway, here is the email. It’s still in her gmail account in the deleted folder – I can undelete it at any time.

Message from Your Husband

Date: 24 October 2011

Dear Kanyah, I have always sent you money when you have asked for it and I have done it again today.

But this is the last time. There are three reasons why I say this:-

1. I Am Not Saving for Retirement to ThailandI am supposed to be saving for my retirement, but I’m saving nothing – all my income goes to you.

2. You Are Wasting Money

You are spending money on things not necessary and what I did not agree to. A lot of the money you spend is wasted on things not necessary.

3. You Won’t Finish The House First

You are supposed to finish the house so that you and I can stay there.

________________________________________________________________________________

DETAILS

1. I Am Not Saving for Retirement to Thailand

Look how much money I have been sending you:-

Description

Sent £

Sent Baht

TOTAL House and Land

94,517

4,651,335

Land Cost

20,000

1,000,000

TOTAL House Only 2011

74,517

3,651,335

Nearly £100,000 and 5 million Baht!

That is crazy money.

When we started this project you said you could get the house and land for £20,000. Now you have spent nearly £100,000 (3.6 million Baht) and it’s still not finished.

Pongsak’s price to build the house was 1.7 million Baht. You are over double that!

Look how much money I have sent you in the last four months:-

Month

£

Baht

July

11,000

539,000

August

6,000

294,000

September

7,000

343,000

October

6,000

294,000

That is all my income – before TAX.

I didn’t pay tax yet. I have to go back and pay tax on my income. That means I have to work a month or more just to pay my tax.

And I’m not saving anything for my retirement to Thailand.

You are selfish and thinking only about yourself and the house. Spending money without thinking about our plans for the future.

I think of you like Jalan and Pongsak – sucking money from the rich farang.

Not very nice is it?

2. You Are Wasting Money

First the toilet.

Look at the toilet:-

Image of Toilet Block 03

Rendering The Blockwork On The Right Hand Side Of The Toilet Block

I was thinking about 1.5 by 1.5 meters. This toilet block is about 10 meters by 3 meters. It’s big enough to be a house.

You never asked me about the size and you never tell me how much things cost or what you want to spend.

The toilet is so big you can’t even take a photo showing all of it!

Not fair and a waste of precious money.

Next, the concrete.

Look at this photo:-

Image of the Utility Block Front Concrete

Toilet Block and Mass Concrete

This is just the concrete in the front of the house. You have it all round.

What’s it for? In the photo above exactly what is that concrete for?

How much did it cost?

Did I agree to it?

Did you ever ask me? Did you tell me the price before you did it?

In this case you are eating into the land where you want to grow plants. Does not make sense to me.

Now the marble floors.

Look at the photo.

Image of Terrazzo Marble Floor 01 Workshop 01

Reflections Of The Windows On The Shiny Surface Of The Highly Polished Terrazzo Marble Floor In The Workshop

This is my workshop.

A workshop is a dirty place. My machinces will scratch the marble and spoil it in weeks.

The black colour is wrong. When I drop tiny pieces on the floor I won’t be able to find them.

This marble floor is not necessary for a workshop. 100% waste of money.

Next picture:-

This is the car park!

Whoever had marble floors in the car park?

A car park gets dirty from the cars. The wheels make a mark and the oil drops down.

You keep it clean then.

3. You Won’t Finish The House First

I keep asking you to move out of the hotel and into the house. But you don’t do it.

In a few weeks I’ll be coming there for Christmas.

If you haven’t moved in where do you think I’m going to stay?

In The Mansion?

Forget it. If I can’t stay in my house that has taken 2 years and 5 million Baht to build just give me my car back and I’ll go stay somewhere else, without you.

________________________________________________________________________________

Guesss What?

Can you guess? Do you know what I am thinking?

In case you can’t let me make it easy for you, my Darling.

I AM NOT HAPPY!

  • I feel cheated.
  • I have been ripped off.
  • I have no money.
  • I have been too soft.
  • I’m p****d off and angry.

See you at Christmas (Maybe)

Love, Dad.

The Next Day Everything Was Different

The next day I was glad I deleted the email before Kanyah saw it because she phoned me with some great news as you can read on the  “Thai House Address – Baan Lek Tee In Thai Language” Post. Go there right now to be cheered up!

 

Construction Cost Control When Building A Retirement House In Thailand

How I Attempt To Get Some Construction Cost Control Into Our Retirement House Build Project In Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand

Background – Change Of Contract Strategy Demands New Construction Cost Control Approach

We changed the format of the construction contract under which we engaged our new builder after Kanyah terminated the previous builder for poor quality work, tardiness and general poor quality of project management and delivery.

The previous construction contract was a fixed-price contract to build the retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, to the Thai Architect’s construction drawings (house plans to the layman) including provision of all labor and supply of all construction materials.

The total contract sum (price) was broken down into staged payments summing (adding up to) the contract value. we paid the builder these staged payments according to his progress. (Actually we paid him in advance which is why we lost so much money when his contract was terminated).

Anyway, the point is this. The project cost control in the construction phase was simple. We had a schedule of payments against progress which we monitored as we paid the builder. Simple.

After Kanyah kicked him off site, she engaged another builder on a fixed price labour-only basis, whereby Kanyah would purchase all the construction materials.

The Labor Content Of the New Contract Is easy To Monitor (But See “Specialist Subcontractors” Below)

This made project cost control in the construction a bit more complicated.

Firstly there is the labor cost, which is monitored in a similar manner to the contract with the previous builder – agreed staged payments measured against progress. As it happens the figure (price) Kanyah agreed with the new builder for the labour only contract was just about the same as the labour only portion left in the previous contract when the builder was terminated.

Secondly there is the materials cost. And Kanyah will be purchasing the materials. This is where I get nervous. Kanyah is not good at record keeping. And…

… We Want To Complete The Build Within The Original Budget (Fat Chance!)

The idea is that since we are now purchasing all the materials we will save the mark-up on materials that existed in the previous builder’s price. If that saving comes somewhere near the money we lost when Kanyah fired the previous builder then we can still complete the house within the original budget.

To achieve this we (we = I) have to closely monitor the amount spent on materials against the amount left in the previous cost.

Kanyah calls me almost daily and gives me a brief progress report and a verbal summary of what she has spent.

Then follows a plea for me to send her more money so that she can buy the materials for the next stage of the works and avoid holding up the builder. The builder has told her that if the materials re not on site when he wants them he will not wait around but will go off to work on another project.

So I intended to A) calculate how much was left in the previous budget to spend on materials and then B) to regularly monitor Kanyah’s spending against that figure.

My Request To Kanyah To Get The Construction Cost Under Control

As I mentioned above, Kanyah is not good at paperwork. (Understatement – she hates it). So I knew I had a job on my plate to persuade her to get together some form of organisation and reporting of the money she is spending. There is no way she can do it. The only way is if i can get her to send me all the receipts and i will organise them and produce the reports.

Look. When I simply ask for photos to be sent to me of the build progress she sometimes ‘hits the roof’ complaining to me that I am putting her under too much pressure and as she puts it ‘pushing her in a corner’.

So I know I am going to have a difficult time to get her to send me the financial data I need to monitor the building costs.

Anyway, I made an example (simply wrote it by hand in a notebook) of the kind of reporting format that I wanted and sent it out to Kanyah. you can see that below, together with a narrative of what happened next.

Are The Costs Of Specialist Subcontractors Included In The Main Builders Fixed Price Labour Cost?

The specialist subcontractor are subcontractor brought in by the main builder and it seems he does not hire them directly, instead Kanyah has to pay them. They are typically the electrical and plumbing specialists.

When Kanyah tells me she has paid a specialist sub contractor – she seems to pay them in lumps of 20,000 Baht (£400 or $600) – I’m not sure if that is in addition to the fixed price agreed with the main builder or it is included in his price.

Seems to me like the main builder has pulled a fast one and the subcontractors costs are in addition to the price Kanyah agreed with him. But I will put the question to Kanyah and hold judgement for the moment. I may be pleasantly surprised. (What do you think?)

The Email I Sent To Kanyah To Attempt To Get Some Form Of Cost Control In Our Retirement House Construction Project

Here is an exact copy of the email I sent to Kanyah to explain what I wanted her to do:-

*26* Control The Money

From: Alan Brown alan(at)retiringinthailand.net via gmail.com

To: Thongplay Brown <Kanyah’s Email@googlemail.com>

Date: Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 8:12 AM

Subject: *26* Control The Money

———————————————————————————————————-

Kanyah,

We have to control the money.

Last time with Pongsak we didn’t do that and we lost 355,000 Baht (about £7,000). I can’t afford to lose money like that.

Don’t forget why we are building the house – it’s to retire to. The 355,000 would have given us 30,000 Baht for a year income to spend when I have retired. Now I lost that and I’m sad and angry.

So in future we have to control the money.

The contract with Pongsak wa for 1,697,900 (say 1.7 million Baht) and I’m not spending more than that.

Every time you get a receipt I want you to put the date and a number on every receipt. Keep all the receipts together in a file.

Then, at the same time, write the details of the receipt in a notebook. You can the calculate how much you have left to spend.

Every two weeks work out how much money you have in the bank and cash and send to me:-

1. Copy of your Bank Book

2. How much cash you have in your pocket

3. The list of receipts.

Do this now, for all the receipts you have, then do it on the same day every two weeks.

Kanyah, you have to do this.

See attached.

Love

Alan

The Three  Steps To Effective House Construction Cost Control

I considered the following steps necessary to be able to get some form of control over the costs of building our house.

(Remember that I am in the U.K. and Kanyah is in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, where the retirement house is under construction. Also, please bear in mind that Kanyah hates paperwork, writing and any form of book keeping.)

1. Find out how much money (cash) Kanyah has ready access to, to spend.

2. Find out what Kanyah has spent already on money and labor with the new builder.

3. Find out how much of our original budget is left to spend with the new builder.

And below are the exact attachments to the email – the way I wanted Kanyah to record and report the money she is spending and how I intended her to calculate the comparison with our original budget.

Image of Building Cost Control - Commencing Account Balance Statement

Building Cost Control - Commencing Account Balance Statement

Above, is the calculation to find out how much cash Kanyah has access to immediately. If I then know on a regular basis how much she is spending I will know when and by how much to top up her funds.

Next is the sample list of invoices showing how much Kanyah has spent to date with the new builder.

Image of Building Cost Control - Example of List of Invoices

Building Cost Control - Example of List of Invoices

Above, I had a struggle to get Kanyah to make this list.

On the phone to her I explained that she personally doesn’t have to do the work. I suggested that she give the invoices to one of the daughters of the owners of The Mansion (the apartment hotel where she is staying) and get the girl to do it for pocket money.

Also I told her that there is no need to translate the invoice list from Thai into English, I would have that done by a translation company over the internet. All the girl ahd to d was to write down the list of invoices bay neat handwriting, in the Thai language. Not to difficult I thought.

I could hear the relief from Kanyah when I made that suggestion. It fitted Kanyah’s outlook on life perfectly. Kanyah like to get others to do the difficult stuff for her. Not that she shies away from difficulties I need to add, but that there are certain things she hates doing and if someone else can do them for her then she’s OK with that.

Next comes the calculation to understand how much we have left from the original budget to spend to get the house finished taking into account what we paid both builders. This of course needs regular updating as Kanyah buys materails and pays for the labour. minus

At the time when I made this calculation, we had 359,500 left in the budget.

Image of Building Cost Control - Example of Two-Weekly Balance Sheet

Building Cost Control - Example of Two-Weekly Balance Sheet

Received, The Invoice List Essential To My Construction Cost Control Strategy

Below is the invoice list I received from Kanyah a couple of days later. She had done what I suggested and paid the girl in the hotel 400 Baht to make the list. It’s neatly typewritten in Thai and from the pencil tick marks it looks as though someone has checked it. There is also a handwritten total at the bottom of 169,078 Baht.

Image of Building Cost Control - Actual Invoice List From Thailand (Thai Language) Page 1

Actual Invoice List From Thailand (Thai Language) Page 1

Above page 1 of the invoice list and page 2 below.

Image of Building Cost Control - Actual Invoice List From Thailand (Thai Language) Page 2

Actual Invoice List From Thailand (Thai Language) Page 2

Above, notice the hand written Total of 169,078 Baht.

From the 359,500 left in the budget less the 169,078 Baht spent, there is 190,422 Baht left to spend without busting our original budget.

Kanyah included this invoice which she obtained after the list was completed by the girl:-

Image of Building Cost Control - Typical Invoice From Thailand (Thai Language)

Typical Invoice From Thailand (Thai Language)

Now it’s time to send off the invoice list to the tranlation company.

Thai Retirement House Construction Leaps Ahead Again With New Thai Builder

House Build Starts Again In Earnest Under New Builder – A Report From A Happy Project Manager

Kanyah just phoned me from Pakchong (Pak Chong) in Thailand where she is now supervising the new Thai builder as the construction work on our retirement house starts up again. She is now the Project Manager and the Procurement Manager for the house build project.

On the ‘phone, Kanyah was laughing and sounded very happy as she told me that she was delighted with the new builder and that his work was 20 times better than the previous builder.

Purchasing Materials For The House Construction In The Pakchong (Pak Chong) Area

There are four labourers on the site and Kanyah is very busy purchasing the construction materials.

These are some of the house construction materials she has purchased or taken delivery of today:-

Nails, Teak wooden door for my workshop, two large wooden doors for the second floor, red bricks for the bathroom walls.

She buys most of the materials from the large industrial outlets that lie on the Mittraphap Road in Pak Chong in the direction of Bangkok. There is also a Home Pro warehouse in Pakchong, but it’s more aligned to providing house fit-out materials and fittings such as lights and sanitary ware, rather than heavy building materials.

Kanyah hasn’t sent me any photographs yet so I can’t post any details of the materials she has purchased nor of the construction works on the website just yet. I was puzzled when she said that she had bought two large doors for the second floor. The main doors are supposed to be folding doors, as specified by myself and detailed on the Thai Architect’s construction drawings. I don’t have any idea if Kanyah is looking at the house plans or not as the new builder progresses the construction works. It seems that the builder tells her what to buy, so I hope that he is looking at the drawings and not making changes to the design and specification like the previous Thai builder did.

It is very worrying that I don’t know what she is doing out there in Thailand on the building site in Pakchong. (Pak Chong)

Taking Control Of The Costs Of Building The House

Kanyah did say that she had read my last two emails, one of them being the the email I posted on the last post “Thai Retirement House Build Project Starts to Get Finished Under A New Thai Builderabout several issues and the construction program. She just told me “don’t worry” and I have no way to know what action she is taking from the emails.

She asked me to send her 100,000 Baht because she is spending so much on materials. She has already paid the new Thai builder the first 10,000 Baht progress payment.

The other email I sent to Kanyah a few days ago was to explain to her that we had to get control of the money we were spending on the house build and I gave her some examples of how she should be recording the costs by making a list of all expenditures I also asked her to send the list of invoices to me every two weeks. She didn’t mention that she would do that and as soon as she told me what she wanted to she closed the call, as usual.

Progress With The Construction On The Building Site

On the construction side she tells me that the red brick walls to the bathroom built by the previous Thai builder have been knocked down (the new Thai builder told her that he couldn’t work with the rubbish bricklaying left by the previous builder) and a new wall is half built already. No photos to show that, unfortunately.

Also, she says that he columns are painted already. Whether she means ‘painted with cement’ i.e. rendered or painted with paint (which should only be done after the cement rendering is complete) I don’t know.

Are We Getting Back On Track to Retiring In Thailand In Our Own Retirement House In Pakchong (Pak Chong)?

However, on a good note, after all the problems we have had with our previous builder it seems that our dream of retiring to Thailand in our own house has started to come true once again.

The New Thai House Builder Starts Tomorrow As Jalan Is Sacked

Will Construction Of Our Retirement House Re-Start With The Appearance Of The New Thai Builder?

Kanyah has called me just this minute (1230 hours GMT Monday 20 June, 2011) and advised me that the new Thai builder will certainly start on site tomorrow to finish off the construction of our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand.

Thailand truly is a “Land Of Miracles”!

She has agreed the price with the builder which will be 260,000 Baht to finish the house build project on a “Labor Only” Contract. (When I say ‘Contract’ this will at best be a payment schedule adding up to 260,000 Baht, or more likely knowing Kanyah, just a verbal agreement.

(The ‘Contract’ with the previous builder was simply a payment schedule and a BOQ (Bills of Quantity) document both adding up to the total contract value. Both documents were in the Thai and English languages but the English version was produced using Google Translate so was not very accurate!)

Kanyah told me that the payment schedule for the house build will be 10,000 Baht as soon as the scaffolding has been erected followed by 5 payments of 50,000 Baht. (I hope those are fortnighly payments and not monthly payments!)

Now It’s Jalan’s Turn To Be Sacked!

Yes, now Kanyah has sacked Jalan, our ‘inspector’ and sent him packing back to his own house at Kamphaeng Phet.

In case you aren’t aware, Jalan is Kanyah’s nephew and we were paying him to help her by acting as an inspector and check the builder’s works. As I complained heavily to Kanyah when I was in Thailand last April Jalan was completley innefective. he was just watching the builder, not checking what the quality was against the drawings or even common sense.

Just look at the mess he has left us with while he stood by and let the builder get away with it. Wouldn’t be surprised if the builder was paying him to keep quiet.

I was having a good rant and rave in Thailand last April (see the “Thailand Retirement House Build Plans Dashed” post)  and was completley dismayed by Kanyah’s attitude that she swallowed the builder’s line of ‘It’s not finished yet and it will be fine when it is’. I told her then to get rid of Jalan, but nothing happened until now.

Perhaps My Rant And Rave Had Some Effect

Perhaps my ranting last April in Pakchong (Pak Chong) has had a delayed affect on Kanyah. She is certainly taking a great interest in the retirement house building project right now.

I do concern, though, how she will manage the technical aspects of the build. Admittedly Jalan was useless but now she will be completely alone. I will try to monitor the construction works from here by email but Kanyah is not forthcoming with sending me photos in a timely manner and in the past has often ignored my emails.

Here is a typical quality control scenario:-

Wood Wall Frames to Be Replaced

Kanyah told me by phone that the wooden frames supporting the planks forming the the house walls were wrongly constructed by the previous builder and have to be repaired or replaced. (I don’t know which).

I checked the photos she sent me against the Thai Architect’s Construction Drawings and they looked OK to me. I have marked up the photo and written about the issue which I’ll send to Kanyah by email. As I said before, though, I’m not sure how she will react to the email.

It’s very difficult trying to communicate like this. It would be easier if Kanyah had her own computer and knew how to access the Internet and Google Mail, I could then send her videos explaining what I am meaning, and we could converse on Skype. As it is our communication comprises of a short two or three minute story from Kanyah by mobile phone and as soon as she has told me what she wants me to hear, she closes the call.

I rarely get the opportuinty to explain anything. At the best I am able to refer her to an email I have sent.

So on the subject of the Wooden Frame for the Wooden Walls and other topics relating to starting the retirement house build again under the new Thai builder in Pakchong (Pak Chong), I have just sent her an email, the detail of which you can see below.

Here Is The Email I Have Just Sent To Kanyah In Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand

Other Things
20 June 2011

Red Colour means that you should look at another document for the detail. I will send this later.

1. Frame For the Wood Walls

A) You said that the wooden frame for the wood walls was wrong and had to be taken down.

B) Also you said that the wooden frame for the walls was bending.

C) And you said there was something wrong with the windows.

I don’t understand what you mean. Can you please explain to me?

I checked the Architect’s drawings and the photo you sent to me. It looks like what the builder has installed is OK. Please ask the builder to check that the wood is 1 1/2” X 3”.

What do you want the new builder to do? Here is the Architect’s Specification from our house plans Drawing Sheet A-02:-

Image of Specification Details Wooden Wall Frame

Specification Details of the Wooden Frame to Support the Walls

The wood frame for the walls looks OK:-

Image of the Wooden Frame to Support the Walls

Photo of the Wooden Frame to Support the Wood Plank Walls

Above, the wooden support frame for the wood walls is the same as the Thai Architect’s Specification.

2. Leave The Small Roofs To The End

We don’t need to do the small roofs yet. Let’s wait until the end when all the house is finished.

How much will it cost to add these? I think we have some tiles left from the other builder?

Can the new builder check how many tiles we have and how many more we must buy, if any?

I want to know how much it will cost to put these roofs on.

Image of Leave These Small Roofs To The End

Small Roofs to Be Left Until The End Of The House Build

3. Construction Sequence (What To Build First)

You should get the main building finished first before starting the fit-out inside. The bamboo mat is the last thing to do!

The other builder’s program was wrong.

Discuss this with your new builder and ask him to make a program. This is how it should be done:-

Step 1- The Main House Structure.
Step 2 – Internal (Inside) Works.
Step 3 – External (Outside) Works.

Step 1- The Main House Structure

1. Remove wood walls
2. Cement plaster all columns (posts) and beams. [*Protect the wood and concrete floors*]
3. Paint columns (posts). (Maybe paint the beams as well. [*Protect the wood floors*]
4. Paint the wood planksfor the walls on all 4 sides!
5. Put back the wood walls. Fix the ventilation louvres.
6. Paint wood walls again.Finish the roof works that the old builder didn’t do:-
7. Wood under roof tiles at the eves (outside)
8. Roof Eve Fillers

9. Finish the concrete block walls to the Workshop.
10. Clean all the concrete droppings from the ground floor. [*Do not damage the workshop concrete floor*]
11. Fix the Workshop door and second floor main folding doors.
12. Fix the windows and shutters.
13. Fix the gutter and rain water drain pipes. [Add one more gutter to the back of the house – total 3 gutters]
14. Fix the balustrade (Balcony handrails)
15. Fix the stairs.

Now the main house is finished.

Step 2 and 3 can be done at the same time. (Almost)

Step 2 – Internal (Inside) Works.

1. Finish Brick Bathroom walls
2. Main Drainage pipes
3. Floor tiles in bathroom
4. Bathroom fittings (bath, basins etc)
5. Kitchen counter and sink
6. Hot, cold water and drainage
7. Conduit for all electrical cables
8. Tiles on bathroom walls
9. Wood Frame for Internal walls
10. Electrial wiring
11. Add rafters to suit Bamboo Mat
12. Bamboo Mat
13. Light fittings and power outlets
14. Finish wood floors
15. Inside Now Complete

Step 3 – External (Outside) Works.

This is all the outside work, water supplies and drainage. No need to detail it here.

That’s gone to Kanyah in Pakchong tonight. Let’s see what response we get.

I’m guessing but I can imagine that she’s so excited about the new builder starting to complete the Thai retirement house construction project she will be spending all her time on the site and ‘won’t have time’ to go check her emails.

How To Improve Communications With A Thai Builder Who Can’t Speak Or Read English

Although I have sent the email to Kanyah, it is really the builder who can provide the answers. The new builder can’t speak or read english and Kanyah would be struggling to translate the email and to explain it to the builder.

So I’m going to get it translated into Thai and send the Thai version to her. I know an excellent translation service in Thailand and I can simply send an email to them and get the translation.

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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