Domestic Electrical House Wiring Safety In Thailand- And Why I’m Backing Off Kanyah

Is This Not The Most Ugly Electrical Wiring You Have Ever Seen?

(Although the electrical wires and conduit are visible here, I’m not suggesting that this domestic electrical wiring installation is unsafe.)

Image of Electric Wiring In Retirement House Pakchong (Pak Chong)

The Most Ugly Electrical Wiring You Have Seen?

Actually, it’s not, you can see worse-looking electrical wiring in just about any street in Bangkok or other big city in Thailand – just hanging from the electrical posts in the street. Here’s an example:-

Image of Photo Terrible Ugly Birds Nest Thailand Street City Wiring

Photo Terrible Ugly Birds Nest Thailand Street City Wiring

Above, photo of a ‘bird’s nest’ of electrical wiring in a city in Thailand.

But that’s not in my house. This is!

Image of My Questions In Ugly Thai Electrical Wiring

Why Are They Making The Electrical Wiring So Ugly Like This?

Above, I sent this marked-up photo of the ugly domestic electrical wiring the Thai electricians are installing in our retirement house to Kanyah and asked her all the questions you can see on the picture.

Note that the red arrow on the comment “There should not be any wires on the concrete” is actually pointing to the yellow electrical conduit, not to electrical wires.

Let me be clear about one thing here. This is the second floor. Those concrete beams you can see are at ‘ceiling level’ except that our house has no ceiling.

No, in our retirement house now under construction in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, the ceiling is at roof level. (Except for bedrooms and bathrooms)

How The House Is Intended to Look

This is how the ‘ceiling’ is supposed to look in  the living room:-

Image Showing Bamboo Wall Matt

Bamboo Matt on Walls & Underside of Roof

Notice, in the picture above, that there is no ceiling and no visible electrical wires or conduit. This is how our retirement house is intended to look.

The above photo shows high level lights and ceiling fans needing wiring (which would be hidden behind the bamboo panels) but in our house there are no ceiling fans or lights, all the lights are on the wall. (Uplighters)

So there is absolutely no need for any cables or wires to be above the level of those concrete beams!

The Answer That Came Back From Kanyah Made Me Boil With Rage And Bad Temper. (Sorry!)

Instead of answering my questions (why were the wires there, why wasn’t the concrete beam rendered) she came back with non-answers that completely missed the point. I thought I was dealing with artisans and they turn out to be slippery eels befit of Thai politicians.

But before I get into that, here is the opening gambit from Kanyah:-

“Don’t ask me to send you any more pictures. Wait until it’s finished then I will send them.

If I send them before it’s finished you will just complain and make trouble.

Thinks: ‘The idea is that if I see the pictures early before it’s finished I can catch any problems and get them sorted out before it’s too late’

“If you want to check it (the house build) you come out here and do it!”

Replied: “Sorry, I have to stay here to make the money I keep sending you”

Now on to the ‘answers’ she gave me to my questions:-

“They are laughing at you” she said…

Thinks: ‘She’s doing it again – believing the builders and taking their side’. I thought all that had finished when she sacked the previous builder.

“They have been doing this for 40 years

Thinks: ‘With that much practice and still getting it wrong there’s no hope for them’…

‘So how come the electricians are only 20 years old?’

‘Have you seen my CV? I have been doing it correctly all round the world for 35 years’

‘Yeah! They’ve had plenty of practice learning how to make that bird’s nest wiring like in the photo above’

“They say that this is a three wire system with an earth wire and that it is a very safe system. You don’t have to worry about electrical safety”

Thinks: ‘I’m not talking about electrical safety. I’m talking about how it looks. None of these conduits and wires should be visible in the finished house.

Anyway, it was me who specified a three wire system (i.e. plus earth wire) for electrical safety and it was my Architect’s Electrical Engineers who designed the system (electrically) not you installers.’

And “Don’t worry”

Thinks: ‘Don’t worry? That’s my money you’re spending. That’s my dream house you’re spoiling.’

On The Phone Listening To Kanyah As I Grew Ever More Angry I Just Decided To Keep Quiet And Back Off (Maybe)

Why would I do this? Choking on my words I said “O.K. you just do it your way”

The fact is that Kanyah is getting ever more stressed out with this retirement house build project. It’s all too much for her as I described in an earlier post discussing the type of construction contract we should have – all-in or labor only.


This Should Be Just About The Happiest Time In Her Life

All her life with me (we have been married nearly 30 years) she has dreamed of having her own house in Thailand. And now it’s coming true right before her eyes.

She should be very, very happy. And I’m sure she is – but it’s coming at a price…


As the days go by and the pressure mounts on Kanyah – making decisions, buying materials, managing the builder, the stress has been building up day be day.

I’m told by people who should know that Thai men don’t like taking orders from Thai women. But that’s what Kanyah s doing daily.

She has never built a house before – who has – and it’s not at all easy.

Remember that since she sent her newphew, Jalan, back to his home in Kamphaengphet (Kamphaeng Phet) for being ineffective as an inspector she has been on her own, with no family or supporting person near her.

So I have decided to back off and let Kanyah get the house finished in her own way.

As a wise young man and a good friend of mine, Steve W who is building his house up at Si Khiu Korat said “It’s not worth losing your wife over a house, you can deal with all the re-does when you go out there”.

Well, Steve, thanks for the advice. There is no chance of losing Kanyah over this house build, but I am worried about her mental health. She doesn’t do stress at the best of times and I just want this whole retirment house build project over with so that she can relax:-

Image of Project Manager Supervising Thai Retirement House Construction

Project Manager Supervising Thai Retirement House Construction

Above, a photo taken when we had the other builder. She wishes she could relax like this now…

O.K. On With The Other Photographs From This Stage Of Our Retirement House Build Project In Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand

Now look at the photo below. See that electrical box, and the red and black short wires coming out of it? Those red and black wires are going to some king of electrical outlet. Like a socket outlet, a light or fan.

But as I said, there is nothing electrical at that level.

By the way, why three wires? And what do the colors mean?

I have to admit I’m not sure about that. The colours look like two black and one red. I would have expected: Live – black, Neutral – grey and Earth (also called Ground) – green (or yellow and green striped).

But it seems that Thailand does not have and does not follow any standard electrical wiring color system. I’ll just be wary of making any changes to the domestic electrical wiring installation in our retirement house for the reason of electrical safety.

Image of Electrical Wiring In Thai Retirement House 01

How I Could Have Caught The Wiring Issue Early

The photos here bring me to another point that I have explained before.

If I had the photos from the building site in Thailand early enough I would be able to spot the problems – things going wrong – and let Kanyah know in time for them to be corrected before things had gone on too long for there to be an effective correction. In Other Words:-

“A Stitch In Time Saves Nine” – Not On Our House Build Project In Thailand

Kanyah Deliberately Delays Sending Me Photographs

But, no. Kanyah deliberately delays sending me photographs because when I spot something wrong and tell her about it it becomes a problem for her. She waits until it’s too late for anything to be done about it. I’m sure – and I’ll prove this in the next post – that she makes changes to the design as set out by our Thai Architect drawings and specification, doesn’t tell me about it and doesn’t send me the photos until it’s a ‘fait accompli’.

I’m also sure that some of these changes are initiated by the builder to make his life easier and to make himself more profit.

Image of Electrical Wiring In Thai House Above Ceiling Level

There Are No Electrical Outlets Here So Why Are They Wiring It?

Above, the caption says it all.

Image of Thai House Electrical Wiring How It Should Be Done

How Electrical Wiring Should Be Concealed In Our Thai Retirement House

The photo above shows the conduit for the wiring passing within the wooden frame for the dividing wall between living and bed rooms. Perhaps you can see that they have drilled neat holes in the wooden frame to carry the conduit? A very neat installation. When the electrical work is finished the wooden frame will be covered with bamboo mat and the electrical wiring will be hidden. Perfect.

Let me make a clarification. I’m loosely referring to ‘wiring’ when I actually mean electrical wiring and conduit. ‘Conduit’ to the layman is the tube (or pipes) put in to contain the real wires. In these photos the yellow ‘wires’ you can see are actually plastic conduit. The real electrical wires will be inside this conduit system.

Many (especially low cost) Thai houses do not have the electrical wiring in conduit. Often is is run on the surface of the walls and is visible. That is ugly and why I insisted on conduit to hide the wires. But the conduit itself is supposed to be hidden, not exposed to view!

A Quick Word About Electrical  Safety Relating To Domestic Electrical Wiring Installations In Thailand

Also, as I mentioned before I had specified a three wire system for the sake of electrical safety. Thailand is now moving over to the three wire system – years ago it was all two wire and there were no three wire  receptacle (socket outlets) or plugs available. A three wire electrical wiring system has a live and neutral wire carrying the electrical current and the third wire is an earth (often called ground) wire. by the way, this is not supposed to be a lesson in safety in domestical electrical wiring installations in Thailand. If you are interested in the subject I suggest this web page:

In the photo above and below you can see the conduit is withing the width of the dividing wall. When the bamboo mat is placed on the wall framethe conduit (and wires) will be hidden from view. Exactly as it should be and as it is specified on the construction drawings.

Image of Close Up Of How To Conceal Electrical Wires And Conduit With Walls

How To Conceal Electrical Wires And Conduit With Walls

The photo below is in the bathroom and bedroom areas. here there will be a flat false ceiling jut below the concrete beams so that these conduits will be hidden from view.

Image of Electrical Wiring Above The Ceiling For The Bedroom And Bathroom

Electrical Wiring Above The Ceiling For The Bedroom And Bathroom

Above, this is OK because there will be a flat ceiling in the bathroom and bedrooms to hide the conduit and electrical wiring.

Next Post: Another Major Change From the Drawings And Specification Made On Site Without Asking Me Sends My Blood Pressure Into Orbit!

They’re at it again – changing things without asking me. And here they have ignored a major feature of the house that was intended to give it the ambiance and character that you can see in the “How The House Is Intended to Look” photo above. This is serious stuff going wrong – again. And Kanyah and the builder are in cahoots together over it.

Perhaps I’m going to abandon my softly-softly policy when dealing with Kanyah in future. Let’s see in the next post…

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