More Comments On Our Thai Architect’s Proposals For Draft Preliminary Design Of Our Retirement House In Thailand

19 August 2010

Below are comments I sent to our Thai Architect in Bangkok on his Draft preliminary Design in response to the architect’s response to my comments sent on 17 August. The Architect added to the 17th August comments as seen in below italic font.

You will note that 2 days separates the date between me sending the comments on the 17th and receiving replies on 19th. this is a fast turn-around time and shows that the architect is busy working on my project.

Alan’s Answers Thursday 19 Aug 2010

Blue = Comment

Green = OK Agreed

Red = Wait. Further research required.

 Dear Alan

I have some answers and opinions. Anything you disagree with or would like to discuss please let me know sir.


Best Regard

1. Drawings

See comments marked on drawings in the file AB-THS-PKCHNG-KNSGNTN-CMMNTS-100817-001.pdf.

If anything is not clear please ask.

  • I have to admire your knowledge of construction Alan. As some people don’t like to see drawings that will be difficult to understand. So this will be easy to discuss with you by drawings

Yes, I have worked as a professional in the building industry for 30+ years.

2. Membrane

My concept detail drawings had a impermeable membrane between the exterior wood and roof tiles and the internal Bamboo mat. This is common in Europe and USA but perhaps not in Thailand. Let me explain what it is and what it does (in case you are not familiar with this).

The membrane is sometimes made from plastic, sometimes (particularly for roofs) from ‘roofing felt’ a bituminous material.

The membrane prevents wind-driven rain from entering the building, keeps out the wind and insects. More information from the links below. Also please see attached pdf. Pitched_Roofing.pdf

Yos’s drawings do not show a membrane – perhaps there is a reason for this, but does show a 4mm plywood sheet which I assume supports the Bamboo mat? 4mm is very thin and would provide much support, I suppose.

  • This is ordinary thickness of plywood for ceilings, 4 mm thick and 1 1/2″ x 3″ hardwood frame @ 0.60 m.
  • but if we use 6 mm thickness this might be stronger and the weight of it might require more support

If 4mm is strong enough and easily available no need to use 6mm.

How is the plywood and Bamboo mat fixed?

  • My idea is use adhesive to fix this together and some position might have to have a nail or screw but this is something to check with the builder to see how they can do it. Or if you have any idea please let me know

Let the Architect sort it out.

I would like to understand more about the proposal and why a membrane is not used before agreeing.

  • This is not yet the detail drawings, this is just the sections
  • The membrane might be call sub roof (see photo below); this is used for protection of water leakage in case we are not confident the roof will 100% protect the water leakage.
  • Some house they use galvanize steel sheet or plywood laid on the rafter below purlin to be sub roof for protection of rain leakage. Do you want this ? I think maybe good idea.
  • Membrane is not ordinary or standard in Thailand (from what I know), and I am not sure this will easily found in market.

The membrane idea is for the walls as well as the roof, to stop wind and insects as well as water. Need to consider this further.

We do not want steel sheets under the roof.

  • I have attached a clay roof tile catalogue for your selection. This is the manufacturer of clay tiles but the catalogue is Thai’ if possible you can see the website of manufacturer so you can select which you like

Thank you. Will check with Kanyah and let you know.

Installing Steel Sub-roof

Above, Installation of steel sheet sub roof

Installing Steel Sub-Roof Close-Up

Above, Installation of steel sheet subroof – close-up

Alan comments. Note the steel rafters. This is quite common now in Thailand.

 3. Bamboo ceiling/roof/rafters

 As shown on my concept drawing Details sheet, about 75% of the rafters are visible from beneath the roof. The bamboo mat fits between the rafters. The effect is shown in the picture. This appearance is very important to us. We would rather loose some of the thermal insulation than not see the rafters. Please remember that Pakchong is not as hot as Bangkok or the central plains.

  • My thought is Bangkok or Pakchong is Thailand and Thailand is located in tropical region. Most of area and most of the time are summer and temperature are very hot and will be hotter in future
  • I suggest we should have insulation for the roof but this is your choice you can select J If you have insulation this increases the amount of space by approximate 4” as that is its thickness. Therefore seeing the rafters (beams) might not be possible. Insulation is your choice to make. But we use a lot now in Thailand. It makes a difference.

Above, our concept for the Bamboo ceiling/roof/rafters. (Note: In the picture, ‘PURLIN’ should say ‘RAFTER’.

Above, the effect we want, the rafters visible.

  • Some of the rafter which you see might not be actual rafters and part of structure. Maybe decoration only.  The reason I say this is because you need space in a roof for frame, electrical wires, insulation. So the rafters would have to be very thick to be seen. But maybe I am wrong but this is my thought. Or maybe very wide (thick) rafters.

Due to the space above the ceiling needed for roof material (plywood, frame, insulation, wiring etc subroof-if you want it) this may obscure the rafters. Rafters are approximately 5-6” thick. But the roof will require maybe 3-4” of space so you will not see much of the rafter. Or maybe a decorative rafter can be made. Or maybe use much thicker rafters but I need to check with structural engineer on this point. Any thoughts Alan ?

We definitely want to see the rafters as shown in the picture above. We don’t want a sub-roof.

The only question is how to achieve it? Can the insulation be less than 4”? Even 2” is better than nothing. We are prepared to reduce the insulation thickness.

One idea might be to use steel for the roof supports and false wooden rafters just for looking at, but not sure how this would work on the outside of the building. Also this might be more expensive.

  • We want to see the rafters in all rooms except the bathroom/shower. The bathroom/shower is the only room with a flat ceiling.

Revise the drawing as comment


4. Gutters

Above, galvanized gutter, unpainted.

UPVC is long lasting but is it available in large enough sizes and colours? In the picture above the steel is not painted. We would like the gutter coloured to match the roof. (By the way, I like to roof colour in the above picture)

The UPVC Catalogue looks OK. Will select brown colour.

Is a Gutter necessary on the roof that drains towards the Balcony roof? I think that allowing water to drain from one roof to another may not permitted under UKL regulations, but if it can be done in Thailand and it works then we can save the cost and complication of one gutter and the down pipes.

  • There are no regulations about gutters in Thailand but there are regulations regarding the building having to be set back from neighbouring plots.  I am concern about look of the house, If we don’t have gutter on both side of roof . You can have it one side but I think it will look not right. My opinion is better to have both sides.
  • But your choice Alan ?

The house is set at 5 m from neighbours land it that OK?

Will check with Kanyah about not having the gutter.

5. Gutter down Pipe

There is no need to put the down pipes in a shaft, but they need to drop close to the house. The roofs overhang the house by 900 mm and if the down pipe drops vertically down at the end of the gutter and away from the house wall it would look ugly.

  • Yes the roof drain pipe will come from gutter and hold with the wall, so it will be close to the house


6. Gable End

I don’t understand the “4 mm Fiber cement board, with 5mm gap” on Section AA. For the underside of the roof at the overhanging ends and for the underside of the balcony roof we were expecting a wood finish because bamboo mat is not suitable for outdoor use.

  • The bamboo mats are not suitable for outdoor use as we are know.
  • We can use wood ceiling for outdoor overhanging roof (soffit) but the fiber cement board is cheaper to use, this is just choice for your consideration and your choice ?

I prefer fibre cement board because it is cheaper, but Kanyah likes wood because it looks nicer. Let’s use wood for the overhanging roof and for the balcony roof.

7. Gable End

I don’t understand the “Wooden batten size 2” x 4” on the internal gable” on Section CC. This should be covered in Bamboo mat.

  • This is like wooden lattice for ventilation between living and dining areas. My idea is I don’t want the wall between living and dining to be solid wall, so I propose the wooden lattice.
  • I guess you will not have air condition so I would like the air to flow freely between each room. This is for your consideration and your choice Alan ?

Ah, I see. Will check with Kanyah

8.  Others – Comments on Drawings

  • Bath drain is directly over the concrete beam.

Let me check again how to resolve this


  • The shower drain should be moved so that the horizontal drain under the slab is not visible from outside of the building. Visible in the workshop is OK.

Revise the drawing as your comment


  • Prefer the folding doors to open as marked on the drawing to keep the balcony and Dining areas clear when the doors are open.

Revise the drawing as your comment


  • Dividing walls between Living/bedroom and kitchen/bedroom are shown as finish 2, the same as external walls but the construction is not the same. Needs to be clarified. Is Steel Stud cheaper than wood?

That should be wooden stud let me revise the drawing again


New Items 19 Aug 2010

In future we may want to fix air conditioning units to the inside of the walls. To do this can we have some additional wood added at certain points in each room beneath the Bamboo mat?

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