Posts Tagged ‘Building Permit’

An Update On The Good Progress Kanyah Is Making In Pakchong

Kanyah phoned yesterday (1st November, 2010) from Pakchong in a state of excitement to update me on the progress she is making towards getting our retirement house built in Pakchong.

Things really are going well at the moment, albeit a bit slower than we would have liked. Here are some of the things she told me:-

Applying For A Thai Building Permit

Kanyah says she now has the original stamped and signed drawings and calculations for the house from our architect in Bangkok and she will go to the Or Bor Tor (District Government) Office today (2nd November 2010).

This is a bit step forward towards getting started on our house build.

I don’t know how long it will take to get the Building permit, but no doubt Kanyah will phone me later and tell all.

Clearing The Land To Build The House

If you saw the pictures on the “Photos Of Our Land And The Or Bor Tor Office In Pakchong” page you will understand that the land is now so overgrown with vegetation that Kanyah is even scared to go onto the land. (All kinds of nasties will be hiding in that long grass including snakes -cobras included – and scorpions, to name but two dangerous creatures.)

Anyway she arranged with a local to have all the vegitation cut down by a tractor at the rate of 560 Baht/hour. It took 3 hours = 1,680 Baht.

Next another local will clear the vegetation and burn it in a few days when it is dried out. The cost for this will be something like 500 Baht.

I hope to get some photos from kanyah in the next few days.

Buying Houses To Obtain Wood To Build Our House

I suggested to Kanyah some time ago that we could save money by buying an existing wooden Thai house and knock it down to get the wood to build our own house. Another advantage with this is that the wood would be seasoned. Nothing worse than green wood to build a house.

Well, she has found two possible houses that we could purchase. The asking price is 200,000 Baht and 400,000 Baht. I don’t know the size of the houses, kind of wood, etx, alsi i don’t have any photos yet but have asked Kanyah to take some pictures and email them to me.

Receiving Quotations From Thai Builders To Build Our House

Kanyah now has given the house plans and Bills of Quantity (BOQ) to several builders who have offered to provide a price to construct our retirement house in Pakchong. Some of these will provide labor only, some will undertake all the procurement of the materials in addition to supplying the labor (Turn-Key).

There are advantages and disadvantages to both form on construction contract – I am in favor of the Turn-Key Contract – and these are explained on the “Finding Builders In Pakchong, Thailand” post.

Kanyah has requested all the builders to return thie quotations by Monday 15th November 2010.

That’s all the news for now. Look out for the next update with photographs, better to join the Announcement List to make sure you will be informed when the website is next updated.

Finding Builders in Thailand To Build Our Retirement House In Pakchong

Just A Quick Update On Our Thai House-Build Project. 5 October, 2010

Now Kanyah is back at Pakchong with the Thai House Plans (construction issue) and is looking again for builders to build our retirement house. But just as it was difficult to find a builder last year when we only had the house drawings that I made (not those produced by our Thai Architect which we have now), so this time it is not so easy also.

You maybe be wondering why we did not ask Kensington to build our home. I did ask in the beginning but unfortunately the location of our land is too far out for them to build. It is a shame as it is so difficult to find good reliable builders that do a professional job.

Kensington can build homes of all sizes, shapes and styles in many locations but Thailand is a big country and they cannot build everywhere.

It is always best to ask them and let them know your location as they can build in Chiang Mai, Phuket, Pattaya, Bangkok, Hua Hin, Ko Samui and many other areas. A lot depends on the project and the location.

However even if they cannot build your home I am sure one of their excellent architects can design it.

Anyway, Kanyah phoned me yesterday (I am still in the U.K., working) and gave me the following update.

Building Permit Application in Thailand

Kanyah has visited the Or Bor Tor office, which she says is close to our plot of building land in Pakchong and they have told here what documents are required to apply for the building permit. There are some documents she does not have at the moment and these are:-

A) The Signed Construction Drawings And Calculations

Although the construction drawings are finished and Kanyah has printed off a few sets we don’t have the sets signed off by the Thai Architect and the engineer together with the calculations. I have asked the Architect when she can receive them and he replied that since I had just issued some comments on the constrution drawings he would wait until any necessary changes had been made to the drawings and then issue the signed set. That may take a week or so.

B) The Thai House Registration Papers

Every Thai person should be registered at a house in Thailand and have their name entered on the house registration papers. The Thai house registration papers record the births, deaths, marriages and names of all people who are in residence at that address.

Kanyah’s name is registered at a friend’s house in Bangkok and she has asked her friend to send a copy to her in Pakchong. that should take a few days.

Once all these documents are received Kanyah will apply at the or Bor tor office for the Thai house Building Permit.

Finding Builders To Build Our Retirement House

As of today, Kanyah has given sets of the construction drawings to two builders in Pakchong. She is looking for more builders.

Small Builders And Labour Only Construction Contracts In Thailand

It seems, she says, that the local builders in Pakchong do not have the capital to make all the purchases of the materials when they build a house. (i.e. they can’t afford to buy the materials) Instead the Client (in this case us, or more accurately Kanyah) would have to purchase all materials.

This means that the build would be via a labour only contract. This has advantages and disadvantages.

The Advantages Of A Labour Only Construction Contract In Thailand

1. Lowest Material Costs

Assuming for a moment that the Client is a Thai national, like Kanyah, then by purchasing direct the Client can avoid mark-ups on prices put on by a builder if he does the procurement. Also Kanyah is good at negotiating when shopping and always manages to get a discount of some sort. So if we go the labour only route then we can be sure that we get the lowest materials costs.

2. Quality Control

By making the purchases directly, Kanyah is able to ensure that she gets the quality of materials that she wants. Unless every item in the build is specified beforehand a builder making the purchases would often be liable to locate the cheapest materials available, not necessarily of the right quality.

The Disadvantages Of A Labour Only Construction Contract In Thailand

1. No Idea Of Final Cost

If the builder is buying the materials he will include tha total cost when he submits his tender. We will know the final cost of the project before we start building.

If the cost is outside our budget we would be able make changes to the building and/or the quality of the finishes to reduce the cost.

If we are purchasing the materials ourselves, unless we spend weeks getting quotations for everything before we start, we will not know the final build cost until the house in fully constructed.

2. No Experience Of Procurement For Construction Material

Although Kanyah does know what concrete and re-bar is she does not have a detailed knowledge of building materials and the construction process both of which are needed by anyone undertaking the procurement of all the materials themselves.

3. Time, Effort And Management Systems

If Kanyah is procuring all the materials, she will have to spend all the time and effort necessary to do so. On a live construction project with a fixed construction programme this can be a stressful job, especially for a novice.

Also, strict management systems are needed to record all the purchase transaction, chase and check deliveries and control the costs. As a minimum computers skills and ability to use spreadsheets and understand Bills of Quantity. All this extra work on top of controlling the quality of the works is just too much extra effort for Kanyah and she does not have the necessary computer skills.

4. Responsibility For the Programme (Construction Schedule)

The purchase of the materials must be made in a timely fashion if the project is not put on hold awaiting for materials to arrive. If the project is halted awaiting material deliveries, then there will be extra costs of paying the builder for standing costs. By this I mean that the labour is not working but still has to be paid.

Turn-Key Building Contract

Having written all the above pros and cons of a labour only building contract it becomes clear to me that unless I go to Thailand to oversee the build then a labour only contract is nor suitable for us.

I need to explain all the above to Kanyah and then she needs to find a builder capable of making the materials purchases. In other words we need a turn-key building contract where all e do is pay the builder in stages for the completed work.

Bills Of Quantity (BOQ)

If you don’t know what a BOQ is then let me explain.

A Bills Of Quantity (BOQ) document is a list of all the different types of materials and components used in the construction of the building. Each item in the list is called a Line Item.

There are columns where for each Line Item in the BOQ the following information is entered:-

The Quantity. This may be m3 of concrete, square metres of roof tiles, or number of windows.

The Rate. This would be the cost that the builder would charge per unit of the materials. For example, X Baht/m3 for concrete Y Baht/m2 for roof tiles and Baht per window. It would include the cost of supplying and installing the item. (but see below)

The cost of each line item is then calculated by multiplying the rate by the quantity. The sum of all the costs gives the final cost of the project.

Sometimes the cost of installing or fixing the materials is shown separately from the supply only cost of the materials.

In this case there would be additional columns for labour cost per unit, total labour cost and final labour cost for each line item.

Obtaining A Bill Of Quantities (BOQ)

I want to get a BOQ made for our Pakchong house that Kanyah can give to the builders preparing quotations for us and I am in discussion with the Kensington Company to have that done. The person making the BOQs is called a Quantity Surveyor. (QS)

If I have a BOQ with quantities measured by the QS from the construction drawings and I issue to the builder without the quantities I can use my version to check what the builder is offering when he submits his completed BOQ.

It will take a couple of weeks to get the BOQ made by Kensington’s QS in Bangkok, so that will delay the obtaining of quotations from builders for a bit. Also I have to explain all this to Kanyah.

That’s all for this update, see you in the next post where hopefully I can report on some real progress on finding builders in Thailand.

Finding an Architect in Thailand to Design Your Retirement Home

I never thought it would be so difficult to find an architect in Thailand to design your retirement house and make the plans for building permission and construction.

As you may know already if you have looked around the website, my wife has bought a piece of land (1 Rai) in Pakchong on which we want to build our home to retire to in Thailand.

Early this year I made a set of house plans (in other words I designed our planned home) which you can see here:

Since then I have bought the land and updated the house drawings. The next step was to find an architect to take my existing house plans as a starting point and produce a set of proper drawings that can be used for:-

A) obtaining the building permit

B) obtaining quotations from builder to build the house and

C) building the house

You would not believe how difficult this is.

Of course I am living in the UK and trying to do this over the Internet. If I was in Thailand it would not be so difficult I’m sure.

I Came Very Close To Signing A Contract With A Thai Architect

Last year I found a Thai company and they gave me a budget price to build the house and a price to make the plans. (House drawings).

The price was higher than my wife was comfortable with and so I was reluctant to go ahead. But time is passing by and I want to get the drawings finished ready to start building in September after the rainy season has finished. So I sent of all the latest and updated information and received a confirmed price.

As I mentioned, the company had previously given me a budget price for building the house based on a unit rate of 15,000 to 20,000 Baht/m2. you can see all the details at The Budget Price Of Building A House In Thailand. The quote for making the house drawings was based on 7% of this construction cost estimate. Well, if you have seen the Pictures Of The House We Are Building In Thailand you will know that half of the ground floor is ‘empty’ and the other half is simply a blockwork ‘shed’. So I reckoned that the unit rate for the construction cost should be lower for the ground floor making the cost of the house – and hence the architects fees lower since they are based on a %age of the estimated construction cost.

I put this to the company offering to make the retirement house drawings for me and although at first they responded that their price was “their fixed, standard low price and could not be reduced” they eventually offered a very small discount, for which I was grateful. My wife, being Thai always asks for a discount when she goes shopping and I had to follow suit in this case, otherwise she may not have agreed to go ahead.

Anyway, I wanted to agree to the new price and and asked them to send me a payment schedule, which was duly received. I expected this to be based on progress. In other words each stage payment would reflect the amount of work completed. For example when half the work is complete I would pay 50% 0f the fees. This sounds fair to me.

But what I was offered was ‘front end loaded’ as you can see below!

This what the company proposed as a fee payment schedule to make the house plans for our Thai retirement home:-

  • 1st 50% advance after sign contract
  • 2nd 30% when propose first draft preliminary design
  • 3rd 10% when propose final draft and perspective
  • 4th 10% when complete of construction and permission drawing and submits to client

What didn’t I like about this? Well, for starters I have already produced the concept drawings so steps 1 and 2 are already finished! Even if this represents the half-way stage, I am paying 80% of the fee for 50% of the work.

The last two 10% items is where the important parts of the work are. And there is over 50% of the total work here. What incentive is there for the architect to do 50% of the work for 20% of the fee? I am very nervous that this part of the work will never be complete – at least to a good standard.

So I made another attempt at finding an alternative architect in Thailand to make our house drawings.

A List Of Thai Architects

The first thing I did was to google ‘Thai Architect’. this came up with a few individual websites and one business directory listing dozens if not a hundred Thai architects.

Here is a link to the list of Thai Architects:

Next I sent an email to all the architects who had a website or an email address. Here is a list of those:-

And here is the message I sent them:-


I am Thai living (at the moment) in U.K. I have bought some land in Pakchong and will be building a house there.

Can you please give me a price to make the house plans.

All the information is in the files you can download from

Here are the individual download links:-

Thank You

Let’s see how that goes.

By the way those are real download links. You can download for free all the plans for my Thai retirement house.

The drawings are in AutoCAD 2006 and pdf format. You can also download some photos, spreadsheets and Word documents. These explain the scope of works for the architect and give a detailed specification for the house and it’s construction.

That’s all for now. I’ll be reporting if If I get any replies.

Update July 2010 – Response Received

From all those architects I contacted I only had one email by way of response. Here it is:-


Dear Kanyah,

I appreciate your interest in the designs for your home.

We looked at them and for basic design contract to supply finished architects construction drawings. Cost of construction we think would be 1.6m -2.2m baht plus vat (7%). But only the construction contractor will know this once the architects drawings are completed.

Our fee for this would be 150,000 baht plus vat (7%)

This does not include:

1. Applications of permission to build but we do supply engineers and architects information for you to use in application.

2. It does not include interior design, landscaping or travel expenses if required to visit site. (We think we can design this without going to the site if all information is provided correctly by yourself.)


Name removed for Privacy


(Note I was using my wife’s name, Kanyah, as the contact)

So I sent a simple question to this Architect:-


Thank you for your reply which is very informative and interesting.
If we decide to go ahead who exactly will be the architect?
What reply did I get? None!

Update August 2010 – I Have Appointed A Thai Architect

After that I decided to go with the Thai company who gave me a budget price for my house and a design fee proposal I described above.

And I’m now glad I did because I am delighted with their service and the work they do. Highly recommended.

Here are some links to the work they have done and what I have said about the way they work:-

Thai Architects House Plans

Comments On Thai Architects Preliminary House Design

More Comments On Thai Architects Preliminary House Design

A Thai Architect In Bangkok Is Making Our Retirement House Plans

If you want to contact the very same architectural and construction company I use and recommend, I suggest that you to do so using this contact Form because then you will receive the same personal attention that I did.

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