Posts Tagged ‘Shame’

Today I Re-Take The Thai Driving License Practical Test To Get My Thai Driving License

Post Written on Thursday 29th August In Pak Chong, Thailand

I’m up at 0600 AM and at 0645 AM I am out practicing the parallel reversing test.

Already the sun is flaming and I’m hot exhausted and frustrated.

My pass rate has not increased since yesterday (2 out of 8 tries) that’s only 25% even though I re-measured the sticks and the lines and managed to find an extra 50 mm!

I was driving in my sleep last night and woke up with a couple of new tactics to try. They don’t work.

I adjusted one wing mirror down a fraction just to give me a better view of the wheel but then I couldn’t see long distance.

The test is at 1300. It’s 0735 now and I’ll go and do another batch of 5 tests.

0810 AM and It’s 5 / 5!

It really takes it out of you these reversing tests.

I’ll take break now and resume later.

0915 AM and It’s 5 / 5 Again!

My confidence is building as I wait for the re-test at 1300.

I have been marking down my test results on a piece of paper. Here is a scanned image of it:-

Image of First Private Test Track Test Sheet 130828

First Private Test Track Test Sheet 130828

1500 PM And It’s All Over – Failed Again – Kind Of

Back home after the re-test.

I failed on 2 out of three exercises. So I have to re-take the other 2 next Wednesday 4th September.

The three tests you have to complete to pass the Thai practical car Driving License test are:-

Test 1. Straight Reversing

Driving up a very narrow lane of poles and then reversing back down it again.

Here is the official photo of the manouver being undertaken properly. It is a poster on the Thai Driving License Instruction Board at the Thai Driving License Test Center at Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand.

Note the big red blob at the top left of the photo and the number “2″.

That means that this is officially known as Test 2 even though it’s the first one you do.

Photo of Photo Successful Thai Driving License Test 2 - Reversing

Photo Successful Thai Driving License Test 2 – Reversing

I passed this test this time. I failed last time simply because I had driven only to the end of the poles before starting to reverse. you have to drive to the end of the white lines which stretch beyond the poles before starting to return.

Why don’t they have poles all the way? My guess is that once they did but people keep braking them with their cars and they have run out of spares. There are heaps of broken poles everywhere.

Shame that on the first test nobody told me you had to go past the poles and even passed the end of the white lines before beginning your reverse.

Test 2. Parallel Parking

This is where you have to reverse into a box made from poles and drive out again without hitting any pole or pole base. The entry and exit is from the narrow reversing lane in Test 1.

Here is the official photo of the manouver being undertaken properly.

Note the big red blob at the top left of the photo and the number “3″.

That means that this is officially known as Test 3 even though it’s the second one you do.

Photo of Photo Successful Thai Driving License Test 3 - Reversing

Photo Successful Thai Driving License Test 3 – Reversing

I almost made this one this time. I was concentrating on getting the wheels straight having manouvered into the box and forgot to look behind me and clipped a pole.

My reversing was beautiful though having practiced the manouver so many times on my test track back home.

Just the excitement got to me and I was not slow and careful enough.

Test 2. Stopping on the Yellow and White Lines

You have to pull up at the kerbside travelling forward and stop with both nearside wheels on a white line parallel to the kerb and 100 mm away from it and with both your front wheels on a yellow stop line.

It’s not easy because A) the yellow line is about a metre under the car when you stop and B) the kerb is immediately after a 90 turn and is quite short so it’s difficult to get the rear wheel close to the kerb without hitting the kerb with your front wheels which is a fail.

Here is the official photo of the manouver being undertaken properly.

Note the big red blob at the top left of the photo and the number “1″.

That means that this is officially known as Test 1 even though it’s the last one you do.

Photo of Photo Successful Thai Driving License Test 1 - Stopping

Photo Successful Thai Driving License Test 1 – Stopping

I put the front wheels exactly on the yellow line and the white line but the rear wheel was a few cm off the white line. Fail!



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.

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