We Are Moving Closer to Our Dream Of Retiring In Thailand

The last week has been really busy and we have moved forward a couple of steps towards our dream of finally retiring in our dream house in Thailand.

We have received a set of 19 almost complete drawings from our Thai architect to review and Kanyah has booked her air ticket to visit Thailand on 23 September 2010.

Thai Architect’s House Plans Received For Review

As you know from the Post “A Thai Architect In Bangkok Is Making Our Retirement House Plans“, we have employed an archtiectural company from Bangkok to design our retirement house in Pakchong, Thailand. I have even posted images of some of the preliminary drawings they have produced for us on the Post “House Plans For Our Retirement House Produced By A Thai Architect“.

Now, we have received 19 construction drawings that are 90% complete for our review. I estimate there are about another five or six drawings to make, bringing us to a total of around 25 drawings. That is a LOT of drawings. I’ll be uploading them to a web page when I have time. If you want me to let you know when they are ready to view online please join the Announcement List and I’ll send you an email when they are uploaded.

The architect has said that he expects these to be complete before the end of the month. So, at the end of September 2010 we will have a set of drawings that we can use to:-

  • Submit to the Or Bor Tor Office to get the Building Permit.
  • Issue to Thai builders to get quotations to build our retirement house in Pakchong, Thailand.
  • Form as part on a contract with our selected builder to construct the house.
  • Build the house from.

All that’s very exciting but nothing in Thailand will happen while we are here in U.K. That’s why my Thai wife, Kanyah, is going to Thailand in a weeks time.

Kanyah Is Going To Thailand to Build The House

Kanyah has her air ticket booked for the evening flight from London Heathrow to Bangkok on Thursday 23 September 2010.

In Thailand she will have a lot to do to get the house-build started. Our original target was to have the house plans finished by the end of August, start building in September and have the house finished in time for me to stay in on my Christmas visit. That has all been put back now, not only because the house plans aren’t finished yet, but also because we are beging to realise the difficulties we will be facing.

The difficulties in building our retirement house in Thailand mostly lie in Kanyah’s lack of knowledge about construction and project management. Therefore she will need my help to:-

  • Review the builders’ quotations
  • Explain to the builder any changes we want to make from the Tender drawings
  • Negociate and agree the details of the contract with the builder
  • Obtain and finalise a contract with the builder

So, because she has so much to do before we even get to that stage, we have agreed that the construction will not start until my planned visit to Thailand on 19th December 2010.

Until then she has plenty to do including:-

  • Collecting our new Toyota Pickup from her daughter’s house in Bangkok and driving to Pakchong.
  • Finding some reasonable accommodation in Pakchong. Most likely to be “The Mansion”.
  • Receive the hard copy version of the final Construction drawings from the architect.
  • Decide on all the finishes and fitting fopr the house. things like floor and wall tile patterns and colors, wood floor type and color, bathroom fittings etc.
  • Submit the Construction Drawings to the Or Bor Tor Office and receive the Building Permit.
  • Arrange temporary electrical and water supplies for the construction.
  • Get the land cleared of vegitation ready for construction to commence.
  • Make multiple copies of the Construction Drawings.
  • Locate some Thai building companies and give them a pack of Construction Drawings so that they can prepare a price to build the house.
  • Receive the prices to build the house from the builders.
  • Learn to use email so that we can exchange information over the Internet. Yes, she has no idea how to use a computer and has never sent an email in her life.

In addition she has to get a Thai driving license and renew her Thai passport.

Quite a lot of things for her to do, before I arrrive in December to help her get the house build under way.

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6 Responses to “New House Plans And Building A House in Thailand”

  • JC:

    Good post although you may want to consider one very important aspect during the contractor/tender period.

    Having your Architect prepare a detailed BoQ/BoM will help eliminate any discrepancies for materials & quantities made by the contractor/builder.

    Your BoQ should not be given to the builder, it is your reference and will give you a very good idea of what the total costs of materials & labor are.

    If prepared properly in excel format you can edit and modify any part of it while it updates the totals automatically.

    Don’t make the mistake and give ‘your’ BoQ to the builder as he will use this for his final bid assuming this is what you want. If there’s a problem later on about materials or quantities the builder will use your BoQ as reference and not take responsibility.

    Any good builder will prepare his own BoQ from the drawings & details you give him.

    Pay special attention to several items in the Contractor’s BoQ that are added for additional profit and not accurate. Double check the quantities of concrete as this one is usually overlooked by the the homeowner since most people don’t know how to calculate all the concrete used.

    Another very important issue is having someone ‘from your side’ there on site all the time to monitor the project. If you have knowledge of construction, most specifically, “Thai building practices & techniques” then you can supervise the project yourself and unless you’ve hired a Bangkok company you should have a good understanding and working knowledge of the Thai language and construction related words and phrases.

    The beginning stages of construction are the most critical, i.e., the ‘foundation’.

    Most every other part of the house can be repaired although the foundation, footings, grade beams, reinforcing steel, plumbing, septic and rough electrical should be monitored and checked against the plans for accuracy before covering anything up, especially the plumbing/pipes. (I can tell you some horror stories !)…anyway, good luck with the build.


    admin Reply:


    Many thanks for the very interesting and informative comment.

    I have asked my architect to give me a price for preparing a BOQ, but have not actually decided whether to go aheand with that or not.

    My intention was to give it to the builder, but you say not to so I will have to reconsider. If the BOQ is just made for my own use then I could make it myself.

    My wife is Thai and will be in Thailand when the house is built. Obviously she speaks Thai but is not overly familiar with construction. I have a lot of experience in the construction industry but can only speak basic Thai (Despite trying to learn the language for many years!). Also I will not be in Thailand for the majority of the build period.

    As to the foundations being important i agree with your comments totally. That’s why I commissioned a site soil test to determine the Thai house foundation design.

    Once again, many thanks for your valuable comments.


  • David:

    BOQ is a good idea but having been a builder I would also say do not try to beat the builder down too much on price. They take care of your home for best part of 6-12 months.

    If you get an unhappy builder your home won’t be built with care and attention. Also why should a builder not make a fair profit ?

    They take on the biggest responsibility of all involved. You get what you pay for in life. In Thailand if you cheap skate the builder they will walk from the job or be resentful from day one. Be fair and get the best from a Thai builder.


    admin Reply:

    Hi David and thanks for the comment.

    I do wonder why you go on about ‘cheapskating’ the builder.Perhaps there is something that implies that in my website in which case I would be grateful if you could point it out so that I can correct it. It is never my intention to ‘cheapskate’ anyone.

    I have been in the construction industry in the UK as a practising professional engineer for more that 20 years during which time I have worked with a wide range of architects, civil and structural, mechanical and electrical engineers and sub contractors. I know the construction industry inside out. You can see some of the projects I have complete with one of my Clients here

    I get an above average service from my sub-contractors because I am a professional and I deal with them honestly. they respect my knowledge, skill and integrity.

    As to the BOQ they help everybody, Client and Builder alike. They help to define the scope, quality and cost of the work and in our case Kanyah will use them as a shopping list to source and price the materials to be used in the build. By obtaining quotations from suppliers for materials such as wood flooring, wood walling, doors, windows, tiles bamboo mat etc, she is better able to guide the builders in preparing their quotation and protect both parties from misunderstandings.


  • Michelle:


    I have employed a Thai architect,has been working via email for nearly a year now, then found out later he has been tied with a particular builder. I asked him to prepare the BOQ, but he told me it was not his job to prepare the BOQ. it is a builder’s. He will pass the construction drawing to several builders and see which one give the best price. I am not sure if it is a set-up game they play.

    I would appreciate if you could let me if it is a common practice in Thailand. What’s a point to have a bidding if I don’t have a base price to compare.

    Thanks and look forward to your reply.



    admin Reply:

    Hello Mich and thank you for your question.

    There are various views about BOQs. Some people (me for one) like to have them produced by a Quantity Surveyor, some want the builder to produce them. There appears to be no hard and fast rule.

    However, I can offer some guidance from my own experience.

    When I appointed my Thai Architect, the Kensington Company, I asked them about BOQs and they made it clear that provision of BOQs was not included in the price for making the construction drawings.

    After the construction drawings were finished I paid them extra to produce the BOQs.

    In the UK where I live it is not the Architect’s job to make the BOQs, they are produced by a Quantity Surveyor (QS), and I imagine that in Thailand it is the same. So unless your agreement with the Architect clearly included the production of BOQs I can well imagine that he is right to say that they are not included in his price.

    Some people, even if they have a BOQ, do not issue it to the builder when he is preparing his quotation. They are worried that if there is an error or something missing in the BOQ that the builder will claim extra money for supplying what is missing in the BOQ. JC, see his comment above, for example, advocates not giving the BOQ to the builder.

    I will be giving my BOQ to the builders tendering for the project because:-

    A) I want all the tenders to be on the same basis.

    C) If the tenderers fill out the BOQ it will be clear that they have thought about and allowed for everything in the build.

    If, later, it turns out that there was something missing from the BOQ then I am prepared to pay for it. That’s a fair deal I think.

    Another purpose for us commissioning the preparation of the BOQ is that we can obtain quotations for the supply if the materials used in the construction. We can then either use that information to check or challenge the builder’s price, or to purchase the materials ourselves.

    Another point about the Architect giving the drawings to builders. It is common practice in Thailand, generally and not just in the construction industry, for service providers to pay someone a commission for providing them with a customer. That’s a polite way of saying that (in your case) the Architect would be entitled to a commission from the successful builder and that would ultimately come from you pocket. Nothing wrong with that in my view, but you might get lower prices from builders if you issued the drawings yourself rather than through the Architect.

    Have I covered everything? If not please let me know.

    And other visitors to the website please feel free to add your comment as see fit.


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