The Wooden Walls Of Our Retirement House Styled After A Traditional Wooden Thai Style House Are Nearly Complete

Here are the latest photos showing the current status of the house we are building in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, for us to retire to.

We went through a very bad experience with our original Thai builder, and Kanyah eventually terminated his contract, but all the signs are that this new Thai builder is doing a terrific job for us and the house build project is now progressing very quickly indeed. The new Thai builder is delivering the high quality of building that we want.

Here are the latest progress photos from the construction site at Pakchong (Pak Chong).

Image of Rear View Wood Walls Finished

View Of The House From The Road Side

Above you can see that the wooden walls on this side of the house are complete. Also the rendering is nearly complete. At last I can get an image of what the finished retirement  house will look like.

Below is a close-up of one of the bays of the house looking from the same side.

Image of Close Up View Of The House From The Road Side

Close Up View Of The House From The Road Side

Above, the wood wall complete for one of the bedrooms.  The wooden area is the wall to a double bedroom, the cement rendered bay to the right is the external wall to the twin bathrooms. (Actually one bathroom with bath for Kanyah and the other is a shower room for me.)

Next, is a view of the house from the front, or balcony side.

Image of Front View Wood Walls Not Finished

Front View Wood Walls Not Finished(Alan's comments)

Above there is not much progress with the wood walls, just the Living Room in the left hand bay is half finished.

Next a view of one of the end walls.

Image of Blue House Side View Wood Walls Finished

Blue House Side View Wood Walls Unfinished(Alan's comments)

Above is a photo taken of the end wall from the blue house neighbour’s side.

Quick Redesign Of The Stairs And Hope I’m Not Too Late

Now, changing the subject, from wooden walls to steel stairs, below is a photo of the steel for the stairs receiving a coat of paint.

Image of Steel Stairs Painting

Steel for the Stairs Being Painted

Quick Redesign Of The Stairs And Hope I’m Not Too Late

The above photo of the steel for the stairs jolted me into action.

Why? Because I didn’t like the design provided by our Architect and I had already agreed an alternative deign with the previous builder and made a sketch which is on the That Architect’s house plans drawings.

But I’m not sure how much Kanyah has told the new builder about the alternative design and what he is planning to build. So I need to knock out a drawing pronto and get it to the new builder before he starts cutting that steel!

I am suspecting that he is planning for the alternative design for two reasons.

First when I explaind this to Kanyah by phone today, she said that the new Thai builder always looked at the drawings with the changes we agreed with the previous builder.

Secondly, in the photo above I can see some steel angle iron. that kind of angle iron was not in the original Architect’s design but is in the alternative design.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I have spent the last day making the new stair design drawings in AutoCAD and have just emailed then to Kanyah.

Let’s look at the two designs and why I wanted to change the stair design.

Why I Changed The Design Of The Stairs For Our Retirement House in Thailand

First look at the computer-generated 3 D image of our house below. (This is a 3D computer generated image created by our Thai Architect in Bangkok)

Image of Retirement House Thai Architect's Design Rendering End View

Retirement House Thai Architect's Design Rendering End View

Above, notice the stairs at the left hand side of the picture? What is important (to me) is that there is a gap between the stair treads – you can see right through them.

In case you can’t make out what I am referring to here is an annotated version of the same picture:-

Image of Retirement House Thai Architect's Design Rendering End View Showing Ope Stair Treads

Retirement House Thai Architect's Design Rendering End View Showing Ope Stair Treads

Above, the Thai architect’s 3D rendering of the house shows open style stairs. This is in contrast with his construction drawings – an extract of which is seen below.

Image of Stair Detail From Thai Architect's House Plans Showing Closed Risers

Stair Detail From Thai Architect's House Plans Showing Closed Risers

Above, it’s probably not immediately obvious (and I must admit I didn’t realise this until well after I had signed the construction contract with the first builder) but this stair detail has closed risers.

In other words you can’t see through the steps. The stairs will look just like any normal stair that you see in a building, even in your own house.

But I wanted steps – with open treads that you can see through – not stairs.

The stairs, I thought would look much to heavy and out of place in our retirement house which is supposed to appear rustic and mimic the treadittional Thai house which would have open steps not closed stairs.

Those steps had to go so I came up with my own design for the stairs. Note that I kept the basic design by the original Thai architect, all I did was to change from closed treads to open treads.

Image of Packchong House Stairs

Packchong House New Stair Design

Click on the image to see a larger version (Opens in new window)

I have made these two drawings to show the open-tread stairs I want to have in our Pakchong (Pak Chong) retirement house.

I started with the original design for the stairs by our Thai Architect from Bangkok as shown on the construction drawings he produced for us. Then, using the AutoCAD program I changed the steel steps so that there would be gaps between the treads that you can see through.

I didn’t fundamentally change the steel part of the stairs (apart from the steps) and made no changes to the handrails. It still took me a full day to make the changes, though!

I sent the drawings off to Kanyah last night by email and hopefully they will arrive in time before the builder starts fabrication of the stairs using the previous design.

Image of Packchong House New Stair Design Steel Fabrication Only

Packchong House New Stair Design Steel Fabrication Only

Click on the image to see a larger version (Opens in new window)

The picture above shows just the steel part of the new stair design.

Underside Of The Floorboards Look Nice

I don’t normally go round commenting upon how nice the underside of floorboards look, and usually it doesn’t matter. But if you’re on the ground floor in this house then you have no choice but to see the floorboards above since they form the ceiling.

And I plan to spend a lot of time on the ground floor – busying myself away making model steam engines in my workshop.

But let’s start by looking at the underside of the balcony, where you can see the red bricks that have been used to fill in voids above the beams and that will be rendered smooth by cement.

Image of The Underside Of The Balcony Floorboards

View Of The Underside Of The Balcony Floorboards

Above, the red bricks have to be rendered, like the ones have in the photo below.

There Is No Insulation On The Floors In This House

Look at any of these pictures and the wood plank flooring is all that stands between the living areas, Bedrooms, Dining Area, kitchen and living Room and the outdoor air. There is no thermal insulation whatsoever and this would be unthinkable in A) a house in colder climates like, for example, the U.K. (England, Britain, Great Britain, or whatever you call it) where I live now, and B) a house in Thailand that is to be air conditioned.

Image of Under Floorboards Balcony

Another View Of The Underside Of The Balcony Floorboards

Above the nearest column where the wet cement is has had the red bricks covered by cement render.

In the picture below, which is taken in the workshop, the red bricks await the cement rendering treatment.

Image of Under Floorboards Workshop

View Of The Underside Of The Bedroom Floorboards

The next picture (below) shows the rendered red bricks in the workshop.

Image of Another Under Floorboards Workshop View

Another View Of The Underside Of The Bedroom Floorboards

Look Out For “Counting The Cost Of Building A Retirement House In Thailand” In The Next Post

The previous builder was on a fixed price contract to supply all labor and materials to build the house and we paid him in staged and fixed progress payments. Therefore keeping track of what we were spending on the house was quite simple – just keep a record of the payments made.

Enter The Labor Only Contract – Where We Buy The Materials

After we changed builders and type of contract to labor only, it fell on Kanyah to purchase all the materials. Now, Kanyah is doing a great job in Thailand, it’s her enthusiasm that has kept this project alive, but keeping track of where money is spent was never her strong point.

Spend it (money) she can. Account for it she can’t.

I am very nervous that I keep sending money out to Thailand and I have no idea where it goes. We have a budget for the house build project and we both want the project to be completed within budget, despite the losses we suffered when Kanyah sacked the previous builder.

Fortunately she does seem to get a receipt every time she buys something or pays anyone so I had the idea of getting Kanyah to list all the receipts with the receipt number and dtails annd sending that to me every two weeks.

I could put all this data into a spreadsheet and bingo, I could track the spend.

Check out the next Post to see how I got on…

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One Response to “Traditional Wooden Thai Style House – Walls Completed”

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