What More Can They Get Wrong With This Thai House Build Project?

How They Covered Up The Ugly Electrical Wiring By Trashing The Concept For The Vaulted Ceiling

What are those idiots up to? They have a set of construction drawings produced my our Thai Architect in Bangkok which they are supposed to be following. But – yet again – they choose to ignore the drawings and do what they feel like. At the expense of the lovely high and open feel the house would have had if it had been contructed as designed and also at the expense of thousands of additional Baht for the wood they used which is not needed by the design.

How The Ceiling Should Look

If you are a regular here, you will know the picture below which is the design concept for the house ceiling (i.e. there isn’t one):-

Bamboo Wall Mat Between The Rafters Of Our Thai House

Concept For The Vaulted Ceiling

Above, the concept for the vaulted ceiling in our retirement house under construction in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand.

You can see what a lovely ‘airy’ feeling you will get as you walk into the room. It’s beautiful.

And They Have Ruined It

Look at the same picture below, where I have marked up what they have done with the ceiling:-

Image of Where They Put A Flat Bamboo Mat Ceiling

Where They Put A Flat Bamboo Mat Ceiling

All that lovely high level space thrown away. And the detail of the vaulted ceiling (like the above photo) was clearly shown on the Thai Architects house plans we commissioned.

Extracts From The Thai Architect’s House Plans Clearly Showing The Vaulted Ceiling With Bamboo Mat

Below is one of our Thai Architect’s house plans for the retirement house now being built in Pakchong (Pak Chong). This drawing is actually a cross section through the house and I have marked a rectangle in red colour that is shown in close-up in the next image.

Image of Thai Architectural Drawing - Check Out The Detail Indicated On The Next Image

Thai Architectural Drawing - Check Out The Detail Indicated On The Next Image

Below is the close-up taken from the construction drawing above and you can clearly see the text “4mm Thk. Plywood finish with bamboo mat” together with an arrow from the note to the ‘herring-bone’ cross-hatching that represents the bamboo mat in the vaulted ceiling.

This is a clear description of the requirement for the house to have a vaulted ceiling and not a flat ceiling as the builder has now installed.

Image of Thai Architectural Drawing Clearly Showing Bamboo Mat on 4 mm Plywood

Thai Architectural Drawing Clearly Showing Bamboo Mat on 4 mm Plywood

In case you are thinking that the above note is only in the English language and perhaps the builder can’t read English (which is true, but Kanyah can) I’ll refer you to a Thai language note on another construction drawing made as part of the set by our Thai Architect in Bangkok:-

Image of Thai Thai Language In Bamboo Mat Architectural Drawing

Thai Language In Bamboo Mat Architectural Drawing

In the image above (an extract from the Thai house plans made by our Thai architect), note the Thai language note circled in red colour and the arrow clearly pointing to the ‘herring-bone’ cross-hatching that represents the bamboo mat in the vaulted ceiling.

Below is  a close-up of the Thai language note:-

Image of Thai Language In Bamboo Mat Architectural Drawing

Thai Thai Language In Bamboo Mat Architectural Drawing

Above, I think this refers to the bamboo mat in the vaulted ceiling. I’ll get it translated and put the English language translation here.

Now For Some Photographs Of  How The Bamboo Mat Ceilings And Bamboo Mat Walls Were  Actually Installed On Site In Our Pakchong (Pak Chong) Retirement House

The first photo (below) is a photo of the bamboo mat flat ceiling I drew attention to in the marked-up photo above.

Image of Bamboo Mat Ceiling 08

Bamboo Mat Ceiling 08

Above, I must admit that the bamboo mat installation is very neat and clean. I like the wooden trim in the corner between the wall and ceiling. What a pity they didn’t follow the vaulted ceiling concept.

This Is How They Hid Away The Ugly Domestic Electrical Wiring

In the Post “Don’t Let Them Wire Your House In Thailand Like This I showed photographs of how the builder’s electricians had installed the domestic electrical wiring and electrical conduit in areas where it would be visible. I complained of this to Kanyah and after talking to the builder she gave me a list of reasons why “I was talking rubbish and the Thai builders know best” or words to that effect.

Well now I know why they weren’t concerned about the wiring being visible. Look at the photo above or below and behind that flat bamboo mat ceiling lies hidden the ugly electrical wiring.

Next is a photo showing the bamboo mat ceiling and bamboo mat walls.

Image of Bamboo Mat Ceiling and Walls

Bamboo Mat Ceiling and Walls

Above, this is a view inside the house in the Kitchen looking out onto the Balcony. In the corner the concrete column is exposed. This was supposed to have been painted before the bamboo mat was installed and failure to do this was one of the reasons why Kanyah sacked the previous builder!

Next picture shows the bamboo mat walls and the wooden floor.

Image of Bamboo Mat Ceiling Walls And Wooden Floor

Bamboo Mat Ceiling Walls And Wooden Floor

In the photo above you can see the bamboo mat walls and the wooden floor. At high level are the wooden joists to support the flat bamboo mat ceiling. Also visible is the unpainted concrete column in the corner of the room.

More detail on the wooden frame to support the bamboo mat ceiling in the photo below.

Image of Wooden Support Frame For Bamboo Mat Ceiling 01

Wooden Support Frame For Bamboo Mat Ceiling 01

In the photo above you can see the wooden frame they have installed to support the flat bamboo mat ceiling.

This was never intended, never in the design and never in my budget. I have had to pay the full cost of this wood on top of the cost of the original house just to get something I don’t want!

One thing to notice is the white concrete beam running left to right above the ceiling. With the vaulted ceiling this would have been visible. Perhaps that’s why Kanyah decided to go for the flat ceiling – to hide this beam.

I should add that the provision and position of this beam was an oversight by the original Thai Architect, in my view. (He would no doubt have a different view)

The beam is not shown on the Architect’s house plans, but is shown on the structural engineering drawings. Of course, I checked the Architectural drawings quite carefully, but paid less attention to the structural drawings expecting them to be in harmony with the Architect’s Drawings. Big mistake.

Don’t Expect The Thai Architect To Check The Work Of His Sub-Specialists!

By sub-specialists I mean the other engineering disciplines who contribute their expertise to the overall house design and these are mainly the structural engineer and the electrical and mechanical services engineer.

There are several instances where our Thai Architect did not show or check the detail of the structural engineers drawings and these were not spotted either by myself or by the previous builder. Also, there were items in the electrical and plumbing drawings that were incorrect and had to be put right by the builder.

I’ll not go into the detail here – this page is about the bamboo mat ceiling and walls – but maybe make a feature page of all the design errors separately.

Next, a view looking towards the bathroom doors from the Dining Area.

Image of Red Brick Bathroom Walls 02

Red Brick Bathroom Walls 02

In the above photograph above the two white rectangles are the door frames to the two bathrooms.

In the foreground where the worker is standing, this is the Dining Area. Again, you can see the flat bamboo mat ceiling instead of the vaulted ceiling.

Next, a  close-up of the bathrooms.

Image of Red Brick Bathroom Walls 01

Red Brick Bathroom Walls 01

In the above photo, you can see my shower room where the worker is standing and Kanyah’s bathroom to the right.

Notice the grey coloured vertical strip to the right of the picture in the red brickwork and then look at the photo below.

Image of Hidden Electrical Wiring Near The Red Brick Bathroom Walls

Hidden Electrical Wiring Near The Red Brick Bathroom Walls

Above, the grey coloured strip is where they have cut into the red brick wall of the bathroom to bury the yellow conduit for the electrical wiring.

At the top you can see the yellow conduit rising past the concrete beam. As it happens, I had agreed with the previous builder that this half of the house could have flat ceilings (as a cost saving measure – but obviously now its costing me more than the vaulted ceiling if they are putting in the flat bamboo mat ceiling requiring the wooden support frame).

How The Flat Ceilings Were Supposed To Save Me Money

The vaulted ceiling concept was originally applied to every room in the retirement house except for the bathrooms and the small lobby outside of the bathrooms. These were to be flat ceilings made from gypsum board suspended on steel wires.

The original builder’s quotation was above our budget and so before we signed the construction contract with him we went through a ‘Value engineering’ (VE) exercise to get the cost down. (VE – AKA Cost Cutting)

The original builder offered a considerable cost saving if the bedrooms could also be flat ceilings made from gypsum board suspended on steel wires.

I don’t think that Kanyah was up to speed with this, although the previous builder was supposed to mark up the original drawings to show all changes agreed as part of the VE exercise.

So we might have flat bamboo mat ceilings in the bedrooms with the expensive wooden support rafters that you have seen in the photos above.

By the way, strange that Kanyah has not sent me any photos of the bedroom areas. Wonder what she’s up to in there….

In The Next Post We Move To Photos Of The Outside Of The House

I have today received a whole stack of photographs of the external of the house, and oh boy has it moved on. Now you really can see the end in sight.

The photos include:-

  • Massive beautiful (and expensive) Teak double doors to the ground floor workshop (another change I wasn’t asked about)
  • Bamboo mat applied to the underside of the balcony roof. (Despite me telling Kanyah I didn’t agree to the builders price she did it anyway)
  • External views showing the finished wood walls – and how nice it looks.
  • The steps up to the balcony (including a departure they made  from my very detailed design that they should not have made)

And of course you get my usual complementary (not complimentary) commentary!

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4 Responses to “Now They Have Trashed The Vaulted Ceiling Concept”

  • Oh Alan, I really feel for you , I too would have loved to see the open plan ceiling and bet you are gutted !

    I am learning so much from your (good /bad) experience and appriciate you sharing it with us. I will start my house in the new year on my land by the beach, but one thing is for sure… I will be on site 24 /7 !!!
    All the best
    Russ North

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Hi Russ and thanks for giving your comment.

    I’m not too happy (Great British Understatement) about not having the vaulted ceiling. But I’m not going to change it now.

    It was a great opportunity to have a really terrific house and instead we have just a great house.

    But let’s not forget the fact that there’s more to retiring in Thailand than building a house. Fundamentally the house is somewhere to live and as long as it’s comfortable, convenient and safe then the main requirements are covered.

    Whether the house is just nice or is a showcase won’t affect your happiness (or otherwise) when retiring in Thailand. In fact it doesn’t even appear as a consideration in my Some Very Good Reasons Why You Should Not Retire To Thailand

    When you start your own retirement house build, please don’t forget to send us some photos and some description to post on the website. Or, better still, do you have any drawings or info now that I can put up for people to see?

    Yes, you have to be there 24/7. Also you have to have a very good means to communicate your requirements to the builder – either through extremely good drawings or otherwise.

    Please keep in touch with your house build and good luck!

    Alan

    [Reply]

  • Edward James Kemp:

    Hey Alan, Kanyah must like it though!!

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Edward,

    Thanks for your comment.

    Kanyah – as she tells me over the phone – loves it. She is delighted and that’s all that matters.

    Alan

    [Reply]

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