Updated 6 July 2016:

I have just published a 750 page eBook that follows the challenges, frustrations and successes of building a house in Thailand from the very start of us buying the land through to moving in and beyond. You will be part of our building team for every day of construction and I will share many do’s and don’ts all designed to save you time, money, sleepless nights or all three. This book is a must have as part of your research on the subject of building in Thailand and you can find it HERE.


28 February – 6 March, a week of more tiling, details about our trip to Pattaya to look at DeKu the window/door manufacturer and the start of Barney’s home.

The week started slowly as the death in the village of the guy who looked after a small herd of buffalo brought everything to a stop on Saturday while the cremation ceremony and party took place. I had only taken a photograph of the buffalo and their herdsman a few days before when we drove into town to use in my series Isaan the Small Stories, the last post of which you can find HERE.

The buffalo man.

The buffalo man.

They and the buffalo droppings were a regular sight around the Moo Baan so I felt that a connection had been lost. He was found propped up against a tree after the buffalo started to eat someone’s sugar crop. I think that is a wonderful way to go, looking after his treasured animals and then just going to sleep. I hope my end is as peaceful.

He was the last of the buffalo keepers in the village and his little herd has disappeared since his death with no one to take them over on the local scene anyway. It is another part of the old times to be lost as the country modernises and the next generation rejects the lifestyle of their parents and grandparents.

Nothing happened on site Sunday either as it was a local village Buddhist celebration day that I wrote about HERE.

Everybody was back on the Monday however and the steady progress of covering up the concrete floor continued.

The kitchen nearly finished.

The kitchen nearly finished.

On Tuesday, build day 122, Gaun and I left early for Udon Thani airport to catch our flight to Bangkok for the reasons I wrote about last week HERE. My tasks at the Australian embassy quickly completed we caught a taxi to Pattaya and moved an appointment to meet Peter, the CEO to DeKu German Windows, from the previously arranged Wednesday morning to that afternoon. I wrote about our time in Pattaya, excluding the DeKu visit, HERE.

The DeKu showroom is super easy to find. Turning left at the freeway T junction at Pattaya, it is in the first group of office buildings on the left hand side.

The DeKu showroom.

The DeKu showroom.

A decent set-up inside.

A decent set-up inside.

All the different window/door profiles.

All the different window/door profiles.

Peter met us there and we finalised the order. The windows/doors should be constructed within two weeks and installation sometime in the third, which is a pretty good outcome if it happens. A 20th of March window install completion is what I am planning for and will report how close we get. For those of you who have been through the building process you might remember how you suddenly have a real house once the place is sealed from the outside. Until then it is like a big open sala.

I had also requested to see DeKu’s factory just to get a better idea of the type of operation they were running. To this point everything had been done via the internet and I didn’t even know whether there was a company producing windows at the other end. As I was going to be handing over 200,000 THB I wanted to confirm that this was a legitimate business.

I am pleased to say that DeKu do look as though they build windows and doors, which is good news for my build!

Peter and his small but clean, organised factory.

Peter and his small but clean and organised factory.

Some windows being constructed.

Some windows being constructed.

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The product itself looked and felt very solid and I was happy with the double glazing glass 6-9-5 profile, which is ordered in and not built by DeKu. 6mm green tinted, 9mm space and 5mm plain glass, a total thickness of 20mm.

I was less impressed with my first look at the insect screens which felt a bit flimsy and didn’t slide as smoothly as I would have liked. I am basing this on my Australian experience, where of course all windows and doors have them fitted and mostly use small wheels at the bottom to provide effortless opening. I will reserve judgement until the DeKu ones are installed.

We flew back to Isaan on the Wednesday afternoon and got home before it got dark to check out the progress that had been made on the tiling the two days we had been away.

The master bedroom finished.

The master bedroom finished.

From blog room and ensuite through the main bedroom and out to the kitchen.

From my blog room and the ensuite through the main bedroom and out to the kitchen.

On Thursday the final layer of concrete went down in Peng’s bedroom to raise and even out the floor and allow the last of the major tiling to go down.

Peng's bedroom.

Peng’s bedroom now concreted. From her desk area looking to the entrance on the right and the sliding door to the external dining area on the left.

The next day most of the easy to lay tiles had been put down.

Once again an incredible increase in lightness once the floor is covered up.

I was worried this room would end up looking too dark early on in the build. No such problem now and you will see the finished look in Week 19.

Friday also marked the start of building the pond at the front of the house, which will become the home for Barney the turtle, once he/she makes an appearance in the wet season, and some Koi fish.

Simple and cheap concrete block this time for the pond walls. 4.8 THB each instead of the 16.5 THB each for the AAC ones behind.

Simple and cheap concrete block this time for the pond walls. 4.8 THB each instead of the 16.5 THB each for the AAC ones behind.

With Ming down to one worker who was busy helping the tiler, one of my brother-in-laws who happened to be passing at the wrong time was called into action for a couple of days to do some of the heavy work digging and concreting the pond. Sorry Lud. He was paid so not just a labour of love.

Lud, me and Ming standing in what will be the pond.

Lud, me and Ming standing in what will be the pond. Everything done by hand of course.

The pond will be about 5 meters long and about 2 meters wide. If you think it is rather close to the front door you are right. There will be a bridge, or saphan in Thai, crossing from one side to the other just to give a bit of added interest to the entrance. A no fishing sign will be added in English and Thai!

From the front door looking out.

From the front door looking out.

My contribution to all of this was less than the photos indicate.

My contribution to all of this was less than the photos indicate.

Gaun who can't help herself jumped in to help out with the digging.

Gaun who can’t help herself jumped in to help out with the digging. Yuan my sister-in-law on the right was pushing barrows of soil. It ended up a family effort.

Gaun still working after everyone else had gone home! Peng, her daughter watching.

Gaun still working after everyone else had gone home! Peng, her daughter watching.

Unstoppable.

Unstoppable.

The view from the outside sitting area across what will be the pond to what will be the garden!

The view from the outside sitting area across what will be the pond to what will be the garden!

Earlier in the day we had called into Global House in Nong Bua Lamphu and spend 116,000 THB in some of the final fitout items such as doors and skirting boards plus some of the furniture that will be going into the house. It was a pleasure to be spending money on some of the items that will make this a home rather than just on construction costs. It gives me hope that before too long we will be moved in rather than camping out there during the day, which is what I am doing today typing this post. Cooler here than anywhere else.

Plastic skirting boards. Everything wooden is minimised both because of cost and the termites.

Plastic skirting boards. Everything wooden is minimised both because of cost and the termites.

Plastic skirting boards sounds awful but actually they look fine and don’t require painting, which is a bonus. 265 THB for 2.9 mtrs.

If you look carefully in the photo above you will notice repair work done on a crack running the length of that wall. We have a number of these showing up in various places in the house. Ming had pre-warned me that it would happen especially as we are in the dry season and he would fix them all for however long it takes. They are only minor surface cracks, not structural, and are fixed with wall putty. The house will get a final coat of paint inside and out, which will be left to the last moment to allow as many of these cracks to show before the paint goes on.

Week 19 will see the finish of the internal tiling, more work on the pond and probably the arrival of the kitchen. We are heading into Udon Thani on Monday to look at lounge suites and to get a cost for building wardrobes for the two bedrooms so it will be worth checking back on progress next weekend.

My weekly expenses spreadsheets below. The first one includes costs for items that fall outside core building expenses such as furniture, garden and pond. I have excluded them from the “Total Expenses to Date” spreadsheet for those of you using this blog for your own build. Mixing discretionary spending with the construction costs wouldn’t be useful for you.

Expenses Week 18.

Expenses Week 18.

Total expenses to date.

Total expenses to date.

Just as a re-visit on something I wrote about in a previous building post. My electrician recommended I buy a water controller for the bore pump and this was installed in the 2,000 litre holding tank. At the time I didn’t really know why but it seemed a better option then the float valves used elsewhere and I trusted his judgement. Now that it is in action I understand why this is such a good choice.

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What this device does is monitors the water tank until it is approaching empty and then turns on the large bore submersible pump to run continuously until the tank is full. This means the pump is only switching on once for a long burst rather than operating for lots of little runs like whenever a toilet is flushed. An absolute must have in my opinion if you are relying on a bore as your main water supply.

Thanks Tam and thanks for reading.