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.


10 – 16 January, a big week of building walls all of which were completed by Thursday afternoon. In celebration of this event the crew has taken off to hunt rats in the hills outside Loei for a couple of days. It sort of reminds me of the tradespeople working close to the sea in Australia who would disappear whenever there was a good surf happening.

For those reading who think that Thailand is always hot you should try Northern Isaan this time of year. Very cool. I tried to capture a moment but stuffed up the camera speed so it’s not a great photo. You can get the idea though. Local kids gathered around a fire to get warm early morning:

Not a parent in sight with flammable clothes/toys everywhere. Kids are left to just get on with life here. I am sure it has

Not a parent in sight with flammable clothes/toys everywhere. Kids are left to just get on with life here. I am sure it has disastrous consequences sometimes but I wonder if the end result is better than our western overprotection and supervision?

By the way the kids are laughing at my Thai number countdown, which I thought was pretty good but seeing their reaction maybe not 🙂

Back to the build the other major event in a very farang way was the hot water plumbing was finished and tested for pressure. Both hot and cold pipes leaked, which really emphasises the importance of insisting on this being done before the pipes are hidden away, in a cavity created by double AAC blocks in my case.

Here's something you don't see too often. A mixer tap.

Here’s something you don’t see too often. A mixer tap with hot water.

I have to say that for something so simple in theory the addition of a hot water system and associated pipework has been a real pain. Getting the pipes to fit the mixer taps, a few failures in the German push fitting system and annoying leaks had me wishing I had just opted for a simple wall instant system. My nightmare is that the hot water connections fail when we actually run it for real and we have to tear down walls to fix it. However if all goes well I will have the best showers in Si Bun Ruang, which in reality isn’t much of a boast to be making!

Ming has built us a frame for the 80 litre external hot water tank. He was worried about attaching it to the wall.

Ming has built us a frame for the 80 litre external hot water tank. He was worried about attaching it to the wall. You can see the white hot water pipe ready to attach to the tank once in place.

Week 11 is a bit along the same lines as Week 10. I don’t think anyone wants to follow a day by day photographic history of walls being built but I will throw a few in before skipping to the end result. Speaking of walls Ming, the builder, had one that was half built taken down because he wasn’t happy with it’s construction.

From lounge looking into the kitchen. Outside living area on the left.

From lounge looking into the kitchen. Outside living area on the left.

A huge amount of conduit is going in as the walls progress. The first fix of electrical was almost complete at the same time as the walls on the Thursday.

Heading down to the fuse box.

Heading down to the fuse box.

The fuse box ready to give life to the house one day.

The fuse box ready to give life to the house one day. Located in the walk-in pantry.

Outside living area on the left, front door and what will be a 3.6 meter double sliding door opening onto a paved patio area under a pergola.

Outside living area on the left not a car space which I am sure the Thais think it is, front door and what will be a 3.6 meter double sliding door opening onto a paved patio area under a pergola. Gaun rugged up.

From

From the back of the kitchen looking to the front.

Concrete reinforcing going above the windows/sliding doors. The rebar is then welded to the roof beams to give extra support.

Concrete reinforcing going above the windows/sliding doors. The rebar is then welded to the roof beams to give extra support.

We seem to be making almost daily trips to the nearest larger town Nong Bua Lamphu 30 km away, covered in my post HERE, for one thing or another. To test the plumbing we had to do a quick trip to get what we needed to set up the house water system so we could attach the pressure pump. The end result looks like this:

Not the final configuration.

Not the final configuration…..read on. That blue container on the right isn’t part of the system.

The bore is on the far left, a pipe from there is split with one line going to the house tank and the other will run into the garden and feed two taps on opposite sides of the land about halfway down. The black box on the left of the water tank is a filtration system specifically set up for bore water. More detailed in this photo:

DSC_0196

The filter is at the back while the front box adds a water softener before depositing the result into the tank. A pressure pump sits on the other side of the tank and supplies the house only, not garden. I followed the instructions supplied with the filter for this configuration and it doesn’t work!

The problem, which makes total sense after the event, is that the pipe from the bore is a 1 1/2 inch. The filter takes a 1 inch and is processing the water so slows down the transfer to the tank. With a high powered bore pump there seems to be too much pressure in the system on this side of the tank. I suspect many Thai bore systems have a smaller water outlet pipe to match lower powered submersible pumps. A 1 inch is more likely to be standard.

We will change it to have the bore pump directly to the tank using it’s larger pipe and then filter the water on the other side using the pressure pump to pull the water through filtration and send it to the house. In the meantime we have bypassed the filter, which isn’t needed now anyway, and the build has advanced to having an outside tap – very exciting!

We will also be fitting a separate drinking water filter to the kitchen and this will be covered in Week 12.

So we’ll skip now to Thursday day 76 of the build after the site had been cleaned and washed down and the guys headed home after finishing the walls. Followers of the blog have seen this plan before but I include it for any newbies. This is what we are working to achieve. The photos below show how that Excel design has worked out in real life.

House-design-final-e1420870342154

Just for the very visual readers. The master bedroom design has changed to allow for a sliding door on what was the bed wall. The configuration of the room has altered as a result.

 

From front door/entry to the rear. Hall table to sit on the right with a light that will shine through coloured glass in that window and be seen in the lounge room.

From front door/entry hall to the rear. Hall table to sit on the right with a light that will shine through coloured glass in that window and be seen in the lounge room.

From the lounge looking towards the kitchen and outside sitting area.

From the lounge looking towards the kitchen and outside sitting area through sliding glass doors centre photo.

From the outside dining area looking through the doors past the inside dining area and the kitchen at the back.

From the outside dining area looking through at the inside dining area and the kitchen at the back. Bedrooms and pantry on the right.

From the kitchen looking through to the outside dining area. Thai kitchen to be built on the right outside.

From the kitchen looking through to the outside dining area – a reverse of the previous photo. A Thai kitchen to be built outside to the right of the sliding door. Lounge room on the far right of this photo.

From kitchen looking to the front.

From kitchen looking to the front.

Walk-in pantry.

Walk-in pantry.

My step-daughter's bedroom from back to the front.

My step-daughter’s bedroom from back to the front. Entry on the right and a sliding door to the outside dining area on the left. No windows on the left as this faces West. Double glazed windows.

Looking the other way to the small homework area under the window and ensuite on the right. Bed on the right and built-in wardrobes on the left.

Looking the other way to the small homework area under the window and ensuite on the right. Bed on the right and built-in wardrobes fitted to that indent on the left.

Master bedroom from front to back.

Master bedroom from front to back. Double glazed windows. East facing sliding door to be shaded by the newly planted shrubs you can see outside once grown. Blog room at the back and ensuite on the left.

My blog room/retreat.

My blog room/retreat at the back of the bedroom.

Looking the other way. Built-in wardrobes to the right of the door.

Looking the other way. Built-in wardrobes to the right of the entry door.

One of the ensuites. A built-in shelf on the right to break up that wall. Vanity, toilet, shower.

One of the ensuites. A built-in shelf on the right to break up that wall. Vanity, toilet, shower.

The outside sitting area.

The outside sitting area.

Me testing the outside sitting area earlier in the week.

Me testing the outside sitting area earlier in the week.

The rather bleak building site view to what will be the front gate. Gaun is itching to get started on landscaping. This will turn into a private wonderful tropical garden in no time thanks to the Thailand weather and a good quality bore.

The rather bleak building site view to what will be the front gate. Gaun is itching to get started on landscaping. This will turn into a private wonderful tropical garden in no time thanks to the Thailand weather and a good quality bore.

There were signs that although we have finished one phase another is about to start, as soon as the rat hunt finishes. I bought 21,000 THB of mostly wiring plus electrical top-ups from Global House.

All wheeled out to my brother-in-law's pick-up in this case. Packed on board and tied down using Global's string. You just hang around waiting to drive off.

All wheeled out to my brother-in-law’s pick-up in this case. Packed on board and tied down using Global’s string. You just hang around waiting to drive off.

Just a warning about shopping at Global. I have found that a number of times especially in the more specialised areas – taps, shower heads, cooktops, what they have on display is the only one or they may have one when you wanted two. You have to order in and for us that’s a 15 day exercise. Don’t do what we did with say the shower mixer tap, which was to buy one to try out and then expect the second one to be in stock. It required a separate trip into Udon to find in a hurry and then we got it at HomePro as Global didn’t stock them there either. Our cooktop is on order but there’s no hurry for that. Plan in advance.

85 bags of render, the next stage.

85 bags of render, the next stage.

To finish off the week Peter the CEO of Deku windows turned having driven from Chonburi to have a look at the build. He left us with some samples of the windows and door profiles and instructions on how to organise the tiling to work in with the window installation. Ming wants the windows to sit on top of the tiles so this will be right at the end of the build.

Ming is due a 100,000 THB payment at this stage but only wanted 60,000 THB to pay the wall guys as he thinks his wife would grab the balance if I gave it to him! A universal problem 🙂

I suspect next week will be render and more render so not a photo treat either. I will see what other things we can throw in to spice the post up.

Expenses-Week-012

Thanks for reading