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.


31 January – 6 February, a week of progress. With a full crew of nine people now working on the house since the Thursday of Week 13, which I wrote about HERE, things really pushed ahead this week.

Day 92 – A big effort after yet more render was ordered and delivered. Another 70 bags. These walls would stand up by themselves even without the AAC blocks! I measured them on completion and they are 25 cm thick. They look almost medieval in appearance. Wonderful. The kitchen area was finally finished as well as the outside living space.

Kitchen now rendered.

Kitchen now rendered.

Outside living area finished. A friend has suggested we try making that window from the kitchen into a servery for drinks etc, something I will follow up with the window manufacturers come the time.

Outside living area finished. A friend has suggested we try making that window from the kitchen into a servery for drinks etc, something I will follow up with the window manufacturers come the time.

Meanwhile we headed yet again to Nong Bua Lamphu for more electrical items. This is a drip feed process with things being asked for by the electrical guys on a day by day basis, something I am getting a little tired of.

Electrical wiring going in everywhere.

Electrical wiring going in everywhere.

The fuse box, which brings cries of amazement from visitors. Thai house with a handful of lights and powerpoints look nothing like this.

The fuse box, which brings cries of amazement from visitors. Thai houses with a handful of lights and powerpoints look nothing like this.

A thoughtful ladder added to access the roof via the pantry and even a lighting point, neither things I had mentioned or even included in my list of things to be done. Full marks.

Thoughtfully a ladder has been added to the roof space to help access it via the pantry and even a wire run for a lighting outlet top centre, neither things I had mentioned or even included in my list of things to be done. Full marks to the team.

From front door looking towards the kitchen/family area.

From the front door looking towards the kitchen/family area.

Day 93 – Back to Nong Bua Lamphu this time to order the ceiling. We had tried to do this previously but the very knowledgeable guy we meet there the first time had a few days off. I have never seen a suspended ceiling in a domestic situation so had no idea of what was involved other than Gyprock sheeting. At Global House they ran the size through a computer program and it came back with the qualities of everything we needed plus some probably. Delivery the next day at a cost of 558 THB – a per km rate.

Back at the house the delivery of outside tiling arrived a few days before expected. We had ordered 100 m2 from a local business in Nong Bua at a cost of 122 THB per m2, covered in Week 13. When they unpacked the pallet the centre boxes were damp and had been infested with small white ants, the combination of which had stained 33 boxes of tiles. No questions asked, they loaded those back on the truck and said they would deliver replacements in the next week.

The tiles for outside.

The tiles for outside in a light tan with a slight copper coloured fleck.

After long consideration I decided not to go the Thai way of laying the smoothest, shiniest and most slippery tiles outside, designed to cause the maximum damage in the wet season, but to go for a tile that had a rough sand finish with plenty of grip! We farang are strange creatures sometimes.

A minor addition but important in my eyes anyway was the drilling of a hole to allow the kitchen gas bottle to sit outside in its own little AAC box with the pipe feeding through the wall to the inside cooker, rather than have the bottle under the benchtop in the kitchen. Saving space and safer too.

Outside the left side of the house was finished in render.

The right side of the house. The gap is the undercover dining area.

The left side of the house. Our bedroom door and the one of the kitchen windows.

Day 94 – A big rendering day with the team split in two, some doing the right hand side of the house while the others working on the remaining wall in our bedroom.

The right side action.

The right side action.

And finished later in the day.

And finished later in the day. This is looking into the undercover dining area.

Meanwhile Global House came up with the goods and delivered the ceiling material on time.

Delivered directly to the lounge room.

Delivered directly to the lounge room.

With the rendering done in the front two thirds of the house and the electrical wiring now completed the second crew was keen to get going fitting the ceilings. Almost as soon as the truck backed out there was action in the roof area.

These long wires are wrapped around the roof structure and left to hang down.

Step 1 – these long wires are wrapped around the roof structure and left to hang down.

Meanwhile Ming, the builder, was working in the roof space putting the final anti-corrosion touch-ups to the steel beams where needed or where there had been additional welding.

Ming painting.

Ming painting.

Step 2 - the ceiling level established these L shaped aluminium rails are attached to the walls.

Step 2 – the ceiling level established these L shaped aluminium rails are attached to the walls.

Day 95 – Heaps more happening. The ceiling framework was completed in all the areas where the rendering had been finished. The slow point has been the ensuites at the back of the house.

Step 3 - these brackets are fitted to the hanging wires. They have crosspieces clipped into them - see next photo.

Step 3 – these brackets are fitted to the hanging wires. They have crosspieces clipped into them – see next photo.

The crosspieces going in.

Step 4 – the crosspieces going in and drilled into the L plate attached to the walls in Step 2. The level now determined the wires are cut and the ends wrapped around the wire above.

The end result looks messy but will never be seen and does the job.

The end result looks messy but will never be seen and does the job.

The finished frame with small Thai lady to give an idea of height.

Step 6 – these crosspieces are the supports for the main framework which are then screwed into them at regular intervals ending up looking like this grid pattern. This is the lounge area. The Gyprock is then screwed into these final supports. The finished frame with small Thai lady to give an idea of height.

From lounge looking towards the kitchen.

From lounge looking towards the kitchen.

Front door to Kitchen.

Front door to Kitchen.

Moderately tall Aussie guy to give an idea of height.

Moderately tall Aussie guy to give an idea of height.

Gaun had been chasing Thai Watsadu in Udon Thani all day because the insulation, which was supposed to have been delivered the previous day, still hadn’t made an appearance. It ended up the truck had got lost and we eventually got hold of the Rt37 insulation rolls, the purchase of which is covered in excessive detail in Week 13.

It is hard to take a photo without a Thai posing!

It is hard to take a photo without a Thai posing! My darling wife in this instance. Insulation now joining the Gyprock in the lounge room.

The ceiling guys were keen to get the insulation installed so that they could get on with fitting the ceiling panels.

Insulation being rolled out.

Insulation being rolled out.

Kitchen.

One man above and one below. Cutting the rolls to fit around the wires supporting the ceiling grid was the main hassel.

The family area.

The family area finished.

Gaun in true form checking everything out to make sure it is up to her standards!

Gaun in true form checking everything out to make sure it is up to standard! She has contributed as much to this build as I have.

The first ceiling panels going in by the end of the day.

The first ceiling panels going in by the end of the day.

The rendering guys had been hard at work at the back of the house and this was also completed by the end of the day.

DSC_0107

Finshed.

Finished.

The following photo may not seem to show much but that’s the point! Our main wiring from road to house has now been buried in underground conduit and the wires that have been going to a makeshift fusebox on a mango tree stump have been removed and connected directly to the internal fusebox.

Buried electrical.

Buried electrical.

I have been really happy with this gang of workers. People turn up to work at 8.00 and work through until 5.00 often followed by a period of relax over a bottle of beer or Thai whisky. Ming buys a round from time to time and I do too, but not often. The other times they sort it out between themselves. I have had no problems with drunkenness, sometimes reported on the building forums. The same crew has been working pretty well since day one with on and off according to the work required. I suspect I have been very lucky.

The gang sitting around at the end of Day 5.

The gang sitting around at the end of Day 95 with Ming’s wife and young granddaughter and the son of Jack, one of the workers.

What you can’t tell from the photo is that the topic of discussion is the best design for the soffit or eaves. Various options are drawn into the dust on the floor and opinions given. The final design is one offered by Wood, one of the best workers on the site. You’ll have to wait to see it in place!

Wood tells us a similar design was done for the doctor’s house across the road. In true Thai fashion Gaun just wanders over to the house with me, shouts and the wife comes out and shows us what was done. We did the same thing looking at their windows. Just sort of invite yourself in.

Day 96 – Plasterboard was installed to all the living areas of the house and doesn’t that make a difference. Suddenly after months of waiting you have rooms! Make sure you have your lighting plan ready as they will need this to accurately measure the ceiling light placements. The eight LED downlights I have in the kitchen has caused some merriment from the workers:-)

From front door.

From the front door.

Lounge room looking towards the kitchen.

Lounge room looking towards the kitchen.

Me checking the result. A very clean and straight job.

Me checking the result. Looking great.

Outside the final panel on the right side of the house was rendered. Three sides of the house are now done with only the front to do, which you won’t see until Week 15.

The right side of the house finished.

The right side of the house finished. The break in the wall is the undercover dining area.

This looks very blocklike with no windows to break it up but it was was designed that way as this side faces West to the setting sun. Also I have no idea what the neighbour will be building on the land next to ours in the longer term. If typical Thai than the lack of a view of the structure will be a big plus.

Another trip to Global House this time to order 100 m2 soffit boards. The outside living and dining areas will be an extension of the eaves not plasterboard.

While at Global we enquired about the cost of paint. For those of you planning to build here, did you know that the brighter the colour of your house the more expensive? Nine litres of house paint in a cream will set you back the cost of the white base paint plus 12 baht for the colour. A vivid red alternative will cost you over 1,500 baht just for the tinting! One of the weird differences between building here and back “home”, where I never remember being charged for any colour tinting. Bland is good although you don’t see too many examples of it in colour-blind Thailand.

Our final Global purchase were two fluorescent lights. I’m in Thailand so must have at least one example of the most common form of light fitting here! One will go into the pantry and the other into the roof connected to that outlet thoughtfully provided by the electrician.

We also ordered 15 m2 of tiles for the ensuite floors from the same place we got the outside tiles from and arranged for them to be delivered with our missing 33 m2.

Day 97 – with the ceiling installation being held up by the unfinished rendering in the ensuites all attention turned to that part of the house. This should have been picked up earlier but anyway…..

The plasterboard was being prepared for painting by Wood and he was doing a good job of it. Meantime more insulation and Gyprock was going up in the bedrooms.

The lounge ready for painting.

The lounge ready for painting. Floor swept.

Kitchen/family.

Kitchen/family. Just the white of the plaster helped brighten what had become quite a grey space with render and untreated gyprock.

Looking into the kitchen.

Looking into the kitchen.

Our bedroom with completed render wall and ceiling.

Our bedroom with completed render wall and ceiling.

The ensuites at a stage finally when the ceilings can go in. The lower bits were finished in Week 15.

The ensuites at a stage finally when the ceilings can go in. The lower bits were finished in Week 15.

I am wondering if I should have fitted some glass bricks to illuminate the shower area behind that wall with natural light. I am going to wait until the tiling goes in, which is a patterned white, before deciding if more light is needed. The room looks very gloomy now being the bare render and concrete floor.

Day 98 – the ceiling guy was short of joint tape and we needed a few more bags of insulation, which I thought might happen, so we had an early morning run to Global House. I am doubling up on the 3″ Rt21 insulation rather than head back to Udon Thani to get more Rt37. The Global house version, pictured in the last photo of this post, has a much thinner foil covering than the Rt37 brand I bought from Thai Watsadu. An inferior product but it is only being used as a top-up. I also thought we’d buy some primer paint so that we were ahead of the game for once.

The sign of a new phase starting.

The sign of a new phase starting.

I am sticking with the quality brands, or at least brands that I know, even though Dulux is more expensive. These 18 litre tubs cost 1,745 THB each. Just another small heads-up for locals – you will be expected to provide the rollers and paint brushes not the builder. This had me slightly puzzled. After all I have bought the nails but didn’t have to buy the hammers! Anyway that’s how it is and the 160 THB for two rollers and paint brushes won’t break the bank.

Peng's room looking to her small desk area at the back.

Peng’s room looking to her small computer desk area at the back. Ensuite on the right. She already loves the hot water shower we installed in the family house. This combined with the TV she’ll have will mean that we’ll probably never see her again once we move in.

Peng, my step-daughter, checking out her new room.

Peng, my step-daughter, checking out her new room.

My blog room off the main bedroom.

My blog room off the main bedroom.

The final photos for the week is the primer paint transforming the lounge and increasing its brightness by a huge margin.

Beginning of the week.

Beginning of the week.

The final photo.

End of the week.

The next stage starting Week 15 will be slower focussing on getting the soffit up. Painting the exterior is next and then the external tiling. Once this tiling is done I can get DeKu, the window people, in to measure up and start manufacturing the sliding doors and windows. The end is more realistically in sight.

Expenses week 14.

Expenses week 14.

Total expenses to the end of Week 14.

Total expenses to the end of Week 14.

Thanks for reading.