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.


29 November – 5 December 2014 This was the week our house disappeared but more about that later.

Day 29 Saturday, Last week finished up slowly as the five person crew working up to that point disappeared to cut sugar as I reported in Week 4. However Ming, the builder, continued to turn up on-site at 7.00 am each day and today the formwork for the 12 remaining columns started to take shape cha cha, or slowly, slowly. Ming hasn’t had a day off since we started and has shown a real dedication to the build. Money well spent so far.

The site hut, which had to be moved to allow soil to be brought onto the house site, was also rebuilt in what I hope will now be its permanent spot until this is all over. A true Isaan construction of tree branches, leftover pieces of timber and old corrugated iron sheets. It fits into the village landscape far better than my house will!

Classic Isaan architecture.

Classic Isaan architecture. Ming’s formwork collection growing in front of the shed.

Day 30 Sunday, Ming has been calling in favours and now has a permanent worker on the job. Ming’s son has also been pulled in from Bangkok and will be working from tomorrow.

MIng and the new worker.

MIng and the new worker.

Formwork is still the priority and quicker progress was made today obviously with double the workforce. By the end of the day, five of the columns had their boxes constructed with one more to go. Ming is doing the concrete pour for the columns in two sessions.

Four oxes constructed.

Working on the final one for the day. Four completed.

Ming continues to water the concrete beams to help slow the drying process and increase strength.

Ming continues to water the concrete beams to help slow the drying process and increase strength. Having a high output bore is proving a real bonus.

Day 31 Monday, I wrote about the need to bury the house footprint in last week’s post HERE. Today everything we have achieved so far was going underground as three trucks were turning up to transport earth from the family farm to the land. It was the same crew that originally trucked in nearly 200 loads to raise the land above any flood levels back in November last year and that story can be found HERE.

Ming’s son had turned up with a small truck of his own which will prove useful as the build progresses. Leaving the son and Gaun’s family to look after the soil work at the land Ming, Gaun and I headed back to Bluescope on the other side of Khon Kaen to order Colorbond for the roof. Gaun and I had already visited the factory, and I wrote about it in Week 3, but I wanted to ensure that the colour I had chosen was held for me and I needed Ming to do his Thai builder thing with Boom, the sales manager lady, to ensure we reserved the correct quantity.

I missed out on getting a photo of the Bluescope sign last time so here it is. Useful if trying to find the place on Highway 2. Facing Khon Kaen the sign is behind some trees on the left so it is a bit hidden.

I missed out on getting a photo of the Bluescope sign last time so here it is. Useful if trying to find the place on Highway 2. Facing Khon Kaen the sign is behind some trees on the left so it is a bit hidden.

Ming had already worked out the lengths he needed but there was additional discussion about the number of screws, the flashing and some other technical aspect and I was pleased to leave them to it. We ended up ordering 304 m2 to cover the 260 m2 roof and this plus the flashing and screws brought the price in at a bit under 126,000 THB, 27,000 THB more than the rough estimate we came away with from the first meeting. We paid a 1/3rd deposit of 37,000 THB.

Bluescope wanted to charge 5,000 THB to deliver, which Ming wouldn’t be in. I believe his son’s truck will be doing the job and, although I am sure I will pay, I am also sure it will be a lot less than the Bluescope fee.

I get slightly worried about spending what is for me a largish chunk of the total budget on things like Colorbond roofing. I could have got the stuff the Thais buy for a LOT less. I hope that making decisions like this aren’t just for “comfort”, in that it’s what I would do back in Australia, but really does add practical value and quality to the house.

I have provided a copy of the invoice for those particularly interested in this aspect of the build, Clay I’m thinking of you here.

Bluescope quote for Colorbond.

Bluescope quote for Colorbond.

On our return to Si Bun Ruang burying the house was well underway.

After four weeks I have achieved one column out of the ground :-)

After four weeks I have achieved one column out of the ground 🙂

Small trucks. 200 THB each load including he tractor fee.

Small trucks. 200 THB each load including he tractor fee. This bloke is driving through my lounge room.

The same tractor driver as before. He still looks too young to be driving anything.

The same tractor driver as before. He still looks too young to be driving anything. Does a great job through.

What we had at the end of the day. Not much!

What we had at the end of the day. Not much! Last week’s photos were much more interesting.

We ended up with 49 loads of soil for a cost of 9,800 THB.

Day 32 Tuesday, nothing too exciting to report for the rest of the week but we’ll still continue with the day by day report format. Ming and the 2 workers were putting their energies into putting up the column formwork. They were very methodical and steady with the job. String and plum lines being used across the site so I have some confidence that everything will be in line and vertical at the end. Always the optimist.

The formwork going in.

The formwork going in.

Four done.

The first six almost done.

DSC_0198

It looks all pretty slapdash but a lot of work went into this end result.

Day 33 Wednesday, an extra guy was pulled out of sugar harvesting, one of the original team, and the concrete poured for these six columns.

Mixing. The sand and gravel also had to be moved to get the new soil in.

Mixing. The sand and gravel also had to be moved to get the new soil in.

All poured by hand using buckets.

All poured by hand using buckets.

After the pour the first of the plumbing trenches was dug at the back of the house, mainly to fill in some time I think, as Ming wants to build the roof next before putting in the concrete slab so plumbing preparation isn’t a necessity yet.

Day 34 Thursday, the formwork was removed from the six columns so it could be used for the remaining six. The columns were wrapped in plastic and watered. Three of the final columns had their formwork finished by the end of the day.

Formwork

Formwork coming off.

End

The result late afternoon. Working on the new outer columns.

Wrapped in plastic.

Wrapped in plastic.

Day 35 Friday, the formwork was completed and concrete poured for all the 13 columns by end of day. It was a relief to see something coming out of the ground instead of burying it!

The last pour.

The last pour.

Almost there.

Almost there.

I am still pleased with progress. I was thinking about the difference between building here and Australia. Back “home” when action happens it often involves more equipment and progress is quicker than here. However my experience of building in Australia is that this all happens in bursts. One of the trades finishes and then you hang around waiting for the next stage to get going. In my build here things take longer, for example where string and plum lines are used instead of lasers, but it’s a seven day a week operation. The end result is that I doubt my house build here is going to take much longer than a similar project in Australia at the end of the day. Here’s hoping.

Costs Week 5

Costs Week 5

Next week – the roof starts to be built.

Thanks for reading.