21 – 27 February, a week of painting and the start of tiling. I will also cover ordering the kitchen and windows and whatever else I can think of.
The build is getting towards the finishing stages so there are less things to report on, which for me is a good thing but maybe makes for less interesting reading. In theory we are on the downhill run towards a late March early April finish but I won’t tempt fates by writing that here!
We start the week with a workforce of two, Ming and Jack. The tilers were off building a wall for one of the relatives elsewhere in the village – an occupational hazard in a small community with an interlinked chain of obligations. Having selected the ceiling paint Ming and Jack were doing their bit by steadily applying it, Jack on the roller and Ming doing the more detailed work. Paint was being put on the walls too where needed.
The first four days of Week 17 were more of the same so I will skip through that topic and cover some other things.
With the outside tiles installed across all the sliding door entrances it meant that we could now organise to get the windows and doors measured up by Deku German Windows in Pattaya, Chonburi HERE. I did promise you that I would keep you informed on their performance and the quality of their product in case you wanted to use them too.
I have to say that initially I was very disappointed with their communications. I was dealing with Anne, their Sales Manager, and several emails went unanswered. I prefer to deal with companies in written form so that both side have a record of conversations and situations agreed. To me the ability to respond quickly to emails was important as I am dealing with someone 600 km away supplying a reasonably expensive product that I hadn’t even seen yet. Slick communications gives one confidence as to the professionalism of the organisation. A couple of telephone calls got me a promise of action the following day, which never happened.
I was so disappointed that I was seriously considering moving to the next choice on my window supplier list, even though they offered a lesser quality product. All I wanted to do was arrange for a measure and quote so we were only talking the first step in the process getting my windows.
Luckily for DeKu and me, Peter the CEO of the company and the German expertise according to their website, took over communication and we have been on track ever since. He arranged for one of his guys to travel to Si Bun Ruang overnight on the bus, measure up and return the same day, all of which happened smoothly on the 26th. I received an update quote on the 28th, which I have attached below for anyone interested.
The young guy Peter had sent up was very enthusiastic about DeKu’s product, which you’d sort of expect, but he was a quiet nineteen year old and not a sales type in any way. It was only as we took him back to the bus station that he shared more about the company.
This was lucky because to start off with after we picked him up there was no conversation at all and I will share why that was because it gives you an insight into an aspect of Thailand you may not pick up if visiting here.
In living with Gaun, my Isaan wife, for over nineteen months now, I have come to realise that as far as she is concerned are two groups of people in Thailand. There are those people from Isaan, a large mostly rural area of Thailand in the North East, who speak Isaan, which is pretty much Lao, and everyone else. Isaan people wherever they meet have an immediate connection and the first line of conversation is to work out where each person lives. The closer to each other’s home base the better!
Well, when we collected the DeKu man from the bus station I think Guan assumed that because he was from Chonburi, which would make him an “other”, no great effort was required. During the measuring at the house it became obvious that he could speak Isaan and not only that but he was from Udon Thani, which is 80 km from us – a double bonus. All was in chat mode from that point and that’s how we got an insider’s opinion of DeKu and their product!
One of the interesting observations the DeKu guy made was the number of farang who visited the Pattaya showroom looking for a high quality product at a Global house window/door price. It is a sad consistent in life that in most cases you do actually get what you pay for.
The Week 18 update will be one to look out for if you want more information as to DeKu’s product, as we are flying to Bangkok on Tuesday with three main tasks on our list. I have to renew my Retirement Visa by 25 March, and that requires me to get a statutory declaration from the Australian embassy verifying that my income exceeds 800,000 THB per annum. You can read about the Retirement Visa in huge detail HERE.
This was the day we also finalised the kitchen design and placed an order with Global House. A 50% deposit was required with a 15 day delivery time. We have been dealing with a young lady called Jen in their kitchen area and she has been great. Everything promised has come through and she is efficient and good to work with. In fact Global House in Nong Bua Lamphu is a real credit to the company. We always get excellent service and always in a friendly way. I could almost invite the staff over for the housewarming!
Ordering the kitchen was another very positive moment. It is a pivotal step in finishing the house. In my mind it goes tiling finished, kitchen installed, granite benchtop measured and ordered, electrical fitout, doors and bathrooms done and windows installed. A three week timeline starting about now.
The kitchen ended up costing close to 115,000 THB or A$4,600.
We also bought two bedside tables, which isn’t too exciting but the colour of the timber is the theme that is being carried throughout the house in all the wood we use, including the kitchen.
The most comprehensive reference manual on building a house in Thailand. An e-book of 120,000 words arranged in a number of sections including the initial planning stages, a daily report on the construction process, later updates after we move in, a few summaries and a section on more general background topics such as land titles, Usufruct contracts, utility expenses and the daily cost of my building project.
So, what will you find here?
Firstly, I am a retired government employee not a builder so you won’t find a very specific how-to building book full of technical details. However, what you have bought is a very detailed 884-page coverage of how an enthusiastic amateur like me survived the Thai building challenges and ended up with a wonderful home that I still find hard to believe I have achieved.
Although the house we built is unique to us and may not be anything like the style of dwelling you plan to build, you will find many of the processes, frustrations and hints I share very relevant to almost any domestic construction project in Thailand. Topics covered such as creating a cool house, planning and design tips and specific topics like septic and water solutions are mostly likely generic to your situation, or parts of them will be, so will be a useful addition to your research material.
I have tried to make the book a good read and not just a dry list of dos and don’ts. It is written in a casual style as though I was chatting with you and I hope that makes it more engaging. In each chapter you will live every individual day of the build with us plus some of other events and activities and share our excitements and frustrations. Even if you aren’t about to build in Thailand, I believe the book includes enough interesting material of one farang’s story to hold your attention.
I am loving your book – just on my second read at the moment, to make sure that I didn’t miss anything first time around (which actually it turns out I did!).
Just a note of thanks at this point ……. I am a fairly methodical sort of bloke, but there are many issues which your book highlights which I just wouldn’t have thought about – or if I had, I may well have assumed they were “standard” building practice [U-bends, drain positioning, barge-board alignment] – if it hadn’t been for your excellent descriptions!! I will probably still “miss” something – that’s the nature of building/design – but thanks to you, it shouldn’t be anything too mission-critical. Mike
Undoubtedly, we would not have the quality home we now have without the book, we had no idea even where to start until we found Building in Thailand eBook. We did manage to avoid most of the traps that we could have fallen into, we are extremally thankful for the authors attention to detail and common-sense approach. Chris
I have had the good fortune to have used the first edition as part of Yuri and my plans to build our home here in Surin. To say it is a good reference book is an understatement. The practical advice and your self deprecating style make it a great read. The anecdotes and asides all add to its appeal as both a “how to manual” and a fascinating insight into what lies ahead for people like me who have only just commenced a similar journey. Far better armed for what’s to be encountered. Greg
The income from my eBook pays for the upkeep of this blog, which is otherwise commercially free unlike so many others.