20 – 26 December 2014, a week of not much happening because, as I told you in Week 7 HERE, progress on the build had outstripped supply. The two main items we are waiting for are Colorbond for the roof and the AAC blocks to build walls. Both ordered but waiting for them to arrive.
However hang in there because there is exciting news on the septic and grey water tanks front! We bought the septic tank from Global House in Week 7 and this week the crew dug it into the ground. It was a 2,000 litre version, although I think smaller would have been fine. It’s hard to get guidance on size based on the number of people expected to be using the house. The forum on coolthaihouse.com has a lively debate on the subject with one contributor quoting the figures for America, which require a small swimming pool sized septic. From my reading this is because the seasonally cool climate in a large area of the US requires a longer holding time before solids break down and is therefore a useless piece of information. Our tropical climate speeds the whole process up and therefore smaller septic tanks are very workable. Ming, the builder, suggested 2,000 litres and as I had nothing better to offer that’s what we went with.
The system I was replicating was illustrated on coolthaihouse as follows:
Toilets on one line going to the septic and then a grey water soaker tank with the grey water from showers, basins and kitchen flowing into a separate pipe leading to a second grey water tank. The only variation to the photo above is that I didn’t install a grease trap.
These are just two concrete rings sitting on top of each other with holes drilled into the sides to let the water out. They cost all of 120 THB each ring and another 120 THB for the lid. Surrounded with gravel and covered over with soil. A venting pipe was run horizontally from the side of the tank to the edge of our land.
If the soaker tanks are overwhelmed with water I will add a pipe from one to the other and then across the land in a soil covered gravel ditch to spread the water over a larger area.
With the team cut back to Ming and his two regular workers I next asked them to put up a fence around three sides of the land as my first attempt to stop the endless visits by dogs and chickens! The final victory will only happen once the front wall goes in with the gate and possibly a shotgun. The other benefit of the fence is that for the first time it would properly define the boundaries of the land.
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.