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.
27 December – 2 January 2014, a short working week as the workers headed off to celebrate New Year on Tuesday and are not due back until the 3rd. However there was some progress made that makes this week worth a post.
Day 56 Saturday, I wrote in my post for Week 8 HERE, that the AAC blocks had turned up finally on the Friday and we had collected some mortar from Thai Watsadu so the team could get started first thing Saturday. Well this happened and when we arrived that morning the wall building was underway.
These blocks are great to watch being put in place as they are a quick method of building and for the people doing the work, lightweight to use. They are being cemented into place with a thin mortar base rather than the glue type option used in some cases you will read about on building forums. Better or worse I can’t say.
With the first fix of electrical linked in with the walls going up we headed off on what is now a very familiar route to Global House at Nong Bua Lamphu to buy conduit, junction boxes and that flexible silver tubing stuff that i think goes in the ceiling.
We also purchased 32 ceiling downlights as an alternative to the handful of fluorescence tube mood lighting thoughtfully included by the draughtsman to light the place.
Gaun continued to chase Thai Watsadu to get the rest of our AAC blocks delivered as the wall crew seem to be getting through about 400 blocks a day, which only gives us a couple days supply based on the one delivery we have received so far. Building here is SO much easier with an active Thai partner. I have said it before but doing a build on your own without any Thai language would be such a pain and the guys that do it successfully are heros in my book.
Day 57 Sunday, Ming’s two permanent guys turned up after a day off fishing, which gave us a full team of six plus Ming. Good progress was made and the rear of the house started to take shape.
Gaun and I made another of our daily trips to Global House and bought the fuse box, 14 fuse spaces, plus door frames and two vanities. We are lucky in being able to borrow my brother-in-laws pickup for these trips otherwise we’d have to have larger items delivered. 25,700 THB out of the bank account.
In the afternoon another load of 800 AAC blocks turned up this time delivered by Thai Watsadu’s own truck, not the contractor that hasn’t been showing up.
Day 58 Monday, a big one because we were to collect the Colorbond roofing from the other side of Khon Kaen a one a half hour’s drive, something I have been looking forward to doing. Ming and his son provided the transport as Bluescope wanted 5,000THB to deliver, which in a Thai sense seemed a bit excessive and also I preferred to give money to Ming.
I have to say that as a customer dealing with Bluescope it is a pretty ordinary experience. I wrote before that I don’t think they do much business with small time jobs like mine and they just aren’t set up to deal with retail customers. We turned up a bit after 2.00 pm and the truck was backed into their loading area, we sat in the waiting area and waited and waited.
No sign of the sales manager or anyone else. The place is plastered with signs and slogans all about worker safety but I didn’t see one that mentioned customer service. At 3.00 pm a siren sounded and the workforce, such as it is, all headed outside for a smoke. At 3.15 the siren went again and the half-dozen guys trooped back in again. This time the hoists were fired up and 10 minutes later the loading was complete and we were ready to be signed out. I can only think that no work was done before 3.00 pm in case it interfered with the tea break!
Now an hour’s wait is no big deal, especially in a Thai environment, but I had expected a more satisfying customer experience from a company from my home country. I would have had much better service from the local Thai roofing place.
My whinging session over I would still buy Colorbond having now seen it back on site. It is a heavy duty product with a great deep finish to the paintwork and I love the slightly off-white colour. The workers have already commented at how much harder it is to cut to shape that the Thai equivalent.
We parted company from Ming’s truck to head into Khon Kaen to browse HomePro, an up-market home decorating store, less straight building product oriented than say Global House. They were having an end of year sale, which brought their prices down to the same as everyone else. It was also an opportunity to call into Central Plaza the huge farang friendly shopping mall for a much needed steak! We ended up at an eating place called Santa Fe and had a very good Aussie T bone with chips and salad for 250 THB. I love Thai food but the urge to have a decent beef steak becomes irresistible from time to time.
Day 60 Tuesday, the last day of work before the team pack up for New Year. In our absence on Monday the Thai Watsadu guys lived up to their word and delivered the remaining blocks, a total of 3,860 and the final 20 bags of mortar. Having had a week of workers and no building materials I was now going to be in the situation of having all the building supplies but no workers 🙁
By the end of the day we had some window spaces to look through and the second layer of blocks had been built for Peng’s bedroom wall.
With the wall building going along pretty well without my supervision 🙂 we decided to head to HomePro in Udon Thani, a bit over one hour’s drive, and pick up a Samsung fridge that was on special and also a Stiebel Eltron 80 litre storage hot water system as part of my strategy of ending up with a decent shower in the new house. We also called into Global House to pick up 6 of the required 10 external wall lights walking away with their entire stock.
The fridge came with a 4,000 THB discount plus 560 THB or A$20.00 delivery. It has a cold water dispensing system on the front and an automatic ice making machine inside, both which seem to make sense in this climate.
The working day over our building team got stuck into the Thai whisky and beer before taking off for three days holiday of doing more of the same.
Week 10 is full of progress as work recommences on Saturday 3 January and I will have some real progress to report at the end of next week so look out for that.
A PDF file of the expenses to date can be found here: Full-costs-Week-9
Thanks for reading.