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Hi all,

I am about a year away from the start of building my house and wanted to get some input on my 3 plan choices. The house will be built in the south and consist of 2-3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms with 1 bathroom in the master bedroom and the other a general use bathroom. Both bathrooms will have a bathtub/shower combo so I will install a hot water system. I am guessing the hot water will be in the form of a boiler. The kitchen will have a European style inside with a Thai style outside. I will design the house myself and have it transfered into the Thai way of building as this is the best approach for us. My plans are as follows:

1. A single story house with the basic layout of tv room in the front with the bedrooms off of that. The kitchen in the back with an outdoor area for the Thai style. A detached carport will be added with a covered walkway to the house.

2. A stilt house with the bedrooms and 1 bathroom upstairs along with the tv area. The kitchen will be on the ground floor with the covered area under the house serving as a carport and sitting area. The secong bathroom will be a Thai style (no tub) on the ground floor.

3. A split level type house. The bedrooms and bathrooms and kitchens will be the same as in #1, however the tv area would be on a second level which would be seperate from the main area.

Those are my ideas at the moment. I need to get opinions as to which would be the best viable option based on your experience. The cost is a factor as we have a budget of 2 million baht which will include all fittings and ready to move in. We already have land and that will be prepared in the near future complete with a wall etc.. the land does not figure in the cost. The 2 million is for the house only.

Thanks for any help,

James

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As you have a limited budget I do recommend you give priority to better quality on matters that would be costly to replace later, and, if need be, sacrifice good looks on e.g. tiles and fittings.

The matters I would give priority too are:

- Only using ready mixed concrete of minimum 240 steng and not too wet. Test every load for wetness - should not exceed 15%.

- Ensure strongly made bed footings

- Use only 12mm or better rebars

- Ensure the concrete is stirred properly so the air bubbles disappear

- Ensure the concrete is cured properly by keeping it wet for 28 days (without moisture the concrete will not cure properly)

- Build the walls with super blocks, preferably two rows 7.5 cm block with a cavity (air is a very good insulator)

- Insulate the roof with CPAC Monier's thick dual-purpose aluminium sheets

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Welcome to the fun club of those building homes in Thailand, ensure an adequate supply of Tylenol and beer, you'll need it :)

We're building almost exactly what you propose as option 2 although we have two bathrooms upstairs and a washroom downstairs (with a shower for the gardener).

Have a look here for some ideas http://www.crossy.co.uk/Thai_House_Plans/index.html these plans are pre-certified and approved, so if you don't make major structural changes you can save yourself the cost of a structural engineer / architect.

If you have an en-suite bathroom, ensure a second bathroom is on the same floor as the rest of the bedrooms, we don't want kids / guests having to negotiate stairs in the dark.

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We had a big western style kitchen put in as well as an outside Thai kitchen. The indoor one hardly ever gets used. Only the fridge, micro and sink.

My next door neighbor combined the two and it gave him a bunch of extra room inside his house...probably the way we will go next time if we build again. He has a sliding door to his kitchen, which is screened in. Really nice setup.

For hot water, what about solar hot water?

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You dont mention if this house will be to live in full time or a holiday home.

Reason for asking is stgrhe makes some very good points, a budget of 2 million for everything really isnt that much.

Is the land in need of levelling or raising (think flooding here)?

You will probably be looking at about 10,000 baht per sq/m for costs, say 170 sqm house and 300k for fittings.

At that price you wont be using Upvc for doors and windows, which leaves the choice of wood or aluminium, I would chose wood.

You wont be using granite or wood for tiling,this means tiles.

Your choice of roof tiling is dependant on your budget, dont sacrifice quality here.

Another thing to bear in mind, all costs quoted by builders will be for 4 walls and a roof, anything extra you pay.

Will you need a wall built round the house?

What about fencing, stainless steel gates and fencing are expensive when compared to other options.

A water tank and water pump can cost up to 20,000 baht, dont forget footings for the water tank.

Will the outside of the house need a patio area/terracing to be build?

Other essentials will include the cost of getting hooked up with an elcertical meter and water supplies.

How many a/c units will you need, again that cash register is running up a bill every time you visit hompe pro, home pro is used for example purposes only, I wouldnt shop there.

Another thought, a single storey house will be cheaper to build than a 2 storey, make sure you have a good air flow through the house, dont forget the direction the house will face.

Others will add to what I have forgoten to mention, or add there own experiences.

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Great links thanks

I'm in the same position I'll be building soon and seriously thinking design right now.

Starting with a small point, seems to me the kitchen and the bathroom are the two expensive rooms. When Craig says

We had a big western style kitchen put in as well as an outside Thai kitchen. The indoor one hardly ever gets used. Only the fridge, micro and sink.

it confirms my thoughts of avoiding carcassed fitted western units which are either very expensive or can rot, and instead building a concrete-based kitchen. This doesn't mean it can't be nice. It doesn't have to be the very basic style with a few crappy tiles on top....one could put more shelving in the units and use rounded edges with a glazed concrete finish or good terracotta tiles for example. Don't much see the need for doors either though one can buy ready made ones for a fair price.

On the other hand outside doesn't work for me I have it now, insects everywhere. Maybe one could have the one burner outside for chili smoke cooking....

Edited by cheeryble
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You will probably be looking at about 10,000 baht per sq/m for costs, say 170 sqm house and 300k for fittings.

When you say fittings you mean like kitchen and bathroom fittings and electrics......10,000 not enough to include these? Or do you mean furnishings?

And when you say 4 walls and a roof surely the 10k includes all the building work and plumbing and electrics?

thanks...

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While I'm on a roll what are the advantages and disadvantages of a concrete slab floor and poured concrete floor? I guess the first is cheaper......does it have real disadvantages?

While we're here, how much per cu m for delivered concrete....and on average add what % to concrete cost for rebar?

thanks again

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Hi there James

I can't claim any real expertise in this field, but have lived here along time and have seen many farang houses built over the years. and of course my own.

So I will say I think you are being a bit optimistic on the cost, labor may be cheap, but everything else costs. Bathroom and kitchens will set you back a lot. On the design side, think about the climate, it's hot and unless you are going big time into Aircon and the electric bills that go with them, build for coolness. Friend of mine has a 2 story house, with a flat roof [to save money] they have never slept upstairs, just too hot.

Our house, not very nice to look at, but functional, the only time spent in doors is sleeping. Everything else, TV, cooking and eating is done out side in roofed tiled areas. All doors open into a central court type yard. Much cooler as any breeze passes through the house. Possibly think of something in a Spanish style villa with central court yard. Jim

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You will probably be looking at about 10,000 baht per sq/m for costs, say 170 sqm house and 300k for fittings.

When you say fittings you mean like kitchen and bathroom fittings and electrics......10,000 not enough to include these? Or do you mean furnishings?

And when you say 4 walls and a roof surely the 10k includes all the building work and plumbing and electrics?

thanks...

Sorry was in a bit of a rush when posting earlier, yes I meant 300k for furnishings, beds, chairs, tables, tv etc etc.

The 10k per sqm should include all bathroom fittings, but may or may not include water heaters.

The kitchen is a funny one, again you need to talk to your builder, most will put in basic breeze block kitchen, if you want western style you will need to subcontact after the house is built.

Yes the 10k includes all plumbing and electrical fittings, what it does not include is cost for pilings if needed, which can cost up to 200k, depending on location.

Dont forget to take into account it may well cost about 30k just for your plans to be drawn up, make sure this is included in the price.

Tip, for your plans it may be worth your while going to your local Or Bor Tor office and have them draw up the plans and specs, this is the office that will approve your planning permission.

As mentioned by a previous poster, dont scrimp on quality its false economy, if finances dictate it may well be worth doing things in stages.

The 10k is a starting point, any upgrades will cost more, eg type of tiles on floor, type of paint used, make sure its not watered down, will there be guttering fitted? if so will it be plastic or stainless?

I have seen houses advertised in the Thai papers for 9000k per sqm, Grade A products, take that with a pinch of salt.

Bear in mind there is a difference in what a Thai will expect and what a farang will expect.

Once you start building wait for the comments to start being made by the neighbours, why didnt you do this, or why are you doing it that way.

One of the biggest obstacles here is face, they wont admit they dont have the money to do things to your standard so they just say not needed.

You also mention flooring, make sure it is sealed before putting tiling on top, if not sit back and wait for water ingress.

The cost for the rebar should be included in the total house price of 10k per sqm, as mentioned by another poster, will you be using 12mm, 17 or 20mm? cost rising all the time.

I have seen many of these cheaper houses start falling apart after a few years because proper foundations and specs werent in place, cracks in walls, leaking roof etc etc.

Anything else you can think off, ask away, there are others out there more knowledgeable than I.

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Some really great comments and things I have not really thought of yet. Just to answer a few things.

1. The land and perimeter wall will be completed before the house is built. This is not part of the cost I stated for the house.

2. The rebar is not something I have thought about nor about the kitchen idea. I may need to rethink that.

3. The hot water was just from comments I saw on here previously about the multi point vs boiler. I really have no clue which would be better.

4. Air between the walls sounds like a good idea, however I am concerned about the people who will build it. this is done in the South and everything seems to be done the same. don't really see much variety.

5. Crossy - I did look at the site of yours and actually downloaded some samples of the Government plans, but nothing really did it for me and most were to big and would cost more than my budget.

6. This house would be a full time residence as I will not be working after the house is complete.

7. The 2 million budget is what my wife is guaranteed from the bank, this may go up at a later date. That is why I wanted the house complete and ready to move in.

8. The outdoor patio would be dependent on which style we decided to use. If the house is any other than the stilt than there would certainly be a need for an outdoor pation

I would assume that building a single story would be more economical, but not sure about the cooling factor. A central court yard is an idea.

My main reason for wanting to keep a separate living/tv area was to hide away when needed and not be bothered.

Thanks again for the tips and comments.

James

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Just a quick note on my neighbors kitchen. It's really nice. Completely fitted out. It's got several large windows that can be opened up for the breeze, or closed and it's got AC. But unlike us, he only has 1 kitchen. Which makes way more sense to me. Plus, the area that would have been for his inside kitchen, is now a large extension to his living/dinning room. Sort of a "great" room.

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Hi there James

I can't claim any real expertise in this field, but have lived here along time and have seen many farang houses built over the years. and of course my own.

So I will say I think you are being a bit optimistic on the cost, labor may be cheap, but everything else costs. Bathroom and kitchens will set you back a lot. On the design side, think about the climate, it's hot and unless you are going big time into Aircon and the electric bills that go with them, build for coolness. Friend of mine has a 2 story house, with a flat roof [to save money] they have never slept upstairs, just too hot.

Our house, not very nice to look at, but functional, the only time spent in doors is sleeping. Everything else, TV, cooking and eating is done out side in roofed tiled areas. All doors open into a central court type yard. Much cooler as any breeze passes through the house. Possibly think of something in a Spanish style villa with central court yard. Jim

sounds ideal Jim..If I was to have my druthers I would have had a humungous covered veranda across the width of the house instead of 2/11m we have ..as you say then you would live outside rain or shine.

Trouble is when building and with all the aggravation/frustration you just want to get the @#$%g thing finished and move in and you tend to stop critical thinking about these things..

One bugbear with our house over the first couple of years was the wooden 8 panel doors and windows and frames sucked up the water and started to stick big time in spite of all the sealant and paint. Big problem in 'wet" bathrooms primarily... Powder coated aluminum like our sliding doors would have been a better idea for windows..doors? well I guess one could use vinyl but ...

Re kitchens we have only one inside and it is part of the lounge/tv/ family room/...bit like the US style kitchen family room concept...but we don't have any other lounge area...lol And yes the wifey and co usually sit and mush stuff/ prepare food cross legged on the veranda unless it's pissing down...

Good luck to the OP...snigger,snigger...lol

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Thanks for the links and thoughts. My wife has decided we will have the stilt type house. She believes this will be a good idea. So, now that we/she has made a decision I will have more specific stilt questions.

Having a look at the link provided by Crossy I guess the closest examples would be a cross between 27 and 29. Due to some factors we have increased our budget so have a little leg room.

My first stilt question.

1. What should we look for in regards to the support beams? I have seen concrete and metal. Any tips on that?

Thanks,

James

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1. What should we look for in regards to the support beams? I have seen concrete and metal. Any tips on that?

IMHO Concrete every time.

Steel is lightweight and can be very elegant, but it does require maintenance of the corrosion prevention. In the local climate the metal-moth can take hold remarkably quickly, concrete is essentially maintenance-free.

Steel for the roof structure, more durable than wood, easier to implement than concrete.

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Tip, for your plans it may be worth your while going to your local Or Bor Tor office and have them draw up the plans and specs, this is the office that will approve your planning permission.

The Mrs has just started building a house in the village. I asked her about planning permission etc and she just said "Oh darling, I tell the Poo Yai Baan already, this is Thailand not the UK" :blink: Hope that doesn't come back and bite.

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Tip, for your plans it may be worth your while going to your local Or Bor Tor office and have them draw up the plans and specs, this is the office that will approve your planning permission.

The Mrs has just started building a house in the village. I asked her about planning permission etc and she just said "Oh darling, I tell the Poo Yai Baan already, this is Thailand not the UK" :blink: Hope that doesn't come back and bite.

In many rural areas building permissions are not required. Elsewhere one can start building without a building permission but it must be obtained before construction of the roof commences.

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