Low Budget Village Build For In-Laws

Information on building a house, buying poperty and land, and all other general contruction topics...
Post Reply
User avatar
runrunshaw
udonmap.com
Posts: 211
Joined: January 4, 2016, 12:47 pm

Low Budget Village Build For In-Laws

Post by runrunshaw » February 6, 2019, 1:46 pm

A couple of months back, I embarked on something I'd promised myself, and my wife, I'd never do---build a house for my wife's family.

I'd made it clear to her from Day One--some ten years ago--that I was committing to her, and not her relatives. Of course, in Issan, the Conventional Wisdom is that's not possible; everyone says you end up marrying the family. But I'm the kind of person whose philosophy is, "Teach a man to fish, don't give them the fish." So I paid no dowry, cared nothing about "face" in the village, and instead focused on creating a strong relationship with a woman who has given me two wonderful children and a happy family life. It's been a blessing.

We have lived in town from the beginning, while her village is about 25 minutes outside of Udon.

During many long absences when I was working overseas and our children were newborns, I allowed her family to live in our house in town. It wasn't because I'm a sweet guy, it was because they were of immense help in taking care of the babies, helping out with chores, and giving my skittish wife security when I was away. And since I was coming and going so often, it didn't bother me if we all shared the house for a few months while I was in town.

But as the kids got older, my father-in-law started drinking too much. First, I threw out the sister and brother in law, then I threw out my wife's mom and dad. I had to use Google translate; my wife didn't have the heart to ask her mom and dad to leave.

I understood why that was, since they had no house of their own, but had been living in my wife's grandma's house--one of those ratty old teak village houses with no glass windows--since before I came along. Squat toilet in a cinderblock shed; shower nozzle attached to a wooden post with not much privacy. We're talking dirt poor people.

My wife's father had been a goldsmith, but his eyesight went bad, and then the rest of his health. From the age of 15, my wife, her sister and parents shared a one-room apartment in Bangkok and all worked in a food-processing facility. For five years. The money my wife saved enabled her to buy a small piece of land just outside her village. She had enough money to build up the land and fence it off, and that was all she could do. I told her from the beginning I wasn't going to build anything on that land.

I don't care for village life, but seven years ago I spent about six thousand baht for her family to build an open air noodle shop. The shop is going stronger than ever, expanded from just noodles, and supports her whole family. Mom and sister are full-time; father and brother-in law help out part time. They're hard-working people who don't gamble or drink very much, but had a lot of bad breaks in life. To their credit, in the ten years I've known them, they have never asked me for money. A couple of times they borrowed five or ten thousand, but always paid it back.

After I threw her dad and mom out of our house several years ago, he stopped drinking. Hates gambling and changed entirely. He had to have a pace-maker installed, but still works doing odd jobs to earn cash.

I'm not a heartless guy, and I obviously felt sorry for them. Then, when her sister finally had a baby--at age 32--it became tough to even go visit them for a few minutes. Still, they weren't my responsibility.

Then a few months ago my wife was looking on Facebook at inexpensive Thai homes being built by private citizens, not developers. One post caught my eye, a small house that a man swore he built for 230,000 baht. Here are some of the photos of his house. These photos got me thinking...
Attachments
14.jpg
13.jpg
12.jpg
11.jpg
9.jpg
8.jpg
7.jpg
6.jpg
4.jpg
3.jpg
2.jpg
1.jpg


The best gadget is the human brain.

User avatar
Giggle
udonmap.com
Posts: 1095
Joined: October 18, 2016, 4:24 pm

Re: Low Budget Village Build For In-Laws

Post by Giggle » February 6, 2019, 2:19 pm

Lend them the money -- force them to have a skin in the game. Maybe they'll take care of it.

User avatar
saint
udonmap.com
Posts: 2835
Joined: February 28, 2008, 5:31 pm
Location: the truth is out there . but dont dare tell it !!!!

Re: Low Budget Village Build For In-Laws

Post by saint » February 6, 2019, 4:54 pm

Impressive for the money , but ive got a feeling that must be just materials , not labour .
Add the cost of labour and you gotta be looking at 800,000 baht plus .

User avatar
AlexO
udonmap.com
Posts: 693
Joined: June 8, 2015, 11:45 am
Location: Nong Lat Udon

Re: Low Budget Village Build For In-Laws

Post by AlexO » February 6, 2019, 7:51 pm

Saint you could be wrong, we built a resort type home on our land for her dad, basically a double bedroom and quite large Hong Nam. Aluminium windows, tiled floors etc, good insulated profile steel roof. I dont think I spent much more than 2000 GBP materials and labour.

ajarnudon
udonmap.com
Posts: 213
Joined: March 2, 2011, 3:57 pm

Re: Low Budget Village Build For In-Laws

Post by ajarnudon » February 6, 2019, 10:05 pm

I think that is entirely possible - it's about the same size as my garage/workshop/laundry/wc. A lot better finished of course. But with family supplying a good deal of the labour, I can't see why not.

Bonanza
udonmap.com
Posts: 256
Joined: September 16, 2012, 9:08 pm

Re: Low Budget Village Build For In-Laws

Post by Bonanza » February 7, 2019, 12:02 am

From the plan that looks to be about 6m x 9m (which works out about Bht 3,500 per sq metre). I would love firm details from anyone who has built such a place looking like the picture. :D :D And might be willing to come and build one for me. :D

bluejets
udonmap.com
Posts: 798
Joined: March 17, 2008, 10:05 am
Location: Australia

Re: Low Budget Village Build For In-Laws

Post by bluejets » February 7, 2019, 6:08 am

Listing of free government house plans here if you need to look at others ......

http://www.crossy.co.uk/Thai_House_Plans/

User avatar
BillaRickaDickay
udonmap.com
Posts: 247
Joined: October 28, 2010, 6:32 pm

Re: Low Budget Village Build For In-Laws

Post by BillaRickaDickay » February 7, 2019, 7:08 am

Low budget building over here is very easy, materials and labour are very cheap The example shown is very basic in design and materials used, the main expense would be the windows and doors, although they look to be low budget, the roof and tiled floor. I don't see a kitchen but that need not be costly.
Obviously paying a builder will jack the price right up, sub contract the trades to decent tradesmen is the way to go, finding a good tradesman though is not easy, look at examples of their work and put them on probation for a few days.
Keep the design simple and single story, no fancy roofs.
He's got his little y-fronts and he's got his little vest, Chaz Jankel, 1998. Mash it up Harry.

User avatar
runrunshaw
udonmap.com
Posts: 211
Joined: January 4, 2016, 12:47 pm

Re: Low Budget Village Build For In-Laws

Post by runrunshaw » February 7, 2019, 7:49 am

Giggle wrote:
February 6, 2019, 2:19 pm
Lend them the money -- force them to have a skin in the game. Maybe they'll take care of it.
Giggle, to he honest, these folks don't know how to take care of a house, they have no such experience. It's hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

And one thing I've learned in life is that when someone close to you--friends or family--borrows or asks to borrow money, your relationship suddenly is at risk. I've had CLOSE friends ask to borrow a thousand dollars, but instead, I gave them a hundred or two and insisted it was a gift. I'd rather keep my relationship than lose them over bad debts. But there is no way in hell, short of winning the Thai lottery, that my wife's family would ever be able to pay me back.
The best gadget is the human brain.

User avatar
runrunshaw
udonmap.com
Posts: 211
Joined: January 4, 2016, 12:47 pm

Re: Low Budget Village Build For In-Laws

Post by runrunshaw » February 7, 2019, 8:15 am

So what happened last fall was that I was buying a couple of storage containers. I'd already decided to pour a slab on my wife's land. And then I just thought, WTF, if I can build that house for 230,000 or about $7000 US dollars, then why not do it as a ten-year anniversary gift to my wife?

I never for a minute thought of putting the house in my name. My vehicles cost more than that house was going to cost, even if it did go over a budget a bit, which I assumed it would.

Well, the monks chose a date for putting in the first two posts--the ONLY dates which would be good till 2019, so now the wife was excited to press forward. But I was about to leave for a long trip to the States.

Two of her uncles are pooh-yais in the village and are housebuliders when they're not ricefarming. Typical deal. One guy is meticulous, the other not so much. Would their work pass muster in Bangkok? No. Could they build a house I would want to live in? No. But I'd seen their work, and they'd built solid, perfectly fine houses that were great for the village.

Since my in-laws had NO HOME, I figured whatever they built would be a step-up.

But the uncles were finishing up another house and couldn't start right away. Somebody recommended a crew led by a guy named Jit who could put up the posts and the roof, and get the project going until the uncles could take over.

So I got on a plane after buying materials with the TW and things kicked off in my absence.
Attachments
IMG_20181130_105643.jpg
IMG_20181130_104834.jpg
IMG_20181130_104815.jpg
IMG_20181130_104807.jpg
IMG_20181130_104732.jpg
IMG_20181130_104610.jpg
IMG_20181130_104552.jpg
The best gadget is the human brain.

User avatar
vincemunday
udonmap.com
Posts: 2005
Joined: December 11, 2014, 11:36 pm
Location: Udon Thani ex North Stifford and Ramsgate
Contact:

Re: Low Budget Village Build For In-Laws

Post by vincemunday » February 7, 2019, 8:42 am

Looks like a pretty standard village build, it would probably be a bit cheaper if you bought all the materials yourself but then you have to factor in what your time is worth. Next they'll put in the beams that go from post to post, then the rebar goes down and the concrete floor will be poured. All I would recommend is that you have them put in a damp proof course under the rebar before they pour, you can buy the thick black plastic sheeting from Thai Watsadu, I know you're not living there but it stops the damp coming through the floors and up the walls which will mean less maintainence for you to pay for in the future. When I built the apartments and the bungalow I insisted it went in and after a few rows and "we no do..." the builders put it in, it only takes an hour or so but they don't like doing it.
"I don't risk my life for the sake of my children, I risk it for the sake of everyone's children" Stephen Yaxley-Lennon aka Tommy Robison - Free speech activist 2017

User avatar
runrunshaw
udonmap.com
Posts: 211
Joined: January 4, 2016, 12:47 pm

Re: Low Budget Village Build For In-Laws

Post by runrunshaw » February 7, 2019, 9:11 am

vincemunday wrote:
February 7, 2019, 8:42 am
Looks like a pretty standard village build, it would probably be a bit cheaper if you bought all the materials yourself but then you have to factor in what your time is worth. Next they'll put in the beams that go from post to post, then the rebar goes down and the concrete floor will be poured. All I would recommend is that you have them put in a damp proof course under the rebar before they pour, you can buy the thick black plastic sheeting from Thai Watsadu, I know you're not living there but it stops the damp coming through the floors and up the walls which will mean less maintainence for you to pay for in the future. When I built the apartments and the bungalow I insisted it went in and after a few rows and "we no do..." the builders put it in, it only takes an hour or so but they don't like doing it.
You're right about all that, Vince. Please let me point out that these photos indicate the situation back in December. The story gets a bit strange. I haven't been able to post as the build progressed. We're still not done, but close now.

I wanted to tell this story as something of a counter-point to the very interesting build threads I have followed by Barney, Jerome, yourself and others, who have gone to painstaking trouble to do things right. I knew I could build the house on the cheap, and that I had to surrender to it being a "village build," done the Thai way, for the most part.

And I knew I wasn't going to be able to be present to supervise---to the extent that I'm able to. I'm not retired, I have multiple careers, travel a lot and have two young kids I spend as much time with as I can. And to be perfectly honest, I KNOW VERY LITTLE ABOUT CONSTRUCTION!

I did a lot of boning up, but at the end of the day, it wasn't a house I was going to live in. As I'm able to post more and get caught up to the present condition of the project, maybe I can establish that it's turned out okay and that we achieved the basic goals of the build.

Lots of mistakes have been made, trust me!

I was in China when I called the wife and told her about the plastic sheeting and damp proof course, and a few other things, like seeding the ground with termite poison. Did any of it get done? Of course not. What can you do except try your best? [-o< [-o< [-o<
The best gadget is the human brain.

User avatar
vincemunday
udonmap.com
Posts: 2005
Joined: December 11, 2014, 11:36 pm
Location: Udon Thani ex North Stifford and Ramsgate
Contact:

Re: Low Budget Village Build For In-Laws

Post by vincemunday » February 7, 2019, 10:06 am

It's a nightmare, I had to make sure I was on site every day while building the apartments, but even then I'd come back from lunch and I'd find them preparing beams the wrong size and I'd have to get them to unwire the frames and redo them, the minute your back is turned they'll try to cut corners. A real favourite is watering down the ready mix concrete so they can float it easier, I'd order road grade concrete and I'd see them reaching for the hose, that caused many rows, they don't like to lay the concrete in the mix that's delivered. My other favourite is that they don't stagger the joints on brick walls, I actually knocked down a couple of finished walls and made them do them again, that really went down well, stupid Farang! Ah so you're a way in already, the idea is keep the builders needing money, if you pay them too much too quickly they'll either sod off and leave the job completely or you'll lose them for a few days on Lao Kao frenzy or as they call it when they come back "work on farm". Fortunately I'd used drawings a fair bit when I owned the joinery and I'd spent a bit of time on site so I wasn't a complete newbie but the methods they use here are really different to back home anyway, even when they're not cutting corners but it was enough that I could make sure things were done right...ish.

Good luck with what you have left, I look forward to more posts.
"I don't risk my life for the sake of my children, I risk it for the sake of everyone's children" Stephen Yaxley-Lennon aka Tommy Robison - Free speech activist 2017

glalt
udonmap.com
Posts: 1631
Joined: January 14, 2007, 10:35 am
Location: Nong Hin, Loei

Re: Low Budget Village Build For In-Laws

Post by glalt » February 7, 2019, 1:02 pm

A few years ago I had a small overnight house built next to a farm pond. I hesitate to call t a house, it is more of just a bedroom with an under roof front porch and cooking area on the end. There is an outhouse out back. The other small cement box in the back houses a 5,000 watt generator that runs a submersible well pump used for irrigation. The property is off the electric grid. The generator is too noisy to use in the little house plus it uses a lot of gasoline. I added two 280 watt solar panels and a battery bank. It runs lights, a fan, TV and satellite dish for the TV. It makes a nice place to stay for the wife to tend her many fruit trees and feed the fish. The total build cost was 103,000 baht.
2012-06-20_09-36-36_116.jpg
2012-06-20_09-34-27_54.jpg

User avatar
runrunshaw
udonmap.com
Posts: 211
Joined: January 4, 2016, 12:47 pm

Re: Low Budget Village Build For In-Laws

Post by runrunshaw » February 7, 2019, 2:26 pm

glalt wrote:
February 7, 2019, 1:02 pm
A few years ago I had a small overnight house built next to a farm pond. I hesitate to call t a house, it is more of just a bedroom with an under roof front porch and cooking area on the end. There is an outhouse out back. The other small cement box in the back houses a 5,000 watt generator that runs a submersible well pump used for irrigation. The property is off the electric grid. The generator is too noisy to use in the little house plus it uses a lot of gasoline. I added two 280 watt solar panels and a battery bank. It runs lights, a fan, TV and satellite dish for the TV. It makes a nice place to stay for the wife to tend her many fruit trees and feed the fish. The total build cost was 103,000 baht.

2012-06-20_09-36-36_116.jpg2012-06-20_09-34-27_54.jpg
If that structure was located anywhere in Southern California it would be worth 3 million baht, and I'm not exaggerating.

Thanks for sharing. My father-law would love a place like that.
The best gadget is the human brain.

User avatar
runrunshaw
udonmap.com
Posts: 211
Joined: January 4, 2016, 12:47 pm

Re: Low Budget Village Build For In-Laws

Post by runrunshaw » February 7, 2019, 2:34 pm

vincemunday wrote:
February 7, 2019, 10:06 am
It's a nightmare, I had to make sure I was on site every day while building the apartments, but even then I'd come back from lunch and I'd find them preparing beams the wrong size and I'd have to get them to unwire the frames and redo them, the minute your back is turned they'll try to cut corners. A real favourite is watering down the ready mix concrete so they can float it easier, I'd order road grade concrete and I'd see them reaching for the hose, that caused many rows, they don't like to lay the concrete in the mix that's delivered. My other favourite is that they don't stagger the joints on brick walls, I actually knocked down a couple of finished walls and made them do them again, that really went down well, stupid Farang! Ah so you're a way in already, the idea is keep the builders needing money, if you pay them too much too quickly they'll either sod off and leave the job completely or you'll lose them for a few days on Lao Kao frenzy or as they call it when they come back "work on farm". Fortunately I'd used drawings a fair bit when I owned the joinery and I'd spent a bit of time on site so I wasn't a complete newbie but the methods they use here are really different to back home anyway, even when they're not cutting corners but it was enough that I could make sure things were done right...ish.

Good luck with what you have left, I look forward to more posts.
Thanks, Vince, I'll try to post more soon. And I will need suggestions from you and others on a few outstanding issues.

BTW, the "Lao Kao Frenzy" -- while working, apparently- cost me dearly.
The best gadget is the human brain.

glalt
udonmap.com
Posts: 1631
Joined: January 14, 2007, 10:35 am
Location: Nong Hin, Loei

Re: Low Budget Village Build For In-Laws

Post by glalt » February 7, 2019, 3:11 pm

runrunshaw wrote:
February 7, 2019, 2:26 pm
glalt wrote:
February 7, 2019, 1:02 pm
A few years ago I had a small overnight house built next to a farm pond. I hesitate to call t a house, it is more of just a bedroom with an under roof front porch and cooking area on the end. There is an outhouse out back. The other small cement box in the back houses a 5,000 watt generator that runs a submersible well pump used for irrigation. The property is off the electric grid. The generator is too noisy to use in the little house plus it uses a lot of gasoline. I added two 280 watt solar panels and a battery bank. It runs lights, a fan, TV and satellite dish for the TV. It makes a nice place to stay for the wife to tend her many fruit trees and feed the fish. The total build cost was 103,000 baht.

2012-06-20_09-36-36_116.jpg2012-06-20_09-34-27_54.jpg
If that structure was located anywhere in Southern California it would be worth 3 million baht, and I'm not exaggerating.

Thanks for sharing. My father-law would love a place like that.
It was designed so that the cooking area on the end could easily be completely walled in making another room. We haven't needed the extra room so nothing has been done.

User avatar
runrunshaw
udonmap.com
Posts: 211
Joined: January 4, 2016, 12:47 pm

Re: Low Budget Village Build For In-Laws

Post by runrunshaw » February 7, 2019, 9:06 pm

Allow me to make a date correction and backtrack just a bit. We had the TW's land cleared in October. I left for a long trip to China and then the United States. Then, on Nov. 2nd 2018, the concrete slab pour for my two storage containers took place.
1549538448660.jpg
1549538444821.jpg
1549538441431.jpg
1549538438131.jpg
1549538430768.jpg
1549538426832.jpg
1549538422643.jpg
1549538419673.jpg
1549538416444.jpg
1549538413000.jpg
1549538406404.jpg
The two containers I'd bought were delivered three days later and placed perfectly.
1549538368549.jpg
So in mid-November, Jit and his rag-tag crew of two set out to plant the cements poles and build the roof. (photos posted previously). They were getting drunk on Lao Kao while working, although I didn't find that out until later.

But when I got back to Udon near the end of November, the sh*t hit the fan.
The best gadget is the human brain.

User avatar
vincemunday
udonmap.com
Posts: 2005
Joined: December 11, 2014, 11:36 pm
Location: Udon Thani ex North Stifford and Ramsgate
Contact:

Re: Low Budget Village Build For In-Laws

Post by vincemunday » February 8, 2019, 7:26 am

It's funny that the Thai government don't tax Lao Kao very much, most villages comprise mainly of old women, very few men seem to make old age and I'm pretty sure Lao Kao has a lot to do with that. Also it seems to be quite addictive, you rarely see anyone who can drink it sensibly, they seem to throw it down their neck and they go from sober to drunk in the blink of an eye because they are just topping up from what they drank earlier. To be honest, I banned it from site completely, some of the builders rattled a bit towards the end of the day and I'm sure I wasn't popular because of it but if you want poles concreted in properly and straight walls...

Keep on their case!
"I don't risk my life for the sake of my children, I risk it for the sake of everyone's children" Stephen Yaxley-Lennon aka Tommy Robison - Free speech activist 2017

User avatar
runrunshaw
udonmap.com
Posts: 211
Joined: January 4, 2016, 12:47 pm

Re: Low Budget Village Build For In-Laws

Post by runrunshaw » February 9, 2019, 8:03 pm

Okay, I hope I can pick up the chronological events of the build w/o being too confusing. So In November 2018, I've funded the wife to move forward while I'm out of the country. The slab for my containers gets poured and my storage containers delivered. The wife can't wait for her uncles to become available or she'll miss the good day the monks have selected to plant those important first two posts. So she hires Jit for 15,600 baht--paid in steps-- to plant the posts, do the roof, and pour the slab foundation.

When I returned to Udon in late November, I saw that the roof ironwork was complete and the roof panels were ready to go on... but the posts didn't look aligned properly. Beyond that, there were 12 posts, spaced 4 meters apart. Now I'm not a rocket scientist, but a 12 X 8 meter house should equal 96 square meters. Right?

The problem was, we weren't supposed to build a 96 SQM house, but a 60 SQM house. Just like the house in the photos which I had agreed to build, and which are in the OP. 10 M X 6M. Just like my LINE messages to the TW reconfirming the dimensions. 10 X 6!

I didn't say anything until we got home, and then we had one of those WTF? sessions where I do all of the yelling. You know, the ones Thais love so much.

My wife looked genuinely surprised. A part of me suspected either she, her sister, or mother, had angled for a bigger house in my absence. I kept pushing until she said that the man from the local government office--the one we had to bribe with 1000 baht so he would come out and sign off on our beginning the build--that he had redrawn the layout of the house and had decided on the size himself.

Perhaps that was true. No way for me to really know. What I did know was that the budget was now going to skyrocket.

In the middle of this pleasant conversation, the phone rang. It was her uncle Mak saying that Jit had completely screwed-up the layout of the posts, and that if we continue as is, the house will be sh*t. Jit had told Mak to piss off, that he only takes orders from "the owner."

So the next morning we went out to the land and had a Come-to-Jesus talk with Jit. When Mak showed him that one post was off by 60 cm, Jit admitted he had "eyeballed" some of the work. Since the uncles were still not available to take over the project, we reluctantly agreed to allow Jit to fix what he had messed up.

I was told that only a couple of posts had to be moved. And that only some of the ironwork had to come down. But in the days that followed--I had to go to Bangkok, and was busy at home on a project--it became clear that someone had some "splainin'" to do.

Using a trusty old angle grinder and working slowly--ALL OF THE IRON WORK CAME DOWN. Sorry, I don't have photos of the dismantling.

Cr*p, when I finally got back to the job site, I couldn't believe it! And I find out the wife has now paid him 10,000 baht, and that all of the posts have to be moved, except those first two, which can't touched. That's when I spotted a bunch of empty Lao Kao bottles. I decided to fire him then and there. But sometimes things have to handled delicately.

My wife's uncles had finally become available, but Jit and his crew are thirty-ish bad boys. They wanted the rest of their money, but I didn't want to pay. Why should I? They weren't completing the job and had ******-up royally.

It was going to create bad blood in the village between families. Jit's dad, while drunk, physically accosted Mak (Mak is a village government pooh-yai) and accused him of meddling to get his son fired. Mak took the dad out to the job site and showed him the misaligned posts. Even though he was drunk, Jit's dad said something to the effect of "My son did this?! I wouldn't live in a house this badly laid out!" The man apologized later, but Jit demanded his money.

I knew he would cause trouble, so I told the wife to pay him, just to get him to go away. She gave him 5000 more, but held back 600 baht. Maybe it was symbolic on her part, I don't know. He and his crew removed their tools from our land. A few days later, my father-in-lay said some of his tools were missing. I did a roof panel count and two roof panels were also missing, So the prick stole about a thousand baht worth of stuff, to get his 600 baht payment.

I wasn't feeling too good about things. I was down 15,000 and had nothing but 12 misaligned cement poles in place.
The best gadget is the human brain.

Post Reply

Return to “House & Land”