Self Build Horror – Thailand – Part 5
March 8, 2012 § Leave a comment
In Part 5 we continue to follow the build of a really nice looking Pool Villa, in Phuket, Thailand. The Villa is now really taking shape, but as we have always stated, this is one build that goes horribly wrong. Here is the continuing exploits of our self builder, in his own words.
Week 13 – From the photo you can see that the roof tiling is pretty much complete. As I explained in Part 4, the roofers did point out that laying the tiles was the easy bit but to really finish it off the rid and gully tiles would take a lot more time, if the finished roof was to be water tight and looking real good.
I wasn’t complaining and in just 13 weeks we had come such a long way.
Now that the roof was on the inside really did look a bit dark. But this is normal and I knew that once the walls had been rendered, plastered and painted it would brighten up beautifully.
The photo here shows the Master Bedroom that would over look the Pool and Sala. A Sala, for those of you who don’t know, is a covered space and considering the nice weather in Phuket, would be perfect for outside dining. I designed the Sala so that it had steps that lead directly into the pool. Also the pool pump house was being built under the Sala to hide it from view.
The Pool was half filled with water when all the supports were removed (after the concrete had dried). It was a worrying time and now we would find out if there were any leaks. The concrete had to hold the water and the weight of it. As it got filled up I was very nervous. The pool sat for three days with the water in it and was then drained. I was happy to hear from the architect that everything had gone according to plan. I did question him about the walls not being straight but he pointed out that they would be once all the high points, along the wall had been removed and all the tiles were in place. I have to admit I wasn’t convinced and so I went to see a friend who had a pool build by my architect. He came on-site and put my mind at ease and said that his pool looked pretty much the same and that I shouldn’t worry – it’ll be fine.
You can see, from the photo that parts of the walls have already been cut back in order to square them up.
The real problem with building a home for the first time, is the lack of knowledge. I had zero experience and so if you are thinking about it then you will need to put a lot of faith in the architect, project manager and builders. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask questions and question what is being done. Far from it, ask all the time and learn – if you ever decided to build again, then you’ll have a much better understanding of what goes on.
Week 14 – To my dismay some of the items, such as floor and wall tiles had turned up on-site. I was not happy and this was not what I agreed with the store manager who supplied everything. As it turned out, our goods arrived in-store and were then shipped to site right away. It now meant that the guys working inside had to cover all the goods and work around them. Once again, the Burmese, made no complaints and moved things around as and when they needed the room.
We now had an additional three people on-site and their job was the rendering and plaster work. I personally don’t know how they worked so fast in the heat, it was hitting 45C inside but it didn’t seem to bother then at all.
Back on the swimming pool the guys started working on the foundations for the Sala and Pump house and it was nice to see more being done here. We had come up with a few solutions for hiding the pool pump and filter systems but placing them under the Sala was the most practical solution. They are not exactly very nice to look at and I certainly didn’t want anything looking out of place and this was the perfect solution for hiding the pools inner workings.
By the end of Week 14 all of the roofing tiles where in place and 50% of the internal walls had been rendered. It really was a busy building site and the Burmese certainly knew how to work hard. You could see big changes to the build on a daily basis. The architect did point out that if the suppliers hadn’t delivered all the tiles, and other goods, then it could have gone a lot quicker. I was still extremely pleased with the progress and on the Friday night I bought everyone dinner and a few beers.
Week 15 – I arrived on-site to find the roofers starting work on the roofing gullies and ridge tiles. They were doing such a great job and I was so pleased with the overall colours of the tiles. Each time I drove on-site I could see just how well they blended with the Jungle behind. Yes, you could clearly see it was a roof of a house, but it wasn’t as intrusive on the background.
During the week the guys rendering the walls really did push on with the job. The photo here is of the back of the house and you can see just how much rendering has been done. By the end of week 15 almost all of the internal rendering was complete and a good deal of the exterior of the villa was also rendered.
So far my luck had held with the rain, but that was about to end. We had an almighty down pour over the last 2 days of week 15, which filled the pool over 1/4. Without the ridge tiles or gully tiles in place the internals did get a bit wet but the walls were fine and we didn’t suffer any major set backs. The guys did have to empty the pool and make a make-shift cover for the pool and sala but apart from that the roof really did go on just in time for the worst of the weather to arrive.
Week 16 – Most of the external walls where now rendered and the villa started taking on a whole new look again. The roof gully tiling was also complete and now would come the final part of fitting all the ridge titles.
While things were moving along nicely I was having problems with the architect. He tried several times during the week to have a chat with me but considering he didn’t speak English and my Thai was rudimentary at best, we just couldn’t communicate. The wife, as she explained, was off busy sorting out paper work for the villa. This I didn’t question because anything official here requires reams of paper work. If you want a Visa or a Work Permit expect to sign at least 30 pages or more of paperwork.
I did explain to the wife that the architect was trying to explain something too me and so she needed to go and have a chat. We turned up on-site and she had a chat with the architect – from the body language it didn’t look good. I just asked the architect if everything was OK, once they finished talking. He simply nodded his head yes and it got left at that.
That evening I asked my wife what the issue was about. She just explained that there was a problem with the Pool Pump House and a bit more money was needed – apparently the model of pump and filter that was budgeted for was not large enough to handle the size of the pool. I thought this was a bit strange considering his experience and knowing the size of the pool well in advance. However, I left it at that and had no reason to doubt my wife.
By the end of the week 90% of the internal and external walls where rendered and with the roofing almost complete the villa really was looking stunning.
Well folks that concludes Part 5. In the next, and final, part you will find out how things went from being perfect to a complete disaster. The final part really does show you just how perilous building a home in a foreign country can be and in this particular case is life threatening. Come back tomorrow for Part 6 and the conclusion of this true story – not to be missed!
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