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Renovating an old rural village house.


Faz
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Some background information.

The wife is the second youngest of 4 siblings, born and raised in the Ban Bua Khao village, Pathumrat, Roi Et, which lies midway between Kaset Wisai and Phayakkhaphum Phisai, just off the AH121 highway.

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https://www.google.co.th/maps/place/Ban+Bua+Khao+Police+Station/@15.5814741,103.4011519,12.75z/data=!4m5!3m4!1s0x311825779321a1a1:0x3f6b6edb04299712!8m2!3d15.5686932!4d103.4033761?hl=en

Her Father was a prominent figure in the community and head of the village. They owned 80 rai of land, mainly producing rice crops and two orchards, and built their home on a half rai plot within the village.
Unfortunately, her Father became sick and the house, although liveable, was never totally completed. He passed away in 2001, by which time all the siblings were married and living their own lives elsewhere. The Mother moved to live with the youngest sister in Roi Et town, and the house has been uninhabited since and fallen into a state of requiring some TLC.

Why choose to renovate an old village house left dormant for 21 years?
The wife has often spoken of returning to live in her childhood home when she retires and/or I pass away, where many of the friends she grew up with still live either in the village or local to it.

Hence, we decided it would be a project to work on, and keep me occupied, which we could also use as a second home for weekend vacations.

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To what extent does your 'country retreat' need renovating?

 

I'm sure it will be so lovely for Mrs Faz to return to her childhood home.

Any progress photos?

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The first task at hand was to actually gain access to the house to assess the state of the building and take an audit of required work. 21 years of neglect had resulted in bushes and trees, resembling a jungle, just growing wild. An original google street view;

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Pushing our way through the undergrowth, we soon realised the first task was to clear the external land area, which had some large deep-rooted trees and bamboo and for that we required a JCB and fortunately the wife knew just the man.

Although the house was built on a raised level, the surrounding ground required topping up.
Unbeknown to myself, the wife also arranged with the JCB man to tip and level 38 truck loads of topsoil, which was a big error on her part due to the time of year (rainy season) and in view of the fact we'd be taking a lot of material deliveries. The first I was aware of this arrangement was when turning up one morning to discover numerous trucks going back and forth, tipping their loads throughout the (large) garden area, followed by a JCB backhoe loader levelling out.

The soil was taken from one of the family plots of land, a mere 300 metres away, so one of the 4 trucks being used were arriving every 5 minutes and stacking to unload.3.thumb.JPG.7cd5a77294bbc0d17965e9655ff2ec01.JPG
 

All images are private photos.

No drones, I'm afraid, other than me droning on!

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16 minutes ago, Faraday said:

To what extent does your 'country retreat' need renovating?

I'm sure it will be so lovely for Mrs Faz to return to her childhood home.

Any progress photos?

All in good time, Mr F, you're so impatient. 😉
2 image files per post, and I have a lot of photos. 🤣

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Once we could finally see the house for the trees and gain access, the second shock hit.
It was absolutely cluttered with belongings, furniture and bric-a-brac, most of which was completely useless, but nothing is discarded in Thailand. The floor had 20 years of undisturbed dust, which alone took some shifting. 
In total, we spent the first two weekends just clearing out and discarding the rubbish, a non-existent word in Thailand. As fast as we were clearing out, the local villagers appeared to stake their claims. One man's rubbish is another man's gold, although the wife did manage to collect a few hundred baht for metal and paper. Does anyone want an old dilapidated Singer sewing machine, by any chance. Free for collection.

We managed to salvage a few pieces of reasonable furniture, that could possibly be restored to its original grandeur, but that can wait until a later date, as well as 3 homemade wooden beds, which I thought would be handy to store items, such as new doors on, to keep them off the concrete floors.

This was the last of the rubbish stacked outside, of which the cupboard disappeared overnight, and the remainder removed by a truck the following day. There's still also the task of dismantling and removing the external storage shed, which we could have had the JCB demolish, but one of the neighbours had volunteered to dismantle and remove it if he could keep the materials, and so it came to pass!

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Great front door by the way, but the wife wanted new double doors, so it had to eventually come out.
Need a closer view?

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I should note that this house currently sits 75 Km from our current location (150 Km round trip) and the wife runs her own hairdressing business, so we only visit at weekends.

First thing now was to draw up a list of what required replacing, which was almost everything.
Although the house was built on a solid 30 cm base and the general construction was solid, it appears when originally built, someone forgot to plan (do they plan?) for a kitchen and toilet, with associated plumbing, so obviously at a later date a lean to extension was erected (in haste) with a tin roof, to house a kitchen and toilet), which over the years had subsided, being built on a 1 cm base, so literally needed demolishing and rebuilding.
The septic tank for toilet waste was a hole 4' wide and 6' deep, dug in the garden and was covered with broken tree branches - beware where you walk and hold your nose.
This was landfilled when they levelled the land.
 

The roofing tiles were warped and broken, letting rain in at various points. Fortunately, the roof structure was 4'' x 2''metal, not wooden.
Every window was wooden, no two the same size, with glass slats, no mosquito screens and even the termites had vacated years ago after having had their fill.
Every door and frame was wooden, no two the same size, the highest frame being 5'6'' (duck!) and had suffered the same fate as the window frames.
No internal ceilings.
No tiled flooring.
No water supply.
No electric supply.
Only one external boundary wall.

As we were going part hog, we decided why not go the whole hog and extend at the same time.
The land area is 20 m wide by 40 m length, while the house was originally 9 m wide, by 18 m length.

Time to draw up some plans!

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38 minutes ago, Chaimai said:

It must have felt like rediscovering the abandoned Angkor Wat -  It was “rediscovered” in the 1840s by the French explorer Henri Mouhot,

I was at the point of calling search and rescue to be airlifted out of that jungle.

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An original overview of the house;
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A modified view;
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The construction alteration meant extending the overall length of the house to 22 metres.
This gave us a larger front porch, larger kitchen area and rear porch as well as cordoning part of the living area into a separate working area for the wife to have a small shop or continue her hairdressing business to generate some extra cash in her retirement years.

Planned external paths and a parking area not on these plans.

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30 minutes ago, Faz said:

we decided why not go the whole hog and extend at the same time.

While making plans, how about a steeper pitch for the roof?

Helps insulating the ceiling and creates a lesser chance, that rain gets in on windy/stormy days.

Even a bit steeper as the neighbours roof would be a good idea. 

 

 

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The next stage was to find a suitable builder and have electric and water connected, which is essential for any building work. Then to start sourcing, pricing and arranging delivery of materials.

I'd already stated that I'd be doing all the electrical installation work, as well as the plumbing and painting and decoration. It was someone to complete the main construction work we were looking for.

Builder.
The wife knew of a local builder, however his estimating was erratic.
He stated he charged 35,000 BHT for every 100,000 BHT spent on materials.
The external garden walls though were priced differently and removing the old roofing tiles was an extra 10,000 BHT as was removing the old window and door frames. Basically an open cheque price. My BIL thought his price was expensive, the usual rate being 30K THB per 100K spent on materials and removed the old roof tiles, window and door frames was part and parcel of installing new. We passed on that.

The second builder wasn't prepared to give us an overall price, in fact we couldn't pin him to any price, not even the external garden walls - we passed on him as well.

The third, which locals recommended, was in the process of just completing a new house build around the corner, so we were able to view his work. He also lived on the other side of our soi, just 5 houses down.
He gave us a fixed labour price of 60K THB, not including the external garden walls or external path concreting, which we hadn't fully decided on.
At that point in time, I'd estimated building material in the 300K THB figure

None of these figures above, other than new internal door frames and doors, include internal wall and floor tiling, bathroom fixtures, or internal ceilings, which are for a later date.

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19 minutes ago, Guest1 said:

While making plans, how about a steeper pitch for the roof?

Helps insulating the ceiling and creates a lesser chance, that rain gets in on windy/stormy days.

Even a bit steeper as the neighbours roof would be a good idea. 

Due to the width of the house, it's deceiving, but the centre point is actually already 6 foot higher in pitch, and we're going for a sheet metal, silver paint coated roof with foam insulation built in, which not only reflects heat, but offers a sound barrier and prevents condensation.

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Electrical.

The house had an existing single ceramic fuse, with a single 1 mm 2 core cable feeding 3 sockets and 3 light switches and lights - yikes! The external meter had been removed years ago.

My first job was to remove all the old wiring and electrical fixtures, as well as replace the old single ceramic fuse with a modern 14 way MCB consumer unit (fuse box). I planned to use 3 core 1.5 mm for lighting and 3 core 2.5 mm for power sockets. Everything to be earthed, basically.
4 circuits for lighting, 4 circuits for socket outlets,1 shower circuit, 1 pump circuit and 2 spare.
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I fitted a double power socket for temporary builders use, then contacted PEA to fit the meter, which is when the fun began.


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PEA apparently need to inspect an installation before fitting, or in our case refitting, the meter.
The 'so called' inspector firstly claimed the feed cables (external meter to consumer unit) were now obsolete and would require replacing. I could accept that, but PEA don't install it, it's for you to do yourself.
Tall ladders required.

After installing said cable, on his revisit he then stated the consumer unit was not to standard, and it was PEA policy only to connect RCD units. He could have mentioned that on the first visit, but when questioned why, he stated it was for safety to detect earth leakage faults.
But you don't even insist on an earth connection in Thailand, I insisted. 
He offered to make the changes himself for 10K THB, so I promptly evicted him.

Explaining to Thaiwatsado, why I was requesting a refund of the 'non-standard' MCB unit and required an RCD consumer unit, they were not surprised and not the first time they'd heard this tale of the new PEA policy. They requested I wait 10 minutes, at which point I was handed a mobile with a PEA customer service manager on the other end.
She requested our address of the meter installation, explaining this was a scam some of their operatives were operating, and the matter would be dealt with. I refitted (after a 150 Km round trip) the MCB unit and within an hour a crew arrived, took one quick look and fitted the meter - we have power.

 

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I earthed the consumer unit with a single 10 mm (yellow/green) copper cable, using the standard earthing rod method and connecting to the steel roof structure.

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2 hours ago, Faz said:

As fast as we were clearing out, the local villagers appeared to stake their claims.

That’s gold. I can imagine the scene 😂

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8 minutes ago, Faz said:

The house had an existing single ceramic fuse, with a single 1 mm 2 core cable feeding 3 sockets and 3 light switches and lights - yikes!

Thats just an alternative form of central heating.

Very handy. 

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Installing new cables feeds, meter to consumer, tying the cable off around a clamp at the top of the pole, then running it down whilst clipping to the meter fixing point, all whilst twizzling around on a tall ladder was no joke either.


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5 minutes ago, Rookiescot said:

Could you extend the roof to the left of the house (as you look at the front door) in order to give yourself a car porch?

The roof pitch wouldn't allow that, unless we had a roof under a roof at a different pitch, but the wife didn't want that at the time, although it's still a possibility for the future.
You'll see further options later as I post more recent photos. 

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My electrical installation schematic. A far cry from the existing 3 sockets and 3 light switches I removed.

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I installed a temporary light in the front work area on a two-way switch, and the builder and neighbours can't get over it. They've never seen a single light turned on or off at separate switches before.
It's magic, and yes, they regularly call in to see how the work is progressing.

It's quite funny, because the Thai lady who owns the newly built house the builder worked on, just around the corner, keeps popping in to make comparisons. She asked the builder why my plug and light switches are level, whilst all hers are at various angles. Apparently they employed an electrician for that part of the build, so the builder often answers by stating she should have had a farang install them.  😊

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1 hour ago, Faz said:

Due to the width of the house, it's deceiving, but the centre point is actually already 6 foot higher in pitch

Not question your plans, in case you have "one length" metal sheets there is probably nothing to worry.

Just: Someone did put the usual "6 foot center point" on a 9m wide house. Which they would have used on a 6m house, also. (Neighbor's house is 6m, perhaps?)

Just on the 6m house, it would be steeper. For the 9m house, the equivalent would be 9 foot, about! Would be a better angle for the roof! Just saying, a friend even had a leaking, this rainy season, on a "traditional Thai style" roof, which is ~3 meter high on a 6m wide house. The wind pushed the water across the overlapping tiles. Ok, not enough to get it in the house. He just had to change some part of the ceiling, which got quickly a bit black around the moist area. (Most of the water was on the foil laminated insulation and away from the ceiling anyway)

Housebuilders here are using often the old/long time ago learned standards, not adapting it no non standard length and width! Or wishes of some Farang ;-) Like separating the shower from the (bathroom) drain by choosing opposite corners of the bathroom.  🙊🙈

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Water supply.

We learnt from the locals that just a few years ago the whole village had new water feeds installed, and they ran across the front of properties.
Can you see our new water feed?

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 Maybe a closer look!

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And there it is. The wife stuck an old branch there, so we wouldn't accidentally run over it.

Now, the issue with the water supply is I intend to install a water tank and pump on the rear porch of the house, which is where the kitchen and bathroom are located. Until the extension work is complete, and we actually have a rear porch, the only option was to install a temporary external tap for the builders to use.

First we had to install and connect a water meter, or we'd be in trouble. To know where the meter had to be installed (outside the front gate), we needed to measure and mark where the external wall would be erected and the position of the (eventual) gate.
The water company don't fit the meters or connect to the mains supply, that again is left for you to do.

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15 minutes ago, Guest1 said:

Not question your plans, in case you have "one length" metal sheets there is probably nothing to worry.

Just: Someone did put the usual "6 foot center point" on a 9m wide house. Which they would have used on a 6m house, also. (Neighbor's house is 6m, perhaps?)

The existing roof trusses were all steel, not timber.
We weren't about to start spending a fortune erecting new steel trusses when the old we're perfectly fine just for an extra foot or two or height. 

The metal roof sheets are all single, cut to spec order, at 5.8, 5.6 and 4.8 metres.

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I decide the best place for a temporary external tap was at the side of the house, towards the rear, which would make it easier for me to extend once the tank and pump were in place.

The wife and I started digging trenches one foot deep to accommodate the piping.
The problem we encountered was the persistent rain showers that filled the trenches with water which we had to constantly bail out.

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We got there eventually, fitted the meter, made the final connection, tested, and backfilled the trenches.

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A water and electric supply, now ready for the builders to start.

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