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Building a House in Thailand
Source: Xomba.Com posted February 14, 2010 - 3:28am by Author: Hansjoevan
If you have the required status to own property in Thailand, building a house can be a wonderful investment and also a rewarding project to undertake. There is no doubt you get amazing value for money and it can be a chance to have exactly what you want with a home tailored to your individual needs.
So if you do decide to build your own home there are things you need to know; important and vital information you require to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible with as little of the pitfalls you can encounter, happening to you. With good careful planning you can not only save money but remove an enormous amount of the hassles and extra costs. Below is some useful information for you if you are able to have a home in Thailand and considering building a home in Thailand. Not everyone has the status or is allowed to have a home in Thailand so do check the legalities. The information is only meant as a guide to help and figures, costs and times scales do vary. Each individual situation is different but this is a good guide to the process.
Here is a list of points you should know and consider:
Unless you speak Thai you need an English speaking person as a regular and reliable point of contact. That person must have at least 10 years experience in construction and know how to build. There are many people who turn to building as they think it’s an easy course to make money and have little or know real knowledge of construction. Be careful. A professional builder will save you time, money and help you avoid all the numerous problems that can and will occur if you don’t have an experienced person helping you. This is probably the most important part of the process and a professional builder with a good reputation is essential. Do not be fooled by cheap prices or unprofessional builders quoting low costs to get the job. Use a professional builder; or you may find your dream home, turning into a nightmare. A person in the industry once said to me: If you feel sick you seek the advice of a doctor not a taxi driver; so if you are building a home then seek the advice of a professional reputable builder, not a university student or a car salesmen. You expect eh doctor to have experience and know what they are talking about. Same too is true with builders. Use a professional building company and avoid the problems, extra cost and hassles that could easily occur if you don’t.
It is also a good sign if they have an office are a registered company, have been in business for a number of years, can provide references or testimonials, allow you access to previous clients and can show you homes they have built. Be careful of the hobby builders or those with no experience. Check with previous customers and see what they say.
You need a Thai registered and licensed architect to design your home. To construct your house and be able to get permission to build from the local authority you need the services of a licensed Thai architect. Completed construction drawings have to be signed by both a licensed Thai architect and a licensed Thai structural engineer. Permission will not be granted if you do not. So make sure you do. The Thai architect will normally sort out the engineer to check the drawings and confirm them. If you do not speak Thai you need an architect who speaks good English. It can be beneficial if the builder has an architect within their company, as you can work with them in conjunction and the builder is involved during the design; which can help you save money and also keep the architect in check. But this is not essential and you can work with separate architects and builders. Some architects will try to get you to use a builder they know as they may well get a sales commission if they do. Make sure you personally speak to the builder and personally check their credentials and experience.
Thailand has many exceptionally good architects and most are extremely professional and creative. It is the architect who designs the home you want to have built and it is the architect who listens to your requirements and preferences, in order for him/her to then create what you want. The design plays a considerably important role in the overall ambiance, feel and look of the home. A good architect is worth his/her weight in gold.
Cost to Design
Architects vary in what they charge for their fees. If they do not have much work you might be able to get a better deal. There are varying degrees of architects skills, experience, qualifications and license level. Naturally the very experienced and talented ones cost more and you are paying for their experience and creative skills. The Architect may charge anywhere from 5-10% of the projected cost to build. A Professional, experienced and talented one may charge 7-10%. Some will go as low as 3% if they are desperate for work. This percentage is determined by all the information they have from you, based on the size of the home, what you want, materials used and what they project it will cost based on guideline costs to build the home. An architect is an essential and vital part of the building process.
Cost to build
The cost to build your home in Thailand is provided by the builder; Thailand builders calculate costs based on the quantities of materials and types of materials required in conjunction with the amount of labor and for how long that labor is required, to complete the project. The cost cannot accurately be known until you have completed architects construction drawings. Without them no builder can know accurate costs as they do not have the information required to calculate costs. They do not know how much and how many of what materials they require to build your home. This can only be done when the architect has completed the construction drawings. Every construction project is different and only guide lines on costs can be given before architect construction drawings are done. However an architect and/or builder should be able to help you keep within an approximate range of a budget and help you control costs. But remember it is your choices that determine costs and when choosing materials such as windows and doors, tiles and bathrooms etc, always bear costs in mind. Your choices can change the cost per square meter. A good architect and builder can assist you a lot with this. But at the end of the day it is the builder who has to build your home so he is the one that will tell you what it cost to build. An architect will provide an idea if you ask but a builder has to build it so it is the builder who rightfully should inform you of what it costs.
A good professional Thailand builder normally employs the services of an engineer or quantity surveyor to help them calculate costs. Be careful of using square meter (sqm) costs you hear from people who are not professional builders, engineers or architects, as these can be misleading and wrong. Two houses both 250 sqm but different in design and materials used, will more than likely have a different cost per sqm; so one house maybe will cost 15,000 baht per sqm and the other 25,000 baht per sqm. It is not that the 25,000 baht per sqm house is expensive; but just that perhaps different materials were used in the construction of that home. Maybe the owner decided to have windows that cost 10,000 baht per sqm and the other owner decided to have windows that cost 5,000 baht per sqm. Or maybe the tiles they used cost more, or doors or roof tiles. So do remember this when talking costs, as it can be an easy trap to fall into and think every home costs the same, or maybe they all cost 15,000 baht per sqm, or 12,000, or 25,000; each one is different in cost per sqm, unless they are exactly the same in design and specification.
Some buildings in Thailand cost 10,000 baht per sqm, some 15,000 and some 30,000. It varies according to design, architects drawings, specifications and choices made by owner on materials used for finishing such as doors, tiles, bathrooms, kitchen, windows etc. A reasonable quality home to good standards with nice finish materials currently can range from 15,000-40,000 baht per sqm. That is a finished home with bathrooms, tiles and maybe the kitchen etc, ready to put in the furniture; naturally the higher the cost the better quality finishing materials and perhaps nicer home. A lot depends on what you expect and what you accept as a home you would like to live in. We are all different and all have different expectation of hat is acceptable quality and standard. But be careful on costs as all buildings cost vary. To successfully build a home and not have all the problems that can occur, the only good advice is to employ the services of a professional experienced builder.
A professional builder in Thailand will supply you with a list of materials used to build your home and a legal contract. The legal contract can be anywhere from 10-50 pages long depending on how complex the house is, how many attachments to the legal contract (architects drawings, payments schedule etc) and what is involved. The legal contract should protect both parties involved and lay out exactly what is agreed between them and what happens if either party does not carry out their responsibilities.
Payments are normally broken into stages throughout the construction. Remember you are asking the builder to build your home. Do not expect them to pay for it. It is your home so you should pay for it. Thailand builders will need money in advance to pay for materials and put deposits down on materials or products required in the future part of the build. If they don’t have that ability you may find the tiles you chose not being available or the bathroom out of stock. The payments will be written into the contract and paying on time is important or you will find a stop of works or an unhappy builder chasing you. Not what you need, so make sure you pay on time as this also has an effect on the build and how smoothly it runs.
A registered building company in Thailand will provide a guarantee on the works but make sure they will actually follow up on that and honor it. It is easy to say they will give a guarantee but actually honoring it is important.
The best possible advice anyone can give you when building a home is to use a professional, experienced construction company with a good reputation. Remember it takes at least 10 years to have experience so make sure you use someone with experience. Listen to them and seek their advice. Be careful not to listen to bar stool experts, inexperienced people and those who do not know what they are talking about. If you are careful and sensible building your home can be an absolute joy.
How Long to Design
Architects drawings take anywhere from 8-20 weeks depending on how quickly you make decisions and pass the drawings confirming they are what you want.
How long to Build
A house in Thailand can take anything from 6-18 months to build depending on size, number of workers used and the builder. Also when you start the project, also plays a part, as rainy season obviously slows things down. If you want the house built quickly, it naturally costs more as more workers have to be employed and that costs money. But normally it is 6 months for a small bungalow and 12 months for a good sized house. To rush can cause problems so best take you time and let the builder carry out their job in the best way possible. These figures are only approximations and it does vary.
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