Published at Sunday, February 17th, 2019 - 05:14:16 AM. House. By Alek Pulalo.
How To Plan A Retirement House For Thailand - Essential Factors To Consider : Pitching Your House Specification - The Important Factors You probably already have a good idea of the type, size, layout etc of the house you are planning to build in Thailand for your retirement. After reading this article you may decide to review your ideas. In the time it has taken to get my house half finished in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand, two colleagues have seen their houses started and completed and at half the cost. In fact the build of our house has turned out to be a nightmare of the kind you hear about in the newspapers or read on the Thai forum websites. On the other hand, these other houses were built quickly and cheaply with no hassles at all. (Compared to my problems anyway) So what was the difference between their house and ours that made all the difference? It All Begins With The Concept - What You Want Your House To Be What you want your house to be will depend upon many factors, who will use it, how do they want to use it and more importantly who is the house for and what are their expectations? Who Is The House Intended For? Our house was essentially my design. The layout of the rooms, style of house, type and quality of finishes etc was based on what I wanted as a retirement house and was of quite a generous standard. My Thai wife of course loved it. My colleagues houses on the other hand appeared to be based on the minimum that they could get away with whilst satisfying their Thai wives requirements. Essentially those houses were based on a Thai wifes expectations. They were designed for the Thai wife not for themselves. The standard of houses in the west tend to be much higher than in Thailand and the westerners demand more mod cons, western kitchen, security doors and windows, high grade fittings and finishes etc. On the other hand, such features of western houses are not commonly found in Thailand, the Thai spouse isnt aware of them and doesnt need them. Hence a house based on a Thai wifes perspective can be much simpler and cheaper than a house based on western standards. Sometimes the designs of these other houses were simply copied from one of the many pre-designed Thai houses that you can download from the Thai Government website. In short they were off-the-peg houses. In contrast I had a set of construction drawings produced by a registered Thai Architect in Bangkok and the set of drawings comprised some 42 sheets! Im glad I had those house plans made and for my large, high spec house, they are essential. Key Thai House Configuration Considerations Whereas there are a number of key considerations that will considerably affect the cost and time to construct a retirement house built in any country, number and size of rooms for example, there are some key considerations that apply specifically to a retirement house built in Thailand. These key considerations relate to the differences in what is considered as normal practice in a Thai house and in a western house. The key considerations are related to the number of floors, the bathroom, the kitchen where there are fundamental differences in approach between western practice and Thai practice. Another key considerations is whether the house is to be provided with air conditioning or not. One Or Two Floors What number of levels you intend to have is one of the most important criteria that can affect the price and speed of building your retirement house in Thailand. For thousands of years Thai houses are built with the living spaces lifted up from the ground on timber or concrete columns, or posts as the Thai describe them. A standard Thai house may exhibit, for example, a dozen posts set in a 3 x 4 matrix, and this is termed a 12 post house. My own retirement house is a 16 post house and the upper story containing the living spaces is 3 m above ground floor level. This is considerably harder to construct and costlier than a bungalow construction having all the living accommodation on the ground floor. I undoubtedly wanted to have a post house, and my Thai wife really likes it, but Im convinced she would have been equally happy with a bungalow. I am paying for my idea to have a traditional Thai post house both in terms of cost and time to construct. Thus think wisely if you certainly want a post house or if you can put up with a one-floor construction which will be less expensive and faster to build. Bathroom Or Shower Room This is a further decision that is most likely to s the price and period to build your retirement house and again, it is a Thai compared to Western subject. Conventional style and basic Thai houses are frequently not provided with a bath as is usually common in a western bathroom. Surprisingly, I prefer not to have a bathtub, because I dont use one. I usually enjoy a shower thats why a basic shower room is all I want. Unusual for a Thai, though my wife does like to relax in a bath tub filled with hot water and those smelly bath salts or bubble bath. So we are having a bath tub. Since i want a walk-in shower room, we are having two bathrooms, one is a western style bathroom with hand wash basin, WC and bat tub, the other a shower room with hand wash basin and shower only. Again, the decisions are made on the basis of answering the question who is the house for?. Type of Kitchen - Thai Style or Western Style Kitchen The style of kitchen you decide to construct is another area that can have a large impact on the cost of the house. Traditionally a lot of preparation of Thai food for cooking is done on the floor. Even though we have a normal western style kitchen in our house in the U.K., my wife still put the crok on the floor to pound the ingredient e.g. for a nam prick. Also the Thai food is often cooked on a single heat source, or at most two heat sources, one for the rice and the other for a pot of food, e.g. soup. In line with this pattern of usage, Thai kitchens traditionally are very simple affairs, and do not have the long waist level counter tops and ovens like a western style kitchen. Frequently the Thai kitchen even in modern Thai houses, is not an enclosed room, but is a simple external area with a roof and perhaps a short table and sink. So you do not really need the expense of a western style kitchen will all the counter tops, cupboards, cookers, grilles, cooker hoods etc that go into a modern western home. In Thailand you will need a refrigerator but many Thai kitchens do not have a freezer or a washing machine for clothes or dishes. Again, my retirement house in Thailand is designed with a western style kitchen, complete with long granite counter-top and integral dual sink, Fridge and Freezer. Provision of cupboards, drawers and washing machines is not part of the current scheme, however, but may be provided later.
Building A House In Thailand? Some Facts You Should Know : Will Your Retirement House In Thailand Have Two Floors Or A Single Floor? This is maybe the most significant factors determining the cost and time needed to construct your house in Thailand. Until recent times Thai houses were traditionally designed with the living accommodation elevated from the ground on wood or concrete columns, or posts as the Thai refer to them. A normal Thai house may be constructed with, say, a dozen posts arranged in a three by four matrix, and this is called a twelve post house. Our own house in Pakchong (Pak Chong) where we plan to retire to, Thailand, is a sixteen post house (4 by 4 posts) and the upper story containing the living spaces is 3 meters above ground floor level. This is considerably more difficult to construct and more expensive than a single floored house building with all the accommodation on the ground floor. The difference between a Thai two storey house and a western one is that:- A western house usually has the living accommodation on the ground floor and the bedrooms on the second floor. A Thai house has the living accommodation and the bedrooms on the second floor. The ground floor if it has any rooms at all would probably be a utility area. The tradition of having elevated living accommodation in the Thai houses goes back hundreds of years and there are two reasons why this tradition developed:- 1) Rooms higher than ground floor level were safer from prowling animals like lions and tigers that were prevalent at the time and. 2) Much of Thailand is flat and prone to flooding. A house elevated on stilts (posts) is safe from flooding. My husband undoubtedly wanted a post house, and I adore it, but I would have been equally happy with a single storey house. My husband is paying the price of his decision to have a traditional Thai post house in terms of additional cost and longer time to construct. Therefore think with care if you actually must have a post house or if you can resign yourself to a one-floor construction which will be less costly and faster to construct. Bathroom With Bathtub Or Simple Shower Only Room This is one more choice that will shape the price and time to build your retirement house and yet again, it is a Thai compared to Western subject. Traditional style and typical Thai houses are usually not designed with a bath tub as is the norm in a western bathroom. Actually, my husband, who is British, did not want to have a bathtub, because he doesnt take a bath. He likes to take a shower so for this reason a straightforward shower room is all he wanted to have. Odd for a Thai, I love to relax in a bath tub filled with hot water and those aromatic bath salts or bubble bath. Consequently my husband has agreed to install a bath. Seeing he wanted to have a walk-in shower room, we will be having two bathrooms, one for myself with a bath, WC and hand wash basin, the other a shower room with hand wash basin and shower only. Yet again, the choices are made as a result of posing the question Who is the house for? Type Of Kitchen - Thai Style Or Avant-Garde Western Style Kitchen The style of kitchen you make your mind up to design for is one more topic that always has a large influence on the cost of the house. Normally a whole lot of preparation of Thai food for cooking is done at floor level. I mean sitting on the floor, whether floor level is at ground floor level or second floor level. Whilst we have a customary western standard kitchen in our home in England, I still put the crock on the floor to pound the cooking ingredients. In addition, Thai food is very often cooked on a single gas ring (or even a charcoal fire), or sometimes two heat sources, but no more than that. According to this food preparation and cooking approach, Thai kitchens historically are very plain affairs, and are without the long worktops and ovens, grilles, integrated sinks and integrated cupboards and appliances that practically every western kitchens has. In fact so simple are Thai kitchens that kitchens even in new Thai houses, are often not constructed as an enclosed room, instead they are a minimal exterior area perimeter wall with a roof and maybe a simple counter-top. It follows that if you are building a Thai-style house you do not have to pay for a western style kitchen with all the luxurious fittings that are expected in a modern western house. In Thailand, as a westerner, you must have a refrigerator but countless Thai kitchens do not contain a fridge or a freezer nor clothes or dish washing machines. Yet again, our retirement house in Thailand is planned with a western style kitchen, including a long granite counter-top and integral dual sink, fridge and freezer. Installing cupboards, drawers and washing machines is not in the current scheme, however, but may be provided afterwards. Whether To Have Air Conditioning Or Not Whether or not you choose to have air conditioning can appreciably influence the construction of your house if it is appropriately designed. A house in Thailand correctly designed for air conditioning will be considerably different from one designed to utilize the natural flow of air for keeping cool, instead of air-con. How A House Built In Thailand Is Designed For Natural Ventilation (Not Having Comfort Cooling) In a Thai house without air conditioning you will be relying on natural flow of air blowing through the rooms to dissipate the heat. Our retirement house in Pakchong (Pak Chong), Thailand is designed like this. You should have plenty of options for the natural wind to flow throughout the rooms. The house should be built of light materials that do not easily absorb and re-emit heat. Our house has external walls made from wooden planks that allow the wind to blow through. Openings to permit the natural air drafts to flow will feature open windows and doors, air flow louvres and open-area room designs. Windows with glazing must be avoided as they prevent the breeze from blowing in and windows focus the suns rays like a greenhouse. You only have to look at the traditional Central Plains Thai houses built a hundred years ago to appreciate how to design a natural-cooling Thai house. Features Of A House Designed For Air Conditioning Air-con works like a fridge and the house should be configured like a fridge to get the best out of the Air Conditioning. This means preventing natural air currents - it must be designed as an extremely well sealed building, tightly closed doors and windows - well insulated and if you must have natural light this ought to be provided through windows with glazing, preferably which has a coloured coating to reduce heat from the suns rays. Double glazing also helps.
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