Internal works are commenced at this point involving electrical and plumbing. Installing these with concrete floors and brickwork in place was is an interesting challenge. The electricians and plumbers make necessary cuts to the walls and floors to embed the blue PVC pipes and yellow PVC conduits to create the necessary infrastructure. In Thailand, houses use a type of septic tank system for waste with excess water runoff to the street drains.
Our new house has proper 3 phase electrical design and safety circuits. We were also able to have international electric plugs installed to allow for the use of Australian or Thai appliances – a wise choice it turned out.
Then the brickwork and embedded services are rendered (covered) with a concrete solution to make it smooth and ready for painting. After the rending is done it is left to cure for about a month or 6 weeks before painting can begin. The metal ceiling framing and gyprock (drywall) are next installed. If you’re doing insulation now is the time – we did ours later.
Both insulation fiber-bats and a more modern air pocket aluminum insulation are available. It’s now time for the windows and doors to be fitted – these houses don’t use wooden ones, they use a PVC type that doesn’t swell in the humidity and are easy to care for.
Check out the images of this stage of works.
The main house construction teams were made up of workers from Myanmar and the specialist finishing trades seemed to be mainly Thai. With the main house build completed then the floor tiles and laminate, baseboards are installed and detailed painting gets completed. Lighting fixtures and built-ins for the bathrooms and kitchen are also tackled during this period.
The doors and windows in the security alarm system that was pre-wired into the house can now be set up along with a gate intercom. Looking good – when will they finish? We had negotiated our air conditioning design and installation when we visited in January so the contractor had gotten access to the house to pre-install the necessary pipes and electrical requirements so that when it was time to install everything was prepared.
We had arrived on the 17 March 14 while the final works were underway – about a month from completion. Daily trips were now happening to follow the progress of the final trades and activity. Grass goes in and the house starts to take the appearance of being close to finished. It’s always the small leftover tidy ups and minor fixes that take time to rectify.
It was April 11th, 2014 on Friday that the house was transferred. Songkran (Thai new year) weekend was upon us and it was celebration period so workers had gone on a break and the tidy up activity would have to wait. This made me nervous but in the end, I need not have been concerned – all was fixed.
It was our time to be out scouring shops for other products that would be installed once the house was transferred. Ceiling fans, some lighting, wall tiles and wallpaper and some built-ins had to be sought, organised and planned for. It was a busy time as we didn’t know where to get everything in Chiang Mai – so lots of exploring different suppliers and finding new ones. This occupied the days but managed to locate everything we needed and had a plan for the add-ons after much exploring. Here is what the place looks like when finished…
The yard was small – I call it a villa garden, but that’s what we wanted – some space around the house but not a lot to look after – something to create a tranquil garden. We had a rough design idea done and the quote to do it was silly – so with time on our hands we did it ourselves. There are fantastic plant and flower markets here so armed with some ideas and lots of looking we settled on various plans, trees, shrubs and flowers to decorate with.
We had a wishing well water fountain installed and an elephant scene for the wall…we had two other water features that we added later to the front and rear of the house. Planning in Thailand was somewhat experimental in terms of what grows well, where? What is the sun aspect of the day and the seasons around the house…its an every changing garden but this is the general look. What is amazing is how fast things grow here and trimming is an ongoing hobby….
So there you have the pictures and the story behind the work of making our dream reality – we are happy in our home, most of the work is done and its more the daily maintaining and gardening that occupies us these days.
As everyone knows with a house there is always things to do – but with time on your hands, that’s not such a bad thing?