Once we had got the house idea firmed up, with my concept and sketches and floorplans being turned into CAD plans an elevations, it was time to start finding the builder.
We were not looking for any relative to do it. In my experience a family link can compromise what you want and family loyalties, plus how to be mates while at the same time being able to take the tough decisions that the family builder might not like!
Same applied to a family friend, or a workmate who was eying a main chance to make some money from the falang.
We had decided to look for a proper building company, rather than a one-man band with a gaggle of ‘builders’ (here read, ‘a bunch of farmers who also know how to stick blocks together and paint stuff’). Because of the size of the construction it needed to be a builder who had experience of projects of this size. We wanted someone one who we could work with, who had the team and the backup to carry the project through without literally being hand-to-mouth for the next block of cash.
The first person to ‘offer to do the build’ was…the architect. He had been setting himself up for this from the start. He gave a very good price to do the plans and elevations, and to do the calculations. He made a point of getting to know and dropped in comments about how he’d built this and that construction. He supplied the plans and we paid him.
He then sent a quote to build the house…12.6M THB!!! Lol unfortunately, in his excitement, he inadvertently included a comprehensive bill of quantities in his submission. I was able to pick it to pieces to see where he was marking up and where he was, quite simply, ripping off. We discussed with him where some err…savings could be made but he was adamant we would not get the house built for less than his quote.
He gave us another builder who might be interested. He sure was… for 20M! lol I think maybe the ‘mate’ (for that is what he was) gave a crazy price to make Mr. Architect look more reasonable.
So one at 12+, one at 20M. One more came along but at 18M. All of them seeing a chance to charge western building prices in the Land of Smiles. Using that BOQ from the architect, and my own calculations based on experience, cost of materials, cost/m2 etc. I KNEW these quotes were out of the ball park.
We pursued 2 more hopefuls who fitted the bill of being building companies. One was promising but wanted 10M, the other, nowhere near, at 16M. (Funny how the amounts are always an exact million!)
While looking around the temple at Lat Krabang, we saw work being carried out on one of the ancillary buildings and it looked good. The crew was carrying out delicate architrave work, plus excellent painting finishes. We could see right there that the workmanship, and pride in the job was evident – this was a conscientious building company.
Let’s call this company the Temple Builder. We spoke to the site foreman, and arranged to meet with the project manager. The following day we sat down with him, armed with all the plans, elevations and the wish list.
To be fair, he was unfazed, and yes…they had carried out builds of this kind before.
We were looking for another choice at the same time as the ‘temple builder’ and my wife got to hear about a building company, local to the potential build site.
We made arrangements to meet with him and discuss the build project. I immediately got a good feeling about K.Pot. He listened and understood what we were trying to do. Hear read through the plans and was confident he could do it all. He also asked to meet at the site to get a feel for the land, the access and the services – he was not a guy who just said ‘’yes, yes’’ to everything, hoping to secure the contract. We met there on the same day.
He also asked to go over those plans and requirements more fully over a couple of days before saying for sure, and of course giving a price to complete the work.
We were waiting for the Temple builder to come back with his price too so had nothing to lose when K.Pot also asked so that time to go through the figures.
We had by now pretty much discarded the other quotes and offers, though the guy who drew the plans came back with a reduced offer of 10M (2 6M was falang mark-up!?).
The temple builder came back first. His price was much, much nearer to what I had calculated – within 400,000 THB and his architrave work and attention to detail were really pushing me towards him. But PJ reminded me… we do not have much if any architrave work on our build.
Some examples of how K.Pot did painting to resemble wood finish.
Then came the quote from K.Pot. It was lower. Not by much but it was lower, nevertheless. We has seen examples of his work previously and one particular skill he had was in painting, specifically painting surfaces to look like wood. We were impressed.
Once we had considered everything – cost, ability, availability, and that sense that this person was ‘right’, there was really only one choice. We gave the building contract to Khun Pot and his building company.
PJ and K.Pot
That set the ball in motion, and the building of TD Towers would soon commence!!