Your wife (or husband)
She’s going to put up with a lot. Your temper tantrums, maybe. Your haggling – because she would not do it. The crazy Farang, in general. The builder’s comments in Thai. Her role in smoothing things over. Her role in managing the build in your absence. Negotiating for those ‘extras’ that cropped up. And most importantly…. Being a strong and untied team with you. Together, you can achieve almost anything. If she’s not on-board, in effect…you are on your own.
You need to get to know him. Of course you do your research. You check his background. Look at previous builds. If possible check with those owners – did it go smoothly? Any issues? You gauge his resolve when you ask for changes or features. Does he listen? Or is it ‘no problem’ for everything. Is he interested in just winning the job, or completing the job?
You need to have faith in the builder you choose, but a quick assessment of the gang coming to do the work is important. Here you are getting a feel not just for ability but personality, the likelihood of causing trouble, theft, etc. It’s the builder’s job to make sure they are working, but you need to get a handle on those people building your dream.
If you are lucky, like we were, there will be no neighbours when you are building. But of course, in a lot of cases, those neighbours are there. You need to get them on side early. You are going to disrupt their lives for at least some of the time. Dust, noise, increased traffic, maybe damaged road or verge, you might need them for temporary water or electric supply. A happy neighbour will help you, a disgruntled neighbour will obstruct you. Simple really.
The land office
If you need to register the land ownership (you do) on the Chanote, or you need to register the lease (you do) on that Chanote…you need this Office. Obstacles can be put in your way here. Costs, leases that are suddenly not available, ‘government policy’, evidence of ability to pay for the land in the first place, etc. etc. Use your diplomacy, use whatever it takes to get the document and the lease in place.
As the head of the district office covering amongst other things planning, the OrBorTor wields a lot of power, has a lot of connections and is one person you definitely want on your side. If you develop a good relationship with him it can help to get your build up and running. He controls the Engineer’s office for the district, and ultimately he issues the building permit to allow you to start work.
The OrBorTor Engineer
Within the OrBorTor Office, the Engineer will go over your plans, check your calculations and advise on issuing the building permit. The Engineer’s office may well offer a plans service a lot cheaper than the architect – assuming they have time to draw up those plans. Additionally the Engineer might be employed to keep an eye on your builder and work progress, and to carry out the snagging assessment at the end of the build.
Depends on how you went about getting your idea to the stage where the OrBorTor office can assess and pass the plans and issue the building permit. Off the shelf plans don’t need the architect – just present them for approval and away you go. But if you are ‘building your dream’, your idea will have to be translated from your sketches, or your photos, or even your detailed home drawn plans – into architectural plans with calculations ready for presentation.
The architect is a powerful position and can really take you for a big fee… or he could work with you. You will be shopping around for one , assuming you need one, so get an idea of his price early on –and also, what is and isn’t included. You can get caught out if he says he can do it…’’apart from the plumbing’. Also…will he personally go to the OrBorTor office to present and discuss? Will he included required changes in the fee?
The Provincial Electricity Authority – you are going to need them, sooner or later. A temporary supply. A permanent supply. It’s not just a case of hooking up an extension and a 13A socket. These are professionals – you will need to have a clear idea what temporary supply is required. 15/45 single phase? 300/100 3-phase? Yes…they can supply it, at a cost. A meter will be installed and a bill will be raised. Who’s paying? That’s something you need to agree with the builder before he starts.
Later when it comes to the full time supply for the finished house, you need loads, equipment details, timings, maximum draw, etc. etc. The PEA can work it out but you need to provide detail. If you make a mistake with this one, expect outages or worse – fire.
The Water supplier
This might be the supply through the OrBorTor office, or a local supply. You might by-pass it all for a self-sunk well, though this water might need a lot of ‘processing’ to be useable. All the water supplied via pipe is not really drinkable and will need purification and filtering if you intent to use it for consumption. All the DIY outlets sell water purification systems, and reverse osmosis systems are also available, if you do not want to have to keep buying bottled water.
But you need a water supply for toilets, washing machines, garden watering, showers and baths.do your research for what I available in the area you want to build. It can get real expensive real quick if any length of pipe is needed to bring the supply to the land.
You will need a water supply for the build too so get that agreed with the builder before signing the contract.
May seem trivial but until your new house is in the system, you cannot get water or electric connections. You cannot request services at the property. You need a house number. You need the blue book or the yellow book. Again there is scope to be held to ransom for this. Diplomacy and resolve and possibly cold hard cash should see you though!