Getting Quotations To Build A Retirement House In Thailand |
Fresh And Recent Information Information Straight From Thailand
This article is based on the recent experience of someone actually going through the process of getting quotations from builders in Thailand to build a retirement house in Thailand. It is not an article based on Internet research ie it is not simply re-writing information posted on the Internet by others.
Prerequisites To Getting A Building Quotation To Build A Retirement Home In Thailand
There are basically two ways of pricing a building project in Thailand.
1. Using Unit Rates To Estimate The Cost Of Building A House
The first and simplest method is by using Unit Rates. i.e. Baht/m2. There are a range of Unit Rates for houses in Thailand and these vary according to the standard of the building and the location in the country. There are other factors that affect the price of building a house in Thailand and these are not normally allowed for in unit rates. Just one example is that the cost of building depends greatly upon the particular builder chosen as quotations for the same property from different builders varies greatly.
The writer has not seen any 'official' unit rates but several website, notably Forums' give a rough guide. But that's all they are - a guide and really hardly worth using even for budgeting purpose.
Unit Rates recently sent to the writer by one of Thailand leading Bangkok-based design-and-build companies are in the range of 15,000 to 20,000 Baht/m2. you can find other unit rates on the various Thai Forums.
The method of application of the Unit rates is simple. You work out the total floor area of the proposed building including all floors and multiply by the unit rate.
There is no need to find or involve a builder for this method.
There are inherent inaccuracies in this approach because the mix of different types of usage will be different in different building. For example, using my own proposed property in Pak Chong, Thailand as an example, the house is a typical 'post' house and half of the ground floor is left 'open' to be made into usable rooms at a later date and the other half simply has blockwork walls to for a workshop. Clearly the unit rate for these areas is different and different from the first floor that contains kitchen, bedrooms and other living area.
Another example of different type (and hence costs) of building usage using my Pak Chong house as an example is that on the first floor I have a very large (compared to the rest of the house) patio area and also another semi-open area both of which would be a much lower cost to construct than the living accommodation areas. So what area is used in the cost calculation? Do you use the total area including the ground floor open area and workshop and the first floor patio and semi open area plus the living accommodation areas? Or do you use the unit rate just for the living accommodation and take a percentage of the unit rate for the lower cost areas?
The problem is that I don't know the basis for the unit rate in the first place. i.e. whether it was for a property similar to mine with the open areas included, or whether it was for a property with a greater percentage of actual living area.
In conclusion the Unit rate method can only be used to get a very rough idea of the likely cost and is really not accurate enough for establishing a budget.
2. Obtaining A Builder's Quotation For Building A House
This method depends upon finding a builder to prepare a quotation based (usually) a set of drawings (also called plans) for the property in question. (The house you want to build to retire to in Thailand)
Obviously, the more accurate and detailed the drawings, the more accurate the quotation can be. Other documents may also be provided to supplement the drawings and these include a Scope Of Works describing the scope of the project (not normally produced in Thailand) and Schedules. The Schedules are typically a schedule of finishes, schedule of doors, ironmongery etc.
There are three major difficulties with this method.
1. Obtaining The Drawings And Other Documents
I'm lucky in that I can use Autocad and am familiar with building design so I was able to produce my own CAD drawings and schedules for my planned retirement house in Thailand.
Also, I didn't start with a blank sheet of paper. I downloaded some existing Thai house drawings from the website at http://www.dpt.go.th/download/PW/house_model/framehome.html and selected one to use as a starting point for my own Thai house design.
If you don't fancy this do-it-yourself approach you will have to find someone to make the house plans for you. If you try to find a Thai Architect to do this for you then you have problems.
Firstly finding an Architect in Thailand is not easy (unless you want to pay a fortune in which case there is a company in Bangkok who will design your house for you).
Secondly, how do you explain to an Architect what you want? This is particularly difficult (impossible?) if you aren't in a position to sit down in the same room as the designer and pour over ideas and concepts. Doing that by email from outside of Thailand is next to impossible.
2. Translation Of The Documents Into The Thai Language
This is not so difficult if you are prepared to pay for a translator in Thailand. A translator can easily translate the schedules but adding Thai to CAD drawings in not easy unless the translator knows how to use the CAD software!
My drawings and schedules are in English only and I had quotations from two Thai builders. You might try English only and just get the translator to translate the technical phrases that the builder doesn't understand.
Again, much easier to do if you are in Thailand alongside the translator and builder.
3. Finding A Builder In Thailand
This can be one of the most difficult tasks you have to do. My wife has contacted at least six builders from within Thailand and only one has produced a price. That price was based on the drawings and schedules that I produced but was about double what we expected. The answer we get from most of the builders is that they are too busy.
It seems that many builders are engaged on large projects in the costal resorts of Thailand (e.g. Phucket) and that our tiny little project in Pakchong is not worth their while.
The method we used to find builders consisted of knocking on doors "You have a nice house, can you tell me who the builder was?" My wife finds it easy to approach people and one day she was chatting with the Security Guard at our hotel and he announced that he could get a price from at least two builders. We took him up on that offer but never received the quotations. One was too busy and the other wanted 5,000 Baht up front before preparing a quotation in case we didn't select him as our builder!
By the way, the Security Guard said that his commission was 10%!
In this short discussion on how to obtain a budget estimate for a retirement home in Thailand I have covered the two main methods to secure a budget price and the advantages and disadvantages of each method. Also I have explained the three difficulties you will face when trying to get a builder in Thailand to give you a quotation to build your retirement house.
Kanyah Brown is building her own house in Thailand and recording every step of the process on her blog where there is more information on Thailand House Prices Thailand House Prices.
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