Construction starts...

Today is the Chinese New Year and in Thai culture is considered to be a lucky day to begin the actual construction of the house.  So with the holes having been dug, we were ready to erect the first two steel re-enforcing columns.

Cutting corners is a common practice in Thailand, with developers and builders keen to reduce construction costs, often at the expense of the structural integrity of the building.  It is often in the places that can not be seen that these corners are cut, but invariably, these are the worst possible places to try to save on a few Baht such as with the foundations.  We are ensuring that at every stage of the build we are using only the best quality materials and also that we are adhering to the highest possible international construction standards.

Steel re-enforcing base of first column

Here you can see the first of the steel re-enfored footings being laid.  These are large in area (1.7m x 1.7m), deep (1.4m), and laid on two layers, one of sand (10cm) and one of concrete (10cm).  Aside from using smaller shallower footings, the steel re-enforcment is often laid directly onto bare earth, or at best a layer of gravel, but this can lead to problems later with moisture able to seep in and corrode the steel structure.

Attaching the Column Re-enforcement to the Base

With the base in place, the column re-enforcement structure is lowered into place and attached to the base.  Another Thai tradition is to throw in some coins to be set within the concrete base for good luck.

Concrete pour into the base of the column support

Concrete is then poured in to the base, in this case to a depth of 30cm.

The first two column structures

Here you can see the first two column structures held up by temporary wooden supports.  In addition to placing coins within the foundations, baskets containing further offerings are attached to the columns as part of the same Thai - Buddhist tradition.