Finishing details and boundary walls

We are close to completion with this modern two bedroom home.   We are adding finishing details to the house and building the front and rear boundary walls.  Once the walls are complete and the site cleared a little more we will pour the concrete driveway and also build a modern style sala in the back garden, though we have not been contracted to carry out the actual landscaping of the gardens.

Main structure complete... on to decoration

I have previously posted about the design phase of this project.  At that time, the project was scheduled to commence in August 2011.  However, the client was not ready to begin until January of this year, since which time I have not made any further posts, yet there has been a lot of progress. In fact, all of the structural, block work and rendering has been completed.   We are now in the process of fitting windows, tiling and painting.

As it is a long time since I have posted about this project, I shall include the original 3D rendering again.

Site clearance & substandard construction pitfalls!

The plot on which our latest modern two storey home is to be built, in Thip Thani, had an existing concrete framework which needed to be removed. The structure was basically a complete concrete column and beam framework for a 2 storey home, up to roof level. This had stood unfinished for at least 5 years. In theory, this framework could have been filled in with brick walls, a roof added and then all of the finishing work carried out to give a complete home. The problem would first have been that one would be limited on the layout of the house to that already defined by the column and beam positioned. The second more serious problem, is that the internal structure of the columns and beams is a complete un-known. What size re-bar has been used? How deep are the footings? What strength concrete mix has been used? It is for this reason, that I personally would never undertake such a project and why all of this existing structure had to be removed. In actual fact, I would say that it quickly became clear that this was the right decision. The footings were clearly too shallow and too small and the re-bar used was totally unacceptable. Re-bar is the steel that puts the 're-enforced' into 're-enforced concrete'. The steel re-bar used to make the cages that provide reinforcement to the columns and beams should look like that in the second picture below - a round steel bar with an almost screw like, or gnarled appearance. These gnarls provide grip to the steel bars within the concrete, binding the steel and concrete together firmly. The contractors we used to demolish the old structure were also extracting all of the metal re-bar from the concrete for recycling. This gave us a good opportunity to inspect the re-bar used. We found that ALL of the rebar used was not what we expected, but rather a completely smooth round section, as shown in the third photo. Using this type of steel significantly reduces the integrity of the structure and has only been used here in an attempt to cut corners and save money by the original builder. In addition to this, the diameter of the steel bar was also smaller than one would expect. With the evidence from the re-bar and footings, I would also not be surprised to find that the concrete used was also of a cheaper, lower strength.

Construction of the new home is to begin in around a months time, though a firm date has not yet been set.

Exterior redesign and structural engineering

As I wrote in a previous post, with this project we had completed a very rough concept and were on hold untl our client found an appropriate plot of land.  Well, they have now secured a plot of land in Thip Thani.  This will actually be our fourth construction project in this increasingly popular 'Moo Baan', located about 5km outside Nong Khai town center.

It can be difficult to design a house without knowing the position, orientation and size of land on which it is to be built.  However, in this case the size and layout of the initial design fit perfectly onto the clients chosen plot.  However, I have substantial redesigned the exterior styling of the home following further consultation with our client.  The architectural design work is now complete and we have now commenced the structural engineering work in order to produce a full set of construction drawings.

We are planning to begin construction some time in August.

Modern style two storey two bedroom home concept

I have just completed this very rough concept for a two storey two bedroom home, which I was asked to prepare. There is no fixed schedule for construction, though, as the client is still looking for the right plot of land on which to build.   It is for this reason that I call the design a 'very rough' concept, as a lot could change depending on the chosen plot of land.  Not least the size and shape, but also the orientation of the land would play a big part in the design with regard to positioning of windows for best views and allowances for protection from solar heat.