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It’s not what you know, it’s who you know

We always knew building our own house would be a daunting task. Our time in Bangkok was always spent in rented accommodation, so if there was a problem with our place we just called someone at the main office and they sent a guy to fix it. Not always satisfactorily, or on time, but they fixed it.

We weren’t really DIY focused, cause we never had to be.

It was important for us to know we had someone we could trust to do the best job for us, and make the stress out of building our house less of an issue. Someone who could give us options, advise us on the best choices and decisions, and then carry the work out to a really good standard.

These were the critical criteria for us when we chose our guys. We felt we were safe, and had made a good choice.

We were given a house plan - more than most people get here, a price, and a clear timeline. We were good to go.

On balance, our build has been really smooth, and the company has accommodated a lot of requests and been very helpful.

But finishing things can be tough. People get tired, people get slack, and they may want to move on to the next project (especially when most of the money has been paid.)

My guess is that a confluence of circumstances led to some mistakes being made.

Most bills paid, project running over time, the need to focus on new projects, and the distance of our project from the company base all led to things being rushed. And when work gets rushed, corners get cut. And when corners get cut only one party suffers. Us.

Our trip to the house on June 15th was meant to be a sign off of all work done, and as we know the house was not quite ready. But after having several guarantees of everything being completed by this date we had arranged big changes for the following weekend.

On reflection, I’m glad we moved in while the working team were still there. Theh proved to be extremely helpful in more ways than one.

With the guys on site we were able see how they were finishing the job and specify what we wanted. They also helped us with a few extra jobs, like building our kitchen, and after seeing what was involved I’m glad we didn’t try and take this on ourselves. It may have ended up looking like a Picasso-inspired art-piece.

Most importantly, we were able to find out where those corners had been cut.

The builders left yesterday, a good three weeks after the completion date we were given (Which was an extension of the original May 25th date we had).

The guys on site have been terrific. Their attitude and desire to do the best job was terrific. Unfortunately Hana forget to get a group photo with them. But they were awesome.

The building company, for the most part, were great. But they really disappointed us at the end, and where we should be showering them with praises for building the house we wanted, we’re left scratching our heads thinking that after all the good work, why would they want to end it like this.

The living room and kitchen floor had to be pulled up and redone

Simple things like concrete on floors not being leveled off meant that whole floors had to be relaid; materials running out and builders being told just to finish and not by more to complete the job properly; and seeing our car at the house when they arrive so driving away until we’ve gone. Really silly stuff that cost them financially and reputationally in the end.

All that aside there’s one thing we can say - we have a beautiful looking little house that we absolutely adore.

Work continues into dusk

We’ve had less issues than a lot of other builds I know of, so on balance it’s worked out well.

As i said, special thanks go to the small team of builders who seemed to be able to do anything asked of them. Spending time with them, sharing food and drinks and being welcoming with them has ultimately made a huge difference to the house in the end.

The best result came not from us having the knowledge to build the house, but building good bonds with the people who can help.

From the entrance into the main living area

Hana had to move her work desk outside while the floors were redone. Not a bad al fresco office.

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