MATERIALS & LABOUR: Where to buy, how to find.

Amnat Charoen, Buriram, Chaiyaphum, Kalasin, Khon Kaen, Loei, Maha Sarakham, Mukdahan, Nakhon Phanom, Nakhon Ratchasima (Korat), Nongbua Lamphu, Nong Khai, Roi Et, Sakon Nakhon, Sisaket, Surin, Ubon Ratchathani, Udon Thani, Yasothon

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MATERIALS & LABOUR: Where to buy, how to find.

Postby jazzman » Fri Feb 23, 2007 7:25 am

Here are a few tips for sourcing materials and labour in Isaan.
If you are satisfied with a service or a supplier, however small or however remote, do please post the details, it could well be of help to somebody near you; it may even be the name of a free lance tiler or renderer who spends most of his time in his rice fields. If there is a firm or an individualto be avoided at all costs, please PM the author of this article with the details.

Isaan is the size of England
and has the population of Australia but in spite of being fairly densely inhabited - over one third of the country's people - it is the LOS most neglected region. It's easy to be 50 km away from the nearest 7/11 and 200 km or more to a BigC or a Tesco-Lotus. Nevertheless, thousands of farangs have made their homes here and they are far from all being concentrated in the large urban areas of Nakhon Ratschasima (Khorat), Khon Kaen, Udon Thani and Nong Khai. Even in and around the tiny, remote village of Kud Pueng there are nine Western homes, and five more houses being planned or already under construction.

In those cities, usually on the ring roads and main access roads, you just need to drive around and you will soon find the DIY stores and builders' merchants for anything you need. Most of these firms also operate fixed prices and there is little danger of being ripped off, they operate modern computerised cash registers and you get a proper invoice, bill and receipt. The big firms will also deliver, sometimes free, depending on the distance or on how much you spend. A ballpark figure is 10 - 15 baht per kilometre, but it certainly pays to ask. Delivery of CPAC is of course free - that's what it's all about.

In the amphur towns and in the villages, although the choice may be more limited (large Thai stores tend to stock every brand on Earth), you will find almost everything you need. Materials will be slightly more expensive but this is of course offset by not needing to spend a whole day and B 600 on petrol on a round trip to your nearest city. Also, village outlets will deliver bulky things free, such as wood, sand, gravel, cement, steel, tiles etc., which has the added advantage that you don�t need to keep a lot in stock exposing it to pilferage or inclement weather.
By all means benefit from a major trip to the city to check on prices for most of the things you will need to be able to compare these with what you are being quoted locally. Five to ten percent more is sustainable but over this you are being charged that 'special' farang price.

One good idea is to find a local supplier for most of the things you will be needing, from nails and welding electrodes to cement, rebar and bricks, and organise a current account. The owner, pleased with your fidelity, will certainly give you the occasional discount and round prices down. At the end of the day you may well find that what you have finally spent has come down to the cheaper city prices.

The same rule also applies to specialist items such as doors, windows and metalcraft. For these services, one should always insist on being shown examples of their work - never be satisfied with the quality until you have seen a representative selection from different firms for similar prices.

Local labour

In the rural areas, you are far more likely to be working with a group of workers that either you or a self designated foreman has got together than engaging a building contractor. When negotiating the price for the work, you should ask whether they will be bringing their own tools, and if the answer is yes, ask what tools. Their 'yes' usually only stretches to the Thai hoe that serves as a spade and a pickaxe, a tape measure, a chalk line, a plumb bob, a reel of nylon thread, a hammer, a rebar bending rod, a worn out trowel with a broken handle and a cloth bum-bag of bent nails - and that's all they need for building a traditional Thai house.
You will find yourself investing B 50,000 in (and this list is the absolute minimum):

    cement mixer
    air compressor
    portable generator
    power drill (2)
    rotary percussion drill / jackhammer
    cordless drill/screwdriver (2)
    welding transformer
    circular saw
    handsaw
    hacksaw
    jigsaw
    tile cutter
    power stone cutter and diamond blades
    angle grinder (several, to avoid constantly changing different types of blades)
    power cut-off saw
    spirit level(s)
    plastic buckets (10 - 20)
    plastic or rubber scoop-baskets
    hose pipe

...and make a point of including in the contract that any loss or careless damage to these items will be deducted from their money!

If you are putting a team together of local labour, it is essential that they take you to see examples of their craft in houses they have worked on. Check the quality of their welding, carpentry, wiring and tiling. One excellent way to find competent labour is to wander round any house you see being built in the area and if the work is satisfactory, ask the labourers what their future plans are. Don't hesitate to speak to the owner of a recently completed house that looks well finished, take a look around it and ask who built it.

Reproduced from forum: http://www.coolthaihouse.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=759

jazzman wrote:Welcome on board MrBojangles

There is also a dedicated Isaan forum for any questions or discussions about the region. One of the frequent questions is where to get supplies.
You may find yourself trekking into the huge (one of the biggest in the country) DIY/Builders' merchant megastore GlobalHouse in Khon Kaen. it's just next to the flyover which goes to the airport. there are also very big HomePro and HomeMart stores on the main drag leading out to Tesco Lotus.

Basic supplies like bricks, cement, sand, gravel etc, you will find locally.


Thaifu T wrote:I can concur with the Khon Kaen info. I've been building a house for the last 3 months and have spent more time in Global House than the 'son-in-law' and he works there. Wish I'd taken out shares in the place before we started. Good luck.
Alan
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Re: MATERIALS & LABOUR: Where to buy, how to find.

Postby thomas.fontaine » Fri Jan 16, 2009 12:41 pm

I am looking for 5 off fans for my house. I couldn't find any I like fin the usual shops (Global and HomePro).

Does anybody know where I can find nice fans in the Khon Kaen area, which idealy would have wood blades?
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Re: MATERIALS & LABOUR: Where to buy, how to find.

Postby jazzman » Fri Jan 16, 2009 1:31 pm

thomas.fontaine wrote:I am looking for 5 off fans for my house. I couldn't find any I like fin the usual shops (Global and HomePro).

Does anybody know where I can find nice fans in the Khon Kaen area, which idealy would have wood blades?

Try the large Cotto store right next to Global, (they sell everything as well as tiles), and some of the smaller Home Mart stores. You may even find what you are looking for in Tesco or BigC, or Index Living Mall.
How to build a $20,000 / £14,000 house and a $???? MOTEL Updated 21 March 09 - with BOQ and costs
Don't let this happen in YOUR house.
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Re: MATERIALS & LABOUR: Where to buy, how to find.

Postby Rick B » Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:22 am

I bought my ceiling fans in Home Works in Bangkok. Each fan has five wooden blades. But I have no idea if there is a Home Works in Khon Kaen or not.
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Re: MATERIALS & LABOUR: Where to buy, how to find.

Postby BKKBILL » Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:06 am

Not only labour costs are going up being able to find workers at the higher prices is more difficult.

Thailand has an unemployment rate of 0.6 per cent, or only 232,400 jobless, according to The Nation today.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/busines ... 95460.html

Canada considers a rate of under 5% satisfactory.
It's not who you know, it's whom you know.
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Re: MATERIALS & LABOUR: Where to buy, how to find.

Postby jazzman » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:03 am

Stats like this can be greatly misleading. They can only catch all those who are registered as employed/unemployed. Here in the rural areas hardly anyone is registered with any employment, income tax, pension, or social security agencies. They job on a day-to-day basis - or do nothing most of the year until it's time to plant rice, and then cut it again.
How to build a $20,000 / £14,000 house and a $???? MOTEL Updated 21 March 09 - with BOQ and costs
Don't let this happen in YOUR house.
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Re: MATERIALS & LABOUR: Where to buy, how to find.

Postby BKKBILL » Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:56 pm

True enough: the point was “Not only labour costs are going up being able to find workers at the higher prices is more difficult"
the newspaper column only bought to mind the problems most are having with getting capable workers willing to work.

Even in Canada and I'm sure most country’s only ones registered as unemployed for work are counted
It's not who you know, it's whom you know.
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Re: MATERIALS & LABOUR: Where to buy, how to find.

Postby Mike Judd » Mon Dec 03, 2012 1:19 pm

You are probably right on the money Jazzman, Some one wants to make the gov feel good by releasing those Stats. They could only have got them from their Taxation Stats etc; and who pays tax in Thailand on B300 per day. There wouldn't be any Stats on any of the guys I employed over the years, even the two relatives who did most of my build ,have other cash jobs going besides taking off for the rice when needed. If they had welfare over there like they have here in Oz it would be a different story. Then everyone would registrar for it to get on the gravy train. Although it's getting harder for them, at least the rural Thai only needs a shelter/ a few simple clothes and food in his belly.
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