.... continued from previous column.....
Q: Any other protection?
A: Well, one of the most obvious things is to
get references and talk to people who have bought houses from the
builder. Even though the corner cutter wants things to be 'OK' for
a number of years (and then fall apart), it is not an exact science, so
some things will start going downhill soon. Therefore even new buyers
will have some complaints and therefore by talking to previous buyers
you can save yourself a headache.
Q: Aren't you being too hard on the corner
A: Maybe. There is really a great need
for lower cost housing. The corner cutters are filling a niche.
It is just too bad they can't live with 30% profit, they need to squeeze
out the last little bit. I mean they bring together everything
needed to do a really good house and then for a little bit of greed they
build a low quality house. I had this conversation with a Thai
person about the tragedy of the situation with the example of the small
house that the builder could build for 550,000 Baht. But instead
of this he cuts corners to get the cost down to 500,000 Baht, therefore
ensuring very low quality. Say the land cost is 100,000 baht and
the cost cutter sells the house for 950,000 making 350,000.
Wouldn't it make more sense to build a quality house for 550,000 house
and take a profit of 300,000? Or sell a good house for 1,000,000
and still make the 350,000? Anyway, the Thai person said he
agreed, but his retort was this: 'What if the person didn't have the 550,000 Baht necessary to
build the house? What if they only had 500,000 Baht?". I
guess there is a point here, maybe in some cases they just are not
properly capitalized and need to cut corners just to get the project
Q: Are there other kind of corner cutters?
A: The main type of corner cutter is
the builder who just coordinates things. He will be taking the
biggest chunk and is the most motivated to save. If you
subcontract with an actual hands-on builder they are normally pretty
good. But, that being said, if the bid is all inclusive even this
type of builder (hands on) will be motivated to squeeze the quality a
Q: How would you avoid corner cutters?
A: The way to avoid it for sure is to be the
one choosing and buying materials and deal with a experienced hands-on
builder. Go to the work site at least once a day and check things
out. If you must do it the easy way and have someone else manage
the whole thing, I would suggest putting together a full list of
materials and qualities before you start the project. Also,
check references and previous buildings of the builder. And
remember, even if you are buying materials and do avoid the corner
cutter, you still need to check references and make sure that the
builder has a skilled team of workmen.
Q: Just because a builder or
contractor doesn't cut corners, does it mean they will do a good job?
A: Good question. There are a
lot of skilled construction workers, builders and contractors in
Thailand, more than most places. You will always have some that
aren't very good or just aren't interested in customer satisfaction.
You can reduce the risk of ending up with a bad team by being sure to
get references first. The main thing, in my view, to be concerned
with is the desire to cut costs by using sub standard materials.
sure to see the many examples along with photos in
corner cutter examples.