Having recently been thrown into the world of housing project development, I’ve been privy to all sorts of new building materials, methods of building, sustainable, eco-friendly products, etc. The traditional methods of Thai building have generally been kept in place here for many years, even with foreign developers, although tweaked and upgraded over time. We’ve kept an open-mind when planning, designing and building our new project, Serenity Jomtien Villas, and have implemented some techniques and materials not found in typical projects in Thailand.
Pre-casting certainly isn’t a new concept – builders have been using this method for years, but strangely it’s not something that’s typically found in Thailand. Generally, columns and beams are built with rebar and then formed with a wooden ‘mold’, if you will, to create load-bearing columns and beams. With pre-casting, these columns and beams are ‘pre-cast’, or ‘pre-formed’ and arrive on site in the correct sizes ready to form the structure of house.
Whilst we were awaiting our required construction & IEE development licenses, we were left in a bit of a holding pattern in regards to getting our houses built – infrastructure works could progress, but the build of the actual houses had to wait until we had the appropriate licenses. With pre-cast columns, beams and floor-slabs, we were able to partially begin building our houses off-site, so that once our licenses were in place, we could expedite the build times.
We’ve found it to be a fantastic method of building, with our team of experienced pre-cast construction workers craning and securing everything in place. The concrete is fully cured and clipped even before its tied into place, cutting back the risk of settlement/cracks later on. With the floor-slabs, concrete is then poured over the slabs creating a smooth, unified surface that has much less curing time than using traditional ‘floor-pour’ methods.
Clip-Lock Roofing & PU Foam
Most mid-to-high-end housings estate have typically stuck to clay roofing tiles – the typically orange or brown tiles that can be seen in hundreds of housing estate in the area. While these tiles have their purpose and are generally long-wearing, they represent more of an antiquated building style. Clay tiles can shift over time and are actually quite fragile (being clay and all), creating leaks/holes that can cause havoc on a house. They are also not very easy to replace should you just want to fix or replace one or two tiles – entire rows have to be lifted off and re-laid – at great effort and expense, not to mention trying to find the same series of tiles that may have been produced twenty years previous.
Clip-lock roofing is essentially pre-fabricated steel sheets of roofing that can run the entire length of the roof. They are then ‘clipped’ into place with the next row. There are no exposed joints or screws that would hamper the integrity of the roof, thus leading to far less, if any, potential problems in the future. The concealed fastening offers excellent water tightness and control of thermal expansion, issues that are very pertinent here in Thailand, with our extreme heat and deluges of rainfall.
There are essentially five layers to the clip-lock sheets themselves, with the centre of sheet being steel, with two layers of zinc-aluminium coating and two layers of clear resin coating on the outer layers.
Once the clip-lock is installed on our rust-proof steel roof structure, we spray the inside of it with 5cm of PU spray foam insulation. PU spray foam has long been considered one of the best forms of roofing insulation for residential or industrial use. It prevents a very high percentage of heat from entering through the roof, as well as prevents the coolness of the house from escaping, and also offers an extra layer of moisture resistance.
While this isn’t new technology here, it isn’t frequently used as it is typically not cost-efficient for most builders.
Our standard houses also include top-of-the-range Daikin Inverter air-conditioning. Inverter technology is much more cost efficient, as it uses less energy, but also more durable than standard air-conditioners.
We also use 8mm laminated glass on our sliding doors and windows which offer great insulation for the home, again keeping the heat out and the cool in.
Aesthetically we wanted to make sure our houses had a great modern/tropical feel them, but we also wanted to make sure they were modern in their functionality and in their building materials.
Stu Sutton is managing director of Jomtien Property and Serenity Developments and has worked exclusively in the Pattaya/Jomtien real estate market for 18 years. Please feel free to contact him with any queries, compliments, or good jokes, [email protected] or visit Jomtien Property’s website at www.jomtien-property.com