NKD, or Nong Khai Design Co., Ltd, has been growing steadily since its formation in early 2009. We have been expanding our workforce and also the services that we offer. We have also been steadily expanding our geographical coverage. Whilst it used to be that most of our work was conducted in and around Nong Khai town, this is no longer the case, with the majority of our projects being further afield in other districts, provinces and countries. It is because of our much larger geographical coverage, that we have decided to take the “Nong Khai” out of our web address. Our clients and suppliers have known us simply as NKD for a long time, and so we also felt it was time for a change of web address that reflected that, too. You can now find us at www.NKDhouse.com.
Despite our change of website and our rebranding, we are still the same company employing the same great people, helping to make people to realise their dream homes. Whilst our head office is still in Nong Khai, other regional offices will be opening in the near future.
Anyone who has been following along with our blog here will have no doubt been wondering why there has not been many updates recently. With so many new and ongoing projects and with our major company re-structuring and re-branding, we had to put our company blog on hold. However, with the transition complete, regular blog updates will continue on www.NKDhouse.com. You can also find all of the previous blog posts from this site there, too. So, if you have www.nongkhaidesign.com in your web browser favourites, please change it to www.NKDhouse.com as there will be no further updates to this site…. you will find everything you need on NKD House .com.
Thanks for reading and we hope you like the new look site.
We have now poured the floor slab of this project in Phen, and are now on to the brick work for the walls and also preparing the roof frame. Roof tiles should be arriving on site in the next few days, by which time the roof frame will be nearly complete. Walls should also be complete and ready for rendering in a few days.
We have recently begun work on the design of a three bedroom home that is to be built in Haad Kham later this year. Our clients had an initial concept as a starting point and we are now working with them to develop this concept into a final design.
After a very long delay on this project due to weather, things are finally once again moving along at scheduled pace. The rainy season this year lasted a lot longer than normal and the effect it had on this project was significant. The heavy rain made it impossible for the pile driver to move around on the site and complete all of the piles. Frustratingly, we had only been waiting for a break in the rain for four clear days so that the ground would be firm enough for the pile driver to drive the remaining small number of piles, but alas for many weeks it was not to be. Finally, however, at the end of last month the rains stopped, at least in this region and we were underway again. Since then, we have excavated the pile heads, pried the concrete footings that sit on top of the piles also the columns that join these footings to the ground floor beams. We have also prepared all of the steel work for the ground floor beams and completed all shuttering, in preparation for the concrete pour that will be happening today.
We are now into the construction phase of this project in Phen. Our clients originally contacted us with an interest in another project that they had seen on our blog, the 2 bedroom home in Fao Rai. However, they wanted to adapt it to suit their needs. We worked with them to modify the design a little to give a three bedroom layout amongst some other minor changes. Work began on construction at the end of October and we have now completed the structural framework and cast the floor slab. We will now begin work on the roof structure and walls.
The last time I posted about this project, we had just poured the footings, as I recall. Since then we have completed all of the rest of the concrete structural framework and installed the precast slabs for the first floor and poured the concrete floor topping. I am sorry to report, however, that since this point we have been experiencing some unforeseen delays and our schedule has slipped somewhat. Among the issues that we have faced are the following. This house was to use the same thermally insulating building blocks that we have used on a number of our other projects. However, the factory where they are made has been affected by the extensive flooding that there has been in Thailand and in fact has been forced to close. The impact of this on the project was that we were unable to source enough blocks for the build. In fact, we only had enough to complete most of the ground floor walls. We have since agreed with the client that we shall use conventional bricks for the second floor, though in a double layer with a cavity in the middle for improved insulation. Roof tiles that were supposed to have been delivered some time ago have also been delayed as a result of the flooding, however, they will at least be arriving shortly. We have also been delayed in completing the second floor pre-cast slab and topping layer due to a supplier issue and them not having the correct pre-cast slabs prepared. We will, however, be taking delivery of the correct slabs in the next couple of days. Our specialist roofing team will be arriving on site in Monday to complete the roof frame and tiling.
Some time ago we complete our work on this modern two bedroom home. As mentioned in my previous posts about this project, we were only contracted to carry out the main building construction, painting and bathroom tiling and fitting. Tiling of the rest of the house, all carpentry and window fitting etc… was to be carried by another contractor to the client. As such, despite our work being completed, the house still looks rather unfinished in the pictures. I shall, however, try to post some pictures of the fully finished home, with the owners permission.
We have completed the design and engineering phase for a new three bedroom home in Phen, which is about half way between Nong Khai and Udon Thani. This is one of two such projects in Phen, though with this project, the precise location has not yet been finalised as there the client is still considering a number of options for the plot on which to build. As such, the design may well be subject to slight modification in order to fit properly into its setting.
We have recently complete the design and engineering of a large four bedroom single storey home that is now under construction in Ban Lao, just out side Nong Khai. The client is self building his new home with his own team and so for this project our involvement in construction will purely be in an advisory role when necessary. I shall, however, try to add some pictures of the project with the owners permission and construction progresses.
It has been over two months since my last post, but this is not due to a lack of company activity…. quite the opposite, in fact, we have been extremely busy with previously mentioned and also a number of new projects. In fact since the last post we have completed 4 new house designs and begun work on a further three. We have also completed one of our construction projects and are well into a new construction project. I shall add separate posts detailing progress on each project old and new. Sorry for the wait, to those following along with our projects!
We are currently a fee days behind schedule on this project due to the bad weather we have been having in the area recently. Fortunately the site has not suffered from the flooding that there has been in some other areas in the region, but nevertheless, the rain has still had an impact. However, we have now completed all of the first stage columns and are up to ground level. Today an excavator back filled all of the footing holes, so moving forward with the project, the rain should be less of an issue. Tomorrow we will begin to install the steel cages for the grade beams, which we have been preparing under cover during the rain.
We have completed an initial architectural concept for a 7 storey condominium to be built in Vientiane, Laos. The ground floor will consist of a reception, a small shop, gym and parking. There will then be five floors of accommodation units of various sizes with either one, two or three bedrooms. The top floor will house services. The general appearance and style of the exterior has been agreed with our client, but we are now working on refining the interior layouts a little, which will inevitably lead to minor alterations to the exterior, in terms of window positioning and such like.
We have just begun work own our latest construction project in Nong Wua So district, near Udon Thani. Yesterday we marked out and excavated the footings. We used a large excavator, which makes the process very quick, however there is then a certain amount of manual work to be down to neaten up the holes and make sure all footings are to the correct depth, which is what we have been doing today. We have also added in the initial base layers of sand and concrete to the holes, onto which the main footings will be poured. Tomorrow is the lucky Buddhist day on which the first two columns will be erected. The final completion date for this project is March next year, so 6 months from start to finish. As we are nearing the end of the rainy season now, we should not have any major delays in construction.
We have completed the basic concrete frame for the garage and are soon to begin adding the steel roof frame structure.
We have been somewhat at the mercy of the weather, and pile driving has been on hold for a number of days. Fortunately, with such a big project, there a a lot of jobs that can be done in parallel to the pile driving, so ultimately our schedule should not be adversely affected. Currently, we are preparing the hug he number of steel reinforcement cages that are required for the footings, columns and beams. We are also fortunate that the site is so large and we are not short of space to store these cages. One potential issue of stop piling these components is the oxidation (rust) that can occur if they are exposed to the elements for prolonged periods. The steel re-bar has already been sprayed with light oil once on leaving the foundry. However, through handling from foundry to stock holder to site, and then then cutting and forming it into the cages, some of this oil has inevitably worn off, exposing it to the risk of rusting. To prevent this, once complete, the cages are sprayed with light oil.
Another task on this site was to reposition the main access point into the site. First we had to obtain the necessary permission from the local government department, as there is a government owned strip of land between the plot and the road. Once approved, we installed the necessary drain pipe, as required, and have built up the new road way. We shall allow this to settle for several months before applying the finished road surface, using the existing access in the mean time.
After a delay due to extremely heavy rain and bad weather, pile driving has now recommenced and is going very well. In fact, despite the delay, we are still on target to complete all pile driving on schedule. There are many issues that can be encountered during pile driving, from hitting impenetrable ground and fractured piles, to simply slow progress due to ground conditions. However, in this case, we have not encountered any such issues.
While pile driving is underway on the main house on the elevated section of land, we have also been busy constructing the separate garage unit on the lower lying land. We have already constructed footings and grade beam and are now preparing the reinforcement structure ready to pour the concrete floor. As the floor will be taking a relatively high load, we are not using pre-cast slabs, but have back filled with sand and will be casting a heavily reinforced slab in place. In casting directly onto sand, it is important to ensure that the underlying layer is adequately compacted. If not compacted this layer of floor support may settle over time and ‘sink away’ from beneath the floor. This may then lead to cracks and other structural weaknesses in the floor slab. With the garage, we used a mechanical compactor on the supporting sand to minimize problems in the future.
We have begun pile driving, amongst other things, and this video shows the process of adding single pile. We are using 15 meter piles, driven to a depth of 16 meters. You will see in the video that once the pile is driven as far as it can go, and extension is added and it driven the additional meter to be at the correct depth. We will later excavate around the pile head in order to cast the concrete pile head mounting that will transfer the load from the columns and beams of the structure onto the piles.
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.