Thailand Building Costs
Question:

What are construction costs in Thailand ? How much does it cost to build a house in Thailand and what are the average building costs in Thailand ?

Answer:
Construction costs vary in Thailand according to a multitude of factors such as:  the type of project, what is being built, the architects drawings, the professionalism and quality of the contractor, what is included in the construction price, the quality of materials, site conditions and various other contributing factors. Building costs in Thailand vary as they do anywhere in the world. There is no instant answer to this question. Every project is different depending on the design, location, specifications, materials, contractors involvement and input, and the complexity of the project. To know costs you need finished architects drawings, clear specifications and a list of all materials to build the home. You also need to know the land site location and conditions too. In addition each contractor may well provide a different service and include, or exclude different items or services. Maybe one contractor is more professional than another; or maybe they offer true guarantees they act on, proper standards and professional project management. Maybe the materials they included are a better grade and are in fact what should be used for the project.  So to know accurate costs, one must first know all the details and facts first.  It is why, when quoting approximate sqm prices, it is only ever meant as 'an approximate guide' to costs and many good professional, Thai builders won't do it; preferring to wait until they have all the information they require to provide a professional, accurate cost quotation.  If you are contemplating building in Thailand, you must be aware of all the aspects that make up costs and understand why quotes vary. It is all too simple to think one contractor is more expensive than another, without knowing or understanding, what is included and what makes the costs in constuction. The one you think is expensive, may be the contractor you need to use who does a proper professional job. The other maybe a disaster waiting to happen that could cost you millions in baht in problems, bad building and corrections. Do be careful, understand costs and the varying quality of service contractors provide.

On a seperate aspect of costs: Construction costs in Thailand, have increased over the years due to material cost rises and more recently the minimum wage increase of 2013. But prices have increased in most parts of the world, especially with the oil industries prices fluctuations and mass demand for materials from growing nations.  Thailand construction costs are still lower than in many countries, offering good value for money. Naturally one must also consider, that contractors have no control over currency rate fluctuations and exhange rates; so do consider that when thinking costs are expensive if you are exchanging foreign currencies into Thai Baht. You can still build a good quality home in Thailand for less than many other places. Below we provide you with an approximate construction cost guide. It is a good starting point and based on current industry standards from professional construction contractors.

Approximate Cost Guide:

Basic guide for a finished house of reasonable quality to be built by a proper contractor with correct supervision would be 30,000-40,000 Baht per sqm. Luxury would start at perhaps 40,000 Baht per sqm.

 

Question:

Why do some builders in Thailand cost more than other builders ?

Answer:
There can be several reasons: the first one, we probably all would jump wrongly to the conclusion of, is to assume they are making more profit. But quite often that is not the case, but it is because the quality is better and the standard of service is better which can mean their costs are higher.  It may well be there price is the real price and the real cost to build your project properly to a standard you are happy with. The more expensive contractor may be providing project management which any professional builder should. It may also be the standard of finish is better and they may well be costing for better quality materials installed by better quality tradesmen who are paid more. It is no easy thing to just compare prices and assume one is expensive because their price is higher. It may well be their price is correct and the lower one is not good quality and is not providing proper supervision; which is essential for a successful project built to a respectable standard.  There are many sad stories of people going the cheap route and causing themselves nothing but problems and extra costs. Do not let greed or the seduction of cheap sounding quotes lead you down a path of misery and bad building standards. It is a foolish path and one that can lead to court cases, appalling quality and a lot of stress. Analyse the prices and check carefully.

A simple way to think about it, is why is fruit in say one supermarket more expensive than another. We all know that answer. Often it is because the quality is much better and the fruit is tastier:  this is the same with cars and the same with many products and services. So do not assume in construction, just because the price is higher that the contractor is expensive. It is not as simple as that and often that is not the case. If you want good quality and good service there is naturally a price to pay for it. That is fair and not unfair. So check what they provide and make sure you take the sensible route. It could save you millions of Baht in repairs, extra cost and hassle !


Simple Approximate Construction Cost Guide

There is much to consider when calculating accurate costs in construction.  However we have put together some basic approximate guide figures to help you. Construction costs in Thailand, as we have said are not set and static. They vary, so please use this only as a guide.


House

As of the current date (January 2014), approximate cost guidelines (ballpark figures) to building a low end home in Thailand, using a small gang of local builders up country using standard materials including roof, walls, doors, floors and bathrooms, with no professional project management, would be approximately: anything from the minium low end of 20,000 baht per sqm. Be Careful: This is the low end market  that can have many problems.  Quality, workmanship, reliability and professionalism can be very low and your expectations much higher than what you end up getting. For most Westerners this is not good enough quality and most opt for a professional cosntruction company with proper standards and management. See below for this.

A house of reasonable quality to be built in Thailand by a proper contractor with correct supervision would be 30,000-40,000 Baht per sqm. Luxury would start at perhaps 40,000 Baht per sqm. This does not include air conditioning units, appliances, kitchen design and furniture but does include a finished home with doors, windows, roof, walls basic bathrooms and floor finishes etc. House construction costs in Thailand change according to the individual project and it could end up being 27,000, 30,000, 37,000, 40,000, 55,000 or even 60,000 baht per sqm. It all depends on the homes specifications, materials used, site location/conditions and architects drawings. Anything below 25,000 baht per sqm will probably be much lower quality, lower standard materials and probably not built by a professional construction company, that provides project management, with insurance, guarantees that are acted upon and all the things required; which are almost essential for a proper professional standard of build.

From our research in the Thai house construction industry and talking to many construction people, a good quality finished house with acceptable standards similar to USA, Europe, and Australia etc, could be 30,000-40,000 baht per sqm.  Luxury homes perhaps 40,000 upwards. But it is all depends what is included in the price and what the architects’ drawings tell the builder. Always remember, the lowest quotes are not always the best and could be potentially disastrous. If you want quality and a professional construction service always remember you must be willing to pay for this. If you want to save additional costs due to bad building, reduce problems, avoid bad workmanship and have good standards, be  prepared to pay for it.  Every house is different and you cannot know the cost until you have all the information. Costs vary. Don't expect high quality if you are not preapred to pay for it. Profesional people cost money but it pays dividends in the end result.

Multi storey residential buildings

Condominiums and residential buildings over 6 storey’s can start at a cost anywhere from 25,000-40,000 Baht per sqm. Once again this is an approximate guide only; accurate costs can only be given from architects drawings and a full understanding of materials and site conditions.

Offices and Factories

Offices and factories vary too but an approximate guide could be starting anywhere from 20,000-25,000 Baht per sqm.

Cost Facts
  • Until architects drawings are completed it is at best a guess what costs can be. Each project is different and a builder cannot quote or possibly know costs without architect’s drawings, a full understanding of specifications and a complete list of all materials to be used. In addition the location of the property, land site conditions and complexity of the project also play a part. If you do not have architects drawings done, at best talking costs is merely a ball park figure’. .
  • To know costs there is so much the builder needs to know: What sort of building is it ? Is it a home you are you building ? Is it a low cost single wall bungalow with Thai style kitchen; a 4 bedroom, two storey house with cavity wall; or a luxury villa with insulation block, European kitchen and swimming pool ? Or is it a condominium to sell in the luxury market place ? Or is it a factory, an office, a shop house complex and so on. What is involved and what are all the specifications required to complete the project.
  • Costs vary in construction. Homes are not all the same. You cannot accurately give a cost without knowing all the facts and information first. So do be careful on trying to know costs before you have all the facts and information. The above simple approximate guide is only a guide. You should have the cost accurately calculated by the builder once you have finished the architectural drawings; or ask the architect to do a full cost for you.

 

Why can we not know costs before architects drawings are completed ?

We do not have the requisite information to know costs. How can anyone calculate or know cost when they do not know what roof tiles you want ? What doors you want. Do you want cavity wall or insulation block ? Are you having 10 electrical sockets or 5 in each room? What is the type of electrical plug socket and what manufacturer ? What sort of flooring are you going to have ? Is the building two storey or one ? What style of roof do you like ? What type of bathroom products do you want ? Are you using expensive wood on the floors or large tiles ? What type of tile and what manufacturer or material ? No one can know costs until they know all the materials, product choices, codes and quantities. A cost takes 2-3 weeks or more to do properly and is normally done by a professional cost person such as the architect, builder, engineer or quantity surveyor.

To know accurate costs you must have architects drawings completed.

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