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Further Reading:

Residential Building Construction Costs

Magnus Heinrich, considering moving to Phuket and building a home asked "I would like to know your view on current local building costs per square meter - could you shed some light on that for us."

This question is almost as hard to answer as - "How much does land cost in Phuket" - The answer to both questions is that there is a huge range of prices, which in land is related primarily to location and in construction costs is related to the build specifications / quality and site development costs.

Lets look first at the basic construction costs for residential scale buildings of one to three storeys. Prices are typically expressed in Baht per square meter and construction is assumed to include, structure, walls, general finishing materials including floor finishing, bathrooms, plumbing and wiring (within the house) - but exclude, air conditioning, any built in kitchens or furniture, water heating systems or other equipment and the external utility connections.

Very basic structures built on cheap wooden frames, minimalist foundations and clad in cheap sheet material or thatch can be built for about 3,000 Baht per square meter. Such structures cannot however be regarded as a permanent structure.

Cheap local housing, such as that seen on the lower costs housing developments (primarily located in the east and central parts of Phuket) goes up at about 6-7,000 per square meter. Walls will be thin, structure while concrete will be light weight and the electrical, plumbing and bathroom equipment will be simple and of limited capacity. Floor finishes will typically be standard machine made ceramic tiles.

Construction that would be comparable to good average western standards will cost about 12-15,000 per square meter.

Structure and foundations will be substantial, full electrical (ducted in walls) and plumbing systems (hot and cold in steel and copper pipes) can be expected. Floor finishes can include a mix of hardwoods and better quality ceramic tiles, quality sanitary fittings, doors, windows and hardware will be standard.
As you move up into the luxury housing category, where standards often exceed those of most homes in the west, it will be the cost of luxury finishing material such as granite, marble, teak wood, that will start to push up prices. Top of the line imported products such as German faucets, American locksets, French roof tiles, or patent fenestration systems will push up the prices still further and it is quite easy to find costs running from 20 to 30,000 Baht per Sq.m. And there are certainly more than a handful of homes on the island where costs have gone up well over these levels.

The best single bit of advice when trying to build a quality home on a limited budget, is to try wherever possible to stick with locally made materials. There are a lot of cheap ones that are to be avoided, but there are a lot of good quality ones that when used with well supervised local labour can produce excellent results.

The construction cost of the house does not however give you the whole picture of the cost of development. Of great significance is the cost of connecting electricity, water, telephone supplies and in some cases constructing an access road. If these services are on your doorstep and the system has spare capacity (not always the case) the costs will not be a cause for concern. Electricity is likely to be the biggest cost if you are not in range of a local transformer. Pulling high tension power lines a kilometer and adding a new transformer will cost at least a million Baht - and the Provincial Electricity Authority is not going to subsidize that cost in any way. Its therefore very important to consider all these issues when selecting a site to build a home in Phuket.