Apart from fencing and earth works, the construction of a farm house is among the highest costs in the development of a durian orchard. In this post I will share the steps that I've done to build a farm house in my orchard.
The earth works conducted including opening a new access road, landfilling and earth levelling works. I've rented a backhoe for 5 days for execution of these works with a daily rental of MYR450 per day. In actual, the cost of rental had increased.
The house shall be constructed adjacent to a river. During the land levelling works done by the backhoe, the driver had dug-up and collected aside boulders which then be arranged as foundation. The boulders are also arranged as a retaining structure to prevent soil erosion.
Boulders which are bigger in size from the above photo was arranged flat on the house site as foundation. This is to prevent soil sedimentation.
New Access Road Opening
A new access road was needed due to the fact that the proposed house is to be constructed at the valley. The access through the terraced hill had collapsed in 2019.
This terraced access road was not repaired until now in order to prevent soil instability. I will nonetheless, plan for the repair once I have my execution methods thought of in detail.
This new road has a longer distance compared to the first access road that was made in 2018. Total crusher run gravel ordered from the quarry for the road length was five six-tire tippers.
House Site Erosion Control
As with the terraces on the hill sides which faces the risk of soil erosion and possibility of landslides, the house site has the same potential of soil erosions. For the past 2 months after the earth levelling works was done, it had rain almost everyday.
In order to mitigate this risk, I had procured cow grass sods in Sg. Buloh, Selangor at the same plant nursery which I bought the same type of sods almost 3 years ago. That time it was for earth covering along the terrace slopes.
It so happens that for an Isuzu D-Max 4 wheel drive pick-up truck the total quantity of sods was 350 pieces.
As soon as I arrived at the orchard, the sods were quickly unloaded and was directly planted by my Orang Asli (native people) workers. For a sod of 2' x 1' it could actually survive and not get dried-up in 3 days even without watering. I choose to plant it right away because there were other chores that need to be attended to during my stay in Tapah and I need to get this task out of the way quickly.
Sod planting was done by 2 workers, Normally I would pay the Orang Asli workers RM60 for a day's work but since work only starts at 2.30 pm, I paid them RM40 each for their trouble.
Farm House Plan
- Option 1 (20' Shipping Container)
Initially I wanted to use 2 units of 20' length shipping containers, installed on top one another. However, after estimating the costs involved, I decided not to follow-through on this.
My findings is that the costs does not justifies the usage of containers. To be very clear, below is the estimated costs as per the quotes that I've received:
Empty 20' container price (1 unit) is MYR 8,700 so for 2 units = MYR 17,400
Crane rental per day (for lifting) = MYR 1,500
Modification/fit-out of 2 containers = MYR 14,000
This comes out with a grand total of MYR 32,000
Now this kind of cost goes against the normal reason why most people choose to utilize steel shipping containers as an option for cheap accommodation method. I guest this was before, nowadays prices of even used shipping containers which are unfit for marine transportation has increased in prices.
It is better and more worthwhile to build a proper farm house from bricks and concrete just by topping up approximately MYR 15,000 or so. I'll get a house which is much more comfortable and that will last me more than a container.
Below is the initial layout plan for the 2-storey container.
Brick and Mortar House
Below is the layout of the house. By measuring the area of the landfill and after deducting the allocation for vehicle parking space, the suitable house built-up area is 20' x 35'.
An estimated given by my contractor for this house layout is MYR70,000. Readers may ask why do I need two bedrooms and the answer is the second bedroom is for my parents.
Using four construction workers and tradesmen, the contractor had started the work and is estimated to be completed in three months time.
As of writing it is now July 2021, I'm planning to move away from Kuala Lumpur and stay full time at the orchard. My time will be spent daily to tend to my durian orchard and growing my own food and produce. By end of the year this will be a reality.
Yes....I will leave city life altogether, resigning my position as an engineer who works in the oil and gas sector to move to my village and to my orchard.
The pandemic situation with the never ending lockdowns enforced by a government whom has lost its trust my its people, politicians whom are clueless and without any idea has resulted me in moving forward towards a more self-reliant life.
I will be leaving the materialistic and consumerism driven city life and start growing vegetables and fruits off-grid. God willing and wish me luck.
......to be continued