During the last school holiday, on the 29th of March 2021, I initiated my water pump and store project.
The project isn’t massive, but I did some brief price surveys, and it would cost me at least RM2,300 if I had someone build it for me.
This was for just a water pump, and will not include a store.
Why install a water pump?
Water pressure in my house has been rather low lately.
When it’s peak hours, around 6PM – 8PM, the water pressure becomes pretty bad. It’s so bad that you can’t use both the bathrooms I have at the same time for showering because one will be without of water due to the low pressure.
That said, my wife suggested we get a water pump to boost the pressure and so I agreed.
However, the cost to install a water pump (those King Kong ones) was over RM2,000 and although it came complete with a steel tank, a pump and installation, I felt the task was not difficult to warrant such cost.
On top of that, I also felt that I wanted to learn how to install a water pump, just in case I needed to so so again in the future.
Why build a store?
The store project is a personal project of mine. Staying in a housing area meant my house, which was bought from a developer, didn’t come with a store to keep stuff.
I had built a store years before, but it was too small to hold hardware and items I have bought, including four bicycles I now have in my household. That said, I figured there’s a need to build a bigger store.
Again, cost came into play and so I decided to build my own store as well. I could hire someone, but it would have cost me a bomb for something I’d regard to be so small. Don was actually the one who persuaded me I could build my own store and not hire others as he agreed to help.
Progress report on the water pump and store project
To make it easier to follow and see the progress of my water pump and store project, I’ve decided to divide the whole project into four phases.
Here’s what happened during the whole four phases.
Phase I: Planning and drawing
Before I could build the store, or place a water pump and water tank, I had to decide on where I would house the three things.
After a few calculations, I decided it would be best to have it behind my house. I had about 3 – 5 feet of empty land there, and I figured it would be perfect to fit a small store, house the water tank and also the water pump.
The main water pipe was also nearby, so I could easily connect the water pump and water tank, and the store will also be hidden from the view of the public since it’s located behind the house.
Below is a brief sketch on what was planned.
Phase II: The plan & and the footing
With the idea now clear, on 29th March, I started clearing the grass on the identified land to make way for the construction of water pump and store project.
Clearing was done for two days, in the evening, for two hours a day. I had to remove quite a large volume of soil as the footing of the store and water pump needed to be properly done to avoid cracks.
Once the clearing was done, mixing cement was the next step. This required a lot of brunt and hard work.
I’ve never liked mixing cement, so this was quite a task. Donovan was romped in to help, and we did quite a bit in two days – able to cover the whole area which would soon be the store and water tank.
Since the water tank was priority, Donovon smoothened the place where the water tank would sit so that we could install the water tank when the cement was dry.
Phase II: Installing the water pump and water tank
Once the cement was dry, the installation of the water pump and water tank started.
I first bought a 200 gallon water tank which was priced at RM420 from a nearby hardware store.
I drilled the water inlet, water outlet and overflow points, before fixing basic piping joints and a float to water tank.
The float was to control the water coming into the water tank so that it wouldn’t overflow.
Then, I went to Padungan Road in Kuching to buy a water pump. The shop I went to suggested I get a 1.0 horsepower pump by saying that I needed it if I wanted to ‘puas mandi’ (be satisfied when bathing). The water pump itself cost RM520, with a six month warranty. You can read the review of the water pump here. Online, its cheaper at RM250 – RM460.
Once I obtained the water pump, I did the installation of the water pump myself by connecting the water tank first to the pump, and then finally fixing the pump and tank to the main pipe when I was sure all the connection was accurate.
Due to lack of experience and limited time, the piping alone took three days because Donovan and I only worked after 4PM, and when we ran out of certain joints for pipping, we had to stop our work until we could get them from the nearby hardware store.
Regardless, on 9 April, the water pump and water tank was connected properly to the main water line of the house, and water pressure to the house was now stronger than ever.
The water pump is covered by a temporary house to protect it from the weather.
Phase III: Building the store
Construction of the store began on 12 April 2021 at 4PM. I already had the metal pillars (which I actually wrongly ordered), so getting the pillars up, and fixing the roof was the plan of the week.
I’m not great at measurements, so I ordered two massive 4 X 4 inch pillar, which are huge. I could have saved a bit if I ordered smaller metal pillars. Anyway, since I’ve already ordered the metal pillars, there wasn’t any turning back.
These metal pillars were cut into several sizes to make four huge pillars, measuring 8ft and 9ft. Here’s the day to day progress.
12 April 2021: Work began at 4PM as we prepared the 4 X 4 metal bars to be made pillars to the store. Each bar was cut into the sizes we needed.
I also ordered 2 X 2 metal bars to be added to reinforce the store frame. We called it a day at 6.30PM due to the rain.
13 April 2021: Started work at 9.30AM. We put up all the 4 X 4 pillars and screwed in the based of the roof which will use C-channels. The task was quite tricky as we didn’t have any proper way to hold up the pillars.
We had to break some parts of the cement floor to make room for the base of the store. We finally did it by noon, and continued to reinforced the frames with the 2 X 2 metal bars I ordered. We stopped working at 1PM so that I could pick up my daughter and was supposed to restart work at 4PM. However, it rained, so we ended up starting at 4.45PM. We called it a day at 6PM after installing the frame for the roof.
14 April 2021: Started work at 3PM by reinforcing the frame on both the front and back side of the store.
Carried the metal mesh which will be used for the walls to the construction area. We started fixing the roof to the C-channel. Finished work at 6PM, just in time for dinner.
15 April 2021: Started work at 4PM, but a website I maintained had a crisis, so I had to leave the work site a couple of times. We were only able to finish installing/weld the front side of the store which is made from the old house fence. Work ended at 6PM.
16 April 2021: It was Friday, so we started work slightly earlier, which was at 1300 hrs. We continued to fix the other side store using the old fence. Work slowed down a bit as I decided to combine two parts of a fence to make one longer piece.
We also strengthened the left and right of the fence with extra 1 X 2 metal so that it would be easier to install the metal mesh next week.
19 April 2021: Started work at 3PM. We started work on the door frame. It was decided that the door would be a two piece door with with one bigger than the other. The door was made using 1 X 2 inch metal, and we only managed to complete one frame as cutting and welding works took more time than expected.
This was largely due to heavy rain which limited our space to work. We also installed the side mesh for the store. The mesh works as a security measure for the store. We ended work at 5.45PM.
27 April 2021: Started work at 1.30PM. We decided to do the floor today, so we had to mix cement and sand to make concrete. Mixing sand and cement is never fun. Since we over estimated the amount of concrete we needed, we ended up working until 8PM to ensure all the concrete we made didn’t go to waste. While Donovan did the cement, I washed some old tiles we are going to use for the project, completed the door frames and painted it with anti-rust paint.
29 April 2021: Started work at 1.30PM. Donovan did the tiling and I tried to give it a try. Wasn’t as easy as I thought. I broke two tiles in the process and my back ached a bit.
Eventually, I decided to finish the roof (If it rains, water will splash to the wash area, so I had to cover the area), and also used aluminium to cover two sides of the store so that water will not splash into the store. On top of that, I also painted iron bars with anti-rust which just arrived to ensure they last longer. Work ended at 6.30PM.
30 April 2021: Started work as early as 2PM. Fixed the doors, and Donovan did the plastering on the left side of the store. We also prepared and put up the canvas which was to protect the store from rain.
Due to the size of the canvas, we had to move one of the store’s supporting beam upwards so that the store is properly covered. Realized the store lock was too short, so I may need to custom make it. Finished work at 6PM. The store now can be closed and is partially protected from weather.
3 May 2021: Started work at 5PM. Worked alone today. Decided to finish cementing the final third of the store which would have no tiles. Work ended at 6PM.
5 May 2021: Started work at 2.30PM. Donovon plastered the bricks surrounding the store, while I decided to install(weld) locks to the door so that there’s some sort of security. We also completed the installation of the canvas which protects the store from rain. As the sun set, I did the wiring for the store light and hooked the water pump to the store wires. Work ended at 6.40PM.
6 May 2021: Decided to populate the store since everything is almost completed. Filled up the store but didn’t paint the pillars just yet. The only thing not finished is painting and also covering the upper part of the store.
7 May 2021: Built a proper water pump house to protect the water pump from the weather. Also started smoothen the floor in the open area in stages. The photo below is the water pump house which I built, but taken after a year has passed. The photo was taken in March 2022.
8 May 2021: Store is generally complete and now awaits painting of the metal areas.
Phase IV: Touching up and cleaning up
I painted the whole store somewhere in July 2021, but only remembered to update this blog post now (2022).
The experience of building my own store, and installing the water pump is invaluable.
While the completed work wasn’t mint, I would say it served its purpose. Oh, total damage without considering upah, is about RM2,000 including metal, piping and all hardware I bought.
And just in case you are wondering, both the water pump and store is still serving me well until today.