The Balinese construction crew went back to their village for a major celebration called Galungan. The crew from Java continued to add brick walls and cover them with cement plaster. Slowly the building is looking more and more hospitable, but we have a ways to go.
Still it’s exciting to see progress, even if it is at a slower pace.
There is a critical transition point when constructing a building. It’s the moment when you go from completing the underlying structure, to beginning to finish off each and every room with everything from paint to power outlets.
With a limited crew you must complete the structure before beginning on the finishes. With a sizable crew, or even multiple crews, you can start on the finishes with one crew while the construction crew works on the roof, for example.
So that’s what we have here. The brick and plaster finishers are able to add shower tile to any completed, concrete-plastered wall while construction is still underway.
I didn’t expect this development as my previous experience has been with smaller crews. And with the materials I used in the USA, primarily a wood stud structure, it’s mandatory to get the roof on and protect the wood from the weather before you get going with finishes.
But here in Indonesia we can have large crews at very reasonable labor costs per worker. In addition, the floors are concrete, which means rain won’t impact certain kinds of finishing work going on under a covered floor.
So while many aspects of the construction process here are labor intensive, there are some efficiencies when the building gets to a certain state.
The bottom line is that when you start to see ceramic tile arriving at your building, you should know that you’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The light may be fuzzy or cloudy and even a bit unsettling, as a new set of decisions come into play. But it’s a light nevertheless. You are emerging from the mud and the darkness — and splattering, wet concrete falling off a freshly poured roof.
Construction crews have now built all of the columns for the final ceiling / flat roof. Once the columns are up then the workers start to connect beams from column to column. From there they place bamboo sticks every foot or so to support a plywood base for the concrete pour (in approx. 12 days).
In the meantime the electrical and plumbing crew are hard at work wiring the place up. There have been a few hiccups on the placement of plugs, switches, and even air conditioning units. I will take the responsibility for these problems, as I didn’t force my builder to review the MEP (mechanical, electrical & plumbing) team’s plans. We used plans from my architect, but then I made changes with my builder, and those changes were not properly reviewed. Part of the problem rests with language barriers as well.
Photo: Standing at the future pool and guest walkway, straight ahead. The building shows a large terrace above the bamboo sticks. That will become the landing for entry into the upper two guest apartments. Below that are two apartments as well (each with a loft)
Making changes at this stage is the most economical, as most of the time it involves material that has not been finished. In other words, moving an electrical outlet for example involves ripping some brick and moving the wire, but the finishing coat of plaster and paint has not been applied yet so it’s generally a quick fix.
A roof means many things, and with the rainy season approaching it simply means keeping the crew and the interior spaces dry. To be ready for a February opening we need to get ahead of the wet season.
This upcoming roof pouring (of concrete) will also be a ceiling for two guest bedrooms.
Because the building has a partial basement, the roof has two elevations: a lower one for the residential side and a higher one for the two upstairs guest apartments.
Photo: Our foreman Wayan and a worker doing a thumbs-up.
A rooftop bar is planned for guests only. By keeping the future poolside warung (cafe) and the rooftop bar private we don’t need business permits. They are facilities allowed as part of a Pondak Wisata license (a homestay with guest rentals and services).
The breezes that blow across the roof will be a welcome relief from the tropical heat. Having some shade, an ocean breeze, and a freshly made cocktail or beer will be a total delight!