Shower tile arrives

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.


Week #24 — Half the roof is done!

An exciting week here in good old Pererenan. We’ve been fortunate to stay ahead of the rainy season and cover half of the building with a roof. The other half is about two weeks away.

In the meantime we have a crew for building brick walls and then plastering them. When needed the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) crew come out and set wires into the brick walls:

They also run water pipes through the walls, as well as prepare the drainage system. Offsite, a windows and door crew are working with aluminum and glass.

Tomorrow we meet with a custom furniture maker and will see whether his prices are affordable.


In a few more days, a (partial) roof

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!


Week #23 — More brick walls, plaster, and form work

There are now a total of four teams that are working daily on the project:

  • Construction crew
  • MEP crew (mechanical, electrical & plumbing)
  • Brick & plaster crew
  • Windows and doors

I am not even certain of the number of people altogether, since I haven’t visited the window and door manufacturer (as usual in Bali the products are custom made). My builder arranged for the quote.

In about five days the final pouring of the residential side of the building will take place, as well as the mezzanine level of the two upstairs guest units. Then a final pour for the guest roof and we will be in great shape!


Week #22 — Staircases, finishing concrete, and more

The structure is changing rapidly now and it’s exciting to see the development on a daily basis. There were months when the progress was like this: holes dug in the ground, mud, then more holes, more mud; concrete and steel going into the holes, then more concrete and steel (don’t forget the mud); and finally a slab of concrete that covered up the holes and… lo and behold — a future parking area/basement.

Now we see brick walls and ceilings being covered with a form of cement plaster that will either go untouched or painted. We see stairs connecting one level to another. We see beams and plywood forms going into place for a flat concrete roof. And an electrical pole going in for our very own electricity.

Things are happening dude.