7 CONSTRUCTION ADVICE

This section is meant to provide some basic advice on incorporating ecolodge design concepts into the actual construction of the facility. It is not technical “how to” advice, but rather some additional information on what tourists like to see regarding ecolodge buildings and how you can ensure their preferences are considered during the construction process.
As mentioned earlier, tourists like big rooms with big bathrooms. They will pay more for a larger room, whether it is a bungalow or room in a larger hotel-like structure. Rooms should be at least 3.5 x 4 m with a bathroom of at least 2.15 x 1.75 m. Balconies should take full advantage of the view and be at least 1.5 m wide.

Don’t pour a large concrete slab or lay a brick foundation when building bungalows. Instead slightly raise the structure and wrap the pillars in brick, stone or concrete to prevent termites.When framing in wood, you can show round or sawn pillars and leave the ceiling open. If you frame in concrete, surfaces in the bedroom will need to be covered in wood or bamboo to keep the ecolodge looking “natural”. If you have a concrete floor, it will need to be covered in wood or
ceramic tile. Do not use building materials made with asbestos - it is illegal in many countries because it is
dangerous to people’s health.

Examples of exposed wooden pillar supports

Examples of traditional Lao roofing materials

Acceptable roofing materials are wood shingles, Lao ceramic tile or split bamboo. Tourists do not like tin roofs because they are hot, loud when it rains, and do not blend in well with nature. To prevent leaky bamboo, wood or tile roofs, use layers of black tarpaper, zinc sheets or alu-foil that can be hidden in-between the layers of roofing material. Grass is inexpensive but it quickly leaks and burns easily. Because you are building in wood, if one lodge burns, all might burn and you can lose your entire investment.

Doors and window frames should be similar in design and be large enough to allow a good view of the gardens and scenery beyond. The front door of your rooms should open outward to fan away mosquitoes. Always install mosquito screens on all windows and doors. Locks, window and door bolts, light switches,electric plug covers and other fixtures should match if possible.
It is not necessary to install iron bars in the window frames, it makes the room feel like a jail.Consider using sliding windows when you can. This design saves space and requires no hardware such as hinges and bolts.

Windows and doors should be large enough to provide a view

14 DESIGNING AND BUILDING AN ECOLODGE IN THE LAO PDR SUGGESTIONS FOR LOCAL INVESTORS

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