CONSTRUCTION ADVICE

BATHROOM ESSENTIALS

All floor surfaces need to be slip-proof

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Bathrooms should have two towel racks

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Make sure windows are opaque

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Bathrooms do not need only to be made of concrete and tiles. All wood bathrooms work fine

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Install wooden hooks on back of door for clothes and towels

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Make sure the bathroom drains well and is separated from the room by a small threshold

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The door should open into the bathroom to prevent flooding the bedroom

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Bathtubs are expensive, difficult to install, hard to keep clean and waste a lot of water, which goes against the concept of an ecolodge. Install showers only

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Don’t build square, open, cement water holders next to the toilet. They breed mosquitoes and are hard to clean. Use a covered clay-ceramic jar instead

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Make an enclosed shower area to stop the whole bathroom from getting wet. The enclosure can be ready-made, hand-built of bricks and tiles or made of glass/Plexiglas and wood

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Standard hot water heaters do not supply enough hot water during the cold winter months in northern Laos. To please your guests, spend a little more money on hot water boilers, and install them out of sight, in back or underneath the lodge. Using solar hot water heaters is a good idea and will help save energy

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Provide a hand shower next to the toilet

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Make sure the door into the bathroom is the same height as a standard door so people don’t bang their heads

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Put a wastebasket in the bathroom

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Toilet paper holders and towel racks should be strong and made of wood

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Shower spray should not make toilet paper, soap holder or towel racks wet

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Shower heads should be installed 2 m high

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Don’t install switches, breakers or fuses in the bathroom. If you install an electric hot water heater place it above the showerhead away from any water spray

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Install all fixtures for showers, sinks and toilets correctly and make sure they function properly. Check regularly. All PVC pipes should be inside or behind walls. Outside PVC pipes should be hidden or painted a natural wood color

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You must have a sit down toilet, not a squat toilet, with a quality, strong seat and cover which remains open when lifted up

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If your lodge is on flat land, ensure good water pressure by building a high water tower (one time cost) or install pressure pumps (monthly costs forever). If your site is located on a slope or has a hill behind it, take advantage of gravity by pumping your well water up to a holding tank at the highest possible point

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Install a simple mirror (no plastic frames) and a small shelf below it for shaving kits and brushes/combs. Make sure guests can wash their face and brush their teeth without banging their forehead on the shelf. A large, rounded counter with the sink built into it is even better

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

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