Preparing to move to a new house is a big deal. Building a house requires even more preparation. Building a house in the bush – that’s even more work! With the extra week, we have due to helicopter maintenance before we head into Kovol to work on a land agreement we’ve been back at the house plans.

Our floor plan has been finalised for a while now. Our trip into the Pal tribe caused us to adjust our plan a teeny tiny bit by adding a gate to our veranda so we can have a public and private part. We’re going to be having people coming all the time and we don’t want them standing in front of our kitchen window and observing us in our house 🙂 A gate keeps visitors away from our windows.

Our house Layout

So we didn’t have a lot to do layout wise but we have been figuring out details. How many rafters are there? How many sheets of plywood do we need for the floor? How many beams do we build the floor with?
We’re so grateful for experienced missionaries to talk to and ask about this, and SIL have put together a 200-page bush house building guide specific for PNG. It’s full of information about how many bearers and floor joists you need for a certain area, lumber sizes etc. etc.
We also have a few handy men and builders around our support base we’re getting advise from. We submitted our plans to one of them who is an experienced framer and he came up with a cut list – these are the planks of wood you need to build that house.

Just imagine a more jungly background

We’ve been going through that, checking it and getting a cutting list ready for our milling trip. Since Kovol is a remote area with no road going to it we need to find our own hardwood trees, cut them down and turn them into planks with a chainsaw and Alaskan mill. How many planks? Well our house needs 1536!!
That’s 1536 planks we need to cut ourselves and then carry from where the tree has fallen to our build-site (up the mountain). That’s just 1 house too, we’re building 3!

We’ve set aside 4 weeks of 10 hour days logging to get that work done, sleeping and eating rough all the while.

A house isn’t only built from wood though. We need plywood, plumbing, roofing iron, water tanks etc. Those have to be brought in by helicopter. So not only do we need to figure out what we need, the cost of them and where to buy them. We need to weigh everything and figure out which flight it should come on. Which things are too big to go in the helicopter and need to be swing loaded? How much can we fit inside volume wise per shuttle? How much can we fit in weight wise per shuttle? What’s the best way to put all that together?

The planning and organisation required is itself a daunting project – let alone doing the building. We need to figure out how many nails we need and how much they weigh, and we need to have enough. You can’t pop to the shops and get some more if you run out!

We’re hearing stories from the builders of things like complete plumbing systems going in that are lacking a single connector – but without that single connector the pump can’t pressurize the system and thus a house with 99.5% of its plumbing in has 0% running water.

We’re almost counting on that sort of thing happening. I’m not a plumber, or electrician, or builder and so it’s pretty much guaranteed I’m going to overlook something. This is part of the cost of reaching the Kovol people with the gospel, and we’re glad we’ve had a little more time to work the spreadsheets before we head in, we’re feeling much better prepared after a week of focusing on it.


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