We’ve been making continued progress in construction and design since the last construction progress report, on several fronts. Of course, as Panama takes its holidays seriously, the second half of December saw very little on-site construction work. However, a trip to Colombia during that time to check on the production of some of the materials we are using yielded some nice pictures.
One visit was to the producer of the bamboo decking we are using at Primera Inn as well as the bamboo structures at our outdoor pavilion and parking area.
For both the decking and structures, we are utilizing a species of bamboo called “guadua,” which can get up to six inches in diameter and is often used in Colombia and some other Latin American and Asian countries to build enormous structures. While we actually have a small stand of this species growing on our island, it doesn’t come close to producing enough bamboo to meet our structural or decking needs, though we have used it for smaller structures. As with nearly all species of bamboo, guadua’s fast-growing nature makes it a nicely sustainable product.
We also visited the company producing a lot of our hardwood products, CJ Construmakinas, also located in Colombia. For all of these products, we are using a species of mahogany known locally as “chanul.”
Meanwhile, back on Isla Palenque…
Foundation work continues apace on Primera Inn, along with the initial stages required to begin framing buildings. As I often tell employees at Amble, construction work, even when it happens at an even pace, often looks like it is happening in fits and starts. We have spent the last month working on foundations, and this work will continue for another month or so. To date, we are drilling and pouring concrete for the caissons which hold up most of our buildings. Using these twelve-inch diameter piers, extending all the way down to bedrook, prevents us from needing to excavate a lot of land or disturb the root systems of the many gorgeous large trees which surround our buildings, and allows us to nestle the buildings right up to them in some cases.
Even though the foundation work isn’t complete, we will be able to begin installing the steel framing that forms the primary structures for our buildings. The first step in this process is setting the levels for the floors, and ensuring that everything is square and level. After that is complete, we will be able to begin framing.