Construction Update (Week 6)

It was a busy week starting with the completion of the wall studs and rafters (下地). In Japanese, they use this word shitaji as a sort of cover term for these, which translates to “foundation” or “groundwork” (here’s an example). This does make sense in that the studs, or framing, whether it be on the ceiling or on the walls, form a foundation for the drywall on top of it, but “foundation” in this sense sounds a little odd in English (which tends to exclusively reserve this word for the concrete base of the structure). The word tarukizai (垂木材), or “rafter materials” (60 x ¥750 = ¥45,000) was quoted in the estimate, so you may see this word may pop up from time to time if you’re looking into the construction world in Japan.

The first day of September was dedicated to closing up the side door. This is where the toilet/restroom will be, and we didn’t have enough space to save the exit (Japanese law doesn’t require two exits in a space this small). The building in which we’re located will undergo extra earthquake reinforcement sometime in 2021, and, as a result, this exit will be covered up with steel girders anyway, so it made sense to just say bye to it now.

The next 3 days consisted of two main tasks: 1) nailing on the drywall (プラスターボード) to the wooden framing, and 2) constructing the kids’ reading corner.

The drywall is quoted in two places in our estimate as 1) 25 sheets of “plasterboard” (for the ceiling) x ¥825 = ¥20,625) and 2) 40 sheets of “wall material” (壁材) x ¥2,250 = ¥90,000. But as far as I can tell, it all looks like regular drywall, so maybe this would be a good question to ask the construction company to clarify the difference and educate myself at the same time! In the pictures below, you can see that most of the drywall is finished, with only a few spots remaining such as the shop front and sections of the kids’ area.

Which brings me to the kids’ area. The structure pictured below is a sort of loft structure (¥300,000), which will be a reading area for children. Both the top and bottom floors are roughly 120-125cm in height (260cm – 15cm for the thickness of second floor base = 245cm / 2). The first floor will have bookshelves and a couple chairs, and for the second floor we plan to have a few beanbag chairs. This space will be accessible with a small ladder. Depending on how many kid’s books we have, we may add bookshelves on the top floor as well, and will add them later if need be. For the time being, we purchased four of the 106cm versions of IKEA’s BILLY bookcase for this area and will assemble them ourselves to save costs.

That wraps it up for this week. The construction is schedule to be finished by September 18, or exactly two weeks from now. I don’t know if this will really be possible given the various delays we had in the beginning of the process due to COVID-19 and delays in getting the materials. Regardless, I will continue to provide updates until the end.