How to build a library Part 4: Discovering the construction company Nishiki Kenchiku

After more than three months of searching, we are happy to announce that we found a company to build our library for a reasonable cost. Their name is Nishiki Kenchiku (錦建築有限会社), and they can do the project for around ¥5,000,000. It took some time for us to get to this point: we received proposals from four (nearly five) companies, had numerous meetings (both in person and online), and sent countless emails back and forth trying to settle on a design for an affordable cost.

In our previous update, we were in contact with a competent local design company. Everything about them seemed great, except the cost. We were quoted at around ¥8.4 million, which isn’t expensive for what we were asking for per se. However, it was simply above our budget. After coming to this realization, things got worse for a bit. The next two companies quoted us between ¥10-¥14 million. For a moment, I considered just buying a bunch of IKEA furniture and putting them in the empty concrete space and calling it good. That’s where Nishiki Kenchiku came in.

Nishiki Kenchiku is perhaps the friendliest, most flexible construction company I have ever worked with. It is a family-run company. The father, Tetsuya (along with his two sons) met with us numerous times to discuss the construction plans. I even asked them if I could buy some IKEA furniture and have them install it – something most other companies would not do – to save costs. Tetsuya just laughed and said, “Sure! Just help me if there’s any English in the instructions.” I was amazed. Anything we wanted to do, any proposal we gave, they happily incorporated it into the design, keeping the costs in mind along the way.

After several discussions, various long email threads, and surveys of the empty space where the future library will reside, we signed the construction contract with Nishiki Kenchiku on Tuesday, July 21, 2020. The construction will start on Monday, July 27, 2020, and is expected to be complete by mid-September. Here are some screenshots of the most up-to-date plans (the final design will differ slightly).