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What is it like? Where should I start? What mistake should I avoid? In the Gilis, as anywhere in the world, building from scratch on raw land is, somewhat, challenging. In this article, we’ll give you a few tips to make your experience building in the Gilis a success!


Think about the infrastructure

You are building on raw land so you need to bear in mind that basic facilities will have to be brought up to your land, and brought up fast! Of course you are going to need electricity and water when you move in if you are building a personal house or when you start operating if you are building a holiday rental or a hotel. But your workers on site are going to need it as well to be able to work. Electricity and water should be the very first things taken care of when planning on starting the constructions. You will need to contact the local suppliers to have the cables and pipes brought up to your land, plus both electric and water meters installed. The potential waiting time between the request and the actual installation will have to be anticipated before setting up the starting date of your constructions.

Also remember you are on a small island and infrastructures are not as reliable as they are on mainland. Blackouts and water supply cuts do happen so you need to make sure you have a back-up. A well and a pump, plus a generator or batteries are essential to your project.


Don’t underestimate the cost of transportation

Once again, building in paradise comes at a cost. Basically everything you are going to need for your project will come from Lombok mainland at best, sometimes from Bali, or even from Java. Only from Lombok, you have to consider all the transportation steps your material is going to go through. From the shop to the beach by truck, from the truck to the boat with porters, from the beach in Lombok to the beach in Gili by boat, from the boat to the cidomo (horse & carriage) with porters, then finally from the beach in Gili to your land by cidomo. Repeat the operation as many times as you are going to bring material for your constructions until it’s finished and you get the idea.

At the end of a project, transportation can represent up to 20-30% of the total cost so this is definitely something to anticipate in your budget.


Hire a site manager

The temptation is high… “I am going to save money and be the site manager myself.”

Sure, you can. But unless you have some experience with it and speak some bahasa Indonesia, you should reconsider.

First, the money. In theory, yes, you are saving some salary expenses by being your own site manager rather than hiring one but if you don’t have any experience with it and/or don’t speak the language, this decision can induce some very costly mistakes, forcing you to redo some parts of your building several times, buying some more material and therefore, draining your budget.

Then, the time. Mistakes caused by the lack of experience, the lack of anticipation, or miscommunication with your team of workers will slow down your project. In the end, you will delay the time you can start running your business and ultimately impact your budget negatively. Trying to save on your project management is a miscalculated strategy.


Be there

It is your project after all. Noone knows it better than you, and you are essential to its success.

Most importantly, being there will allow you to quickly identify small issues before they become major ones and correct the situation right away. Your communication with your site manager is key. You need to meet with him regularly on-site to be able to give your feedback and answer the questions he has along the way in order to make sure your project is moving forward smoothly and on schedule.

Moreover, even though your project must be well-thought-out prior to starting the construction in order to avoid major changes, small design modifications may be needed or wanted, and you need to be here to give directions.


Enjoy it

Most importantly, enjoy the process! Sure, it is not an easy ride but it is still a fantastic experience and in the end, an amazing achievement to be extremely proud of.

Building in the Gilis is the beginning of a new life adventure. There will be plenty of days of excitement and even the hard times will someday become a source of laughter, even nostalgia.

Remember how lucky you are to see your dream project, the one you probably spent so much energy on, coming to life on a paradise island.

All will be well, you are in the Gilis!