It has been a while since I last updated you with the progress of Moving School 003 at Hope School on the outskirts of Mae Sot in Thailand. After the foundations were fitted by the local community it was time to bolt together the structure for the classrooms.
Moving School 003 consists of 2 large classrooms which will be a cool, light learning environment for the pupils of Hope School. After the steel structure was secured in place, the next step was to fit the roof material. The Ironwood team along with Jan Glasmeier from Agora Architects and the Building Trust team fixed the roof into place before the rainy season really began!
With the roof firmly secured in place the team were able to begin fitting the cementitious wood floor boards into the school structure and began fixing the twin polycarbonate material for the wall panels into place. The polycarbonate material was kindly donated by Bayer Thailand.
The final result of the Moving School 003 design is truly fantastic, not only will the structure provide a light and clean environment for the students but the structure also fits well into the bamboo forest surroundings.
Many thanks to all those involved in the construction of Moving School 003 and to Bayer Thailand for their very generous donation of fabric to create the walls of Moving School 002 and 003.
We look forward to sharing further images of the pupils enjoying their new school building in the coming months.
With the roof and floor installed at the New Road site, the Ironwood team were ready to fit the walls to the school building. After a successful meeting with Bayer AG, a German chemical and pharmaceutical company in Bangkok we received the fantastic news that the organisation would provide the wall material for both Moving School 002 and 003. The material to be used was a twin walled polycarbonate which has the benefit of being lightweight, durable and UV resistant and would allow the internal classrooms to be kept cool and light.
A member of the Bayer team from the Bangkok office kindly agreed to visit us in Mae Sot bringing with him a wealth of knowledge as to how to install the material. He instructed us the best methods of using the material and the suitable fixings to ensure the product remained water tight.
The next step was to construct the wooden panels which would hold the plastic sheets in place. When all panels were finished and made in the workshop they were taken to the Moving School 002 site to be installed while classes continued for the school pupils in the old cramped building.
The wooden panels were built with sections to be used for windows which will add extra ventilation and light when needed into the classrooms.
We were very happy to see Moving School 002 nearly complete and looking fantastic! We would like to thank Bayer for kindly donating the polycarbonate material which will ensure the classrooms stay light and airy and have a great impact on the learning environment of the pupils from New Road.
It was now time for the Opening Ceremony and Bayer kindly treated the boys & girls of New Road to ice cream and a new school book.
We would like to thank the fantastic team at Ironwood for their hard work and dedication and to Jan from Agora Architects for his support and assistance. We look forward to sharing with you photos of the pupils in their new school classrooms very soon!
We received fantastic news recently at Building Trust HQ that the Japan Association for the Mae Tao Clinic (JAM) have been able to provide funding to help us provide a further mobile, modular school to a migrant and refugee community on the outskirts of Mae Sot. Hope school, which we initially visited in the Summer of 2012, desperately needs facilities for a new classroom. We will be building a new school building for Hope in collaboration with Agora Architects in Mae Sot. Their school is located in the valley of a bamboo forest with beautiful surroundings but a slightly challenging environment due to very slippery conditions and the school being very remote.
We discussed in detail with the School headmistress and teachers as to the position of their new classroom, thinking about the position of the sun during the day and the effect it would have on the light in the classroom. The Headmistress advised the size and scale of the classrooms needed and we discussed where they would sit on the school site.
After a few days in the Ironwood workshop cutting and drilling the steel required to create the school structure all components were brought to site on the back of a pick up truck. The local community agreed to dig the foundation holes needed for the structure and helped bring the steel to site.
While the community dug the foundation holes in the drizzling rain, the Ironwood team set the frames out and began drilling and bolting the frames together.
The frames were then carried near to the site of the new school classroom ready to be lifted over the foundation feet and bolted into place.
Next the Ironwood team, Agora Architects and Building Trust members helped to prepare the concrete mixture ready to fill the foundation holes which contain one truck tyre and the steel foundation post.
The next stage will be to fill the foundations with the concrete mix and set the foundations.
I look forward to updating you with the next stages of our third Moving School.
After a fantastic couple of days bringing the steel to site and installing the classroom frames, the next task was to fix all the floor joists in place and drill holes into the ceiling beams ready to take the roofing structure.
A few of the pupils spent their lunchtime lending a hand and helping us to paint more of the steel sections for their new classroom. It was great to see their enthusiasm and eagerness to help out on site.
The local community arrived on site ready to work and decided to build a walkway from the current school building to the new classrooms. Travelling to the nearest place we could source bamboo, several of the parents cut down 15 pieces of bamboo and then split and stripped the bamboo. They used the bamboo as a replacement for a metal frame to go at the bottom of the base of the walkway in preparation for a concrete mixture to be poured on top.
It was fantastic to have the local communities support and assistance in the school project. Both the students and parents were keen to see the Ironwood team working and have the ability to share their different skill sets.
Next to be installed was the metal roof structure and finally the Shera board flooring material for the classroom floor.
It is great to see the classroom structure taking form on site at New Road, we cannot wait to see the pupils using their new classroom buildings.
I look forward to updating you with final pictures of Moving School 002 very soon.
Well we are back in Mae Sot continuing the construction of Moving School 002 in Mae Ramat on the Thai/Burma border. After completing the foundations in April, we were now ready to start lifting the steel frame structure of the school classrooms into place.
All the steel required for Moving School 002 fitted easily onto one truck and was then transported from the Ironwood workshop to the school site in Mae Ramat. The first task on site was to check the level across the whole structure using a water level, the same technique as used previously on the first Moving School.
Soon after the truck was unloaded, the Ironwood team and Building Trust began setting out the steel frames on site and bolting the sections together.
When the structure was bolted together the frames were then simply lifted above the foundation posts and bolted into place at the correct height. The frames are then locked in together across the whole structure with floor joists and roofing frame.
The next step will be to connect all floor joists into place and then attach Shera board to create the classroom flooring. Shera board is a cementitious wood board which we used on the first Moving School, it is very strong, durable and cleans easily so is great for the flooring of the classrooms. The roof for the school will arrive on site tomorrow and I look forward to sharing with you photos of the installation very soon.
My Vodafone WOD placement at Building Trust international may have finished but work doesn’t stop. With the rainy season quickly approaching in Thailand it was very important that we work with the local teachers and parents of New Road school to set the foundations for their new school before the rains started. Having previously set the grid for the foundations and bringing truck tyres to site we were ready to start digging the holes and setting the foundations. With the parents and teachers keen to help out it was left to their committee to dig the 14 foundation holes. Overnight, 7 parents and teachers excavated the foundations to precise accuracy. This was fantastic as it meant by day two we could begin filling in the holes with truck tyres and a concrete mixture. It was amazing to arrive at site the next day and see the vast number of people ready and waiting to carry out work on the foundations. With sand, gravel and tyres delivered to site we were ready to begin mixing the concrete mixture and setting the foundations.
A team of men from the committee began mixing the concrete mixture by hand, with a further team delivering buckets of sand and gravel to the mix. Within less than an hour several of the foundation holes were set, it was easy to see that many of the people helping had a background in the construction industry.
It was great to have Jay a volunteer from Chile on site to help with the foundations, he carefully fed rebar into the foundation feet to give added support. It was not only volunteers and parents who helped out but also the pupils of the New Road school. They were happy to carry buckets of the sand and gravel to the site and were excited to see the start of their new school.
To ensure the foundation holes were level a home made plumb bob and line was made from a stone and string to ensure all foundations were at right angles. Each foundation post was also clearly marked with a marker pen to show the centre position of the foundation for ease when the steel frame structure is fitted to the foundations posts at a later date.
After just a few hours all the foundations were set and ready for the upcoming rainy season. This will be a great benefit when we begin the construction of the school in June as it is easier to mix concrete and work on foundations without the rain.
After 2 days all 14 foundations holes were completed! The steel for the school frame structure has been delivered to the Iron Wood workshop for the apprentices to begin drilling holes and cutting the steel to construct the frames. I look forward to updating you on the school build progression soon.
Well things are really progressing with Moving Schools 002 at New Road School in Mae Ramat. The new site has been cleared and this week parents and teachers from the school committee will begin digging foundation holes for their new school. The PTA meeting which was held last week was a great way to discuss the school design with the local community and gain their feedback on the design.
By reviewing a scale model of the school design with the PTA members the Building Trust team were able to clearly understand the needs of the school committee and the pupils. There will be five classrooms made from a steel frame as constructed in the first Moving Schools build. The building will feature two large classrooms and three smaller classrooms which will be divided by walls which the parents and teachers will construct themselves.
It is great to see how pro active the local community members are in building a new school for their children. They were happy to take time of during the Songkran holiday season to get started on the build of the new classrooms. I look forward to keeping you posted with details of the school build over the upcoming months.
A few photos of the first day on site plotting the grid for their new school building:
Just in time for the Thai New Year Festival ‘Songrkan,’ Building Trust’s first Moving School for Thu Kha Hang Sar students is complete. As the temperatures in Thailand rise and work becomes more difficult due to the extreme heat of 40 degrees, we are very happy to say all work for the first Moving Schools project has been finished.
The new pulley system which is used to open and close the windows throughout the school has been fully installed and explained to the headmistress. The new window system will allow the classrooms to remain cool during rainy season while providing protection from the rain and added security.
It will be great to see how the children interact with the changes to their new school when they return to class in June.
I am very happy to share with you photos of Moving Schools 001:
The success of the first Moving Schools project has been proven as Building Trust have been requested to build a further mobile, modular school design in the nearby town of Mae Ramat, Thailand. I look forward to sharing with you photos of a recent Parent’s Teacher’s Association meeting at New Road School, where the design of Moving Schools 002 was discussed and agreed with the school committee. Work on the build will began shortly, with parents of the school children working with Building Trust to dig the foundation holes for their new school building.
After a great weekend, with the arrival of the fabric roofing and flooring material for the school build we were very eager to start putting up the roofing system and turn the project from a steel frame into a complete building. The workshop apprentices were now working on site at the school where they were using a generator to construct the larger roof frames on site.
Once a large frame was built by the team, the plastic roofing fabric was fitted to the frame and then a team of workers would lift the frames into place over the steel frames.With the rain not stopping we decided to try and place the first small roof in place. Paul from Youth Connect climbed onto the steel frame as Aung Myint Soe and David pushed the small frame into position.
It was great to finally see a roof section in place and to find out that the plastic roofing caused no sound when the rain hit the roof. With the first small roof in place the next day the team decided to lift a large frame into position to complete the first school module. With scaffolding carefully positioned around the steel frame the team slowly manoeuvred the large roof into place and within a few hours the first two school modules were fitted with roofing system.
As the roofs were fitted the volunteers moved the Viva floor boards into place on the school module and the boards were painted. Both top and bottom of the boards were coated in acrylic paint. This layer of paint will provide an essential waterproofing.
After the floor boards were painted David used self tapping, countersunk screws to attach the boards at 50mm centres to the steel floor joists. Slowly we could see the school modules creating an interesting new space which would become the classrooms for the Thu Kha Hang Sar students.
As the floor boards and roofs were being fitted, we began to research a supplier for bamboo blinds which would be fitted to the steel frames adding extra protection from the weather to each module. We were very happy to find out a family in a nearby village manufactured bamboo blinds from their home. Driving through the rice paddie fields and across a winding path led us to where the family created the blinds. We discussed the designs with the family and they agreed to make 30 blinds for the school in two weeks. The family would cut and smoke the bamboo before weaving the bamboo with nylon to create beautiful blinds.
It was fantastic to be providing the local community with work and great to see even more local produce being taken into the final design. After collecting all the blinds from the local village they were taken to the Youth Connect workshop to be painted with a lacquer to protect the bamboo from insects and water damage. We really looked forward to bringing all the school materials together to see the final school design.
It was great to see more of the roof in place and begin to get a feel for the space and overall design of the building. We were really pleased with the plastic fabric which looked spectacular above the steel frame. The roofing system will provide the students with a quieter classroom environment, sun protection and better ventilation provided through the angles of the roof.
Meanwhile, in the workshop further Burmese workers were employed to finish the bamboo wall panels. A team of two spent two weeks constructing 60 bamboo panels which would create the walls for the school modules.
It is great to see all the components of the build coming together and we are looking forward to seeing the finished school build very soon.
After a fantastic weekend constructing the ten school modules on site, we were eager for the arrival of the roofing fabric and flooring which would turn the steel frame structures into a school building. We received notice on Sunday morning that the UV resistant fabric for the roof had arrived in Bangkok from Germany via Oman. The fabric was very kindly donated to Building Trust by Mehler Texnologies a German company, who offered to provide the fabric for the school project free of charge we then had to pay the shipping cost by air to Thailand. We also awaited the arrival of the flooring which is made from a cementitious wood board by a Thai company called Viva Board. The cementitious wood board looks very similar to the familiar concrete flooring often found in Mae Sot schools, however the vital difference is that the Viva Board can be taken with the school community if they have to move the school in the future. Another package awaiting delivery from Bangkok were the aluminium extrusions, a product by French company Profil Tensions Systems which would hold the PVC membrane to the steel frame.
After a few days of long, arduous and frustrating phone conversations, trying our hardest to get the fabric released from customs at Bangkok airport we received the great news that on Wednesday afternoon the flooring, extrusions and roofing were on a truck from Bangkok to Mae Sot.
As the truck made it’s way to Mae Sot the volunteers spent 2 days completing 8 foundation holes for the central courtyard. Instead of using truck tyres and digging three tyres deep for the courtyard foundations, we used a smaller car tyres. We were able to use a smaller system for the central courtyard as there will be very little imposed loads on this area of the school.
As the final courtyard foundation hole was finished, the truck from Bangkok arrived and the volunteers, David and I wondered how on Earth we would be able to unload the truck containing all the flooring and roofing materials for the school construction. As we tried to come up with the easiest solutions to unload and called friends to see if they could help, out of nowhere a group of 50 students from the school next door, who had just finished playing football started walking in droves up the road. They all huddled together around the back off the truck and looked up to David & the workshop guys to unload the material to them. It was as if by magic a team of incredible, strong children showed up to help us unload. Ranging in ages from 6 – 16, they lifted the rolls of plastic roofing into the school site.
With 10 children to a roll the roofing was quickly brought into the school site. Next to be unloaded were the large Viva Boards for the flooring. Over the next hour 140 pieces of Viva board were carried piece by piece into the site, where I stood directing the children where to place the materials. It was fantastic to see how eager and enthusiastic the children were to help out.
We were so relieved that the fabric and roofing materials had arrived safely from Bangkok and could not quite believe the experience of unloading the truck. We truly believed someone/something was looking out for us.
After an action packed afternoon on Friday, Saturday morning we were to begin work on the roofing sections. There are two sections to the roof, a small roof and one larger roof. Both steel frame roof sections need to be fitted with aluminium extrusions, which hold the plastic roofing material in place. Adrien from Profil Tension System very kindly flew up from Bangkok to show us how to construct the aluminium and roofing sections.
First the aluminium extrusions are connected to the steel frame with self tapping screws at approx. 200mm centres.
The fabric is then rolled out over the steel frame and cut to the correct size. Small plastic extrusions are then tapped into place at four points across the frame to keep the fabric in place.
The four small plastic extrusions are then removed as a larger piece of plastic extrusion is fitted to the roofing section as the plastic is stretched and tightened across the frame.
When the plastic is stretched and tight across the whole roof, then a second layer of aluminium is fitted on top.
The process of fitting aluminium extrusions to plastic onto steel roofing frame took the team just under one hour to complete. Now to complete another 9 small frames and 10 large frames!
It was great to see how fantastic the roofing fabric looked against the steel frame and when tested under the rain we could see how resistant the fabric was to the weather and how little noise could be heard when the rain hit the plastic surface. This would be a huge change to the current tin roof which is very noisy and only lasts a few years. We hope that the plastic roof will last for 5-10 years, Chan Chan the Headmistress smiled from ear to ear as she visited the school site and the weekend to see the fabric roofing material. This will be the first of its kind and we hope will make a dramatic improvement to the education of the children at Thu Kha Hang Sar.
We now wait for a break in the rain to place the 10 small and 10 large roofs onto the steel modules. We hope that we will be able to have the roof up over the next few days. This will allow us to have a dry area where we can begin to fit the Viva board flooring and insert the bamboo wall panels into the school structure.