Skilled Labor

The project facilitators and community leaders will need to contract a head mason to build the school. The head mason should have many years of experience with post and beam construction using concrete and rebar, and the community should trust him and his skills. When building a bottle school there is a need to think a little “outside the box” of traditional construction, so your mason needs to be open to the new construction method, and ideally be a creative thinker.

It may be best to negotiate expectations and the price of the skilled labor with one mason and allow him to then decide how many other masons he needs to contract in order to complete the build in a timely and safe fashion. Or, depending on your circumstances, you may get better value by negotiating contracts individually.

Encouraging participation

While it is necessary to hire skilled labor to ensure the sound construction of the project, the unskilled labor component provided by the community members is the true heart of the project. In addition to collecting thousands of plastic bottles and thousands of pounds of inorganic trash, the community is integrally linked to the bottle school through its labor contributions. The men, women and children of the community aid in mixing cement, prepping
rebar, carrying supplies, placing bottles in the walls, and much more besides. In the process, they learn general construction skills as well as eco-brick construction techniques that they can use in the future.
All community members have to make certain sacrifices to donate their labor towards the project. That invested time and “sweat equity” reinforces the overall ownership of the project.