Building a tropical plastic greenhouse can be summarize in 10 major steps.
1 – Material arrival
A container (40′) full of steel can easily weight about 20 tones (40 000 pounds). Having the proper workforce and equipment to unload it is your main priority. What is more, a clean surface covered with ground cover will facilitate the handling of the parts.
2 – Container unloading
It is difficult to unload a full closed container. You will need to work on the right plan using machines like powerful forklift to pull out the items from the container. At this stage, it is important to have a qualified senior supervisor managing the construction site.
3 – Steel and items storage
It is important to store the same items together (round, square, rectangular, oval tube…). However, the smaller one can be place into a protected area (bolts, screws…). Keep the items tags clear and the boxes in dry locations. Also protect precious parts such as aluminium extrusions and greenhouse equipment (fans, climate computers, lights…).
Good tips: It can be a good idea to keep 1 or 2 containers to be transformed into a store which will facilitate the search for parts during the construction of the greenhouses
4 – Land preparation and foundations work
Once the land is clear, it is necessary to respect the concrete quality (g/m3) and to double-check the field slope %. The soil type and density is also a important parameter. Indeed, if the soil is to light or not stable (sandy, peatland) it can affect the greenhouse foundations and the structure stability in the long-term.
5 – Greenhouse pre-assembly
This part must be anticipated to be efficient finding the items on the fields with different teams building the arches, gutters, posts and other parts of the main greenhouse structure.
6 – Greenhouse assembly
Again you will need an experimented supervisor to manage the team and double-check after the workers. The post and gutter alignment must be perfect before installing the arches.
7 – Plastic covering installation
Plastic covering installation is one of the most difficult part. Builders prefer to install it early morning during days without wind. It is important to have good machines (scissor lifts or platform) to work safely at height. You also need to have enough workers to pull the plastic along the length of the greenhouse.
8 – and 9 – Door frame installation and insect-proof netting covering
A tropical greenhouse is usually high (minimum 4m under gutter) with sides covered with netting and/or roll-ups system to maximise the passive ventilation.
Once the roof cover is install on your gutter connected greenhouse, the next steps are to build the doors frame and cover the sides with insect-proof net. Indeed, you will not have to come again inside the greenhouse with heavy machines (except if you have shading screens or growing system to install) so you can cover the sides and gables.
10 – Greenhouse inspection and final work
At the end of the construction, it is mandatory to inspect the all parts of the greenhouses to make sure that everything is in order. Holes in the plastic must also be repaired in the net.
The opening of the vents on the roof and on the sides must be double-checked. It will be important to ensure that the structure is watertight during the first rains.
Things to do: You should also notify the greenhouse manufacturer if you find rust on the steel structure.
Good memories from the field in Vietnam, Malaysia and Indonesia with the best greenhouse supervisors.
Photo credits: Corenthin Chassouant personal photos