18 months of building coworking space infrastructure

We started with a MVC (minimum viable coworking) when we opened on December 15th, 2016. The space looked very incomplete, also because we learned 2 weeks before opening that our originally planned location didn’t have the required permits. So we scrambled to find another location quickly to welcome our first workation group from Go Wonder Women Travel. Somehow it all worked out and our community grew pretty quickly.

Irina adding a new window above a standing desk

But we probably underestimated all the infrastructure work that goes into building the perfect coworking space for us and our members. So here is a list of the various infrastructure improvements that we undertook after opening:

  • Installing a pellet burner heating system in the quiet space area. Including several attempts to really get it working reliably. This includes setting up short-term and long-term storage for the pellets. Guess what, the best quality and price is only available in the summer, so we bought 3 tons that we had to store somewhere. Of course, everyone sells only the best quality pellets — until you actually use them and find out the best quality has long left the country already.
    We someone coming in every morning to ensure the pellet burner is cleaned and there are enough pellets loaded for the day.
  • Getting carpets and curtains for the quiet space, totally changed the atmosphere and also helped with the acoustics, of course we also added some blinds for good measure after we discovered that the curtains don’t block enough sunlight.
  • Installing a new toilet and getting the plumbing experts a few times to deal with all the shit that goes down there. We ended up replacing some pipes as well. If you still hear a constant trickle of water running, it is one of the reamaining mysteries of the quiet space. In the event space we are hiding the toilet noise behind some insolation…
  • Insolating the roof in the quiet space to keep the expensive pellet burner heat in and the summer heat out. Thank you, volunteer Jack for the help with this.
  • Installed a new window in the kitchen and Skype room. Wanted to install one in the quiet space as well, but our window guy didn’t want to come anymore…
  • Adding a nice wooden patio area and learning that setting up our own fence with bamboo wasn’t cheaper or quicker than just getting it done by the patio people. Also next time, varnish the wood before installing…
Patio before and after
  • Fixing our smart lock a few times — clearly something that is not often installed in Bansko by our favorite locksmith.
    Uwe is now researching a new lock system that we can access via an API. So this story is not over yet.
  • Installing some outdoor lighting, that people always turned on/off accidentally until we also installed some motion-based lighting switches.
Thank you Jack, please come back soon :-)
  • Replacing all noisy fluorescent lights with silent LED lights
  • Getting a beautiful custom carpet for the event space that is cozy enough to lay on it during movie nights.
  • Installing a glass wall in the event space to create another small meeting/skype room.
  • Putting a network cable between our social space and quiet space locations when the local cable company was digging up the street anyways. And putting our own conduit. And replacing our routers to improve failover options. And then rewiring them for backup power as well to combat random power outages killing our internet. And replacing the backup provider.
Maria and Jonathan improving their DIY skills in our volunteer apartment
  • Got our volunteer apartment up and running, including installing a kitchen, adding wallpaper, finding the right furniture, some artwork and even putting up some fancy stucco. Thank you, Maria for your help! Also happy that newcomer Jonathan helped with the renovations on his second day of membership — but then he never came back afterwards.
  • and so much more

Our local handyman George is coming one day per week, every week, to either install or improve something around the space. And we hold a bimonthly Food for Thought members feedback event so that we never run out of improvement ideas :-)

We are already trying to buy our quiet space location for a few months, some delay at the municipality which needs to approve the deal, and once we own it there will be more construction required, like insolating the whole building, installing a new gutter, painting everything and potentially adding a glasshouse type extension to the building in the garden.

Great Nomad Anna painting some brainstorming indicator lights

So yes, the community is at the core of our coworking space, but infrastructure and operations should not be underestimated.

And we absolutly love when our members and volunteers help us with improving the space. So their personality is captured in the physical location even when they travel the world to get inspired and share the Bansko magic.

If you have any ideas, please share during the next members feedback event. Especially appreciated would be a smart idea to improve the lighting in the event space area for the light shafts.

We building an amazing coworking space in Bansko, a mountain resort in Bulgaria. This is our story.