Housing for contractors defines minimalist approach


Home away from home consists of makeshift lodging that changes as work progresses inside a construction site.

This is not the first time that I have published a post about the way construction workers live in Phnom Penh.

They arrive here from the provinces unable to find work or at least unable to find work that will support them and their families.  They don’t make much money in construction either — it varies from as little as $150 a month for laborers to a little more for skilled workers.

However, they don’t have to pay for housing.  They live communally within the projects, changing locations as a building progresses from the foundation on up.

Others working on major projects make their homes in single-room housing provided by their employers.

Showers and bathrooms appear to be outside.  It is hard to imagine that lives even in private housing are not incomprehensibly hard under a merciless sun or in monsoon rains, never mind the virtual lack of privacy.


Workers who live here toil on the nearly finished building behind the housing.


Tight quarters are the rule for the workers who live here.  They spend long days building a luxury development a short distance away.


Although it is possible to cook over open fires outside, many laborers buy street food for nourishment.

E-mail: malcolmncarter@gmail.com

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