20 September 2011 - On 13 September 2011, the Southern African Housing Foundation’s (SAHF) gala dinner took place at Moyo, Spier Wine Estate, near Stellenbosch.
This glitzy annual event forms part of SAHF’s International Conference, Exhibition & Housing Awards and celebrates “individuals and organisations that have excelled and have made an outstanding contribution to the development of sustainable communities”. This year saw the City of Cape Town walk away with the coveted ‘Housing Projects of the Year’ award for the their CRU Refurbishment Programme.
Funded by the National Community Residential Units (CRU) programme, an initiative aimed at building new rental stock (including hostels and residential units) and upgrading existing higher density stock, the City of Cape Town’s CRU Refurbishment is successfully addressing the maintenance of the City’s 43 500 rental properties for families earning between R800 and R3 500 per month.
“Not only are we delivering engineering outcomes, but these outcomes make a direct difference in the lives of those who depend on safe, well-maintained rental property for their families’ well-being, which makes this kind of project immensely satisfying,” explains Aurecon Project Manager Johan Keuler.
Planning for the CRU project began in earnest when Aurecon and another consulting engineers company were appointed to project manage the roll-out of the refurbishment. The first phase targeted Council houses and flats in Mannenberg, Scottsdene, Scottsville, Connaught, The Range, Uitsig, Woodlands, Heideveld, Hanover Park, Kewtown and Ottery. Structural assessment of these buildings was arranged, as well as surveys to determine the specific maintenance needs throughout these areas, with refurbishment including general renovations to buildings, roofs, electrical and plumbing systems and the installation of new ceilings, floor coverings, cupboards and geysers where necessary. Fencing, refuse management, area lighting, greening of areas and recreational facilities also received attention.
“Although the work was carried out in such a way as to cause the minimum of inconvenience to tenants, the dwellings needed to be vacated during specific periods,” says Keuler. This required the project team to think ‘outside of the box’ in terms of finding an affordable means of providing temporary accommodation. “Arrangements for alternative accommodation, storage of furniture and security were all provided for by means of temporary accommodation villages which took on the form of converted containers placed in the village for use by the residents. These containers were 2.4 m wide by 12 m long, included insulation, partitioning, power, running water, ablution facilities as well as internal and external lighting.”
Hannes Kritzinger, Aurecon’s Office Manager, Cape Town, explains that “low-cost housing is quite possibly the most challenging type of project we can be involved in. This particular project demanded a high level of innovation, but at a cost that ensured the project was able to make the widest impact possible within a tight budget. To achieve this as successfully as the project team working on the CRU Refurbishment Programme is doing, is truly something to be very proud of.”