R353m social housing project for Pietermaritzburg
Hundreds of families in the Westgate Grange area of Pietermaritzburg will soon have access to affordable housing with the completion of Aloe Ridge, the largest social housing project in the city.
“There is a huge housing demand for households earning between R2 000 and R7 500 monthly, but not enough competitive private sector initiatives meeting this demand. Through this development, we are hoping to make a significant dent in this market,” says Ivor Caldecott, chief executive officer of MHA.
Conceptualised by a non-profit organisation, Msunduzi Housing Association (MHA), construction of Aloe Ridge began in November 2014 in an effort to provide much-needed reasonably-priced rental accommodation for the lower- to middle-income earners in the area.
“We anticipate completion of the entire project by the end of May 2017,” says Ivor Caldecott, chief executive officer of MHA. “There is a huge housing demand for households earning between R2 000 and R7 500 monthly, but not enough competitive private sector initiatives meeting this demand. Through this development, we are hoping to make a significant dent in this market.”
MHA is a social housing institution committed to meeting the needs of the community and, in addition to the conceptualisation and design of the project, MHA completed all the relevant funding applications, owns and oversees the development, and will manage all the tenancies going forwards.
Caldecott says in addition to the provision of housing, Aloe Ridge will create 500 jobs for unskilled labourers during the construction phase, as well as full-time, permanent employment for six general workers, six cleaners, six security guards, a housing supervisor, two letting agents and one rental administration position upon completion.
The first phase of occupancy were made available in October 2016, when 210 units were released. Occupancy of the remaining units will be staggered until mid-2017.
Caldecott says the R353 million project contracted by Stefanutti Stocks has received funding from the Social Housing Regulatory Authority, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Human Settlements, National Housing Finance Corporation, as well as Msunduzi Housing Association.
Aloe Ridge, which will house an anticipated 4 000 people, will consist of 952 two bedroom apartments in three-storey walk-ups separated into two villages.
Of the 952 units, Caldecott says 287 will cater for households earning up to R3 500 per month, and the balance of 665 units will cater for households earning up to R7 500 per month.
Each unit, which is approximately 45msq in size, consists of an open-plan kitchenette, lounge, bathroom and bedrooms. The site is approximately 14ha in size, allowing for large, open spaces and play areas for children.
Caldecott says this is one of South Africa’s biggest social housing developments, which has been constructed entirely of facebrick, namely Corobrik’s range of Burnt Apricot facebrick (3 800 000), Montana Travertine facebrick (200 000) and plaster bricks (3 965 000), as well as geolok 400 (10 000) and geolok 300 (10 000) for the retaining walls.
Corobrik also supplied 2 000sqm of pavers for the walkways joining the various blocks and parking areas.
Originally the development had been planned to be constructed as a plaster and paint development. However, the efforts of Corobrik’s Rob Jardine, who worked with Lumen Govender and Aecom to demonstrate the benefits of a facebrick development and the lifecycle costing versus plaster and paint, swung the selection to facebrick.
“We wanted a product that would prove to be both affordable in start-up and long-term costs. Corobrik’s facebrick range covered both criteria as there are no future maintenance costs related to plastering and painting,” says Lumen Govender of Architechno, who worked in association with Sandhu Architecture on the project.
Govender says being a social housing project, the drive was to keep costs down while providing quality housing with aesthetic appeal.
“The colour of the roof sheeting, aluminium windows and external doors was selected to blend into the colour of the Burnt Apricot facebrick, which worked well,” says Govender.
Explaining the planning behind the design of Aloe Ridge, Govender says the buildings were separated into two villages so as to manage the scale and visual impact more effectively.
“We wanted to create micro-communities within these villages as a way of creating a sense of place. These micro-communities were then defined by articulating internal courtyard-style layouts,” he says. “Here we anticipate the residents will form communities supported by the central courtyard space. Each community will then have an individual relationship within the courtyard, and a broader relationship to those living within the rest of the housing development.”
To reinforce the broader relationship, Govender and his team created a major, central green space which can house related facilities for the entire community such as a community centre or crèche.
“Essentially, we wanted to create a more effective social housing scheme by incorporating micro-communities and green spaces that will evolve into a more pleasant living environment,” says Govender.
In line with new building regulations, SANS 10400, Govender says heat pumps were installed in all units, as well as insulation within the roof spaces.
Allin Dangers, Corobrik’s Director of Sales, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape, says the selection of facebrick would further reduce temperature regulation costs because of its incredible thermal properties.
“The thermal insulation properties of our facebrick mitigates the need for artificial heating and cooling, particularly important for the Pietermaritzburg climate. The sound insulation properties also ensure a harmonious living environment for all residents, while the enhanced fire resistance creates a safe living space,” says Dangers
In addition, he says the aesthetic quality of facebrick meant it was a sought-after product, particularly in the social housing arena.
“It is important that every apartment feels like home for the residents, that it is somewhere they are proud to call home. Corobrik’s facebrick range meets this need every time,” says Dangers.
Author: Ivor Caldecott Msunduzi Housing Association (MHA