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5 Sustainable building materials that could save the planet

3 min read Activists have long called for the construction industry to ditch concrete. Back in 2019, there were calls at the Architecture of Emergency climate summit to stop using this building material because the four billion tons of cement produced each year account for 8% of global carbon dioxide emissions.

Why developers shouldn’t only cater to wealthy baby boomers

3 min read It’s understandable that many developers want to create high-end retirement homes aimed at wealthy boomers – it’s a very lucrative undertaking, after all. While there’s a market for that, it’s important not to lose sight of what pensioners on lower incomes may need when it comes to housing.

How do you futureproof your development’s technology needs?

2 min read Technology is constantly evolving, new trends emerge and what works today, might not be useful in the next decade. As technology needs change over time, it is important for real estate developers to make room for technology advancements, by futureproofing their developments to create a quality living experience for residents.

Cable theft is not just a petty crime : How cable theft affects our communities

3 min read Cable theft is a form of organised crime that has had a significant impact on businesses, communities, and the economy. The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry estimates that cable theft costs the SA economy between R5bn to R7bn a year.

Avoid being under insured

2 min read The realisation that you’re under insured for your home contents usually happens too late. Often, it’s during the claims stage when you need to replace an item (or many items) and the insurance pay out isn’t quite as much as you thought it would be. It’s easy to get angry, but the truth is that this is within your control. After all, insurers only know what you tell them.

Do you even know who your buildings insurer is?

2 min read Few will dispute that buying a home is an emotional time. It’s near impossible not to get caught up in the excitement of it all, which understandably has you racing through the mountain of paperwork, just to get those keys in your hands as soon as possible.

Elevating lifestyle

3 min read Steyn City’s Ultimate Helistop was recently hailed as a first for residential developments in South Africa. Introduced to the market in 2015, the 900-hectare luxury private estate is located close to Lanseria in Joburg, and the largest in the country in terms of land size.

Rental revolution or residential nightmare?

3 min read Noise, a blatant disregard for the rules, too many people, and a disruption to the ‘community feel’ is just a few of the many reasons why residents on family estates are against short term rentals.

Let it flow

3 min read Developments in sewerage management is making a positive impact on estate infrastructure and expenses – other than the obvious use of irrigation on golf courses. This tech lightens the load on bulk services provided by municipalities and, in turn, minimises augmentation fees payable by developers to local authorities.

Tackling tender transparency

3 min read In January, the Government Printing Works (GPW) published its last Tender Bulletin before announcing that the GPW was experiencing technical difficulties.

Should Covid-19 vaccinations be compulsory?

3 min read For South Africa to meet its target of vaccinating 70% of its population by December, more than half of all adults need to have had their first shot by — well now — end October.

Fit for families

3 min read The focus when it came to building residential estates ten or 20 years ago was security. While security was and is as priority now, and rightly so, there’s a lot more that developers and estate managers need to focus on to cater to the demands of a modern-day South African family.

Are you being paid fairly?

3 min read In the United Kingdom construction salaries advertised by employers have soared 6.7% in the space of just five months, according to new data by jobs site, Indeed. Here, employer demand for workers is outstripping the number of candidates, which is why salaries are being pushed up.

4 Ways to create the perfect ‘green’ impression

3 min read Making a good impression is key in a residential estate market. An outdoor area is often the first impression potential buyers or visitors have of your estate. Buyers want to see clean and well-maintained landscapes that celebrate the local flora and fauna.

Investing in the community

3 min read Riots, like the ones experienced in July, may have been preventable if developers did more to address socio-economic issues in South Africa.

Financing your next development

3 min read Residential developments can cost millions of rands to build. But raising the money can be a challenge, especially when it comes to pitching the concept to prospective lenders.

Pay your rental deposit with bitcoin

2 min read In May this year we explored whether banks would accept bitcoin as deposits when people applied for home loans. Sadly, banks are nowhere near accepting cryptocurrency.

Perfect prefab?

3 min read South Africa needs to build 2.1 million homes in the next five years if the government is to meet its own target of providing affordable housing for 12.5 million citizens by 2030. The monumental task has been made worse by the pandemic, which has plunged even more people into poverty and pushed up the cost of conventional building materials like bricks and cement exponentially.

Cement and CO2

3 min read We’re seeing the effects of climate change daily across the world. There’s uncontrollable fires such as the ones currently raging in Greece, extreme heat, and flash floods to name but a few related incidents.

Building up young engineering and construction talent

3 min read Encouraging the youth to commit to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects is a challenge. This has created a skills shortage, particularly in the technically trained professions. South Africa also struggles with an unemployment crisis where half of young people are unemployed.

Dreaming of life off the grid?

3 min read Recent legal developments are affecting estates and homeowners – who are only allowed to produce a percentage of alternative energy on site in relation to bulk municipal electricity supplied – in many ways, depending on local municipal bylaws. The onus is thus on developers to stay abreast of criteria and duly inform potential buyers.

Investing in property in UK, USA, UAE vs. South Africa

3 min read When it comes to investing in property abroad, investors and developers have a smorgasbord of choice available to them. Overseas property investments are particularly attractive, given the current talk of a worldwide property boom, claims of better capital growth and higher rental yields.

Glowing mistakes

3 min read There’s a big demand from people to reconnect with nature and many are keen to leave the big city life and have homes build close to it. But being close to nature comes with its own perils.

Concrete plans

3 min read According to Afrisam, the cement industry in South Africa produces approximately 20 million tons of cement a year. In 2019 the total demand for cement in South Africa was about 13 million tons but that dropped significantly last year due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Going Green

3 min read The demand for eco-friendly homes presents a unique opportunity to leap into a low carbon and resource-efficient future by building responsibly, incorporating energy efficient design and construction strategies.


5 min read Microfarms probably won’t solve world hunger, but it wouldn’t be far from the truth to say that they may be the best candidate for that honour. And, while it’s unlikely that many people living in residential estates are starving, it’s almost certain that most can benefit from more fresh veggies – and from fresher veggies.

Edible cement

3 min read Food waste, if not composted, is one of the worst contributors to greenhouse gases, as it decomposes into methane. So Tokyo University’s new research into using food waste to make cement offers an innovative way to sequester all that carbon, and – perhaps – create some tasty buildings.


4 min read If you live – or are planning a development – in one of the drier parts of the country, you are faced with some serious gardening and landscaping challenges. But you’re not the first person to have to deal with little or no water and hot, dry winds that shrivel up every little hopeful green shoot. Many landscapers have very successfully created dramatic xeriscapes of intriguing hard elements and extremely hardy plants.

How can developers attract international investors?

4 min read An international study says around half of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) want to buy at least one luxury home in the next 12 months, and that South Africa is one country that they’re considering.

See the trees through the wood

3 min read Researchers in Sweden have succeeded in making a sustainable, renewable transparent wood that is strong enough to use as a structural element. It will be a while before it is widely available, but it has the potential to profoundly affect the construction industry.

Dive Mauritius

4 min read A picture perfect tropical island with crystal-clear turquoise waters lapping golden beaches, Mauritius ticks all the boxes for a beach and watersports holiday. The snorkelling is fantastic, but to really appreciate life beneath the shimmering ocean surface, you need to scuba dive.

Digital nomads are a great new market

4 min read Until recently, most new developments had a tourism component, but some developers started rethinking that since Covid hit our shores. But perhaps it’s more a matter of tweaking your offerings to appeal to a new type of ‘tourist’ – the digital nomad.

Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library

3 min read The design of the Thabo Mbeki Presidential Library is a truly African interpretation of Mbeki’s concept of African Renaissance, and a wonderful example of the place- and culture-specific style of award-winning architect David Adjaye.

Adventures in Mauritius

5 min read Think Mauritius and the images that spring to mind are probably of lazing on white sand beaches, swimming in the turquoise waters of the shallow lagoon, and sipping cocktails while watching spectacular sunsets. But there are plenty of active adventures in this tropical paradise.

Revised SABS standards on fire safety

2 min read The South African Bureau of Standards has updated the national standard on fire alarm systems, in a move that could have far-reaching consequences for residential estates.

Durban to divorce Eskom

2 min read The various things that we’ve all said about Eskom (especially after bashing our shins in the dark) are not printable. Let’s face it. We are all – well – tired of what has become an asymmetrical relationship in which one side fails to deliver on promises. But we feel that we’re stuck in what is becoming an increasingly toxic relationship. So it is with great interest that we anticipate the City of Durban’s imminent divorce from the power (non-) provider.

Integrated energy storage

3 min read Whether it’s just as a back-up for when Eskom throws a wobbly, or whether it’s a serious commitment to using renewable energy, storage is almost always the constraining factor. So incorporating a rechargeable battery in the actual cement structure of a building sounds like a great idea.

Normalisation of deviance

4 min read Nobody is perfect, and no system is perfect, so we just have to do the best we can, and hope that it is good enough. But how good is ‘good enough’? Or how bad do things have to be before they are not ‘good enough’? And is this culture of ‘good enough’ wise? It’s certainly expedient but, if we trawl through the news headlines, we can find many instances of when ‘good enough’ was not good enough.

Renewable energy’s biggest constraint is cost-effective storage

< 1 min read Last year we wrote about an interesting UK-based startup that had designed a system to store electricity by raising heavy weights during low demand (or bright sunshine), and releasing them into mineshafts when needed. Seemed like a great idea – and now they are crowdfunding to build a prototype.

Gardens as fire defence

3 min read Gardens serve many purposes – decoration, food production, and even status symbols. But gardens can be so much more. Depending on what – and how – you plant, your garden can increase or decrease your risk of fire (and many other things, but let’s stick with fire).

Nudge, nudge, think, think

4 min read We are all familiar with the sweets and snacks in the checkout queues of supermarkets. And we have all carefully averted our eyes from them, or – somewhat more difficult – tried to distract our children from them. This is just one – and possibly the most graphic – example of how we as humans (and especially as consumers) are nudged into ‘desirable’ decisions daily. But who decides what is ‘desirable’?

Rising sea levels threaten coastal homes

3 min read As low-lying coastal homes are threatened by rising sea levels and extreme weather events, some landowners and governments are proposing proactive action. While others, of course, bury their heads in the sand, hoping against all logic to defy the tides in an ironic twist of the story of King Canute.

Forged in flame

4 min read What is the lesson we take home as we count the cost, and to try to reconstruct, after this last in a series of devastating fires? We need to think – not just about how we deal with the aftermath, or even how we deal with the actual fires – but how we prevent them from happening again. And, for those of us responsible for large tracts of land, like estates, it’s not just an academic exercise.

Construction’s deepening skills crisis

4 min read When the government recently published a new proposed list of critical skills, or high-demand occupations, which would make it easier for certain foreign workers to get visas to work and live in South Africa, ‘project manager’ was a recurring theme across industries. Construction – which has suffered a severe project management skills shortage for years – emerged as a particular problem area.

Round houses

5 min read From Transkei to Alaska, round houses have been the norm for centuries – more probably millennia. In fact, it was only with the (in some case quite strong) encouragement of missionaries that Christian converts started to build ‘civilised’ square houses in southern Africa. But, while in some places and societies the stigma of ‘primitiveness’ is still associated with round houses, many forward-thinking architects and planners in all parts of the world are rediscovering the advantages of circular dwellings, and have been for decades.

Vaccination passports

3 min read We are all tired of restrictions, and many of us are aching to attend football matches, mega-church services or raves, and we all want the tourism industry to recover – both so that our economy can recover, and so that we can head off somewhere exotic to destress. We long for ‘normality’. So we are lining up for vaccinations and hoping that they (and the proof thereof) will fix the world and bring everything back to the way it was. But is a vaccine – and a ‘vaccine passport’ – the panacea it’s made out to be, or will it prove to be a two-edged sword with some unexpected consequences?

Unpacking the Traditional Courts Bill

3 min read The Traditional Courts Bill is lurching its way through Parliament, amid howls of protest – mostly, ironically, from the very people it’s intended to protect. What is the Bill, and what do we need to know about it?

13sex Taxbreak promotes benefits for developers and investors alike

4 min read We’ve always known that the popular Section 12J had an expiry date, but we assumed (hoped) it would be extended. Well, it won’t be. So, if you want to take advantage of it, you had better move very, very fast to get in before the 30 June cut-off. But it’s not all bad news. While 12J is on the way out, Lucky 13sex is still around.

New Work

7 min read Most of us work because we have to, not because we want to. But New Work, as defined by Frithjof Bergmann, is work that we do because we want to – because it enriches our lives, not just our bank balances. Until recently, it’s only been artists, hippies and new-age hunter-gatherers who have managed to step off the conspicuous consumption–conspicuous busyness roller coaster, and just live. But, with new technology and an open mind, this option is open to more of us. Maybe it will, one day soon, become the new normal.

Plastic pipes are polluting drinking water systems after wildfires

4 min read When wildfires swept through the hills near Santa Cruz, California, in 2020, they released toxic chemicals into the water supplies of at least two communities. One sample found benzene, a carcinogen, at 40 times the state’s drinking water standard.

Mauritius is on track to achieve herd immunity

2 min read Since the outbreak of COVID-19 last year, Mauritius has upheld the sanitary safety of Mauritian nationals and that of visitors as a topmost priority. The island nation has been widely recognised as exercising one of the best responses to the pandemic – a strategy that has resulted in a surprisingly low incidence of the disease.

Facial recognition

6 min read Whether it’s unlocking your phone or accessing your banking app, facial recognition technology is everywhere. It’s a tool that is rapidly gaining popularity with banks, security companies, law enforcement, retailers and – of course – social media platforms. And, like every tool from a claw hammer to a chainsaw or a steamroller, this tool can be used constructively or destructively. Or, if not actually destructively, at least creepily.

Ageing infrastructure: a risk to developers

3 min read Before starting projects in areas with ageing municipal infrastructure, developers should beware of the indirect – or, in some cases, direct – costs.

The Swiss cheese model of risk management

4 min read Whatever your field, whether you are project managing a multibillion-rand development, overseeing the security on a small estate, getting the kids to school on time, or running a large hospital, you need to manage risk, minimise accidents, and ensure the smooth flow of a number of related tasks. We all have different ways of ensuring that this happens, but one brilliant model is as simple as a slice of cheese – or, more accurately, a lot of slices of cheese.

The world’s first 3D-printed, zero net energy, residential estate

3 min read The Palari Group, in conjunction with Mighty Buildings, is planning the world’s first zero net energy, 3D-printed residential estate in Rancho Mirage, California, USA. It will be a small, low-density, upmarket estate but, perhaps, the ease, speed, efficiency and sustainability of the construction process may lend itself to rapid deployment of affordable housing. Or not.

Africa’s data centre boom

3 min read You may have noticed that we’ve all been using the internet a lot more than we used to. The global shifts towards remote working, online learning, cloud-based business operations and streaming entertainment – all of which were gathering steam before 2020 happened – have been propelled forward by the local lockdowns of COVID-19. That spells opportunity for developers who can meet the growing demand for South Africa’s internet backbone infrastructure needs.

Cooking with gas

3 min read Many serious cooks swear by gas hobs. They’re reliable, incredibly controllable, efficient, cost-efficient and – best of all – they work during load shedding, as long as you have a box of matches nearby. And you can’t beat the aesthetics of a gleaming stainless steel gas hob. But how safe is cooking with gas?

Tiny houses

5 min read Unless you’ve been living under a rock with no internet or cell reception, you will have been bombarded with cute, adorable, clever tiny house ideas. But is there any place for the tiny house movement here in South Africa, where most of the population live in ‘houses’ that would make a tiny house seem uber-luxurious? Perhaps the most important thing the tiny house movement can do is to get people to rethink what is necessary, and what is possible. And that’s just what any smart developer should be doing.

The legal rights of trees …

3 min read We are all aware that we need to do an environmental impact assessment before we embark on any large-scale (or sometimes even small-scale) endeavour like mining, new building, landscaping – even farming. But this is – in the scheme of thing – relatively recent, so it is still seen by many as an inconvenience imposed by tie-dye-clad, lentil-eating tree huggers. But how did we get here? How did trees get legal standing? (And rocks, and bunnies and other natural things.) And why should we comply with the spirit of this legislation rather than trying to circumvent it by manipulating the letter?

Life in a degrowth economy

6 min read What does genuine economic progress look like? The orthodox answer is that a bigger economy is always better, but this idea is increasingly strained by the knowledge that, on a finite planet, the economy can’t grow for ever, and academics, economists and activists have, for decades, been exploring ways of moving beyond growth economics and towards a ‘steady-state’ economy.

Horror story

4 min read Usually, when you review a book that you think is good, or even – as in this case – excellent, you wax lyrical about how much you enjoyed it. Well, this was not the case here. Reading this book is not enjoyable. Every page you turn feels like being hit over the head with something big and heavy – perhaps a book, but definitely a hardcover one. Seriously, it’s a traumatic read, but a very important one, especially for developers with a social conscience who are hoping to create something sustainable.

Balancing community needs with developer’s needs

3 min read Property development is about more than buying low, adding value and selling high. It’s about creating communities because, without the potential to be part of a community, no-one will buy into a development. This is why it is important to not only envision the community you want to create, but also to take cognisance of the existing community, and to balance their needs with those of the development and any future residents.


4 min read Japan, rightly, has the reputation of having one of the world’s safest and most efficient rail transport systems. And one of the most important contributors to its impeccable safety record is a simple, inexpensive technique that can be used by anyone in almost any industry – it’s the simple system the Japanese call shisa kanko, or point-and-call.

How to make every place a happy place

3 min read The plethora of ‘information’ about how colour affects mood has had property managers considering painting their facilities green for calming, or orange to increase food sales. But the relationship between colour and mood is not an exact science, and one person’s happy colour may well make another person positively nauseous – at least when it comes to paint. But available evidence indicates that different coloured light can reliably affect a person’s state of mind.

Water tariff freeze

4 min read The recent announcement by the Minister of Human Settlement, Water and Sanitation, Lindiwe Sisulu, of a tariff freeze preventing the water boards from increasing their charges sounds like a good idea, but it is likely to have serious consequences.

Historical intentional communities

6 min read As we become more and more disillusioned with the inequity and unsustainability inherent in the way society is run, we sometimes dream of living in a utopia – a community in which everyone is respected equally, there is no poverty, and we live in harmony with the seasons and the rhythms of the planets.

Heirloom vegetables

3 min read A few years ago I stopped at a farm stall selling pumpkins and cucumbers, and not much else. Now you may think that’s pretty boring – until you see the range of pumpkins and cucumbers!

Berkeley researchers use 3D printer to make concrete stronger

4 min read Researchers at UC Berkeley have developed a new way to reinforce concrete with a polymer lattice, an advance that could rival other polymer-based enhancements and improve concrete’s ductility while reducing the material’s carbon emissions.

Audio camouflage

3 min read A few days ago, when I was walking in Cecelia Forest – one of my regular haunts – I noticed a stream that had not been there previously. Or, at least, I thought I did. I’d walked around a corner and, yes – there it was – I could hear a stream. But I knew there wasn’t one there, so I stopped and thought.

Are intentional communities a viable investment?

6 min read We know that – as a country, and as property developers – we have failed to effectively and equitably utilise South Africa’s resources. Land use is illogical – based on narrow perceptions, and still subject to the legacy of colonial and apartheid spatial planning – and decidedly inequitable. We know that we have to change the relationship of people to land, but we are almost paralysed by the enormity of the challenge.

Keep cool

4 min read Houses in warm parts of the world are traditionally painted white – think of Greek islands, or Cape Dutch houses. Now that might be through lack of alternatives – or lack of imagination – but it is actually a good idea. White paint reflects sunlight, which means the walls absorb less heat.

Cape Town’s bold new water strategy

4 min read In a document entitled ‘Our Shared Water Future – Cape Town’s Water Strategy’, the City of Cape Town has announced its intention to make a fundamental change in its management of risk – a clear indication that they are taking to heart the lessons learned from the Day Zero near-miss.

Development Opportunities in Joburg’s Nodal Review

3 min read On 28 February 2020, Johannesburg woke up to a new city map: one based on the Nodal Review, which had passed a council vote the day before. The Nodal Review, which aims to deliver on the City of Johannesburg’s Spatial Development Framework, could have far-reaching impacts for residents and property developers.

Empty shopping malls: crisis or opportunity?

3 min read In an environment in which retail is under pressure, and there’s already an oversupply of shopping centres, mall owners are being forced to rethink how they use their space.

A matter of some gravity

3 min read There are very few people by now who don’t acknowledge that renewable energy is the way of the future, but there is that pesky problem with managing peak demand, and the storage of, for example, solar energy for ‘a rainy day’. Storage is the main constraint for the installation of renewable energy, so it’s not surprising that this is a growing field.

Living architecture: A Greener Building Approach

3 min read A new design concept is pushing the limits of green building. Extreme as it may seem, this approach is an indication of where architecture is going.

Understanding the Eastern Cape’s Day Zero

5 min read Port Elizabeth has hit Day Zero – that dreaded spectre that had Capetonians tossing and turning in their unwashed sheets a few years ago. In some parts of the city the taps have – literally – been turned off, and water is trucked in by tanker. All this while Cape Town is revelling in full dams and continuing rainfall, but there is a distinct possibility of a Day Zero in Gauteng too. How did we get here?

Policy allows 5G towers to be installed on private property

3 min read 5G will change our lives, as the fifth generation of cell phone technology catapults South Africa into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. With faster connectivity and more bandwidth enabling Augmented Reality, self-driving cars, the Internet of Things, and mobile data connections at unimaginable speeds, 5G is amazing. A whacking great 5G tower erected on your property without your permission? Not so amazing.

Scaling down

4 min read Moving to a retirement estate can be – and should be – a positive, liberating experience. It’s a line in the sand that states that you are no longer planning your life around your children, and that you have time for yourself. It’s a time to decide exactly how you want to live without the albatross of a huge suburban home, lawn, garden and two-car garage full of tools hanging around your neck. It’s time to lighten up. There’s even a word for it: dostadning.

Top property trend

3 min read When we talk of semigration now, we are no longer just talking about the familiar pattern of movement from Gauteng to Cape Town, but about the worldwide counter-urbanisation or de-urbanisation movement, which sees people actively moving away from cities to smaller towns in search of a less stressful, more peaceful country lifestyle, while still retaining their city jobs, if they wish to do so, by working remotely.

Hansgrohe’s electronic mixers

2 min read If you love beautiful design in the bathroom and kitchen, and recognise the importance of excellent quality that doesn’t compromise on functionality, Hansgrohe’s electronic mixers are the perfect fit for you. While Hansgrohe is known for being a leading bathroom specialist, kitchens have also become an important focus for them in recent years. Their innovative, state-of-the-art mixers are testament to their longstanding commitment to quality.

Can air conditioners spread coronavirus?

3 min read While the country slowly starts to open up after an extensive lockdown period, the spread and effect of the COVID-19 pandemic are far from over. As scientists begin to understand the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, new methods of potential spread are emerging.

Working from home is becoming the norm

5 min read SARS-CoV-2 has changed so many things – the way we socialise, the way we work, and – yes – even the way we think. But will it irrevocably change the landscape in which we live? Cities evolved to accommodate the way people worked, so will they now evolve to embrace a new work-life balance? And how will this affect our bottom line as developers? Do we need to think outside of yet another box that we thought was watertight?

The real estate market has gone virtual

3 min read Virtual property viewings in South Africa were few and far between pre-COVID-19, but they have been rapidly gaining traction, especially during the national lockdown. As we now begin to adapt to a new, post-pandemic, socially distanced normal, they could become part and parcel of buying and selling a home. So, what exactly does a virtual viewing entail, what are the positives and possible pitfalls, and is the South African property market ready for it?

The future of 12J

3 min read It sounds like a win-win deal: you invest in a small- or medium-sized enterprise (SMME), helping it to grow by increasing its access to equity finance, and in return SARS gives you a handsome tax deduction. From a property investment point of view, many of these 12J enterprises were in the hospitality space, with investors buying into properties that catered to South Africa’s booming tourism industry. Then, in early 2020, COVID-19 struck. Boom turned to bust, leaving investors wondering if there’s any future for 12J.

Rental Guarantees

3 min read Buying a property for rental is a big investment that is not without risk. So, can rental guarantees sweeten the deal? Rental income is key for investors, so developers offer rental guarantees as a way to entice investors to sign on the dotted line. A rental guarantee is usually a net return that a developer promises to pay an investor purchasing a buy-to-let property.

Picking up the slack for municipal incompetence

3 min read South African communities are buckling under the weight of municipal mismanagement and broken promises. What role could – and should – developers play in digging local municipalities out of the mess?

No trees were harmed in the construction of this skinny house

2 min read This spectacular, low-impact Frankie Pappas-designed home in the Waterberg sits lightly on the land, appearing to float among the trees. The brief was to design a home that disappears into the landscape, that sits among the rocks and trees and birds, that offers animals and plants and humans equal opportunity to find shelter, and that treats the bushveld with the respect it deserves.

Keep safe and cool in the pool

3 min read Researchers at the University of South Australia have developed a new microchip that enables continuous monitoring of pH and chlorine levels in swimming pools, and that will vastly improve water safety. New research shows that it can deliver consistent and accurate pool chemistry for reliable pool management, so it can safely be used by individual home owners and estate management.

Repurposing student housing amid the COVID-19 pandemic

3 min read The coronavirus pandemic has caused an unprecedented disruption in the student housing sector, because the number of international students coming to the UK has fallen dramatically. This has left cities like Cardiff with an oversupply of high-end, purpose-built student accommodation blocks (PBSAs).

Wild at heart

4 min read There is a new foodie trend sweeping across five-star hotels, award-winning restaurants and granite-topped kitchens in leafy suburbs. Actually, maybe ‘new’ is not quite the right word. The trend is foraging, and – let’s be honest – it’s hardly new.

Conveyancers support property owners and sellers during COVID-19

9 min read Property buyers and sellers are facing uncertain times during the COVID-19 pandemic. Buyers who are accustomed to a regular salary cheque are concerned that they will no longer qualify for a home loan, as many consumers face the dire reality of a salary cut, retrenchment, or shorter working hours. All these events can result in a substantial reduction of income.

Smart management is cleverer than you think

4 min read Some residential estates are very big so it can be difficult to know what’s going on, especially in the wilder sections. Even if your estate is not strictly a wildlife estate, it’s important to know the condition of the veld and the health – or otherwise – of animal communities. The old adage – if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it – is particularly true here. And, surprisingly, there is a fantastic app that you can download for free that will do just that.

Old Mutual survey results are in

6 min read The outcome of a recently published financial survey amongst the members of the Old Mutual Rewards Programme is a significant one for property industry.

Sensible permaculture for residential estates and developments

4 min read Permaculture is one of those words being bandied about as possibly the only way to save the planet, and to slow down or prevent the demise of humanity. Well, that’s probably a bit over the top, but it is a revolutionary way of looking at how we relate to our world, and – who knows – it might just save the planet after all. Whether you are developing an estate from scratch, managing an existing estate, or just wanting to decrease your personal carbon footprint, permaculture principles can increase efficiency and save costs.

Smooth and seamless transitions

5 min read A development is not a residential estate – it’s a place with houses in a greater or lesser stage of completion. But there comes a time when the developer steps out and the homeowners association steps in – and from that moment, the estate becomes a community – a place where people live.

Hunting SARS-Cov-2

3 min read You know you need to manage COVID-19 but you can’t manage what you can’t measure. So how do you measure the extent of SARS-Cov-2 infection in your estate? Sounds like a long, involved process, but it isn’t. In fact, it can be done really simply.

Retirees buying off plan: risks and rewards

3 min read Buying off-plan is the norm for new residential estates, but it has proven to be not that popular in the retirement village market.

Citizen science

4 min read When you look at them closely, the gardens and protected wildlife areas on your estate probably host an astonishing number of different plants, insects, birds, and even reptiles and mammals. Your observations about the natural world around you can be enormously helpful to scientists – and collecting them can be a lot of fun, and a great way of building your community, too.

FLISP subsidy buyers can now qualify for a home loan of up to R 870,000.00

5 min read Good news for property buyers, but even better news for property developers and sellers. The affordability ceiling for first-time buyers who qualify for a FLISP subsidy has been increased from the previous average home loan amount of R 680,000.00 to R 870,000.

Commercial space is standing empty in South African cities

6 min read A 2019 report by the South African Property Owners’ Association (SAPOA) states that nearly 20% of the office space in the Durban CBD and Rosebank (Gauteng) was empty in the last quarter of that year. And that was before office workers skedaddled home en masse and cyber-commuted while battening down the hatches against SARS-CoV-2. What does that mean for our cities, and for the people who live in them? Or, more importantly, the people who don’t live in them. And what does it mean for developers?

A second life for hotels?

3 min read South Africa has had an oversupply of tourist accommodation since at least 2010. With the hotel industry now reeling from COVID-19, what are the prospects for owners and developers of hospitality properties?

Products and tools developed by Meyer de Waal

4 min read The introduction of the National Credit Act had an immediate impact on the approval of credit agreements. The affordability factor, which is the capability of a debtor to pay back a loan became, the lender’s primary focus of a lender before granting a credit facility. Lenders are imposed with severe penalties if found guilty of risky lending but, as the market experienced a major decline in home loan approvals, there was an unsurpassed increase in unsecured lending. Capitec Bank is a prime example of expansion of unsecured lending, and African Bank is an example of a lender that was almost sunk as a result of risky lending practices.

Green, green, green

4 min read One of the main advantages of living in a residential estate is that – usually – you are surrounded by significant tracts of open land. And very often that land will be left in a relatively natural state. This is a good thing for a whole lot of reasons.

Micro apartments

3 min read Inspired, in part, by the tiny house movement, micro apartments have been touted as a solution to the housing shortage, the increasing cost of urban land, and the need to conserve resources. But, as with many things, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted some shortcomings of these tiny spaces.

Selling your development: estate agent vs sales team

3 min read Your development is ready for sales, and you need widespread marketing to reach as many potential buyers as possible, followed by a flawless sales process. What is the best way – a dedicated sales team, or an estate agency?

Own a piece of a vineyard

4 min read There’s more to offshore investing than money laundering and preserving mega wealth. It’s also about the lifestyle – sitting back with a glass of wine and your little piece of offshore paradise.

Are nuclear families really the norm?

5 min read Other than developments specifically designed for retirees, students and/or ‘young professionals’, the homes on estates, and even in apartment blocks, are designed as ‘family homes’, and estates are marketed as places in which families can thrive. But what, exactly, is a family? First let’s look at those ‘family homes’.

Community Scheme COVID-19 Code Of Conduct/Policy & Workplace Plan (Level 4)

4 min read On 15 March 2020, in terms of Section 3 of the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002, the Covid-19 pandemic was classified as a national disaster, due to its potential severity and magnitude. Pursuant thereto, on 29 April 2020, the Risk Adjusted Strategy Regulations were published. These Regulations can be made available upon request.


4 min read Trout are originally from the northern hemisphere, but they are a highly sought-after species for epicureans and anglers alike, so they have been introduced worldwide. Their popularity as a fly-angling species makes their introduction into dams or lakes well worth considering. But consider carefully.

What are security companies doing to keep people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic?

2 min read COVID-19 has had a massive impact on how we interact with others. This impact is particularly felt by essential services staff, who have to continue working despite unsafe conditions. We examine the dangers of COVID-19 to estate security staff, and what companies are doing to keep both their clients and workers safe during this uncertain time.

COVID-19 and the property market

3 min read As we change the way we physically interact, all industries have to change the way they do business – and the real estate industry is no exception. Even before the lockdown, estate agents and prospective sellers were reluctant to let people into their houses – and prospective buyers were reluctant to enter houses where the absent owners may or may not be carriers of SARS-CoV-2. So, even once the lockdown is over, it’s clear we will have to make some serious changes in the way we market, buy and sell property.

Geckos, lizards and chameleons

5 min read There can be few things as rewarding as watching a healthy natural mini biome unfold in your own garden. A close encounter with one of our amazing four-legged reptiles reminds me that biodiversity can be maintained in even the smallest of suburban gardens.

Agility is the new normal

3 min read At a time when all non-essential services are either in lockdown or reeling from the multiple blows to the economy, a handful of businesses are changing the way they work to stay relevant, and to stay in operation, and to make a difference.

5 Ways to keep safe from crime during the lockdown

2 min read We hope that the increased police and army presence on our streets means that we’re safer from crime as well as the Corona-19 virus during the lockdown. But there will always be those opportunistic thieves that take a chance, so here are some tips from Trellidor to help you stay safe while home during the lockdown.

Unpacking the National Water Act

5 min read The National Water Act of 1998 (NWA), which was the first comprehensive legislation adopted immediately after the transition to democracy, has far-reaching implications of which most people are blissfully unaware.

Solar energy around the world

4 min read There is a worldwide trend towards the uptake of renewable resources for power generation, but it seems that South Africa is lagging behind. So let’s have a look at what other countries are doing, focusing mainly on solar, and see how we compare.

How boreholes work

4 min read In times of drought, it’s common practice to sink a borehole. Many estates, and individuals, do this without fully appreciating how an aquifer works, and what legal implications are associated with going off grid, even partially.

Infectious diseases and the workplace

4 min read Employers – including HOAs – must provide a safe workplace, even if that means insisting on disease tests for employees. During the early stages of the COVID-19 outbreak, cruise ships turned into living, floating laboratories for scientists studying the disease. With their close confines and high proportions of older people (who tend to be more vulnerable to the novel coronavirus), combined with their lack of access to the outside world, cruise ships were – tragically, in some cases – the perfect incubator.

Let’s Talk Property, Hosted by Derek Watts

2 min read Last week’s webinar saw Derek and our expert panel give their opinions on the merits of investing in property on the North Coast of KZN, and brief insights on the SA property market as a whole.

Call for the designation of construction sector as essential services

3 min read The construction industry has the potential to create employment opportunities to cushion the impact of an anticipated increase in unemployment in the immediate aftermath of the current nation-wide lockdown. This is according to a submission made by the Construction COVID-19 Rapid Response Task Team (CCRR19TT) to motivate for a phased reactivation of the Construction Sector. The task team is a body representing major organizations in the sector including contractors, property developers, construction professionals, suppliers, and service providers.

Sea Point: An Investor’s Eye View

3 min read Sea Point has long been regarded as one of the property jewels of Cape Town’s Atlantic Seaboard. But does it still offer good investments? With Sea Point’s natural attractions and strong short-stay letting market, but should investors be scared off by talk of ‘carnage’ in the local market, and new regulations around short-term rentals?

Never let a good crisis go to waste

4 min read The crisis we are going through is unprecedented in our lifetime – even in living memory. But it’s not unprecedented in the history of the world and, almost invariably, this kind of crisis leads to immense social, technological and philosophical change. The one thing we can be sure of is that life after COVID-19 will be different, but we can’t be sure of the form that difference will take. So it’s up to us to decide how we want to change, and how we want to live in the future.

Another brick in the wall

4 min read When we think of bricks, we tend to think of either baked clay bricks or cement bricks, both of which have a very high carbon footprint – conventional clay bricks are fired at temperatures of over 1,000C, and cement requires temperatures in excess of 1,400C, which requires the burning of coal with all its attendant environmental fallout. But there are bricks – or brick-like things – that can be produced at much lower temperatures, thereby using much less carbon, and producing less pollution. Some are the result of amazing new technological breakthroughs, and are only in the trail phase, while some are so old as to have been virtually forgotten.

Builders face an uncertain post-COVID-19 future

3 min read With construction not categorised as an essential service, all projects are suspended under the national COVID-19 lockdown – leaving the sector facing a deeply uncertain future.

Vertical forests

4 min read Johannesburg lays claim to being the largest artificially cultivated urban forest in the world, which is great, even if it’s not entirely true. It’s great because it instils a sense of pride in the trees of the city, encouraging citizens and authorities alike to nurture them, and to plant more. And the Soweto Greening Project is extending that tree-planting spirit with – so far – more than 200,000 trees having been planted in Soweto. Not surprisingly, cities worldwide are becoming more and more creative in their greening efforts, with possibly the most spectacular of these being the innovation of vertical forests. Would this be a good idea here too?


4 min read If you own, live on, or are developing a piece of land of significant natural value, you will need to come up with a way of ensuring that you manage it responsibly – and the best way to do that is to think beyond your boundary fence. The plants, soil, birds and animals don’t recognise title deeds, so managing for nature requires thinking outside of the strict ownership model of land use.

Herd immunity

3 min read Our ancestors were devastated by diseases like smallpox, polio and measles, but we hardly give these ailments a thought. They’re just not a threat, due to an interesting phenomenon called herd immunity – a term that’s being optimistically bandied about in relation to COVID-19.

The 2019 amendments to BBBEE legislation

2 min read Government gazetted amendments to the BBBEE legislation on 31 May 2019, with a six-month implementation timeframe. This limited implementation period could negatively impact on your business, depending on your financial year end, and the date of the next BBBEE verification.

Conradie Park’s model for sustainability

4 min read Conradie Park, a new mixed-income, mixed-use housing development in Cape Town, has been launched for sale to the public. Its marketing campaign lauds its ‘affordability, sustainability and security’, but how exactly will it be funded and maintained in the long run?

Sustainable, impactful CSI

4 min read Corporate social investment is a great way for companies – and for estates – to give back to the community. But, while any CSI is a good thing, there is a huge difference between merely diverting funds to a good cause and actually getting involved with the community on a person-to-person basis. The former – at best – improves living standards for the target community, while the latter builds real relationships that can grow into an ongoing circle of benefit.

Tackling salary inequity

6 min read Under capitalism, the argument goes, it’s every man for himself. Through the relentless pursuit of self-interest, everyone benefits, as if an invisible hand were guiding each of us toward the common good. Everyone should accordingly try to get as much as they can, not only for their goods but also for their labour.

The grass is greener

3 min read As South Africa becomes more water-stressed, many home owners and estate managers are considering replacing lawns with artificial turf. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages, so you need to look carefully at how the two options stack up against each other in terms of eco-friendliness, durability, and convenience.

Free telephonic consultation for Sectional Title Scheme dwellers

< 1 min read Marina Costas of BBM Law is offering free telephonic or Zoom 30 min conversations from Thursday the 2nd of April until the end of lock down from 11 am – 1 pm. All Trustees can join one meeting and ask top of mind questions around the implications and requirements of the lockdown on Sectional Title Schemes.

Giving developers a greener EDGE

3 min read While green building practices – and Green Building Council certification – are known to improve sustainability and reduce running costs, EDGE certification is now also showing its worth as a marketing tool for estate developers.

District Six open for development

4 min read Property developers are encouraged to invest in District Six, despite rumours that the historic Cape Town precinct might be declared a National Heritage site. That’s according to Shahied Ajam, chairperson of the District Six Working Committee (D6WC).

Schooling solutions

3 min read Estates offer families the opportunity to ‘live, work, and play’ in a single space, which has led to a demand for practical schooling solutions in or close to estates.
But schools take up a lot of space, so it’s worth considering smaller collaborative learning spaces, fuelled by online educational centres and curriculums.

Creating value with running trails

3 min read Developing trails in estates not only adds value to properties but provides safe and healthy opportunities for residents – and also creates unique selling features with little investment.


3 min read Okay, it’s official. COVID-19 is a pandemic – and it’s caused a national and international emergency. This is serious, and – yes – there is a risk of contracting the disease, and even of dying from it. But is this really the biggest risk? As with many things, it is easier to see the problems ‘out there’ and ignore the ones in our heads. So, while I’m not for one moment denying the seriousness of COVID-19, let’s look at the real risks.

Single mothers constitute a growing demographic of home buyers in South Africa

3 min read Single moms have become a force to be reckoned with in the property market. Developers who want their estates to appeal to this growing demographic will need to keep in mind factors such as security, open spaces, schools and modern living units.

Mud buildings of Groot Constantia

3 min read Should we be looking to the past for ideas for alternative building methods to reduce our carbon footprint? It makes sense, because traditional, low-tech building methods are almost naturally low carbon-intensive.

What is mould

3 min read Most of us can point to the black stuff growing in our shower and say: ‘That’s mould.’ Fewer people can say what mould actually is. There are thousands of different species of mould that all spread through spores. Some of these moulds can cause significant health concerns, ranging from allergies to asthma attacks, and even fungal infections in immunocompromised people. Understanding what mould is, and how it grows, is the first step towards preventing it from growing and spreading in your home.

Top influential women developers share their industry experience

3 min read While the property industry has historically been dominated by men, an increasing number of women are making their mark in property development.

BDI pod homes

3 min read As sustainability and the desire to live off grid have become mainstream, so too has the trend of tiny homes risen in popularity. We take a closer look at BDI’s PanGoPod home and explore how developers can utilise these methods by thinking out of the box.

Somerset Nurse’s’ Home to become affordable housing

3 min read After years of controversy, the old Helen Bowden Nurses’ Home near Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront is set to be developed into social housing following the City’s decision to rezone the site for this purpose. However, the building remains occupied by the Reclaim The City activist group, who moved in in March 2017 and renamed the site Ahmed Kathrada House.

The Property Practitioners Act

2 min read The Property Practitioner Act is a new piece of legislation that, once it is signed into law – probably mid-2020 – will replace the Estate Agency Affairs Act of 1976. Its main purpose is to establish the Property Practitioner Regulatory Authority (PPRA), which will replace the Estate Agency Affairs Board; to regulate the affairs of all property practitioners; to allow for transformation in the property sector; and to provide for consumer protection.

Where does Johannesburg get its water

3 min read Johannesburg is a unique city because it was built without a local water supply. It has become the only major city in the world totally reliant on water sourced from distant rivers and pumped across mountain ranges. This creates a vulnerability that few appreciate when buying or developing real estate.

Is overpopulation to blame for climate change

3 min read A seemingly innocuous comment about overpopulation at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos highlights how oversimplification of the issues and processes can exacerbate the problem, and shift blame from the perpetrators to the victims.

Size counts

4 min read One of the main reasons people move into residential estates is to recreate the sense of community typical of villages or small, well-defined suburbs. People knew their neighbours – and their neighbours’ pets – and they memorised each other’s phone numbers. In their heads! Kids played in the street or in public open space, wandered in and out of each other’s houses, and only came home when they were hungry.

Is it worth building a doggy park on an estate?

2 min read Building a dog park on an estate can bring in increased revenue and foster a sense of community. Many of the drawbacks of being dog-friendly can be mitigated through careful planning.

Biometrics: Is Gait ID The New Gate ID?

2 min read New technologies allow security teams to identify guests – and intruders – by how they walk. Is this the future of estate access?

Forget streets paved in gold – plastic roads are the future, and Jeffreys Bay is leading the way.

3 min read Jeffreys Bay in the Eastern Cape is best known as a top surf spot, home to the perfect wave. The J-Bay Open is one of the stops on the Men’s Surfing Championship Tour, and boasts the longest right-hand point break on the planet.

KZN fastest growing wealth market in SA

3 min read The AfrAsia Bank SA Wealth Report for 2019 has named Durban-Umhlanga-Ballito corridor as the fastest growing wealth market in South Africa, with a 25% growth trajectory reported over the last decade.

Zimbali Lakes Resort – Development Site available for development

< 1 min read Estate Living discusses opportunities for development at the gorgeous Zimbali Lakes Resort

Property Practitioners Act: What it means for developers

3 min read Early October 2019 saw the Property Practitioners Act of 2019  signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The new law was generally welcomed by property practitioners … even if there was initially some confusion about who exactly counts as a property practitioner!

Dr Mulder does it again

2 min read Chris Mulder is no stranger to winning awards. In his illustrious career, Dr Mulder – together with his team from CMAI Architects – has won numerous awards from US and South African professional associations and universities since he founded the firm in 1980.

Negotiation is key when purchasing a property

2 min read Finding the right property is hard enough but negotiating the right price and related fees can be harder, especially if one party is unwilling. Sometimes you may need to walk away from the deal.

Why developing retirement facilities under R1.5m is a no-brainer

3 min read We all know retirement facilities are the new big investment opportunity, and research shows that the R1.5 million price mark is the sweet spot. The most recent census conducted in 2011 put the total South African population at 57.7 million people. Of this number, 5.4% were aged 65 and over. When compared to the same figure in 2000, only 3.7% were aged 65 and over.

How does Johannesburg measure up as a megacity?

3 min read Joburg is fast becoming a megacity, but how does it compare with existing African megacities for return on investment? Cairo, Kinshasa and Lagos all carry the status of megacity – cities with a population of at least 10 million inhabitants. Fast on their heels are Dar es Salaam, Luanda and Johannesburg, which are predicted to attain the status of megacity by 2030, according to the United Nations.

Bamboo houses … are they the answer to the affordable housing crisis?

3 min read Bamboo is sustainable and easy to grow, and South Africa has the perfect conditions for cultivation. Could this be the answer as a building material for affordable housing?

How green is green?

3 min read To take the greening of your estate seriously, you must consider each step from conception to design, through the building process and continuing to operation and management.

Xers mark the spot

2 min read As Gen X hits 50, existing and planned estates need to re-evaluate their position on retirement, and on multi-generational living. As the oldest of the Gen Xers are turning 50, and watching their baby boomer parents ‘raging against the [dimming] of the light’, they are starting to ponder their own mortality, potential morbidity and – shock, horror, gasp – old age!

Estate Living interview with Santam

< 1 min read Louise Martin, COO of Estate Living, interviews Santams Head of specialist real estate, Karl Bishop, on Santam’s development guarantees.

A global trend

2 min read It should seem unsurprising to most of us that urban space is at a growing premium. It’s been a growing trend across the world since the industrial revolution, but particularly so in the last few decades as people flock to urban areas.

Customer complaints & social media

3 min read Not so long ago, if somebody wanted to have their complaint heard, the best options were to write a letter to the newspaper (and hope that it would be published) or dial into the radio. now, in the digital age, everyone has a voice. Never before has it been easier to have your concerns or thoughts heard – no matter how insignificant or trivial they are – and that has implications for estate managers

Property Development and Section 12J

3 min read The Section 12J tax allowance has introduced an exciting new asset class that has attracted over R6 billion within a very short period of time. Let’s explore how this can benefit developers.

Protecting your investment with insurance

3 min read Your home is likely to be one of the most valuable assets you will own. While you put a lot of time, effort and money into making it the ideal home, it is equally important to keep yourself informed on how well this investment is protected.

Estate living: getting ahead in today’s risky property market

2 min read As with anything in life, knowledge is power and in today’s risky economic climate, investors need as much as possible to make bold, calculated investment moves that yield great results. Cue Estate Living, South Africa’s leading resource and specialist consultancy within the community living environments. Masters at building relationships and identifying new opportunities, Louise Martin and Jaime-Lee Gardner’s innovative services are helping investors and developers all over the country to understand their market.  

How to find the luxury in city living

2 min read Some of us get the idea of “Joburg luxury” completely wrong: We see ourselves in the car of our dreams driving down William Nicol on the way to work. When in fact, real city luxury (or perhaps even city happiness) could be found not when you upgrade your ride but when you shorten your commute. Living closer to work does not only add more time to your day and more buck to your budget, but recent research shows that it can also improve your overall wellness.

What deteriorating municipal infrastructure means for residential estates

5 min read Not a day goes by without one hearing of some municipal crisis somewhere in the country. These range from banal but extremely annoying stories of billing crises, lack of budgetary control and bloated bureaucracies to the horror story unfolding in Emfuleni, where total collapse of the municipality as a functional entity has unleashed a tsunami of raw sewage flowing unabated along the streets and through the buildings, as it makes its way to the nearest river.

Simple, transparent utility metering can be a differentiator for developers

3 min read In a worryingly flat property market, developers are facing an ever-growing challenge to find value-adds to help them move units.

Investing in a sustainable future

3 min read We’ve come a long way since Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth documentary in 2006. Although not the first we’d heard of climate change and the effects of globalisation, it was an eye-opener for many and it sparked fierce debate. Things that were only spoken of then are now becoming reality, and we probably all understand the severity of global climate change, and what this means for future generations. 

Building Retirement Communities

3 min read People aren’t retiring like they used to. Instead, many are working longer out of necessity or from a desire to remain vital and engaged.

Keep it Clean

3 min read Probably one of the most difficult issues facing estate managers is waste management. It’s a truly Sisyphean endeavour – just when you think you’ve cleared the pile, it grows back. But creative waste management is essential, not only to maintain the beauty and integrity of our estates, but of – yes – the whole world.

Fire Risk Management for Estates

3 min read Every time we hear stories of veld fires, we are alerted to the very real danger to our homes of a runaway fire. The devastating Knysna fires of 2017 are a vivid reminder of just how quickly a fire can rage out of control and cause millions of rands of damages. Coupled with domestic risks such as faulty wiring or appliances, it’s essential that bodies corporate and trustees review their estate’s insurance to ensure that they are adequately covered against fire risk.

The Next Chapter

< 1 min read ARC (Association for Residential Community), proactively supports Homeowners Associations and Bodies Corporate, their management teams and trustees, to establish, maintain and enhance the value of residential communities and mixed-use developments.

Evergreen Sitari

4 min read A recently concluded joint venture between Evergreen Retirement Holdings and the Uvest Property Group will see the development of Evergreen Sitari, a premier retirement village, set within the Sitari Country Estate in Somerset West.


5 min read Bamboo is one of the world’s oldest natural building materials. In Asia and South America, where it occurs naturally, it’s been the building material of choice for centuries for everything from homes to bridges and scaffolding. This wonder plant of the past offers a multitude of options for the contemporary homemaker.

Retirement developer expands into KZN region

3 min read The KwaZulu-Natal province is set to see the development of a number of new retirement villages, designed as vibrant communities to accommodate active, healthy and happy retirees.

Builders DIY: How to Make a DIY Chalkboard Serving Tray

< 1 min read In this video we show you how to make a DIY chalkboard serving tray that’s cute and easy to make.

How Do Insecticides Work

< 1 min read In this video Tanya Visser talks about the different types of insecticides and how to use them.

Insecticides are ideal to use for eliminating insects in your garden. Make sure you choose an insecticide that’s suitable for your needs in order to get the best results

Using Water Crystals For Your Plants

< 1 min read The Efekto water-wise crystals is a polymer which attracts water and it’s completely biodegradable and non-toxic.

This means it’s safe and good for your plants. The crystals turn int o jelly when mixed with water, plants then absorb the water from the jelly.It’s perfect to use for garden beds, lawns, plants in containers, hanging baskets and more.

How To Use Fired Earth Woodworks

< 1 min read Fired Earth Woodworks is a water based wood stainer and sealer that’s perfect for interior and exterior use.

Protect your walls with Fired Earth Breakthrough 5-in-1

< 1 min read One paint with five applications. It’s a world-first in paint technology.

Builders DIY: Paint your ceiling with Fired Earth Ceiling Paint

< 1 min read It applies pink and dries white – so you’ll never miss a spot again.

Builders DIY: Geometric feature wall

< 1 min read Transform a bland white space into a stunning feature wall in a snap with this short and sweet DIY video!

Redefine typology

2 min read The exclusive Somerset Lakes is situated in Somerset West close to the Hottentots Holland Mountains, False Bay, and the Western Cape’s wonderful wine country.

Breaking Ground with Cape Town student accommodation at the right price

3 min read ‘Our upcoming studio units in Obs are ideal for first-time investors’ – Rawson Developers’s Brad Morgan. Smaller units geared to students and short-term renters, sold at competitive price points to first-time buyers or investors, is Rawson Developers’s winning formula that is leading the property market in Cape Town’s Southern Suburbs.

Trending small

4 min read Is bigger always better? Not always – and especially not if you want the convenience of living close to your workplace, and you happen to work in one of the world’s increasingly congested cities.

Why estates should join association of residential communities and estate living partnership

2 min read The Association of Residential Communities (ARC) has been in existence for over 10 years, with 11 founder members, 10 chapters around the country and over 300 member estates, home to over 200,000 residents and representing 58% of the market in respect of number of homes.

If you build it, they will come – or will they?

5 min read So, you’ve gazed upon your ‘fields of corn’ … you’ve dreamt, you’ve designed and you’ve built. Now what? Do you sit back and ‘wait for them to come’, as Ray Kinsella (a.k.a. Kevin Costner), the Iowa farmer in the movie Field of Dreams, did? If you’re Kevin Costner or some other A-list Hollywood star, chances are they’ll come in droves; unfortunately, the rest of us must rely on good, not-soold-fashioned sales communication strategies and good marketing, which curates leads, from a qualified market.

Best practice transition

5 min read A development is not a residential estate – it’s a place with houses in a greater or lesser stage of completion. But there comes a time when the developer steps out, and the homeowners association steps in – and from that moment, the estate becomes a community – a place where people live.

Going green is profitable

3 min read It’s good business to protect natural areas within your housing estate, not only because they make it a nicer living space that can command a higher property price, but also because the functions they provide have monetary value for both you as the property owner and also the municipality within which you live.

Landscape construction

3 min read Brand image is everything. We understand the importance of this, which is why we ensure that your image reflects perfection and elegance.

Security and beyond security

5 min read A professional security presence with 24/7 staffed access is a given, but sometimes a developer needs to add an extra loss prevention and safety component to its security plan.

Fibre is the digital differentiator but what is the cost to you?

2 min read As a developer, you are already adding fibre to new properties; in fact, you may very well be retrofitting it to old buildings. Why? Because fibre is the digital differentiator. It adds value to a property and is a make-or-break factor in the buying decisions of property and business owners alike.

Mobile’s next generation

3 min read As providers prepare to roll out 5G mobile technology, what does this mean for us? A generation ago, mobile video calls were the stuff of spy movies and science fiction. Now, as mobile technology enters its fifth wave of evolution, we’re stepping into a future that not even James Bond or Star Trek could have imagined. And that’s not hype.

The battle of the brands

3 min read There are people who get a thrill out of picking out new furniture and appliances when they move house – and then there are the rest of us, which explains the growing appreciation of, and demand for, integrated appliances.

Getting the retail mix right in mixed-use developments

3 min read Gone are the days when developers took a shot in the dark choosing retail tenants, with some white elephants that followed.

Sweet spot

6 min read The beautiful plantations of sugar cane that are such an intrinsic part of the landscape of the KZN North Coast are transforming into new urban spaces made up of well-planned mixed-use precincts, and also into green open space and rehabilitated coastal forest.

Urban regeneration vs gentrification

6 min read Rejuvenating inner-city neighbourhoods can be an uplifting, progressive and profitable enterprise, but it’s not as simple as that.

Dem bones

6 min read You’ve probably heard all the hype about Maropeng and the Cradle of Humankind, but there is a lot more to it than the tourism marketers make out.

Building well for living well

4 min read In an urban world where we are increasingly paying attention to our physical and mental health needs, the buildings that we occupy can be designed and managed in ways that help us improve our health and wellbeing. The WELL Building Standard provides indicators that can be used by the designers, owners and managers of buildings to create a healthier built environment.

FTTX Council Africa workshop for estate managers and property developers

< 1 min read Estate Living and the FTTX Council Africa will once again be hosting a Property Stakeholder Workshop during the annual FTTX Council Africa Conference taking place at the Durban Exhibition Centre in September 2018.

Work hard, work fair, nobody hurt

3 min read Construction is a hazardous endeavour, so here’s how you can make it as safe as possible – and stay on the right side of the law. Let’s say, for example, ABC Development and Property Management is planning to build a new ultra-modern clubhouse at ABC Golf Estate.

Builders DIY: DIY Kitchen Stand

< 1 min read Andrew Donkin and Builders Warehouse show you how to build your own DIY kitchen Stand.

Builders DIY: How to build a Kitchen

< 1 min read Creating a kitchen with off-the-shelf units not only makes building your kitchen a breeze, but is really affordable too.

JNCS Beyond Security presents the future of proactive estate security

< 1 min read Come and join Estate Living at JNCS Beyond Security’s highly informative presentation on the Future of proactive Estate Security at the Featherbrooke Estate on 8 August 2018. Gain invaluable insights from experts in the industry JNCS Beyond security, Axis Communications and IMC.

Proactive Security is the best protection for todays retirement village

3 min read Security is top of mind for people looking for a retirement village, so cutting edge security systems such as CCTV surveillance, intercom systems and 24-hour security guards are the norm – much as   they are on many existing residential estates. But, according to Edward van der Linde of JNCS Beyond Security, the best-of-breed security goes beyond these standard measures.

Wireless – the 5G vision

2 min read Mobile and wireless data are expected to increase a thousandfold over the next decade as more than 50 billion devices, all of which will be able to access and share data, anywhere and any time, connect to the cloud by 2020.

Dynamic security solutions with Enforce Security Excellerate Services’

3 min read Central to any estate security product offering should be the understanding that estate security is not only about keeping the criminals out, but also about managing the behaviour of those that belong in the community. This includes residents, personal and recreational guests, staff and contractors.

Smart City: Security adds value to estates

3 min read Most companies and HOAs strive to appoint a board of directors that will be competent and effective in providing leadership and good governance but, in my opinion, vested interests and limited stakeholder perspectives often reduce the long-term effectiveness of their efforts.

Treasure in the cellar

4 min read Perspectives change, and that’s just one of the reasons you need to keep an open mind. This whole management-speak gobbledygook of “thinking outside the box”, “blue-sky thinking”, and – my favourite – “win-win situation”… they’re all just words, until they’re backed up by action. So I was recently delighted to actually witness a bit of corporate blue-sky, out-the-box thinking that really did produce a win-win situation.

Open up your Views

3 min read If there’s one strong design feature that defines homes in a modern estate, it has to be expansive, frameless glass doors, enabling a seamless transition from inside to outside, and letting in tons of natural light.

A new semigration destination

2 min read The Western Cape may be the primary destination for inlanders seeking a coastal lifestyle, but soaring property prices in the province, and Cape Town in particular, have made potential home buyers turn their focus to the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) North and South coasts.

Enigma Private Estate in KZN sets new records

2 min read Having launched 9 months ago, Enigma Private Estate in KwaZulu-Natal has had a positive response, so positive that this new development is in the lead as the fastest selling estate in the greater Umhlanga area. More interestingly, the beginning of this year has been one of the most successful sales phases to date. The recent announcement confirming that construction is set to commence at the end of April 2018  has stimulated a strong response from the market, with the sales team achieving R30 million in sales in just one week.

Silence is Golden

2 min read Noise is one of the major stressors of urban living, so almost all residential estates include a clause about noise in their Code of Conduct.

Wireless – the 5G vision

2 min read Mobile and wireless data are expected to increase a thousandfold over the next decade as more than 50 billion devices, all of which will be able to access and share data, anywhere and any time, connect to the cloud by 2020.

Water and Real Estate – Making the Connection

4 min read For decades, residential real estate developers and managers have worked within a given set of relationships between themselves, the municipality as service provider, the state as regulator and the investors whose primary interests they serve.

Occupational health and safety act (OHS)

2 min read At a recent health and safety workshop, the question of contractor responsibility was raised in cases where the homeowners’ association (HOA) of the estate agrees to take responsibility for a contractor hired by the owner of a residence to perform work on the owner’s behalf.

Estates of Play

5 min read Since the advent of the first golf estate in South Africa, Selborne Parkin KwaZulu-Natal, which opened for play in 1987, the golf estate phenomenon has been characterised by often unforeseen change. The developments at Selborne were unusual, as they moved the estate away from its original function as a working dairy farm into Denis Barker’s dream of a residential golf estate.

How will we live in 2025?

5 min read As early as 2025 homes could look vastly different.

Day Zero

16 min read In September 2017, when it became clear the City of Cape Town had few viable solutions for a drought of potentially precedent-setting proportions, members of a non-profit organisation, Water Shortage South Africa, took matters into their own hands. CEO and water expert Benoit le Roy began planning for a proactive campaign to lobby the United Nations for aid and expertise.   “This (drought) is bigger than South Africa can handle,” Le Roy said “How does a country handle four million refugees?”

Regulation of roads in secure estates

3 min read Over the past couple of decades, the number of secure estates in South Africa, both residential and commercial/ industrial, has increased exponentially. This has been largely driven by security concerns because of the escalating crime rate in the country.

Seeing value in the Life Right model

4 min read One of the biggest business surprises in the latter half of 2017 was PSG’s investment of R 675 million in the Evergreen Lifestyle retirement business.

Sibaya Coastal Precinct: What’s on the cards for 2018

7 min read The 1 000 hectare Sibaya Coastal Precinct on KwaZulu-Natal’s North Coast is well on its way to realising its vision as a mixed-use estate for every generation, with new residential and commercial developments, as well as a 2 000-learner school developed by the ADvTECH Academies Brand, in the pipeline

Huge demand sees rapid uptake in Mount Edgecombe Retirement Village – Over 60% of units sold in phase one

3 min read With people today living longer and opting for a more active lifestyle, when planning for their future retirement many have no desire to spend their latter years in a typical old age home but prefer a far more independent and active lifestyle – all within a secure location and with medical facilities readily available.

Waterfall wins International Property Award

3 min read At a ceremony held at the iconic Savoy Hotel in London on 4 December, Waterfall Management Company was awarded the International Best Mixed-use Development 2017/2018 for the Waterfall development.

Battle of the appliance brands

3 min read Today’s executive and luxury properties have one thing in common – they come equipped with fitted, state-of-the-art appliances. The oven is already installed, and often a fridge and washing machine too.

Biodiverse places that connect people to their environment – By the Servest Environmental Team

4 min read A new awareness is spreading across the world and it is bringing tremendous hope and excitement. People now understand the vital importance of making our individually small, but collectively massive contribution to the protection of all life on Earth. We are increasingly more willing to practise consumer restraint at home and at our workplaces.

Student accommodation – a robust investment opportunity

4 min read In 2009, the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) confirmed there was a serious shortage of student accommodation in and around universities and campuses in South Africa. Fast forward to 2018, and the situation remains largely unchanged, with a constant influx of students from all around the country.

Affordable estate living thrives in Joburg south

4 min read The south of Johannesburg has its fair share of lifestyle estates, but what stands out about these is the proliferation of highly affordable cluster and apartment offerings within these gated communities, offering residents all the facilities of the lifestyle estate but within reach of a young professional’s budget.

Some of the main pros of having a GYM at HOME

2 min read Many of us aspire to being fitter, stronger and healthier overall than we were yesterday (or at least maintain the level), and one of the best ways to achieve this is by exercising – and the more appropriate the exercise the bigger the gain.

Steyn City Properties CEO named Business Person of the Year

2 min read Giuseppe Plumari, CEO of Steyn City Properties, has been named Business Person of the Year at the Nedbank Business Excellence Awards 2017, hosted by the Italian-South Africa Chamber of Commerce and Industries at a gala dinner last night at the Wanderers Club in Illovo, Johannesburg.

FTTX Conference 2017 – Cape Town ICC: 3 – 5 October 2017 

3 min read Under the patronage of Dr Siyabonga Cwele, Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Dr Andile Ngcaba, President FTTX Council Africa, the CEO Juanita Clark and other dignitaries, the 6th Annual FTTX Council Africa Conference was held at the CTICC, Cape Town, from 3 to 5 October 2017.

What makes a modern home better?

4 min read Two words define modern lifestyles – mobility and flexibility. Building a contemporary home or home office, therefore, has become all about embracing these freedoms, in design elements and materials chosen.

More estates and homeowners are ‘getting off the grid’. Drilling a borehole is a good start.

4 min read The world is clearly getting warmer – 2016 was recorded as the hottest year since records have been kept, and experts say this trend is likely to continue over the years to come.

Cape Town’s signature urban spaces

5 min read Ten years ago, a desirable lifestyle would probably have been to own a modest house in the suburbs with a pretty garden, located a decent distance from the city for work. Today’s young professionals have a completely different outlook and it’s pushing developers to think way outside of four concrete walls.

Propertuity: Bringing Durban’s grande dames back to life

3 min read With land at a premium and in short supply wherever in South Africa you may be, property developers are now steering towards repurposing existing buildings rather than starting from scratch.

Century Property Developments: One size for all

3 min read The residential property market, just like any other market today, continues to evolve, and one developer is fast off the mark when it comes to meeting the changing needs of today’s property consumer.

Fire-mitigation – the new priority

2 min read The New Priority in construction and building maintenance – Passive fire protection through fire compartments. Architects, engineers, developers and contractors need to look beyond the Building Regulations to proactively seek and apply new solutions to mitigating the spread of fire in buildings.

CMAI Architects

5 min read “As long as I am useful, I want to be around and  as long as I am around, I want to be useful”  Dr Chris Mulder, Founder, Chairman  and CEO of CMAI Architects. “I love my work; it is my hobby, my life and my passion and I am in the fortunate position that I share my work with my family who are all involved somehow or the other”, says Dr Chris Mulder who set up CMAI in 1980 with his wife Pat upon their return from America.

Another vote of confidence for Cornubia

3 min read The beginning of May this year marks a milestone for MMI Holdings as it takes occupation of its new R306 million KwaZulu-Natal regional headquarters. The milestone is equally significant to Tongaat Hulett Developments as the new building adds to the body of evidence that Cornubia; KwaZulu-Natal’s most ambitious mixed-use property project is booming.

Interesting Easter Traditions from Across the Globe

2 min read A typical South African Easter day could go something like this… attend church, eat to many hot cross buns, enjoy an Easter egg hunt, and then spend the rest of the day in a horizontal position. Others are out of town enjoying a mini-break. For some lucky folks, they have the opportunity to travel to far away exotic places, enjoying their Easter traditions with ice and a little colourful umbrella.

Best practice for transitioning developments

4 min read Almost every aspect of life can be described in terms of relationships, and the development and growth of a residential community is no exception. Like relationships between people, relationships within residential communities evolve, and we call that process “transitioning”. And, just like evolving relationships between people, transitioning in communities can be harmonious or acrimonious, or even downright nasty.

Edison Property Group – the time for integrated design

4 min read Mixed-use development in South Africa started gathering momentum in the late 1990s. It aimed to re-connect people with their workplaces, homes, shops and leisure activities, especially as road congestion continued to increase in our major cities.

Fibre to the home – the next generation utility

5 min read Today telecommunications are as much part of life as electricity and water. There are many telecommunications operators and service providers to choose from, and many companies can offer you a next-generation broadband network. These broadband networks will connect ultra-high-speed – 1 Gbps and above − to homes, offices and premises around your development, whether business park, residential community or mixed use.

Urban designs for future cities

3 min read Founded in 1996, with offices in Durban and Johannesburg, Iyer has been involved in numerous large-scale projects such as Sibaya Coastal Precinct, Moses Mabhida Stadium Precinct and Cornubia, to name just a few.

Technology the fourth industrial revolution

4 min read Dark fibre, dirty movies and sewerage pipes – it sounds a little seedy and sordid, but it’s all part of Link Africa’s mission to bring us closer to the limitless world of the Internet through fibre optics.

Lights, Camera, Action – Estate security that delivers on demand

4 min read Vizual Security was established in 2005, in response to a real need in the market for a truly holistic and fully integrated security services offering. Initially Vizual provided primary services including cleaning and hygiene, landscaping and garden services, as well as physical security and manned guarding. Then the founding members of Vizual Security identified a need in the property development and secure estate market for a unique security services offering that would present a fully integrated security solution, together with an attractive and affordable long-term financing model. This would benefit the developers of estates and in particular homeowners’ associations who find it challenging to  raise  finance for these bespoke projects.

New urbanisation with Amdec Group

4 min read The past decade has seen a surge in mixed-use property development, a concept described by developers as a space that provides the public with a place that combines living with business and pleasure. The growth and development of South Africa’s major cities in recent years has made space one of the most valuable commodities of our time, but is the mixed-use property concept really all that new?

A new vision for urban renewal

5 min read What makes an area attractive to residential and business investors? Good security, aesthetic appeal or convenient access to amenities? For most of us experiential beings, it’s the perfect combination of all three. But employment and budget constraints sometimes prevent us from achieving the picturesque suburban ideal that so many seek. So what if there was a formula that could improve on what’s already been established?

An alternative financing model: Crowdfunding

7 min read Realty Africa is a services company in the sub-Saharan region. Their dream is to empower local landowners, developers and architects in sub-Saharan Africa by developing new services and seeking partnerships with other companies. They want to create a total service portfolio that supports local real estate professionals and enables their businesses.

All along the watchtower

4 min read With more than 10 000 registered security companies, South Africa has one of the largest private security industries worldwide. The extent to which we rely on the private sector for our personal safety and security is exemplified by the fact that there are 2.5 security personnel for every police officer in the country – and this number is growing exponentially with our crime rate. Out of necessity, private security performs functions in the public sphere which used to be the sole domain of the South African Police Service.

The value of brand publicity

3 min read In the growing and highly competitive landscape of property development, creating a clearly defined brand proposition supported by the right sales and marketing strategy is an essential component of any new development.

Sales-driven communication

4 min read Current statistics show boundaries of 6 000-plus residential communities in the country and solid growth of 15% in the development and construction of residential communities annually. Competition in the market is healthy but fierce, and we know that a brand communication strategy is imperative.

Tongaat Hulett Developments Open for business

4 min read Tongaat Hulett is still primarily what it has always been: a major agribusiness involved in farming, milling and refining sugar cane throughout Southern Africa. But for the past 25 years its development division has also been converting surplus agricultural land into infrastructurally serviced real estate for residential, commercial, industrial, resort and mixed-use developments in KwaZulu-Natal.

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Why developers shouldn’t only cater to wealthy baby boomers

It’s understandable that many developers want to create high-end retirement homes aimed at wealthy boomers – it’s a very lucrative undertaking, after all. While there’s a market for that, it’s important not to lose sight of what pensioners on lower incomes may need when it comes to housing.


How do you futureproof your development’s technology needs?

Technology is constantly evolving, new trends emerge and what works today, might not be useful in the next decade. As technology needs change over time, it is important for real estate developers to make room for technology advancements, by futureproofing their developments to create a quality living experience for residents.


Better Prospects for the SA Economy

Investors should try to ignore the remaining short-term noise and risks around infections, lockdowns, unrest and last year’s weak economic growth and look toward the medium to longer term. When investing – especially for future wealth or retirement – the short term becomes less important, as we all should invest for longer term returns.


Three ways an estate manager can improve relationships with the local municipality

As your estate’s most important external stakeholder the local municipality holds huge sway, so developing and maintaining good relationships with them is imperative.


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Crimson Global Academy

Crimson Global Academy is a global, internationally registered online high school offering International GCSEs; A-Level and US college-level AP (Advanced Placement) courses.


Huawei Solar

Huawei offers leading Smart PV solutions harnessing more than 30 years of expertise in digital information technology.


Flight Centre

Flight Centre is the most recognised and trusted mass travel retailer in South Africa. With having built confidence and value with millions of customers over the last 27 years.


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Huawei Solar

Huawei offers leading Smart PV solutions harnessing more than 30 years of expertise in digital information technology.



With over 600 specialist practitioners, ENSafrica is Africa’s largest law firm and has the capacity to deliver on your business requirements across all major industries and the African continent. We are able to leverage our resources to deliver legal solutions that suit your pricing preferences and timeframes.



Over 20 years ago we taste-tested 170 water samples before we settled on the perfect Aquazania recipe. “Recipe? But it’s just water!” some said. Nothing in life is “just water” is our resounding response.



Back in 1998, OUTsurance made a simple promise – you always get something out. Since then, they’ve never broken it, paying over R5 billion in OUTbonuses. In fact, in 2020 alone, the average amount paid each and every day in OUTbonuses exceeded R1.4 million.


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