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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
3 min read Slowly, your eyes close, your head droops – and then you jerk awake just before your chin hits your chest – that awful feeling when you just can’t stay awake. We’ve all experienced it – whether it’s trawling through the minutes of the latest board meeting, or trying to look (and be) alert at the entrance gate. How do we deal with those mid-morning slumps? (Or mid-afternoon, or mid-evening, or even midnight.)
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?
2 min read There is so much day-to-day pressure in managing an estate or sectional title development that it’s easy to become bogged down in mundane admin, and – when things don’t go smoothly – in not-so-mundane firefighting. But it’s essential to maintain the broad vision and the long view.
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?
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.
3 min read Managing a residential estate is different to managing most other businesses because your clients are part of your product, and what you do affects them – not only in a business way but also as humans and families. And what they do affects you, and your other clients. It’s quite a juggling act.
3 min read Rules are the glue that keeps an estate from breaking down into anarchy – but they can also be the cause of some conflict, so they need to be handled with care. And one of the most important aspects of keeping the rules is ensuring that everyone knows them. Everyone!
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.
2 min read South Africa is the proud home of the invention of the Kreepy Krauly – the first automatic pool cleaner – and we all know and love (or maybe not actually love) them. They are great, and some people do develop strong relationships with their Kreepys, but they use electricity, and they can be quite invasive, taking up a lot of space in a small pool. So, when we found out about this US-designed solar-powered pool robot, we thought it was worth a look.
2 min read As estate managers we are responsible for ensuring that all our residents pay for utilities, so we need to be 100% confident that the bills we forward accurately reflect the actual consumption for which we are charging. And we can only do that if the utility companies send us accurate accounts.
2 min read With the way Eskom and various municipalities have been (mis) managing our power and water supply, and other utilities, it is very tempting to go off the grid. A few years ago, that was seen as an impractical pipe dream but, with improved technology, it is now decidedly possible. However, it’s not that simple, so you need to do some serious pre-planning.
3 min read Your estate’s front gate guardhouse is both its most visible and most vulnerable security point. That’s the stark warning from several security companies, as cases of guard intimidation continue to increase at estates and other sites across South Africa. Off-site monitoring, despite its challenges, may be the most effective solution.
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.
3 min read As we head into the festive season, the blood banks are encouraging existing and new donors to donate blood in expectation of the usual end-of-year road carnage. So this is a good time to think about organising a regular blood drive at your estate. It’s an easy and painless way to make a huge difference in the world – to literally save a life, just by lying with your feet up for about 20 or 30 minutes.
3 min read Owners and occupiers of community sectional title housing schemes and private gated developments run by homeowners associations (HOAs) have until the end of June 2021 to ensure that their record-keeping systems are compliant with the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) Act that came into effect on 1 July 2020. Failure to adhere to the new Act carries the risk of prosecution and a heavy fine.
4 min read Back in the Victorian era, it was said, children should be seen and not heard. They ate in the kitchen with the staff (who were considered to be barely human) and were expected to keep out of the way. Unless, of course, they were working in the mines, sweeping chimneys or polishing boots.
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.
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.
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.
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.
4 min read Managing a residential estate is a little like juggling with eggs. It can be tricky to balance each resident’s rights to fully enjoy all the communal facilities and services with the need to protect, preserve and maintain all the elements that go to making the estate the special place it is. Fortunately, Elinor Ostrom, Nobel Prize winner for Economics, has developed a framework for managing common property that can be used by societies, communities, countries and – of course – residential estates.
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?
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.
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.
2 min read It’s spring – that means that summer can’t be far behind, and summer means Christmas. And Christmas is about more than just gobbling turkey, guzzling mince pies, and glugging down bubbly. Christmas is about giving, sharing, and – mostly – about children. So why not take the opportunity – as a community – to share the love?
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.
4 min read Albert Einstein, who was a pretty smart fellow, did not say: ‘If bees disappeared from the face of the earth, humans would have only about four years left to live.’ But, even though he didn’t say it, if anyone had asked him what would happen if bees disappeared, he may well have answered thus. Okay, Einstein didn’t know much about bees, but Mark Collins does, and he estimates that ‘bees pollinate more than every third mouthful of everything we eat. Without their contribution, we would have a serious problem.’
3 min read Most estates that allow pets make it clear that dogs must be within their yards at all times unless out on a walk with their humans. But, what about cats? Shouldn’t there be a rule about cats not roaming the estate, hunting small animals, getting into fights with other cats – and even dogs – and creating trauma for any hapless driver who may squash one on the road? (Granted – the cat would suffer trauma too.)
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.
3 min read Many people beat the summer heat by cranking the air conditioning. However, air conditioners guzzle power and spew out millions of tons of carbon dioxide daily. They’re also not always good for your health – constant exposure to central A/C can increase risks of recirculating germs and causing breathing problems.
3 min read The Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies has published draft policy and policy directions on the rapid deployment of electronic communications networks and facilities for comment. Submissions are due by 3 September 2020 and can be sent to email@example.com. The below is an overview provided without comment.
4 min read A new cloud-based system that can detect changes in plant communities could be a valuable diagnostic tool to help developers and estate managers to monitor and optimise biodiversity – particularly on large properties with extensive natural areas.
5 min read You’ve decided to bravely break away from purchasing a few cubic metres of ‘builder’s beige’ when it comes to painting or repainting. But, before you gaily decorate the frail care centre bright yellow because it’s cheerful, the restaurant red, because it increases appetite, and the spa blue, because it is said to be calming, be aware that it’s not that simple.
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).
4 min read Finding the right staff is important but, unless you know exactly what you are looking for, you cannot accurately assess and evaluate a candidate during the selection process. There are plenty of things you can easily forget to assess when interviewing for new talent. It is not just skills and experience, but also soft skills, traits, personality, ambition and – most important – cultural fit. These factors are harder, but not impossible, to assess and if you pay attention to this, you increase your chances of finding, and more importantly retaining the best candidate for the job.
4 min read Great movie, and an awesome title. But I would have done it the other way round – the Ugly, the Bad and the Good. OK, it doesn’t roll off the tongue quite as well, but it’s a better way to approach life – that way you end on a positive note. But I digress, this article is about life right, not about movies.
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.
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.
5 min read Interesting how people who will spend hundreds of rands on a carefully selected bottle of wine will happily grab a bag of pre-ground, almost certainly stale, coffee to serve after the meal – probably with an elegant potstill brandy or a cognac. It’s taken us a while to learn about wine, but we’ve only just started the coffee learning curve.
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.
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.
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.
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.
8 min read At a press briefing on Thursday 30 April, basic education minister Angie Motshekga announced that – if all goes according to plan – school admin staff would go back to work on 18 May, and Grade 7s and Grade 12s may return to school on 1 June. It sounded nice, but it’s really not that simple, and – as at 18 May – it doesn’t look as if that timeline is going to pan out. But, more importantly, how and when will our children return to schools, and will they be safe when they do?
5 min read Once municipal water enters the estate, it is reticulated through a network that has been built by the original developer and is maintained by the HOA. All’s fine and good but, if the estate management decides to provide on-site storage to, for example, ensure regular supply, they stray into a grey area of the law, and may be liable to prosecution.
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.
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.
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.
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.
3 min read Whether you have a fully kitted out home office or are just working from a cleared section on the kitchen counter, you’re likely to have had numerous virtual meetings by Skype, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting or Zoom. And by now you’re probably sick of the virtual thing and longing for some human-to-human face time. But regardless of what we want or need, the normal we once knew is no more, and a new normal awaits.
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.
4 min read When conflict arises, it can result in stress. And, when stress levels increase, so does the likelihood of conflict and confrontation. But, remember, if you’re feeling stressed, chances are that your residents and home owners are feeling much the same. It’s a vicious circle that someone has to stop – and that someone is you. So how can you be the tough guy, and make those hard calls, while still being understanding and kind?
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.
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.
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?
3 min read We all want to know that our homes are secure, and that our families are safe, but we also don’t want to feel that we’re living behind prison bars. So we got together with Peter Rawson from Trellidor to find out about their latest offerings.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
< 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.
3 min read We are moving into uncharted territory with the countrywide lockdown, with many people not entirely sure what is and is not allowed. And, for people living in residential estates, the additional question arises: ‘Where does my home begin and end?’ We asked Marina Constas, a director of BBM Law, to clarify some widely held concerns and uncertainties.
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.
3 min read As South Africa continues to battle with power cuts, grid constraints and load shedding, the government is making it easier for businesses – including residential estates – to generate their own solar PV (photovoltaic) electricity.
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.
3 min read It’s old news that sectional title schemes need to establish and maintain a reserve fund that is separate from the administrative fund. Most bodies corporate have done so, and have built the fund up to meet the requirements. And some are now sitting on large sums of cash, and may even have a surplus of reserve funds. So investing this surplus makes good financial sense, but it must be done cautiously and with the preservation of funds as a priority.
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.
3 min read Living in an estate is typically a pleasant experience, with a strong sense of community as well as an idyllic lifestyle. Unfortunately, problem pets can easily disrupt this lifestyle. They can be noisy, disruptive, smelly, and can even cause physical harm to other residents. And, in some cases, the owners appear to be oblivious to the problems their beloved pets are causing. These situations often lead to tensions in the complex, especially if the owner is unwilling or unable to resolve the issue.
6 min read As managers, we are sometimes so concerned about the outward signs of effectiveness – whether all the boxes have been ticked – that we often don’t notice that our employees are just going through the motions. For real effectiveness, and a staff that actually enjoys coming to work, we need to manage from the heart – for the heart.
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.
2 min read More and more South Africans are evaluating the feasibility and advantages of investing in residential communities. Large mixed-use developments are sprouting up all over the country, and buyers are opting to invest in a secure lifestyle estate, where a return on capital is highly probable.
4 min read It’s great having a dam, pond, lake or river on an estate, but when it turns green overnight, and things start dying in it, it’s more of a liability than an asset. So, as estate managers, we need to understand – firstly – how this happens, and then how to deal with it.
4 min read We tend to think of compost as a huge heap in an obscure corner of the garden – something that needs to be strenuously turned regularly, and that can generate enough heat to warm bathwater or possibly roast a chicken. Well, that is the traditional method, and it may well be the most biologically efficient way to compost, but there are much neater, smaller, more user-friendly options, some of which can even be used indoors.
3 min read Most residential estates in South Africa today have invested in high-tech security solutions to make sure that they can offer residents much-needed peace of mind. However, when it comes to maximising the benefits of app technology, South Africa is still somewhat lagging behind.
2 min read Humans or robots? It sounds like the sort of choice you’d only have to make in a sci-fi movie, but for more and more estate security managers, it’s a very real dilemma. The advances in digital technologies – including Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, automation and machine learning – have made it possible to employ a full-service security force staffed entirely by non-humans.
2 min read REDi was founded just a week before Christmas of 2003, the intent being, as founder Deon Basson is often heard saying, ‘to do something remarkable’. So we created a business based on our strengths and interests, which have always been property, technology and entrepreneurship.
3 min read Can estate managers use personality tests like Myers–Briggs to create (and manage) better teams, boards and bodies corporate? Despite widespread scepticism, more and more organisations are using personality tests like the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) to create and manage their teams. Should you?
3 min read The sharing economy might just revolutionise all aspects of estate living, ushering in a less expensive, more connected way of life. Just a few years ago, it seemed as though shoppers had embarked on an acquisitive drive that would have no end. Consumerism had reached precipitous heights: the more one had, the more one needed. Houses were bursting at the seams as people responded to ads pushing more, more, more.
4 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.
3 min read The Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment puts extra responsibility on developers to reduce their carbon footprint, right from the planning stage. As more signatories add their names to the Net Zero Carbon Buildings Commitment, South African developers are reflecting on what it means for them – and for the building industry.
3 min read Converting leads into sales is the most important element of ensuring the success of your development, so it’s worth streamlining the process. When selling off plan, it is important to remember that you are doing just that … selling a plan, a concept, an intangible future. And, without those sales, there is a good chance that your development may never get off the ground.
< 1 min read Watch: Louise Martin, COO of Estate Living, and Dirk Uys of the magnificent Arabella Country Estate discuss three of the challenges estates and their management team face today with Dirk Uys
< 1 min read Watch: What do you look for in a top-class, well-aged red wine? Style, certainly; body and taste, definitely; but also the subtle, understated excellence that comes to great wines only when they begin to mature; an excellence that reflects an impeccable track record.
4 min read We can truly echo San Lameer’s slogan ‘The Good Life!’, as we thoroughly enjoyed the good life in so many ways for a few days. Thank you to San Lameer for treating the early arrivals to some Night Golf to whet our appetite for the ‘main event’.
2 min read Estates in the residential community industry and all ARC members will have heard by now that we have established the Residential Communities Council (RCC), which has been successfully registered with CIPC as a non-profit company (NPC) that will pursue the objectives as defined in the MOI.
2 min read Community Association Institute of South Africa (CAISA) is the first international chapter of the US-based Community Association Institute (CAI). We believe that home owners and community associations should strive to exceed the expectations of their residents.
3 min read Effective communication in a world of information overload and instant gratification is difficult to achieve. But this becomes even more challenging when the accuracy of the information on which these communications are based comes into question.
4 min read According to an article written by Ravi Kaneriya for the World Economic Forum, studies show that the key to happiness lies in having rich social bonds and meaningful relationships. And being part of a community is a powerful way to build those relationships in a faster, more scalable way.
5 min read Great management teams don’t just happen; they are built – carefully and deliberately. Creating an effective management team, which is probably one of the most important functions of boards, trustees and HOAs, requires both discipline and being open to new ways of doing things.
5 min read Sometimes, good intentions go bad. When things go wrong, there are always lessons to be learned. Read on. Not all decisions are easy. Be careful not to ignore a problem and hope it will go away. In this litigious world, if you have a question, seek advice. Surround the board with competent advisors. This will make your job easier. What follows are eight real-life examples of situations faced by boards of directors.
2 min read Positive news to emerge from Statistics SA today is that South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew 3,1% in the second quarter of 2019 (to end-June), compared to a decline of 3,1% in the first quarter.
4 min read Gowrie Village in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands is the quintessential country community, integrated into the greater village of Nottingham Road. Established in 2002, Gowrie’s sense of relaxed rural spaces and neighbourliness are key to the success of this mixed-use estate.
4 min read Which processes, procedures, and best practices keep a successful older estate at the top of its game? Marina Martinique – a unique Cape-Caribbean-style estate consisting of 384 residential stands and 475 units in group housing developments – is built around a lake and seven kilometres of constructed canals that lie three metres above sea level, and whose water is pumped in from, and flows back into, the ocean.
4 min read On the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain in Somerset West, the prestigious Erinvale Country Estate and Golf Club, which will be celebrating 25 successful years in 2020, was one of the first residential golf estates in South Africa. To find out what the ingredients are for this success, we chat to Kerstin Dinklage, Erinvale HOA trustee responsible for marketing and communication.
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
6 min read The world is facing a climate crisis. A young Swedish schoolgirl is now leading a global campaign of defiance driven by school children. The world has just experienced the hottest July ever recorded, even while a vocal segment of the chattering masses in leading economies like the USA believes that the science underpinning global warming is a massive hoax perpetuated by scientists who are – somehow – conspiring to make money.
3 min read The sluggish economy and continued inflationary pressures are taking their toll on the property market in general. According to credit bureau TPN’s latest report, the last three years have seen a steady decline in demand for residential properties, with a concomitant increase in the supply of properties. What’s more, the bureau says vacancy rates remain consistently high at 8.64% with escalations at just 4.85%. Most worrying for estate and property managers is that tenant good standing numbers continue to decline, with a current level of 81.8%.
3 min read The gardens, areas of natural vegetation, rivers, water features, paths and even parking lots on your estate are all part of your ‘shop window’. So they need to be beautiful – and also sustainable in every sense. That’s where Servest comes in – creating beautiful spaces that enhance your estate both aesthetically and environmentally.
8 min read Most community associations seek to enforce their rules while still maintaining a harmonious community that the residents view as a desirable place to live. At times, though, these goals seem to be contradictory, and strictly enforcing the rules can result in controversy.
5 min read Policies, procedures, our governing documents and our rules and regulations are binding on members who choose to buy into a homeowners association or sectional title scheme. But, of course, the directors, trustees, management, and the members themselves have to ensure that these are lawful, consistent and fair, and that they protect the common interest of the community at large.
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.
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.
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.
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.
4 min read Developers, HOAs, municipalities and the management of all manner of complexes, schools and campuses are learning that there are some things you just can’t fight. Put up as many ‘Keep off the grass’ signs as you like, people will take the shortest (or most convenient) path to get to where they’re going. So, the smart ones are giving in.
2 min read What are the key drivers for the buyers in residential estates and how can a security service provider support estate managers? The impact of security risk at residential homes in the form of violent crime and burglaries, has fuelled the growth and development of residential estates to meet the upward demand.
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.
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.
4 min read Careful planning for future repairs and replacements is in the best physical and fiscal interests of the community association. Maintaining a reserve fund not only meets legal, fiduciary and professional requirements, it also minimises the need for special levies, and enhances resale values. How does an association properly determine and compile adequate reserves to fund necessary repair and replacement costs? By conducting reserve studies.
7 min read Financial operations are a critical part of the management of any operation, so it is essential that they are carried out with integrity. The board of directors, particularly the financial director, is ultimately responsible for an association’s funds and may not abdicate their fiduciary responsibility.
5 min read Estate managers, HOAs, bodies corporate and other community associations are responsible for managing huge swathes of land and property worth millions of rands, and are responsible for ensuring that the homes of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people remain a safe and uplifting place to stay. This requires high levels of integrity and unimpeachable governance.
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.
3 min read It is one thing to sell the concept of community living, but creating a real community among a large group of diverse human beings can be a tough challenge. An estate with a strong community keeps the value of the property high and the residents happy, so building a healthy community is a vital component of estate management.
3 min read Do you know your Aptenia from your Carpobrotus … or your Dymondia from your Arctotis? No? Thought not, that’s why all but the green fingered among us prefer to rely on the experts. And if you’re the manager of a residential estate, the professional team from Servest Landscaping is the expert service you need.
4 min read All institutions in the world have rules and regulations that govern the operation, use and participation in that institution. Residents living outside a residential estate are governed by municipal laws relating to noise, the keeping of animals, the use of estate agent boards, the driving of vehicles in the suburb, etc. Hospitals, libraries, universities, golf courses, sports clubs, airports and shopping centres have rules and regulations too, and residential estates are no different.
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.
3 min read Residential estates should familiarise and align themselves with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, Act 85 of 1993, and the regulations made thereunder. By creating a culture of legal compliance within an estate, HOAs promote clarity and trust in those who have vested interests in the residential estate. This furthermore enables estate management to demonstrate sound management structures, systems and processes, which strengthens the brand of the estate and increases its value.
4 min read South Africa’s economy is struggling. High interest rates and weak household finances are pushing investors and buyers to the sidelines, and homeowners are under increasing pressure to find alternative ways to ensure that their property remains relevant and attractive.
3 min read The word “problem” is defined in the dictionary as a difficulty that has to be resolved or dealt with. In estate landscaping, there are inescapable problems and then there are those that could have been managed from the outset.
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.
3 min read The Sectional Title Schemes Management Act, Act no.8 of 2011 (STSMA) has introduced a number of new requirements into sectional title management, with serious financial impact on most sectional title schemes.
3 min read The word ‘community’ has many definitions; however, within the context of the residential estate communities, the following seems an ideal fit: ‘an interacting group of people with similar characteristics and interests, residing in a common geographic location’.
3 min read Although the uptake of fibre in residential communities has rapidly progressed, it was found that there are still a few burning questions in the industry around aspects to the offerings and deployment. Estate Living sheds some light on the matter with Frans Verwoerd – GM FibreSuburbs Network
6 min read While the game of golf was undergoing an evolution which saw fundamental changes in equipment, especially in terms of the golf ball and club shafts that made the game more affordable, other changes were also taking place.
2 min read Recent research shows that most estate managers come from a security or military environment. There are many who have cut their teeth in the hospitality and retail sector, and there are many who have worked in local government and civil engineering.
4 min read Through the efforts of The Association of Residential Communities (ARC), members of the industry come together on a regular basis to explore best practices and share experiences. During these sessions, which are held across the country with over 100 member estates in May 2017, we explored the impact of the different environments on the industry and conducted a PESTEL (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environmental, Legislative) and SWOT (Strenghts, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis. The following results emerged:
4 min read The forecast warned that an extreme cold front was to hit the Western Cape that night. Emergency services were preparing for storm waters, but the prefrontal wind conditions that pushed ahead of the storm fanned smouldering embers and unleashed a surge of fire comparable to the opening of floodgates. There was simply no stopping this conflagration once it had reached a certain level of intensity.
2 min read The Local Government: Municipal Property Rates Act empowers a local council to levy rates on immovable property within its jurisdiction. This is done by identifying the categories of property that a particular local council wishes to levy, and then selecting which properties should be allowed exemption from rates and taxes and, most importantly, which qualify for rebates. In terms of the Act, this power needs to be exercised on a fair and equitable basis.
4 min read Most people who buy into secure residential communities do so in order to be – or at least feel – more secure. As well as genuinely offering security and privacy, gates and fences enhance the perception of safety. And this, in turn, increases property values, helps to attract new residents, and allows managers and owners to charge a premium for services and rentals.
8 min read Muirfield’s decision to drag itself into the 21st century by allowing women to become members of the club, a mere 270 or so years after it was founded, was only achieved after a positive outcome to the voting process was encouraged (could this be the first recorded case of the donkey being beaten with a carrot?) by The Royal and Ancient’s veiled threat to remove Muirfield from the roster of Open Championship venues.
2 min read On 7 October 2016, the Community Schemes OMBUD Service Act 9 of 2011 (CSOSA) came into force. This Act impacts anyone who owns property in a community scheme. A community scheme includes sectional title developments, share block schemes, homeowners’ associations, retirement schemes or any other arrangement in terms of which there is shared use of and responsibility for parts of land and buildings.
2 min read The Association of Residential Communities overviews the 7 key characteristics of good governance as it applies to residential communities homeowners associations in South Africa
5 min read The residential community industry is enjoying year-on-year growth. The demand for a better-quality, family-centred lifestyle is driving the market and steering more and more individuals to invest in property in residential estates. Furthermore, foreign investors are now, more than ever, flocking to South African shores, and the communities in the existing environments are seeking opportunities to capitalise on their existing assets to compensate for a weakening Rand.
< 1 min read Excitement is rising in preparation for the Annual ARC Conference, hosted this year at the prestigious Val de Vie Estate. The Association of Residential Communities never fails to provide an incredible event, where resolution to industry challenges are found through shared experience.
4 min read Looking at their phones is one of the first things most people do in the mornings. Whether it’s for checking emails, reading the news, updating social media, messaging friends or getting a weather forecast, the reality is that the screens viewed by most people most of the time are on their phones.
5 min read How should a Homeowners Association (HOA) optimally compose the Balance Sheet position to minimise levy increases? How to make sure that they will be able to live up to all the new, stricter regulations on capital reserves while still minimising the long-term levies and answering the call from investors for new amenities and lifestyle upgrades.
< 1 min read CAISA (Community Associations Institute South Africa) will be returning to the Western Cape for the first time since 2014 with the M100: The Essentials of Community Association Management course.
5 min read Of the many good reasons for moving to a residential estate, the one most often cited is security. Residential estates are seen as safer places to live, and places where children and adults alike can walk and play in public open space. So security is extremely important.
5 min read No matter how well things are going, you can’t just sit back and hope the situation will continue, and when things are not going well, you need to make sure they get better. Both situations require strategic planning. It’s an essential, ongoing feature of good management.
2 min read Security is top of mind for people looking for estate living, so cutting-edge security systems such as CCTV surveillance, intercom systems and 24-hour security guards are the norm. But, according to Edward van der Linde of JNCS Beyond Security, the best-of-breed security goes beyond these standard measures.
3 min read Before deciding to invest our hard earned money on the JSE we spend countless hours researching the company that we are interested in, studying its past performance, the short and long-term forecasts and expectations of its share value, the share’s vulnerability and responsiveness to economic turmoil, even going as far as finding out whether or not the CEO drinks milk in his coffee.
10 min read PwC Strategy&’s behavioural economists explain seven behavioural traps that consumers should be wary of: framing, scarcity and loss aversion, herding, the halo effect, confirmation bias, initial pain, and the sunk cost fallacy.
3 min read Levy income is the lifeblood of any estate, and ineffective management and collection of funds can have a crippling effect on the sustainability and success of an estate. The main object of an estate is to carry on the promotion, advancement and protection of the owners’ interests in the estate and to maintain and control the common areas.
4 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.
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.
3 min read Many people buy into residential estates and sectional title developments for investment purposes and, with economic pressures being what they have been in the last few years, everyone is looking to maximise their return on investment.
4 min read Johannesburg’s proposed new housing policy, which recognises the need for developments to yield a profit, may turn out to be a win-win solution. As part of its strategy to create a more liveable urban space, the City of Johannesburg is introducing a new Inclusionary Housing Policy that could make it mandatory for developers to build affordable housing as part of new residential developments.
4 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.
3 min read A key characteristic of estate living is the existence of the Homeowners Association (HOA), of which all owners are required to become a member and pay levies towards. The HOA sets rules and regulations, essentially designed to protect the estate and its assets, and keep the peace among its residents.
5 min read One of an estate management or board’s primary functions is its role as an asset manager and asset protector. In this activity it will oversee the efficient workings of all the estate’s functions and facilities with the principal goal to ensure the well-being of the key common assets. As a result these activities will help to ensure the protection and enhancement of property values, thereby safe-guarding the best interests of the principal stakeholders – the homeowners.
3 min read Market conditions have pushed cost control to the top of most meeting agendas. How do we survive in tough economic times without reducing the level of service or quality? The best way to do this is by reducing the costs associated with delivering the facilities or services related thereto.
5 min read The popularity of golf carts has risen dramatically in recent times, with golf carts now being used beyond golf courses and having become a popular mode of transport at sporting events and in and around hospitals, businesses, airports and resorts, to name but a few alternative uses. The use of golf carts as a convenient means of travelling within secure residential estates and retirement communities has also grown, and the question regularly posed is how to effectively control and manage the use thereof, particularly by teenagers and adolescents who cannot yet drive motor vehicles and regard golf carts as a convenient alternative means of getting around.
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.
5 min read As described in my previous article on governance (see Estate Living, Issue 25), conflicts of interest abound at board level. They constitute a significant issue in that they affect ethics by distorting decision making and generating consequences that can undermine the credibility of boards, organisations or even entire business entities.
3 min read The inception of the Labour Relations Act 65 of 2014 on 1 January 2015 provides new protection for employees on fixed-term contracts. The Amendment Act’s provisions that now regulate fixed-term contracts are provided for in the new Section 198B.
4 min read Corporate governance is a set of relationships between a company, its management, the board, the shareholders and its stakeholders, and it provides the structure through which the objectives of a company are set and attained and its performance measured. The directors of a company, HOA or sectional title scheme are managers of other people’s money.
4 min read Arabella Country Estate’s Homeowners’ Association (HOA) management have always viewed the protection of the personal information of residents, visitors and other stakeholders on the estate as an important issue.In early 2016, the estate management initiated a project to implement measures to address their concerns and reinforce their strong commitment to good leadership, governance and compliance practices.
4 min read Situated in the picturesque harbour town of Knysna, in the heart of South Africa’s famous Garden Route, sits the Knysna Lifestyle Estate.
3 min read So now you are part of a homeowners association. But what exactly is a homeowners association, and why do they exist? But what exactly is a homeowners association, and why do they exist? The main function of a Homeowners’ Association (HOA) is to enforce a set of rules, policies and procedures, contained in a document called a Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) or Constitution, that serve the best interests of a group of property owners. Many HOAs include common property, such as parks and roads, or what is known as common areas.
3 min read Founded in 2004 and headquartered in Cape Town, Real Estate Development Interactive ( REDi) is a specialist online property technology development company that enables property professionals to market, manage and communicate effectively and efficiently.
3 min read The worst drought on record still has the Western Cape in its deadly grip. Fortunately, reasonable rains have fallen over the rest of the country and, from an agricultural perspective at least, the drought seems to have broken. So, our water problems are behind us?