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Kingswood HOA feedback

Kingswood HOA feedback

By Esther de Villiers

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Kingswood HOA feedback

By Esther de Villiers

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4 min read

Working with a clear future vision as foundation for almost every decision taken by the management of Kingswood Golf Estate today has become the norm for CEO Willem Jacobs and the trustees.

Another feature in this edition of The BUZZard focuses on current facts and figures pertaining to the estate, but it’s exciting to consider that in approximately five to seven years’ time, the estate will have reached its construction capacity of around 920 homes, then housing an estimated 3,000 residents.

No easy fix after the flood

George residents will remember for the rest of their days the floods that wreaked havoc around town during the final months of 2021, when downpours of historic proportions were recorded on 22 November, and again on 6 December.

Inhabitants of the Garden Route areas affected by the deluge all have personal tales to tell – roads turned into rivers, school closures celebrated by learners across the grade spectrum, garden walls toppled by torrents cascading from higher-lying locations …

But for the majority of those touched by the flood-related incidents of nearly four months ago, these experiences have by now receded into the mid- to distant past, with damages long repaired and life in general running its course.

The drama has all but subsided for Willem Jacobs and his support crew of HOA employees, however, as insurance claims pertaining to flood damage at Kingswood Golf Estate are still in the process of being concluded.

Where do we stand with repairs and insurance payouts?

During a recent meeting with civil engineering contractors, the question of whether the required remedial work could be done for the amount initially estimated by insurers was the primary point of discussion.

‘This is an ongoing process, with many factors influencing the timing of final payouts. The impact of this timeframe is worth mentioning – more than three months down the line, costs have escalated substantially since the first damage assessments were done last year,’ explains Willem.

‘It didn’t help that we were hit in quick succession by the second flood emergency a fortnight after the first. The civils guys’ initial damage report had to be revised, so back to the drawing board we went. Shortly thereafter, the festive season kicked in, stalling all progress in this regard until normal business practices resumed in early January.

‘We took up the torch with our insurers again as soon as everyone was back in the saddle, prioritising the repairs of essential access roads that had suffered flood damage.’

Willem explains that another aspect affecting the rate of proceedings is the fact that insurance assessors found it necessary to procure the services of a quantity surveyor and engineer, tasked with recalculating the damage in order to adequately inform final decisions on funds to be paid out.

‘During our interaction with the assessors, it has become clear to what extent products and services have increased in cost over the past few months. This reality necessitated a return visit by the engineer in charge of the original damage assessment, and so on and so forth. All values had to be rechecked, and the numbers are still being impacted by the cost of transport commensurate with the ever-soaring price of fuel.

‘Estimates submitted by the civil contractor would veer between 15% and 25% in a matter of weeks. The long and short of it is that we were R100,000 light when considering the initial quote provided by the assessor. Our ultimate objective is to try to avoid a situation where these funds have to be procured from HOA reserves.’

Willem says a case in point is the damage report drafted by the engineer for specified repairs, that was disputed by the assessor, engineer and quantity surveyor presenting the insurer.

‘An example of such challenges is the costly repair of a boundary wall next to the collapsed Terraforce wall at the subway, which, according to the assessor, didn’t appear in need of the recommended demolition and reconstruction proposed by the engineer.

‘But the engineers made it clear that this was necessary for safety reasons, since no contractor would risk working in the vicinity of a wall in danger of collapse.

‘The vehicle subway underneath Plattner Boulevard could not be repaired in the final throes of last year, due to the magnitude of work involved. Subway repairs, gauged at approximately R291,000 at the time, were being stalled by the fact that the retaining wall issue remained unresolved until very recently.’

Willem advises that progress was finally made through sheer perseverance during the first weeks of March. So by the time you read this, there should be ample cause for affected residents to happily anticipate the subway’s imminent repair and subsequent reopening.

Strategies plotted

A strategic planning meeting on 22 February did much to kick-start the direction taken in terms of future modus operandi embraced by KGE decision-makers.

Professional facilitator Cor Swart, proud owner of two properties on the estate, was roped in by Willem for protracted consultation sessions during the weeks preceding this seminal gathering of good minds, so ensuring that no time was lost to thrashing out basics on the day.

Goals of the meeting, areas covered, and a summary of key talking points and ideas that sprouted from the session will be the subject of a feature in a near-future edition of The BUZZard, since documents capturing the prevailing vision and mission of the board had not been finalised by the time of writing. Watch this space …

Similarly, an update on progress of Phase 4 will be informed by developer Mark Stuyck, containing stats of houses currently under construction and news of ongoing negotiations with George Municipality over the access road issue.

‘We thank residents for their patience and understanding of the current state of affairs, and for tolerating the extent of construction traffic resulting from this essential process,’ Willem concludes.

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