Corobrik’s Fireside Travetine blends with the environment at Umdoni Retirement Village

Aesthetic appeal, low maintenance costs and increased comfort were key requirements during the design and construction of the beautiful Umdoni Retirement Village in Pennington on the South Coast of KwaZulu Natal, according to Corobrik’s Sales Manager – Coastal, Pat Moon.

He said Corobrik’s Fireside Travertine FBA face bricks had become a signature characteristic of the village which was set in beautiful natural surroundings.

The Umdoni Retirement Village is one of three retirement villages in the Hibiscus Retirement Villages group and one of the largest in South Africa. Sister complexes are the Village of Happiness in Margate and the Ramsgate Retirement Village. “The Society” as it is known, has 870 cottages and flats in these three villages and a total of 1260 residents.

Umdoni Retirement Village was originally built on land donated by Professor and Mrs Coles who farmed chickens there. By 2000, there were 126 life right cottages on the site with very little opportunity for expansion. In a bold move, “the society” bought an adjacent chicken farm which added a further 10 hectares of land – seven hectares for building and three hectares to be maintained as wetland and natural riverside forest.

“The Society” planned and built 100 units which were sold shortly after marketing started. All of these two and three bedroom cottages were built with Corobrik face bricks under tile. “The Society” purchased a further 11 hectares in 2010 of which 3,5 hectares have been preserved as natural bush. A further 120 two and three bedroom cottages are being built and have been sold, Moon explained.

“They will use a total of million Travetine Fireside FBA face bricks and about the same CoroMaxi 90 NFP for this phase. Umdoni Retirement village started a good few years ago and has been built with various face bricks over the years. They have used the Travetine Fireside FBA for at least the past eight to 10 years. Fireside Travertine FBA face bricks with their natural clay grain appearance really suit the environment and blend in perfectly,” he said.

Although not formally labelled an eco-estate, the Umdoni Retirement Village is unique on the South Coast of Kwa Zulu Natal with its heritage of trees and natural bush. Maintaining the natural vegetation has ensured the conservation of wildlife such as bush buck, impiti, porcupine, reed frogs and 144 varieties of bird life. The units have been built between the indigenous trees, trying to retain as much of the natural flora as possible.

Pointing out that Pennington based builder Richard Irwin of R&M Construction had “done a really great job on the face with high quality brickwork,” Moon said that the use of the Travetine Fireside FBA facebrick not only contributed aesthetic value, but also met various practical criteria. “The Corobrik facebrick range is designed to provide function and form with lasting beauty. As a building material, brick not only offers greater durability and strength but facebrick, in particular, requires far less maintenance than conventional plastered and painted walls. “The Society” has chosen to build with face brick to save on maintenance costs and ultimately keep levies as low as possible for future residents.”

In addition to maintenance savings, Moon said that facebrick was a good choice for a retirement village as it enhanced residents’ comfort and ultimately saved energy and living costs. “The high thermal mass found in our bricks naturally helps moderate indoor temperatures, significantly reducing the need for energy that’s used up by artificial heating and cooling systems.”

He pointed out that brick had natural insulation properties that kept buildings cool in summer and warm in winter and had a similar effect between day and night. “Clay Brick houses use the least energy for heating annually and provide the fewest days in which the occupants experience thermal discomfort. A double-skin walling system provides superior energy efficiency by providing the correct combination of thermal capacity and thermal resistance. These walling system properties lead to interior conditions that are more stable and reduce the need for additional, and expensive, artificial heating and cooling energy.”

The next stage in the development of the Umdoni Retirement Village is the building of a 20 bed frail care facility which will start in April for occupation in November 2012. This will also utilise face brick which blends easily into the natural bush, offers similar levels of comfort and, again, presents significant savings when it comes to future maintenance.

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