Prudent sourcing and selection of building materials and fittings and fixtures has delivered Lakehaven Phase 11- a ground breaking social housing project that will definitely raise the bar in this segment of the housing arena.
Dirk Meyer, managing director of Corobrik, said that Corobrik is proud to have been associated with what is Durban’s third greenfields project. Lakehaven Phase 11 has a proud lineage. It’s Phase 1 predecessor received the coveted Social Housing Project of the year 2011 award from the Southern African Housing Foundation (SAHF).
“Lakehaven Phase 11 takes this a step further. Through the far sighted substitution of cheaper building materials with higher quality building materials, First Metro Housing and construction, cost and project managers, HDH, have as good as redefined social housing and made it aspirational,” he said.
Social Housing is a government subsidised rental or co-operative housing option for people with monthly household incomes of between R1 500 and R7 500.
Lakehaven Phase 1 comprises 312 units. The second phase provides a further 280 units within 34 double story blocks of flats. Construction began in early 2013 and it is on track for completion by mid-year. The first 88 units are already occupied. Selection of tenants for the remainder will begin during the second half of the year.
Each unit has two bedrooms, a bathroom, an open plan kitchen and fully tiled living area with a DSTV point. A granite kitchen counter top, taps and aluminium windows are quality features.
A gated, security controlled entrance and individual parking bays provide a step up for social housing. There are also plans to create a park, sports field and community hall.
All upgrades were facilitated well within strict budgetary constraints and to meet strict objectives outlined by government. Mehmood Hoosen, HDH’s principal agent, pointed out that, while costs were kept low, the end product was of a high standard to the point where Lakehaven Phase 11 had definitely added value to the area.
He said his company worked within strict parameters but had enjoyed a great deal of flexibility when it came to overall design and choice of materials. “We may have started with a blank page but it was not straight forward. We put a project team together and then work shopped (the project) in terms of finishes. It was about finding the best products for the development. It came down to speaking to people like Corobrik to make the best choices.”
Hoosen said that the objective was to deliver a quality project through an improved choice of materials and top notch workmanship. “When you look at housing delivery, you realise that these units are made available to tenants from low income households who are paying minimal rent. For them, living in something similar would be unaffordable. We are able to provide a home that is much more than a rental unit whilst allowing them to have greater disposable income for a better lifestyle and to fund important aspects such as education for their children.”
In line with capital subsidies provided through the Institutional Subsidy and the Capital Restructuring Grant, social housing developments must adhere to strict principles that extend beyond construction. Government policy calls for the integrated provision of services which involves the inclusion of social facilities in a location that is close to both cultural amenities and work opportunities. This approach also provides for better spatial planning and greening of the environment.
First Metro Housing, Lakehaven’s developer, was established in December 1998 and is Durban’s foremost social housing company. As an independent Section 21 Company, it is responsible for the development and management of social housing in the eThekwini region. Its primary purpose is the development of quality and affordable residential rental accommodation for low to medium income households.
The company was awarded the KwaZulu Natal Housing Developer of the Year Award in 2002 by the Institute for Housing in recognition for its pioneering efforts to provide sustainable accommodation for the lower to middle income rental market.
In additional to aesthetic considerations, Hoosen pointed out that environmental concerns are top of the First Metro Housing agenda. In line with these, greening of the environment and the planting of trees as well as the selection of building materials with low carbon footprints was important. Corobrik products were therefore well suited to the Lakehaven project.
These included Corobrik’s Country Cottage face bricks, clay Ironstone pavers and Geolok 400 retaining blocks.
Facebrick was used instead of stainless steel for balustrades. Aprons around the building were redesigned so that the vibrant colours of the Ironstone pavers could be introduced in place of concrete while Corobrik Geolock earth retaining blocks provided for a practical and attractive landscaping throughout the complex.
Hoosen pointed out that his client – First Metro Housing – was responsible for maintenance for the next 20 years. Corobrik products allowed for near zero maintenance. For example, the face brick inserts would require no maintenance whereas stainless steel balustrades needed to be cleaned every six months to remove a patina that tended to develop on the surface in the warm, coastal climate.
In addition, he said, the choice of Corobrik products enhanced the sustainability of the housing project. “These products will last longer and are more sustainable. When we build, we also need to look at the aesthetics as well as how we will impact on the environment. This is the first time we have gone this route and our client is happy with the outcome,” he said.
On the aesthetic side, Hoosen noted that Country Cottage face bricks blended well with the environment and provided a design enhancing contrast to plastered walls. Facebrick was also used to build communal facilities such as refuse storage areas. He said that tone and texture blended well with the environment and whilst meeting engineering requirements.
He added that the Geolock retainers were a pleasant pink colour which also blended well with the environment.
Hoosen said that, going forward, HDH would take a similar approach when selecting materials for future social housing projects as well as the approach construction process itself. He said that during the building of Lakehaven Phase 11, they had prioritized the empowerment of women and youth both from within the immediate community and the broader eThekwini region.
Meyer said that this was a perfect fit with the vision of Corobrik which endorsed both environmental and community upliftment via its own corporate social investment initiatives.