Getting over KZN’s rural housing starting blocks | Infrastructure news

Consulting firm SRK has provided specialist technical services to subsidised housing projects in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) for many years and was recently able to get more directly involved in housing roll-out through Metroprojects Development KZN who is acting as the implementing agent for a number of projects in KZN. Joining the Metroprojects team as a professional service provider, SRK’s expertise is directed at a range of areas, from flood line determination and environmental compliance, to structural design and quality assurance.

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“SRK’s entry into this particular sector has been as exciting as it has been challenging,” says James Morris, partner and principal civil engineer at SRK KZN. A typical project team is made up of diverse and multi-disciplinary skills, to address the full range of planning, design construction and social requirements.”

The project team are also accountable to a wide array of stakeholders, including the Department of Human Settlements, provincial and local government, tribal authorities, and various community-based groups.

“For us, it is vital that the technical aspects of a subsidised housing project strike a sustainable balance between quality, cost-effectiveness, delivery efficiency, and best use of local resources,” says Morris.

“This means innovating wherever possible, in a way suitable to each project.”
The work is spread from Harding in the southern part of KZN, to northern areas such as Hluhluwe, Gingindlovu, Jozini and Mtubatuba.

The challenging conditions include the logistics of reaching and supplying remote sites, as well as sensitive environmental issues. The Khula Village housing project in northern KZN, for example, is located on the border of the Isimangaliso Wetland Park, a world heritage site.

He says an exciting advance used in one of the projects was the development, in conjunction with town planners, of a Suitability Index Attribute Map to take into account all the potential environmental, physical and social constraints. This has been used to finalise the most acceptable location for the proposed houses.

According to Mzi Lupindo, CEO of Metroprojects Development KZN, the involvement of SRK has helped minimise the lead-up period from project approval to construction phase. This has allowed on-site construction to start sooner, without compromising quality.

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