Empty promises irks Ocean View

Ocean View residents haven take the City of Cape Town to task, claiming they have not delivered on promises made around the Mountain View housing development.

Beneficiaries of the development claim they are not being given the 42m² houses on a 100m² plot as they were promised.

Benedicta van Minnen, the City’s Mayco member for human settlements, says the homes at the Mountain View Housing Project were constructed in accordance with building regulations, minimum standards and specifications and signed off by the provincial chief works inspector, the City’s building technician, as well as the community construction controller.

“Throughout the Ocean View development, the individual plot sizes are, on average, 100m² and the top structures are all 42m². The standard building agreement stated 100m² for all of the sites, however the actual plot sizes range from 80m² to 130m². The actual size of all the properties will be indicated on the individual building plans which will be issued to all of the beneficiaries,” she says.

Beneficiaries have also raised concerns over the quality of the constructed houses, saying there is only one door to each house, which is a fire hazard, there are no air vents in the houses, the cement on the floors is crumbling with the plastic under the foundations showing through, and the doors are not adequately sealed.

In addition, residents have complained that they do not have geysers and when they use boiled water to fill their baths, the baths crack.

There is a three-month maintenance period after the houses have been handed over and all outstanding snags are handled within this period, says Van Minnen.

“Outstanding snags will only be attended to if residents report them to the contractor’s office and the community liaison officer.”

During consumer education given to each of the households, residents were informed that they first need to fill the bath with some cold water before adding boiling water to avoid any damage, says Van Minnen.

“However, this was not adhered to. The contractor, however, has indicated that they will be replacing 21 baths that have been damaged. Geysers do not form part of the minimum standards applicable to subsidised housing.”

Air vents are not specified and not recommended as per the minimum housing specifications for houses built with cement blocks, as this would result in dampness through the vents, Van Minnen says.

“All the houses have been installed with ceilings and insulation. Internal paint and internal plaster do not form part of the minimum specifications applicable to this project. The outside walls, excluding the stone walls, were plastered/painted, which is in line with the minimum specification and was approved by the National Home Builder’s Registration Council,” she says.

“No reports have been submitted regarding floor problems, however, the contractor will be investigating this matter. There is one house type that only has one door as the design cannot cater for two doors. The installation of only one door is not a fire hazard as per building regulations. Furthermore, the minimum specifications for this project did not stipulate two doors, however, two doors have been provided in units where this could be accommodated in the design.”

All residents may carry out additions to their property as long as the statutory processes take place by means of building plan submission and approval, says Van Minnen. “Residents are reminded that there is a formal process for complaints. This process requires the complaints to be recorded at the site office so that the contractor can deal with any latent defects. Reporting complaints to a forum in Ocean View will not solve the problem. Any issues regarding beneficiary allocations should be referred to the City’s housing facilitator. Once all snags on the houses have been attended to and signed off by the contractor, the City and the Western Cape Government, a final unit report (FUR) is issued by the NHBRC on completion of the house for the individual properties.”

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